VS2005: You do need ActiveSync 4.x for device development

Recently a customer called me who was surprised that VS2005 asked for AS 4.x when he was trying to debug a CF project against a Windows Mobile 2003 PPC. Since this requirement does not seem to be officially documented anywhere (send me a link if you have counter-evidence :-), I asked the VSD team, and they posted a statement here.

Comments (4)

  1. You need AS 4 if you need to debug trough active sync.

    If your device has network connectivity and you can copy and run executables on the device you may follow the instruction provided in this article:


    If you have a custom Windows CE device you may add the debugger components to your OS image and run it at system startup (you may create a pbp project quickly using Mike Hall’s CeFileWiz, or contact me to receive the pbp I made).

    You may also use this technique to debug CF application on a custom emulator image, using the "old" x86 based emulator (in this case the debugger cannot be executed at startup and you need to execute the client side debugger each time you reset the emulator) until microsoft will provide a BSP to generate images for the new ARM-based emulator.

    This could be useful for people developing CF application for non PPC/Windows Mobile based devices.

  2. David Harrison says:

    So… if I want to debug VS.net 2005 projects I HAVE to upgrade activesync – which I have now done – only to find out that network (wifi or ethernet) support is disabled… so I have to go back to a serial cable. Joy of joys.

    This has to be a joke, right?

  3. FrankPr says:


    we are aware of the fact that this causes some inconveniencies to some people. Other (security) reasons made us disable AS over ethernet. We are considering a range of possibilities to bring back a better debugging experience in a future release. For the time being, please follow the steps described in


    to debug over an ethernet connection (no AS, though).



  4. Zief says:

    This isn’t much good. I require the use of my ipaq’s port whilst debugging my software…. so I can’t connect by serial or usb, only WIFI. So the fact that this has been taken out renders my new copy of Visual Studio 2005 fairly useless at the moment! If there are security problems with it (which I am not particularly bothered about right now) why not at least give the user the option of enabling or disabling network access??