August 10, 2005

Kiosk Mode and Windows CE

kiosk-mode.jpgMike Hall, a product manager in Microsoft's Windows Embedded group, has recently posted several entries to his weblog explaining how to build a Windows CE 5.0 image to support "kiosk mode", which restricts the system to a limited set -- possibly one -- of applications.

Hall points out that Windows CE 5.0 ships with a number of OS templates, including ones for gateways (headless), Internet appliances (Windows shell), and thin clients (RDP client shell), but nothing that can easily be modified to provide a kiosk mode.

Hall's solution is to begin with the existing thin client template, remove the RDP shell, and replace it with the kiosk application(s). This non-trivial exercise currently spans five sometimes lengthy (and interestingly numbered) posts on Hall's blog:

* Part 1 -- Introduction
* Part 10 -- Removing the WBT/RDP Shell
* Part 11 -- Creating \Startup folder and launching app
* Part 100 -- Thoughts on managed code
* Part 101 -- Full screen Compact Framework application

In a related blog post, Marcus Perryman takes up the issue of trying to run Windows Mobile in kiosk mode. Perryman says that many enterprises are tempted to save money by using Windows Mobile Pocket PCs instead of Windows CE based industrial handhelds for kiosk-type applications.

Perryman points out that, by design, Pocket PCs are "very, very difficult" to lock down "so that only one app runs and the user can't get to any other applications or reset the device to a state where you can get to other apps." He suggests that in many cases, full kiosk mode isn't really necessary, but if it is, Windows CE is probably the more cost effective solution in the end. Read Perryman's blog post here.

Building a "kiosk mode" Windows CE image

Posted by keefner at August 10, 2005 04:13 AM