Windows Embedded CE 6 SDK not installing on Visual Studio 2008?

I am actually working on a set of demos for TechEd next week (I know these demos should be finished now!, but I'm sure I will get everything up and running by the end of this week ;-)).

I struggled a couple of hours on a problem: I generated a SDK for a Windows Embedded CE 6.0 image using the Platform Builder 6.0 Plug-in in Visual Studio 2005. I then tried to install that SDK in order to use it in Visual Studio 2008 to develop a Smart device application for my device (I know you can develop your application into Visual Studio 2005, but I am kind of a geek and I like to use the latest tools...). The problem was that the newly installed SDK didn't show up in Visual Studio 2008... After a long investigation, I found out this is a known issue. The workaround to get the SDK showing up in Visual Studio 2008 is to select "custom" installation mode during the installation wizard and to deselect the documentation installation. I guess this will be fixed in a next release!

Back to writing code for my demos.... 🙂

Comments (36)
  1. Paul Pignon says:

    Have a similar problem. Kit from Logicpd for OMAP35x, comes with Windows Embedded CE 6.0 (+R2), but that won’t install because it only want VS 2005, I also prefer to use the lastest tools, have VS 2008 now. Don’t really want to revert.

    Or does VS 2008 embody everything one needs already?

    I will try the workaround you suggest, and post the outcome.

    Otherwise, any advice gratefully received.


  2. Hi Paul

    You probably are talking about Platform Builder 6 which is the tool that enables developing Windows Embedded CE images, right?

    PB 6 is a plug-in to Visual Studio 2005 only, not to Visual Studio 2008.

    What I was talking about in my post was the SDK (Software Development Kit) that enables developing applications for a specific Windows Embedded CE 6 image (previously built using VS2005 and PB6).

    Let me explain what the process is to develop images and applications for Windows Embedded CE 6.0.

    First step is to build an image using VS 2005 and the Plugin Platform Builder 6.0. You will be relying on what we call a Board Support Package (BSP) provided by the OEM of the board you want to build an image for and that contains all the low layers and drivers necessary to make CE run on the board. Within VS 2005 + PB 6.0, you will select the features you want for your OS. You will then build the image, deploy it to the target and debug it. Once the image is up and running, you will export an SDK using PB for your specific image (containing the exact APIs your OS image is providing). This SDK will be installed on a dev platform running VS 2005 or VS 2008 and you will be able to develop applications for your CE image.

    Note that you could develop native applications using Platform Builder (at the same time you are developping the OS image), but if you want to develop .Net applications or to separate kernel and applications development, you would rather go for the process described below.

    Hope this calrifies things 🙂

    Enjoy developing for CE 6.0


  3. peter says:


    Is there anything new about that issue? (installed CE SDK not displayed in Visual Studio 2008)



  4. Not for the moment Peter.

    As soon as find out more about it, I will update the post.


  5. JeffK says:

    So are there any plans to support the Platform Builder 6.0 plug-in in Visual Studio 2008?  I can’t believe Microsoft wouldn’t provide support for using their latest CE tools with their latest IDE.

  6. Hi Jeff

    I can’t tell you about the plans for a support of the PB 6 plug-in into Visual Studio 9 (a.k.a. VS 2008). What is sure is that you are right saying we can’t afford not supporting the latest toolsets.

    We are seriously considering the different options as this is a feedback we are getting more and more from our customers and we will provide updates as soon as our plans are clearer. I will post on this for sure when the moment comes!

    Thank you for this feedback!


  7. Jeff2 says:

    Seriously PLEASE support this. Having a virtual machine with vs2005 and pbuilder installed is my interim solution, since both don’t play nice on the

  8. Mauro says:

    Thank you, I’ve tried to install without the documentation, but it still doesn’t show on the list…

  9. Ciao Mauro.

    Did you uninstall any previously installed version of the SDK?

  10. Edwin says:

    Wait a minute..Im confused.

    With the introduction of .NET CF, how does it change the picture?

    With the introduction of Embedded CE OS provided by microsoft, does that means that the OEM no longer build any custom os image? I’m confused by all the options. Can someone please clarify?

  11. Don’t be confused Edwin!

    Windows Embedded CE provided to OEM as a tool set enabling them to build custom OSes is and will still be there. I would even say more than ever!

    The .Net Compact Framework is an application framework abstracting the OS and the Hardware that is available as a component in the CE catalog.

    When developping a CE 6 OS, you use Visual Studio 2005 and the plug-in called Platform Builder 6 to select the OS features you want to have in your custom OS, develop your own drivers and customize the whole.

    Then to develop applications that will run on this customized OS, you will use Visual Studio 2005 OR Visual Studio 2008. If the applications you want to develop are native applications, you will use a SDK that you would have generated using Platform Builder. If the application you are developing is managed, then you will develop on top of the Compact Framework (version 2.0 or 3.5), so there is no need for an SDK as the CF is the same from one target to another one.

    Does this make sense and answer your questions?


  12. JeffK says:

    Hi Olivier,

    Any news on Microsoft’s plans to support the Platform Builder 6.0 plug-in in Visual Studio 2008?


  13. Hi Jeff

    There will be no support for PB6 in Visual Studio 2008 as far as I know.


  14. Lyon says:

    Hi, Olivier

    It seems this issue still exists, even after I remove the custom Windows CE 6 SDK and reinstaill it with Documentation de-selected, and then reboot my machine. It still not in the SDK list of Visual Studio 2008. But this new CE 6 SDK does appear in the SDK list of Visual Studio 2005. And I had no problem with Windows Mobile 5 or 6 SDKs in working with Visual Studio 2008.

    Any other clues?

  15. Hi Lyon

    I guess you have tried multiple times and ways of doing. I would say the right order would be to uninstall previous version, reboot, install the SDK with documentation deselected and then check in VS 2k8.

    If this doesn’t work I can try to put you in touch with some dev guy.


  16. John says:

    So…. Is it yet possible to use the CE6 plug in for VS2005 to generate an SDK which will work for applicaiton development in VS2008 and/or VS2010?

  17. I will test if the R3 release fixes this issue and will keep you posted. I dnùt remember seeing of a QFE thqt explicitely fixes this issue. The trick with documentation unchecked in the installation wizard seems to be the only way for now.

    Stay tuned, I’ll test tomorrow and will ping the PB team if it does not work.


  18. deepgreen says:

    Dear all, I have a question: To build an image using VS 2005 and the Plugin Platform Builder 6.0, what are the prerequisites? Is Windows CE 6.0 (or R2, R3, etc.) need be installed to generate this image?

  19. Affirmative, to build a Windows CE 6.0 image you need Visual Studio 2005 Standard or more, VS 2005 SP1, VS Vista patch if you are running on Vista or Win7, Platform Builder 6, PB SP1, and if you want to benefit from R2 and R3 releases you need to install PB R2 and PB R3.

    The compiler is Platform Builder, but it is a plug-in to Visual Studio so it does not run as a stand alone application.

    – Olivier

  20. BruceL says:

    Alternatively, is there a way to add CF 3.5 as a choice when creating an image using Platform Builder 6.0, the plug-in to Visual Studio 2005?

    It only shows me CF 2.0, but I have read that CF 3.5 should be there as well.

    Since there is no Platform Builder for VS2008, this would have to be possible somehow, to get CF 3.5 into an image.

    Even so, I thought VS2008 was required to develop .NET 3.5 applications, even Compact Framework 3.5, is that correct?

    Thx much in advance.

  21. You will not see CF 3.5 in the wizard but if you have R2 installed, you will get it in the catalog in VS 2005 when building the OS with Platform Builder 6.

    You are right, you need Visual Studio 2008 to develop .Net CF 3.5 applications, which means you need 2 development tools for CE 6:

    – VS 2005 for the kernel

    – VS 2008 for CF 3.5 applications dev.

    – Olivier

  22. Ajit says:

    Hi Olivier,

    Does installing R3 solved the issue of SDK (generated by PC with VS2005 + PB 6.0 installed) installation failure on PC with VS2008 installed and Documentation part checked?

  23. @Ajit, unfortunately R3 does not solve the issue as I have been given the feedback that some users are still facing this issue.

    Michel, one of our Embedded MVPs, just posted a solution on his bog (…/installing-ce-60-sdks-on-systems-with-only-vs2008-installed)


  24. mili says:

    Hi Olivier,

    I'm trying to follow your Instruction, Before i deselect the documentation installation in SDK, the error-information comes at first:

    "This release requires the following prerequisites. please install any that are missing and restart thist setup.

    visual studio 2005

    visual studio 2005 service pack 1

    visual studio 2005 service pack 1 update for Windows Visata

    Windows Embedded CE 6.0 Tools"

    How can i solve this problem

  25. @mili

    The dependency on "windows embedded CE 6.0 tools" makes me think you are trying to install a BSP, not a SDK. Sometimes Silicon Vendors package BSP and SDK for a specific board and OS image into a single installer that they call SDK, this is confusing for a lot of people. Can you provide more details on what you are trying to install and what steps you go through. Note you also need to have Visual Studio Professional or more, Express editions won't support the CE tools and development.


  26. Bart says:


    I have a question. I now roughly nothing about Windows CE (I now much more about Labview). I would like to develop an application with Labview for Windows CE 6.0 based Notebook. It is possible if and only if the target machine (the Notebook) have the "standard SDK" option on built in its OS. And, of course it is not the case on my notebook… My question is: is it possible to add the standard SDK now? Have I to rebuilt entirely the windows CE image or it is enough to added some library to some location on the Notebook HD and how?

    Thank you in advance for any info.


  27. @Bart: You can do app development for Windows CE with Labview, at least for CE 4.2 and 5, not sure for CE 6. But you will need to have the CE Standard SDK in the image to make it work. It is the device manufacturers who can add it to the OS, this is not something you are supposed to do on your own from the licensing perspective.

    Note that you can consider using Visual Studio 2005 or 2008 (professional or above) to develop apps for CE devices. With Visual Studio, having the Standard SDK in the image is not mandatory, as long as you are carefull not using APIs that are not implemented in the OS. A device manufacturer can export an SDK for a specific build of WIndows CE, maybe you can find an SDK provided by the manufacturer of your device…


  28. Bart says:

    Thanks Oliver,

    Nop, I can’t get the SDK from the manufacturer (it is a cheap mini notebook from China and the seller can’t help me). I know that labview can work on Windows CE 5.0 (6.0???) if the “standard SDK” from Microsoft was implemented. So I will be able to use the notebook if I could add this standard SDK from Microsoft (I have it, it is free and directly downloaded from Microsoft) but I do not know if I can just add it to the notebook and eventually how to do it.


  29. @Bart: You might not need to install anything on the device side. The SDK needs to be installed on the development environment to build apps for a specific platform.

    If not using dynamic libraries that are not in the image or APIs not supported, your application should not need any specific things installed in on the machine.

    Note that you can setup your Visual Studio project to export missing libraries to the device along with the app it self.


  30. Bart says:

    OK thanks I think I have get it. I can use the Visual Studio to export the Standard SDK with my Labview soft if needed, right?

    I think that I have to try to do it (there is a demo version of visual studio from Microsoft).

    Thanks again.


  31. Olivier, I have a custom SDK from GuruCE for the DS Topaz board. They say they have already fixed the documentation issue in their SDK. I don't get the error. The install log says everything is fine. I have tried the following:

    Install, reboot, look

    disable UAC, install reboot look

    Open command prompt as Admin, install, reboot, look

    I have also tried starting VS2008 as an admin.

    In all cases the custom SDK is not showing up in VS 2008. I don't even have 2005 installed on the computer. I do have 2010 with SP1 installed. I do have VS 2008 with SP1.

    I don't want to uninstall 2008 and reinstall because I have many years worth of installing tools and SDKs and such and it would take forever to get back up and running right. I don't even know if that would fix the problem.

    This is Windows 7 fairly new laptop.

    Can you tell me maybe the exact place in the registry or file that gets modified that makes an SDK show up in the 2008 SDK selection drop down? Maybe there is a manual way to trigger it showing up.

    Any ideas?

  32. @PhoneTrek

    Have you tried installing another SDK to see if it would install properly?


  33. cg says:

    I am AMAZED Microsoft has not fixed this problem.

    It's now 1/12/2012, and people are still fighting it.

  34. Charles G says:…/installing-ce-60-sdks-on-systems-with-only-vs2008-installed

    just to close this out, this corrects the issue for me – tried it on two systems.

  35. Sunil says:

    Hi Everyone,

    Can anyone please help me to Develop wince 6.0 applications with Visual Studio 2008 for FrendlyARM Mini2440.

    I installed Windows Embedded CE 6.0 on Mini2440.

    i want to develop a Smart Device Project using Visual Studio 2008,

    when i selected the Smart Device Project in Visual Studio 2008

    it showing following choice in Target Platform.

    which one i have to select in this list

    1)Pocket PC 2003

    2)Windows CE

    3)Windows Mobile 5.0 Pocket PC SDK

    4)Windows Mobile 5.0 Smartphone SDK

    5)Windows Mobile 6 Standard SDK

    image is attached,,

    please help me

    thank you.

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