Every now and then Microsoft lets lose something without any major announcement. Case in point, the launch of what is being called the Validation OS, a lightweight variant of Windows 11.
This is a flavor of the operating system based on command line, and designed primarily for hardware and software vendors. In other words, this platform has got nothing to do with end users and the general user base will find almost no use for it.
It is not meant for them at all, all said and done.
The idea behind this new variant is to help hardware and software vendors, developers, and technicians diagnose and mitigate issues. They will be able to build their solutions around Windows 11 without installing the whole damn thing.
Microsoft describes this new Validation OS as:
“Microsoft Validation OS is a lightweight, fast, and customizable Windows 11-based operating system that you can use on the factory floor to diagnose, mitigate and repair hardware defects during Windows device manufacturing. Validation OS boots into a Command Line environment to increase reliability on the factory floor and supports running Win32 apps, smoothing the transition from early hardware bring-up to retail OS and apps development.”
As you can gather from the description above, Validation OS supports Win32 programs, which is a big deal as this API provides direct access to system hardware and offers a number of tools for diagnostics that can truly aid the development of a Windows 11 based project.
And although the software titan has launched this new variant of its operating system without much fanfare, it does provide a collection of resources regarding Validation OS for those who seek.
- Mount and customize a Validation OS image
- Setup a bootable Validation OS installation
- Validation OS feature packages reference
- Launching an app or command when Validation OS starts
- Debugging Apps in Validation OS
Should be enough to get you started.
Those of you who want to try out this new flavor of Windows 11 can download Microsoft Validation OS as a Window Image (.WIM) file at the link below. Thankfully, this shiny new operating system is available in both AMD64 and ARM64 architectures.
Download: Validation OS