PC Compatibility with LabVIEW Real-Time or LabWindows/CVI Real-Time for Desktop ETS

Updated Aug 1, 2023

Reported In


  • LabWindows/CVI Full
  • LabWindows/CVI Base

Operating System

  • NI Linux Real-Time
  • PharLap
  • VxWorks

Issue Details

I have a desktop or single-board computer (SBC) for use as a LabVIEW Real-Time or LabWindows/CVI Real-Time target. How can I validate compatibility of my system for use as a real-time target?


Note: NI LabWindows/CVI 2019 Real-Time Module will be the last version supported. For all other NI Software, NI will remove support for Phar Lap for cRIO in NI 2020 Software Release and for PXI in the NI 2022 Software Release. For more information, please see the Phar Lap RT OS EOL Road Map.

NI provides a utility that can be run on a desktop PC to verify compatibility with LabVIEW Real-Time.  The utility checks the hardware to see if the components, such as network adapters and processors, are present that are required for a real-time desktop PC. The list of compatible components are documented in Requirements for a Desktop PC as a Real-Time Target.
  1. The utility installs onto a USB drive and formats it as a boot device. Note: You will lose all data on the USB drive.  There are two ways you can obtain this utility.
    1. Download the version of LabVIEW Real-Time Module 20xx - USB Utilities at ni.com/downloads that matches your version of LabVIEW Real-Time Module.
    2. Open Measurement & Automation Explorer (MAX) on the development machine and select Tools » RT Disk Utilities » Create Desktop PC Utility USB Drive (this option requires Measurement & Automation Explorer (MAX) 4.1 and LabVIEW Real-Time Module 8.20 / LabWindows/CVI Real-Time Module 8.1 (or later) installed.)
  2. Once the USB drive is formatted as a boot device, on the Real-Time target PC, configure the boot sequence in the BIOS to start with a USB storage device.  Plug in your device into the target PC and reboot the computer.
  3. Before testing the compatibility of your system, you must format your Real-Time PC to FAT32 or Reliance. The evaluator utility can be used to format your disk properly.Upon boot up the screen will display a list of options. In order to format your drive, choose the option Format hard disk.
  4. When the hard disk is successfully formatted, reboot the target PC and boot from the USB Utility once again. From the list of options, select Evaluate system.
  5. The utility will then begin testing your system.  If you pass the test successfully, then you should see a similar result as shown in Figure 1. If the PC cannot be converted to a real-time system, you will see an incompatibility result. An example is shown in Figure 2.

Figure 1: Real-Time Desktop PC Evaluator Passed Test

Figure 2: Real-Time Desktop PC Evaluator Failed Test (incompatible chipset)

Additional Information

  • The most common incompatibility is the ethernet chipset. For convenient set-up, the Products and Services: NI LabVIEW Real-Time Debug/Deploy License for Desktop PCs may be purchased which combines the LabVIEW Real-Time deployment license with a PCI Ethernet board that meets the LabVIEW Real-Time hardware requirements.
  • If the PC evaluator fails without reporting an error, then try changing BIOS settings according to the manuals available for your hardware. Otherwise, the evaluator will report on common errors such as non-FAT32 or Reliance file systems. 
  • If the program stalls at TRANSFERRING CONTROL TO USER PROGRAM, try updating the BIOS of the system to the latest version.
  • If hardware prevents you to use a USB device, you can use the PC evaluator on a floppy disk.  You will need to have a floppy drive on the development PC and the intended target PC.  The following steps are to boot from a floppy disk using the utility. 
  1. Download the appropriate version of the Real-Time Desktop PC Evaluator from the Related Links section of this document.
  2. Extract the two files to the same folder on your local hard drive
  3. Run the attachment, which will extract the utility to a floppy disk (This will format and overwrite any existing data on the floppy disk)
  4. On the real-time target PC, configure the boot sequence in the BIOS to start with the floppy drive
  5. Reboot the real-time target PC with the disk inserted
  6. Select the option Evaluate system from the menu