Platform detection I: How to detect that your app is running in the emulator

When you develop your Windows CE or Windows Mobile application in .NET Compact Framework, you probably do a lot of testing on the Microsoft Device Emulators for Smartphone and Pocket PC.  Here I describe how to detect whether your program is running on an emulator or a physical device.

Microsoft’s Device Emulator gives itself away through a WinCE API called SystemParametersInfo when you pass in the argument SPI_GETOEMINFO.  We’ll use this to check for the emulator.  When we detect something other than the Microsoft value, we must be running on a physical device. 

I use partial classes because in later posts in the Platform Detection series I’ll add more to these classes.

using System;
using System.IO;
using System.Windows.Forms;
using Microsoft.Win32;
using System.Runtime.InteropServices;
using System.Text;

namespace PlatformDetection
internal partial class PInvoke
[DllImport(“Coredll.dll”, EntryPoint = “SystemParametersInfoW”, CharSet = CharSet.Unicode)]
static extern int SystemParametersInfo4Strings(uint uiAction, uint uiParam, StringBuilder pvParam, uint fWinIni);

public enum SystemParametersInfoActions : uint
SPI_GETPLATFORMTYPE = 257, // this is used elsewhere for Smartphone/PocketPC detection

public static string GetOemInfo()
StringBuilder oemInfo = new StringBuilder(50);
if (SystemParametersInfo4Strings((uint)SystemParametersInfoActions.SPI_GETOEMINFO,
(uint)oemInfo.Capacity, oemInfo, 0) == 0)
throw new Exception(“Error getting OEM info.”);
return oemInfo.ToString();

internal partial class PlatformDetection
private const string MicrosoftEmulatorOemValue = “Microsoft DeviceEmulator”;
public static bool IsEmulator()
return PInvoke.GetOemInfo() == MicrosoftEmulatorOemValue;
class EmulatorProgram
static void Main(string[] args)
MessageBox.Show(“Emulator: “ + (PlatformDetection.IsEmulator() ? “Yes” : “No”));

This is the first post in a series of three on platform detection.  Coming up next: discerning between Smartphones and Pocket PCs.

Comments (27)

  1. Nino.Mobile says:

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  2. I now have three blogs that I post to: this one, JMPInline , and NetCFTeam . Which posts will I put where?

  3. 黎波 says:


  4. 作者:马宁 在开发Windows CE的应用程序时,经常需要检测平台类型,了解我们的应用程序运行在Pocket PC、Smartphone还是Windows CE上。在这篇文章里,我们介绍如何编写一个应用程序来检测当前运行的平台类型。

  5. 马宁 says:


  6. 作者:马宁 在开发Windows CE的应用程序时,经常需要检测平台类型,了解我们的应用程序运行在Pocket PC、Smartphone还是Windows CE上。在这篇文章里,我们介绍如何编写一个应用程序来检测当前运行的平台类型。