How to Download and Use NK.bin Files for Windows CE
NK.bin files are boot images that contain the Windows CE kernel and other system files. They are used to run Windows CE on devices that have an unmodifiable bootloader, such as some car GPS systems or embedded devices. In this article, we will show you how to download and use NK.bin files for Windows CE.
What are NK.bin Files?
NK.bin files are generated from an OS design that is built using Platform Builder, a tool that allows developers to create customized versions of Windows CE for different hardware platforms. The OS design contains the configuration settings, drivers, applications, and other components that make up the Windows CE system. The NK.bin file is the result of compiling and linking the OS design into a single binary file that can be loaded by the bootloader.
NK.bin files are named after the memory address where they are loaded by the bootloader, which is usually 0x80000000 (NK stands for “Nucleus Kernel”). The bootloader is a small program that runs before the operating system and is responsible for initializing the hardware, loading the NK.bin file from a storage device, and transferring control to it. The bootloader can be stored in a flash chip on the device, or on a removable media such as an SD card or a USB drive.
How to Download NK.bin Files?
There are two ways to obtain NK.bin files for Windows CE: you can either build your own OS design using Platform Builder, or you can download an existing NK.bin file from a reliable source. Building your own OS design gives you more control and flexibility over the features and functionality of your Windows CE system, but it also requires more time and expertise. Downloading an existing NK.bin file is easier and faster, but you have to make sure that it is compatible with your device and meets your requirements.
If you want to build your own OS design using Platform Builder, you will need to install Platform Builder on your PC, create a new OS design project, select the appropriate BSP (Board Support Package) for your device, customize the settings and components of your OS design, and build it. You can find more details on how to use Platform Builder in this documentation. After building your OS design, you will find the NK.bin file in the release directory of your project.
If you want to download an existing NK.bin file from a reliable source, you will need to find a website that offers NK.bin files for different devices and platforms. One such website is Windows CE Disk Images, which provides VHD files for use in x86 emulators/hypervisors, as well as some of the OS images (NK.bin files) for various Windows CE versions[^1^]. Another website is nk-bin, which provides a tool to generate NK.bin files that contain a user specified binary where the bootloader would expect to find the WinCE kernel[^2^]. This tool can be used to run custom code on devices with an unmodifiable bootloader.
How to Use NK.bin Files?
Once you have obtained an NK.bin file that is suitable for your device and platform, you will need to copy it to a storage device that can be accessed by the bootloader. This can be an SD card, a USB drive, or any other media that is supported by your device. You will also need to make sure that the storage device is formatted with a FAT file system, and that the NK.bin file is located in the root directory of the storage device.
After copying the NK.bin file to the storage device, you will need to plug it into your device and power it on. The bootloader will detect the storage device and look for the NK.bin file in the root directory. If it finds it, it will load it into memory and execute it. If it does not find it, it will either try another storage device or display an error message.
The following steps show how to use an NK.bin file with a USB drive:
- Download or build an NK.bin file that