Equip your micro Windows with tiny drop-in tools from this page. Compress these with UPX and they will load faster, run faster and exit faster. No more half gigabyte word processors or spreadsheets, try keeping all apps under 1 megabyte in size with no registry access for fastest performance.
If you want to get rid of the windows splash screen, edit the msdos.sys file, add line that says logo=0 unless there is a line there already saying logo=1, then just change it to zero....save changes. Do this under the [options] area.
If your compact flash has room (280 megabytes), you can run .NET 2.0 runtime in addition to ODBC driver for FireBird Database at a decent pace even on a 233 Mhz Pentium machine from this setup. Networking is relatively easy, particularly if you have an onboard Ethernet chip. Turn off Virtual Memory and force all applications to be fully loaded into RAM when running. This not only speeds them up like crazy, it makes them load much more quickly with no paging to disk. You'll need at least 64 megabytes of RAM for decent performance, 256 megabytes is even better. Note that universal data access can be accomplished through the MS Windows Dbase ODBC driver to read and write databases that are also being written to by DOS-based terminals with file sharing on.