CeWin [Windows® real-time platform]

Windows CE

Windows CE is Microsoft's embedded real-time operating system. 
Due to its deterministic hard real-time behavior it is used by leading manufacturers of industrial controllers.
Typical applications are PLC, Motion Control and Numeric Control systems with high real-time requirements.

CeWin: Win32 real-time platform

Initially introduced in 2003 CeWin provides a powerful and Win32 conformant Windows real-time platform.
Thus it is easily possible to use the Microsoft development tools and software paradigms even for real-time applications. 

Most imporant features at a glance

  • Available for Windows XP and Windows 7 (32 Bit and 64 Bit)
  • Guaranteed response time within microseconds and full independence from Windows, if Windows crashes, the real-time part continues to work!
  • Optimized utilization of multi core systems (scalable from one to multiple CPU cores for the real-time part)
  • Default use case on dual core systems: Windows 7 runs on Core 1, Windows CE runs on Core 2
  • Rich amount of drivers, e.g. for fieldbuses (Profinet, EtherCAT, CAN), TCP/IP, USB, ...
  • Rich and Win32 compatible API (Win32 processes and threads, Events, WinSock API. .NET Compactframework and C#, ...)
  • Support of the Microsoft Development Tools (Visual Studio)
  • Very comfortable Debugging environment for the real-time part using the Microsoft tools, real-time applications will be developed and debugged just like a normal Windows application

CeWin V4/V5: based on new Hypervisor technology

  • RTOS-VM Hypervisor: Type 2 Hypervisor using Windows als the Hypervisor Host operating system
  • Same technology for all acontis real-time products: robust and broadly used.
  • Support for Windows CE 6.0 and Windows Embedded Compact 7
  • high-resolution sub-millisecond timer for Windows CE
  • Windows CE may run exclusively on a second CPU core on dual core systems
  • Interrupt latencies below 10 usec can be achieved!

Advantages using CeWin

Hardware Consolidation

  • Save a second controller system or intelligent plug-in card
  • Increase the MTBF (mean time between failure) as less hardware components are used
  • More compact controllers can be built

Software Consolidation

  • Fast learning curve,, Windows like development environment and Win32 API
  • Programming the real-time application, communication protocols and GUI with one development environment and the same software paradigms
  • Reuse existing Windows CE software
  • No Windows Kernel Driver has to be developed


  • Integration of existing Windows CE application in a Windows environment without additional hardware costs
  • Use the same Windows CE application on an embedded system, e.g. on ARM architecture

Typical applications

  • PC-based Automation (PLC, Motion-Control, Controllers)
  • Realtime measurement and data acquisition
  • Extend an existing Windows CE application by adding the Windows XP features on the same PC
  • Windows CE Prototyping: Develop and test Windows CE Software on a regular PC

Long term support

CeWin is based on the RTOS-VM hypervisor technology.
KUKA, a leading Industrial Robot Company (http://www.kuka.com) decided to use this hypervisor as a key component in their robot control. 
The usage of the KUKA real-time technology in more than 100.000 robot controller systems world wide assures long term support.
1996: world's first robot controller using a Windows real-time platform on single core CPUs.
2010: new robot controller based on the RTOS-VM hypervisor technology on multi core CPUs.

More Features

  • Hardware and real-time programming on Windows XP(e)/2000 with a Windows like real-time operating system: -- multitasking, intertask communication -- Connectivity: TCP/IP -- (Winsock), COM/DCOM, SOAP -- HTTP-Server, ISAPI, ASP, SOAP-Server, SOAP-Client -- programming languages: C, C++, C#, Visual-Basic
  • Guaranteed response time within microseconds
  • High resolution real-time timer, granularity <100 nanoseconds.
  • Hardware access to ISA and PCI plug in boards.
  • Communication between Windows and Windows CE via TCP/IP (virtual network).
  • Usage of DCOM or SOAP as middleware for communication is possible.
  • Windows CE continues working after Windows Blue Screen
  • A great variety of software and drivers for Windows CE are available on the market, e.g. OPC server, drivers for field bus and measurement hardware, and so on...
  • Debugging of real-time code by using the well known Microsoft development tools
  • Powerful, graphical real-time analysis tools (Kernel Tracker, Profiling)
  • Comprehensive documentation (HTML, MSDN, newsgroup)
  • Source code of many example drivers available

How to work with CeWin ?

Install CeWin on your PC like any other Windows application. Start and stop Windows CE simply after booting Windows by using the CeWin Uploader Tool.
Use Visual Studio for the whole development cycle: Editing, compiling and debugging of your real-time application. Create your application using well-known wizards. Develop and test your software alternatively on the same PC or remote. Communication between Windows XP and Windows CE is done via Shared Memory or via TCP/IP over a virtual network connection.

More information

Data sheets and evaluation versions are available in the download area.

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