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Microsoft makes modular WCOS available to OEMs as Factory OS, reveals the official documentation


Windows Core OS aka WCOS is Microsoft’s new unified OS, long time in development and seems to be finally ready for deployment. Microsoft has released WCOS as the Factory OS to OEMS without apps and features for enabling quick manufacturing tests and development. This is what Microsoft notes about Factory OS.

Factory OS is a Product targeted at two use cases: factory floor and driver development.

  • For the factory floor, it can be configured to be very lightweight for fast booting and testing.
  • For development, you can add a variety of tools that let you develop and validate your drivers and test them right away.


  • Easier to build tools that work across device types: Universal Windows apps and drivers are supported in Factory OS, allowing you to create and test apps and drivers that can be used on a variety of new devices.
  • Allows a wider variety of apps and drivers to help you test your devices: With a quick configuration change, you can run apps and drivers that don’t meet the Universal Windows Platform standards.
  • Fast flashing and booting: Factory OS doesn’t include many packages or tools by default. Your devices can boot fast and start working right away in your test environment or factory floor.
  • More reliable, especially while developing for pre-release versions of Windows: OEMs can develop and test in a stable environment that’s independent of new OS features still under development. This can avoid costly problems due to retail features impeding manufacturing tests.

If you check the debugging page it is revealed that Factory OS is the WCOS. The “Debug a WCOS device” page clearly mentions “Factory OS devices” to mean the same thing.

The updated official documentation reveals that the Factory OS comes without features and apps that can be included as PowerShell in the final image. The locations for the feature, apps, and driver packages you want to include in your images are called “Feature manifests”

Feature manifests define the locations for the feature, apps, and driver packages you want to include in your images.

When a feature manifest is included in an image configuration file (OEMInput.xml), by default all the packages defined in that feature manifest get added into an image at image creation time.

Packages can also be marked as optional and assigned an ID: features and drivers get Feature IDs, and apps get App IDs. These IDs are used in the image configuration file (OEMInput.xml) to specify the optional packages that should be added to an image.

Feature manifests can include:

  • A base set of packages that will be added to an image
  • A combination of a set of base packages and optional features that you can manually add
  • Only optional features, where you have to specify the features you want included in your image

The documentation also takes about the development for modular Factory OS images.

This lab covers how to use the Windows System Kit (WSK) to design and create a Factory OS image.

We’ll cover:

  • Working from a mounted WSK ISO
  • Adding drivers
  • Adding apps
  • Adding a Test content folder
  • Customizing the device layout
  • Customizing settings
  • Generating an image
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