TROUBLEShooting VISTA Windows Mobile device Center

Looking at my post on Vista Windows Mobile Device Center (WMDC) there are a huge number of comments/posts relating to technical issues trying to synchronise with Vista. 

To hopefully help out 99.999% of people I wanted to post the key steps to getting Windows Mobile Device Center up and running…


To get WMDC installed you need to:

1) First connect your Windows Mobile device to your Vista PC.  Check it has been recognised and installed the necessary drivers for it.

2) Then go to Windows Update and search for new updates.  You should see the Windows Mobile Device Center – simply install that update and also should work.

If it doesn’t work….

For most people the process above works fine.  There are a number of things to check if you are in the minority that it doesn’t work for….

1) Leave your device connected whilst you search Windows Update. 

2) Try switching the device back to a Serial connection from RNDIS.  Just like Activesync – firewalls and various VPN software can cause issues with your device connecting to Vista because it uses RNDIS (which makes the connection look like a network connection).  To switch your device back to using Serial do the following:

a) Go to Start… Settings… Connections… Find USB to PC

b) Clear the checkbox that says Enable Advanced Networking Functionality.  This switches the device back to serial mode.

This resolves about 99.999% of problems.  You need a device that has AKU 2.3 or greater to be able to do this.  (to check go to Start…Settings..About and check the Version number – the build should be greater than xxxxx.2.3.x)

If you still have problems outside of the troubleshooting above I’d suggest disabling any VPN software, Firewall software and bandwidth optimisers as these are normally impacting the sync capability. 

Comments (20)
  1. m1k1 says:

    What to do if I want connect device with earlier version than AKU 2.3 or device with WM 2003?

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  4. CraigH says:

    So what this is saying really is that it wont work on an imate Sp5.

    At this state with the latest rom the build is only xxxxx.2.0.x

  5. Jason says:

    CraigH M1k1 – No No No – it will work with pre AKU 2.3 and WM 2003 devices including the SP5 – the reverting back to serial is only a troubleshooting tip if you can’t get it to connect….

  6. Ian Banyard says:

    Jason, when does WMDC RTM for RTM…. (I think that makes sense!!)

  7. Ewan says:

    You might also find that personal firewalls interfere with WMDC – there are some details in the help file that can help (as detailed on my own blog – linked)


  8. CraigH says:

    Hmmm…still cant get it to work.

    Tried switching to Serial and back to RNDIS as well. Still no luck on imate sp5.

    I only have Windows Firewall on. My RTM install is pretty much right out of the box. I havent installed or changed anything and it still doesnt work.

    i have windows mobility center in Control Panel, but when i open that i only have the option to enable bluetooth connections

  9. Bas says:

    My device (Axim x51v, WM5) doesn’t even get recognized, driver installation fails with the message: Class installer has denied the request to upgrade or install this device. I’ve tried the drivers on the cd, extracted them from the drvupdate-x86.msi (wmdc b3) package, the old ones from activesync, none will work.

    I can’t see the device in my computer, let alone sync outlook.

    The beta 3 installer won’t run either, saying at least one Windows component required is missing.

    I’m running Vista RTM Business N, so I’m missing media player (which is annoying enough by itself, I can’t find a download anywhere). Could it be that WMP is required for a mobile connection? A friend of mine with the same lincense has the exact same problem with his smartphone, though my pda connects fine with an RC2 Ultimate install of another friend.

  10. CraigH says:

    Tried all the troubleshooting tips.

    Disabled windows firewall completely – still no luck.

    Deleted the device from Device Manager – still no luck

    The only thing that worked was installing Windows Mobile Device Center (Beta 3 Release).

    Kinda a bad solution but it worked

  11. Chris says:

    I have the same problems as Bas above, I have also Business N edition, but I have a different Mobile 5 device (a HTC Wizard). The problems are exactly the same…

    I will flash my device to a AKU 2.3 ROM, en set it to the "simple" USB behaviour. But I don’t understand why I have to this for a 1.5 year old device with a new OS….

  12. MSDNArchive says:

    Bas, Chris – try installing the WMDC from the Beta Page on – see if that works for you?

  13. Bas says:

    Yes I have tried the direct install, but it quits right away with this rather vague error: "The update could not be installed because at least one Windows component required by Windows Mobile Device Center is missing.", which is what incented my suspicion of the WMP dependency. (See

    I’ve actually tried to extract the contents of the .msi, but those don’t help much (don’t run or do anything mostly). The drivers included don’t get recognised either.

    However, something weird happened while I was trying to flash my pda (AKU 1.1 to 2.3, to test your Advanced Networking Functionality suggestion). Even though the pda is still listed as "Unkown device" in device manager, the flasher recognised it and started the process. My pda rebooted and said "Handshaking with pc…", and Windows started bleeping about a new device being detected and it worked and everything (before the actual flashing started).

    At this point, it didn’t show up yet in my Computer screen, but Windows Update found the new update: "Microsoft Corporation driver update for Dell Axim USB Sync", how nice! However the installation failed whith the same error as before. Still no syncing then.

    The flashes crashes at this point in Vista, so I’m still at 1.1.

    So, assuming that during flashing the device goes in non-advanced mode, upgrading to AKU 2.3 and disabling that would get the device drivers accepted so maybe I could at least copy files with explorer. But the not-installing WMDC is a seperate problem.

  14. Marc Pottier says:

    It looks as though you may be using an N-SKU, which won’t work with the WMDC. It does have dependencies on the WPD driver, which is included with WMP.

    There’s no know solution for this problem at this time – N-SKU is not a supported configuration for the WMDC.


  15. Philipp says:

    I have the same problem as CraigH (a few posts above) and tried all the troubleshooting tips.

    After installing the wmdc beta3 I was able to connect my device (sp5). No luck with the wmdc from vista rtm

  16. Jolo says:

    WMDC is not compatible with a WM2003 SE device, trying to do a Bluetooth Sync. Why? Because Serial (COM Port) for Sync is missing. You can’t sync using a WIDCOMM Bluetooth Stack. And Vista own Stack is awful. You can’t do anything, even use a BT headset.

    After all, I’ll stay with XP.

  17. For those still struggling with getting the Dell Axim x5xx series of devices to sync with Vista. Go to the Dell download site and get the latest ROM (A02) update (which was released at the end of December 06). Once installed the Windows Build version goes to 14957.2.3.1 and USB to PC appears in the connections page. Once I had deselected "Enable advanced network functionality" Windows Mobile Device Center Beta 3 sprang to life and recognised my Axim x50v without any trouble. Outlook syncronised 1st time.

    I’m now very happy!!!

    I hope this helps other poor frustrated souls out there.

  18. Bas says:

    Thanks for the suggestion Paul!

    I did try that and I disabled the advanced network functionality, but it doesn’t help us students stuck with the N versions. WMDC still won’t install here.

    I hope there will be a WMP download for Vista soon.

  19. Brandon says:

    Thanks for the suggestions!

    I have been trying to get my Dell Axim x51v working for so long.  Disabling the enhanced network functionality worked like a charm!  Right away Vista was able to install the drivers and WMDC popped up 🙂  

    Thank you SO much!

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