Using the Unified Write Filter (UWF) on Windows 10 IoT Core

Warning

The dynamic disk is not supported for the UWF.

The Unified Write Filter (UWF) is a feature that protects physical storage media from data writes. UWF intercepts all write attempts to a protected volume and redirects those write attempts to a virtual overlay. This improves the reliability and stability of your device and reduces the wear on write-sensitive media, such as flash memory media like solid-state drives.

Read our documentation on the Unified Write Filter for more information.

How to Install UWF on a device running Windows 10 IoT Core

  • If you do not have the current version of the Windows 10 IoT Core Kits yet, download and install the Windows 10 IoT Core Packages.

  • Based on your device architecture, copy UWF packages ( Microsoft-IoTUAP-UnifiedWriteFilter-Package.cab and Microsoft-IoTUAP-UnifiedWriteFilter-Package_Lang_en-us.cab ) from your PC (C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Kits\10\MSPackages\Retail\<arch>\fre\) to the device (for example, with Windows file sharing).

  • Launch SSH or Powershell and access your device running Windows 10 IoT Core.

  • From SSH or Powershell, do the following:

    • change to the directory where you have copied your files
      • cd C:\<dir>
    • Run these commands to install the packages to your IoT device system image:
      • applyupdate –stage .\Microsoft-IoTUAP-UnifiedWriteFilter-Package.cab
      • applyupdate –stage .\Microsoft-IoTUAP-UnifiedWriteFilter-Package_Lang_en-us.cab
      • applyupdate –commit
  • The device will boot to the Update OS, install UWF features, and reboot to the MainOS.

  • Once the device comes back to the MainOS, the UWF feature is ready and available to use. This can be verified by typing uwfmgr.exe into your Powershell or SSH window.

    uwfmgr.exe on Windows 10 IoT Core

How to include UWF in Your Custom FFU

  • Add IOT_UNIFIED_WRITE_FILTER feature id to the OEM Input file
  • Create the image\FFU. Read Create a basic image for instructions.

How to Use UWF

UWF can be configured using the uwfmgr.exe tool via a Powershell or SSH session. Read uwfmgr.exe tool for the available options with an exception of some commands listed below that are not supported in IoT Core. Review the default settings of the Overlay configurations and adapt them per your requirements.

UWF can also be configured via MDM channel using Unified Write Filter CSP.

  • For example, the following combination of commands enable uwfmgr and configure to protect the C drive

    uwfmgr.exe filter enable Enables the write filter
    uwfmgr.exe volume protect c: Protects the Volume C
    shutdown /r /t 0 Restarts the device to make the write filter settings effective

Reboot is required to make all the uwfmgr settings effective.

Protecting a Data Volume

Data volume in IoT Core can be protected using the GUID for the volume. The GUID for the available volumes can be found through the following command

dir /AL
uwfmgr.exe volume protect \\?\Volume {GUID}

Protecting Volume on Windows 10 IoT Core

When protecting the data volume, we recommend that you add exceptions for the servicing and logging folders that are accessed by Windows OS Services.

C:\Data\Users\System\AppData\Local\UpdateStagingRoot
C:\Data\SharedData\DuShared
C:\Data\SystemData\temp
C:\Data\users\defaultaccount\appdata\local\temp
C:\Data\Programdata\softwaredistribution
C:\Data\systemdata\nonetwlogs

To add the exclusions: uwfmgr.exe file Add-Exclusion <file/folder name>

Servicing UWF protected devices

Note

Starting Windows 10 IoT Core Release 1709, version 16299, the main OS volume (C:) can be protected with UWF and serviced automatically without any special steps.

The following steps are required to service UWF protected devices with protected data volumes.

  • uwfmgr.exe filter disable Disable UWF
  • shutdown /r /t 0 Reboot device to disable UWF
  • Enable Servicing ( using provisioning package or MDM to set Update policy )
    • Note that the device will automatically reboot to perform the servicing updates
  • uwfmgr.exe filter enable Enable UWF
  • shutdown /r /t 0 Reboot device to enable UWF

Unsupported uwfmgr.exe Commands

UWF Servicing Mode is not supported in IoT Core.

uwfmgr.exe on Windows 10 IoT Core does not support commands listed below.

Filter 
    Shutdown 
    Restart 
Servicing 
    Enable 
    Disable 
    Update-Windows