Exploring the Windows Real-Time Operating System

July 25th, 2017 by

Windows is a general purpose operating system ideal for a wide range of activities. However, to ensure that every service, application, task, thread and message is executed promptly and consistently, a Windows real-time operating system is required.

Multitasking and multithreading are core concepts in general purpose operating systems, but they are handled differently in an RTOS. An RTOS allows programmers to control programmatic elements, how they enjoy queuing supremacy, and how the systems behave when busy. The result is rigorous response and processing of data.


When do you need a Windows RTOS?

Most Windows real-time operating system applications fall into two broad categories: event response control and closed loop control. A good example of event response applications is quality control applications used in the manufacturing industry, where cameras are used to image manufactured parts along with an assembly line and optical recognition is used to identify defects. The applications are designed to identify complex events and trigger immediate action.

Closed loop control addresses ongoing control and monitoring. A good example is a cooling system that measures flow and pressure continuously to dynamically adjust valve setting and remain within set limits.

In addition, the Internet of Things (IoT) has ushered in a new set of operating systems and software that integrate to make operations and management easier and faster. A Windows RTOS integrates two systems to enhance functionality and efficiency. The embedded systems become smarter by utilizing real-time decision making and processing components. As such, real-time systems are quickly becoming a must-have for network administrators and programmers.

Windows RTOS downsides

A Windows RTOS is tightly bound and customized to bypass the particulars of a general purpose operating system such as Windows. This means that the software that runs a Windows real-time operating system must be written with tough precision failure which would be prone to hard failures. The complex algorithms used to write an RTOS may be hard to crack unless you understand the software languages. Also, due to the resources used to put together an RTOS, they tend to be quite costly. The cost may be a limiting factor for some people who need the software.


An RTOS is designed to select high-priority tasks and focus on them first. This means that the software has low multitasking capabilities, which can be a major downside in industries that must implement many tasks simultaneously. Though it boosts functionality and efficiency, it may not be the best system for multithreading because of its poor threading priority.

A Windows real-time operating system is a powerful tool that enhances consistency in mission-critical settings like medical centers. However, as noted above, they are designed for every task and environment. It’s important to evaluate your industrial environment and determine how the use of a Windows RTOS can boost your functionality and efficiency before investing in it.



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