How to start Windows Phone 8 Emulator without Visual Studio

  • Sometimes you need to start the WP emulator outside of VS.
  • For example when developing web sites and testing them in the mobile version of Internet Explorer.


  • Here are the commands that you can store in a shortcut:
    • Windows Phone 7:

"C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft XDE\1.0\XDE.exe" "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SDKs\Windows Phone\v7.1\Emulation\Images\WM70C1.en-US.bin" /VMID {A9939106-C9EA-48B3-B242-8CC158F08096}

    • Windows Phone 8:

"C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft XDE\8.0\XDE.exe" /vhd "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SDKs\Windows Phone\v8.0\Emulation\Images\Flash.vhd" /video "720x1280" /memsize 1024 /language 409 /creatediffdisk "%TEMP%\dd.720x1280.1024.vhd" /fastShutdown

    • Windows Phone 8.1:

"C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft XDE\8.1\XDE.exe" /vhd "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SDKs\Windows Phone\v8.1\Emulation\Images\Flash.vhd" /video "720x1280" /memsize 1024 /language 409 /creatediffdisk "%TEMP%\dd.720x1280.1024.vhd" /fastShutdown

    • Windows Phone 10:

"C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft XDE\10.0.10240.0\XDE.exe" /vhd "C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Kits\10\Emulation\Mobile\10.0.10240.0\Flash.vhd" /video "480x854" /memsize 1024 /diagonalSize 4 /language 409 /creatediffdisk "%LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft\XDE\10.0.10240.0\dd.480x854.1024.vhd" /fastShutdown

  • Windows Emulator (8|8.1|10):

"C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Windows Simulator\[11.0|12.0|14.0]\Microsoft.Windows.Simulator.exe"


  • The parameter "creatediffdisk" is important.
  • Without it, the emulator will start but it will require admin privileges.
  • If you start it with admin privileges, it will modify the VHD image file in the installation folder.
  • The modified VHD may get damaged and may not start from VS anymore.
  • If the VHD gets damaged, repair the installation or replace the VHD files with original ones.
  • Run "XDE.exe /?" for more details about the parameters.
Comments (7)

  1. Akmal says:

    Do you know where I can download Windows Phone 8 Emulator?

  2. Isaac Jefferson says:

    do you know how to deploy the app in the emulator once the emulator starts?

  3. Brian says:

    I can't start the emulator at all. Create a shortcut, command prompt, everyting i can think of. No luck, just errors. Running Windows 10 Technical Preview Build 10041.

  4. Steve says:

    I'm having the exact same Issue as Brian. Its driving me nuts!

  5. Evgeny says:

    You can start the emulator via Hyper-V manager, without command line.

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