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Windows 10 appears on a huge range of devices. Microsoft is also making strides with the Internet of Things (IoT), positioning the Windows 10 Internet of Things Core as a tiny-but-powerful version of their desktop environment.
As such, you can take Windows 10 IoT Core for a test drive today. All you need is a Raspberry Pi 3, and a little know how.
What Is Windows 10 IoT Core?
“Windows IoT Core is a version of Windows 10 that is optimized for smaller devices with or without a display that run on both ARM and x86/x64 devices.”
Seen by some as the spiritual successor to Windows Embedded Compact, the Windows 10 IoT Core offers extensive support for intelligent devices and IoT services.
Windows 10 IoT Core is a focal point of Microsoft’s $5 billion investment in IoT development, running through to 2022. As such, expect substantial support and exciting developments for the platform.
And you can use Windows 10 IoT Core do run some very cool projects on your Raspberry Pi.
Which Apps Work on Windows 10 IoT Core?
For starters, you won’t be using your Raspberry Pi 3 with Windows 10 IoT Core to run Microsoft Office or other “traditional” programs. These programs are incompatible with the Raspberry Pi’s ARM-based hardware.
However, Windows 10 IoT Core will run Universal Windows apps, as well as apps converted into Universal Windows apps. (You might run into some issues here and there, mind, as each app works differently.)
The Windows 10 IoT Core platform is just that, though: a platform focusing on Internet of Things apps and devices.
Can I Install Full Windows 10 on a Raspberry Pi 3?
Yes, you can. But the real question is, “Why would you want to?”
At this point, the Windows 10 on ARM project is working on Raspberry Pi 3 devices. Unfortunately, it is somewhat slow, as evidenced in the video below. Better still, it shows those traditional Win32 programs running, within Windows 10 on a Raspberry Pi 3.
What You’ll Need to Install Windows 10 IoT
Before embarking on your Windows 10 IoT Core journey, check you have the correct equipment in place to follow this tutorial.
- Raspberry Pi 3 (Raspberry Pi 2 will also work, but not a Zero. Windows 10 IoT Core only supports ARMv7 and above)
- 8GB or larger Class 10 microSD with full-size SD adapter
- Ethernet cable
- HDMI cable
- 5V 2A microUSB power supply
- (Optional) USB keyboard
You need an HDMI cable to connect the Raspberry Pi to a compatible monitor to check the installation. The USB keyboard is optional because the setup process will complete without any interaction—but you will have US English as your default language and keyboard choice. If you require a different language option, you need a USB keyboard.
How to Install Windows 10 IoT Core on Raspberry Pi 3
First things first: you need to download the Windows 10 IoT Core Dashboard.
Head to the Windows Dev Center IoT Downloads page [No Longer Available]. Select Download the Windows 10 IoT Core Dashboard (linked) and install the application. The installer downloads the rest of the dashboard package and takes a minute to complete, depending on your internet speed.
Now, you need to setup your device. Select Set up a new device from the panel that the IoT Dashboards opens on. If you cannot see that option, select Set up a new device from the right-hand column, then press the big blue button.
The device setup screen is fairly self-explanatory. Make sure you have the correct Device type (Broadcom [Raspberry Pi 2 & 3]), set the OS Build to Windows 10 IoT Core, and that you have the correct drive letter for your microSD card. Furthermore, make sure to set an admin name and password. When you’re all set, hit Download and install.
The process takes a few minutes, but you can track the progress within the Dashboard.
When the installation process completes, it is time to dig out your Raspberry Pi 3 for the next step.
How to Set Up Windows 10 IoT Core on Raspberry Pi 3
Before the setup process, you need to do four things:
- Insert the microSD card into the Raspberry Pi 3.
- Connect the HDMI cable to your monitor.
- Connect the Ethernet cable (or USB Wi-Fi).
- (Optional) Connect the USB keyboard.
Once you have done that, you are ready to turn on the Raspberry Pi 3 and begin the Windows 10 IoT Core setup process. Insert your microUSB power supply and let the Raspberry Pi boot process start. The setup process is quick, as you would expect with a lightweight operating system.
The setup first enters the language selection page. A connected keyboard can navigate the menu using the Tab, arrow keys, and Enter for selection. You will then arrive at the Windows 10 IoT Core device home page.
There are four menu tabs: Device info, Command line, Browser, and Tutorials. In addition, there’s a Settings menu and a power button.
Raspberry Pi Doesn’t Show Up in “My Devices”?
When your Raspberry Pi 3 running Windows 10 IoT Core connects to the internet, it will also appear in the My devices panel back in the Windows IoT Dashboard.
If your device doesn’t show up, there are a couple of things you can try:
- Restart your Raspberry Pi 3.
- Double check your Ethernet or USB Wi-Fi connection.
- Make sure exe is able to communicate through your firewall:
- Type Network in the Start menu search bar. Under Status, find the type of network (Domain/Private/Public) your PC is connected to.
- In the Settings panel search bar (to the left of where it says Status), type fire, then scroll down and select Allow an app through Windows Firewall.
- When the new panel opens, click Change settings.
- Scroll down and find exe. Enable the appropriate network checkbox (i.e. the network type you found in step 1).
Connect to Raspberry Pi 3 Using Windows IoT Dashboard
When your device has internet access, you can connect directly using the Windows IoT Dashboard.
Simply head to My devices, right-click the Raspberry Pi 3, and select Open in Device Portal. This opens the Windows Device Portal.
Deploying a Sample App to Your Raspberry Pi 3
Next up, try deploying one of the sample Microsoft IoT apps to your Raspberry Pi. Microsoft provides a basic Hello World app, an Internet Radio app, and IoT Core Blockly, a block programming app.
Within the Windows IoT Dashboard, select Try some samples. Make your selection and then select your device from the dropdown menu.
Each sample has an online tutorial available from the sample page, plus there are more Windows 10 IoT Core development tutorials available for anyone to access via the Look at other projects and tutorials link on the samples homepage.
Windows 10 IoT Core on Raspberry Pi 3: Installed!
You can see how easy it is to deploy Windows 10 IoT Core to your Raspberry Pi 3. You’re now perfectly situated to deploy any of the sample applications found within the IoT Dashboard, or the numerous free projects and tutorials available for beginners, intermediate, and advanced skill sets.
Moreover, if you want to get serious about IoT app and device development, learning a programming language like C#, C++ and/or XAML (Extensible Application Markup Language) is strongly advised.