Microsoft has now released its Windows 10 operating system for a raft of single-board computers, including the Raspberry Pi 2, intended for powering the “Internet of Things”. Here’s how to bring Windows to your Pi.
Why Windows on a Raspberry Pi ?
Microsoft announces, “Windows 10 IoT Core is a new Windows 10 edition for low-cost, small-footprint devices that will be available ‘free’ for Makers and commercial device builders.” Which answers the what, but not the why. I’m not exactly clear what is the difference between free and ‘free’, but basically this means you can flash and use a slimline version of Windows in your own projects if you are so inclined.
If you’re used to developing for Windows environment, and using Microsoft developer tools, then I’m sure the availability of Windows 10 and the .Net Micro Framework on the RPi is welcome. But if that’s not enough reason for you, maybe the demo video will make you think.
How to install Windows 10 IoT
Check out Microsoft’s page http://ms-iot.github.io/content/GetStarted.htm with instructions for installing Windows 10 onto a Raspberry Pi. The page is on GitHub, so you can issue pull requests.
The page offers instructions for getting the official image for use with the RPi and other devices. You can also just download it here http://connect.microsoft.com/windowsembeddedIoT/Downloads/. But the downloads page won’t actually display any results until you have created an account and logged in.
The first problem I ran into right away is that you need a Windows PC to flash an SD card for Raspberry Pi 2. Microsoft doesn’t (yet) offer an option for OS X or Linux.
Anyway, if you have a Windows PC, or can borrow one, here are the 6 steps to follow to install Windows 10 IoT onto your Raspberry Pi. You will need to have a copy of Windows 10 on your PC. You can get that by signing up to the Windows 10 Insider Program.
1. Create your Microsoft Connect account at https://connect.microsoft.com/windowsembeddediot/SelfNomination.aspx?ProgramID=8558.
2. Download the file Windows_IoT_Core_RPI2_BUILD.zip from http://connect.microsoft.com/windowsembeddedIoT/Downloads/, which contains flash.ffu, and save in your user directory.
3. Insert a blank 8GB Class 10 SD card into your computer.
4. Open a command prompt and type:
C:/> list disk
This will display your SD cards’ drive number. Use this in the next step.
Lets say as an example your SD card is drive number 2.
5. Follow the Microsoft instructions for flashing the SD card using Windows 10.
At the (administrator) command prompt, install the image to your SD card by executing the following command (we are using “PhysicalDrive2” in our example as the drive number we found in the previous step):
dism.exe /Apply-Image /ImageFile:flash.ffu /ApplyDrive:\\.\PhysicalDrive2 /SkipPlatformCheck
6. Remove the SD card.
You’re now ready to insert the SD card into your Raspberry Pi 2 and boot your new Windows machine.