.NET CF 1.0 development on Vista

Now that Windows Vista Beta 2 is out, some of you may already be using it or considering giving it a try. The good news for Windows Mobile developers is that Visual Studio, all the emulators and SDK tools work just fine on Vista. I've had no problems doing extensive native and managed development on a laptop running Vista.

Someone posted a comment on my blog asking how to build a .NET Compact Framework 1.0 application on a Vista machine. There are a few additional steps if you want to target .NET CF 1.0. Here's how:

  1. In Visual Studio, click File > New Project.
  2. Under Visual C# or Visual Basic, select Smart Device and then the appropriate platform (e.g. Windows Mobile 5.0 Pocket PC, Windows Mobile 5.0 Smartphone etc).
  3. Under Templates, select Device Application (1.0).
  4. Press OK to create the new project.
  5. Try building the solution. You will receive an error message explaining that .NET Framework 1.1 is required to build .NET CF 1.0 applications. This may seem odd because most of us don't see a direct relationship between the desktop framework and compact framework.
  6. Click here to download .NET Framework 1.1. Note that .NET Framework 2.0 is already built into Windows Vista.
  7. When you try to install it, a warning tells you that this product is incompatible with Vista. The warning also mentions installing SP1. We'll do that next. Proceed with the install.
  8. After .NET Framework 1.1 is successfully installed, click here to download SP1. When installing this, you'll again see a similar compatibility warning. Ignore the warning and proceed to finish installing the Service Pack.
  9. Now that you have .NET Framework 1.1 and SP1 installed, you meet the requirements for targeting .NET CF 1.0. Switch back to your project in Visual Studio and build. It should compile, build and deploy without any further errors.

Comments (34)
  1. Alex Kac says:

    Good. I had tried Vista B2 here on an emulator and it was dog slow, but I know that when Vista hits RC or so I’ll probably jump to it and its good to know that VS 2005 works on it just fine.

  2. Would be interested to see how you got everything to work.  I’ve tried the Win Mobile 5 SDKs (both PPC and Smartphone) and neither install correctly on Vista Beta 2.  Well in actual fact they install properly, but they don’t appear in the list of project types and the emulator images don’t appear in the Device Emulator Manager – any suggestions on what we can do to fix this?  

    Nick (nick @ softteq.com)

  3. MSDNArchive says:


    This probably isn’t a Vista problem but the order in which you installed VS, WM SDKs etc. The whole install process was very straight forward for me. Everything just worked. Are you sure you didn’t uncheck Smart Device development options when you installed Visual Studio?

    This is can be painful, but I recommend uninstalling everything (VS and WM SDKs) and starting over. Install VS first and then make sure at least the WM 2003 device development options work. Then install the WM5 SDK (separate download). Hope this helps.

  4. Orneta says:


    Thanks for the help, it is greatly appreciated.

    Is the ActiveSync 4.2 beta version recommended for Vista Beta 2?

  5. MelSam says:


    You don’t need any version of ActiveSync with Vista. The Device Sync Center that is built in will be sufficient to debug and deploy apps from Visual Studio 2005. Don’t try to install ActiveSync 4.x on Vista – it is incompatible and not required.

    Hope this helps.

  6. galego says:

    I have the same problems that nick found. The SDKs do install, but don’t appear at the project types.

    Will try to reinstall.

  7. Revan says:

    This instruction don’t work on Russian localisation Windows… Very sad. 🙁

  8. Sean McLeod says:

    Any idea when a version of ActiveSync will be available for use on Vista beta2?

    It’s great that I can do my Windows Mobile development on Vista beta2 but I’d also like to be able to sync my Smartphone with Outlook etc. so I can spend more time in a single environment and not have to periodically switch back to XP.

  9. MSDNArchive says:


    ActiveSync already works with Vista Beta 2 including full Outlook/Exchange synchronization. After you’ve connected your device for the first time, unplug the device and launch Windows Update. It will download the bits required to sync with Outlook.

    Basically, Vista ships with a "base" version of ActiveSync – which only allows you to browse and connect to the device, like a generic media player. But once you download the extra stuff from Windows Update, Vista will treat your device like a Windows Mobile device with full sync capabilities. Let me know if this helps.

    -Mel Sampat


  10. mac grewal says:

    Hi Mel,

    I tried unplugging my wm5 device and running windows update but it just said I was up to date and nothing new got installed.

    Also I have the same problem Nick has the WM5 SDK installs but the WM5 device doesn’y show up as a taret platform when creating a new project with vs.net 2005.

    Any help would be appreciated.



  11. MSDNArchive says:

    mac: take a close look at Windows Update. It could be listing things under "optional updates" that you may not have noticed yet. Also, try restarting your computer and then running Windows Update (make sure you’ve connected and "explored" your WM device at least once before doing this).

    Regarding the SDK – what was the order in which you installed VS and the SDKs? It should be 1) VS2005 2) WM5 SDK

    If you did the above and it still didn’t work, I can’t think of any other suggestions but to start over. It worked fine for me the first time, and I’ve seen several collegues here at MS use the same setup with no problems.

  12. MSDNArchive says:

    OK, clarification. I was wrong about the Windows Update part. I just checked with some folks internally at MS, and here’s what I found out:

    "The functionality to enable Outlook synchronization will be available to Vista Beta 2 users in the next few weeks – it is not currently posted [on Windows Update]. We are finishing up a few critical bug fixes and then there is a bit of turnaround with Windows Update to get it published. We’ll have something posted by the end of June."

    So full sync is currently only available to MS dogfooders. I’m sorry for the disappointing news, but you’ll be very impressed by it when it is released.

  13. Nick says:


    Much as you would like to here that the experiences with the sdks not installing are isolated and user related, in this case they are clearly not. one of my collegues at MS also had the same problem prior to me installing vista etc so I was careful to do things in the right order. Is there any chance that having the Office 12 beta 2 installed could be causing this issue?

  14. MSDNArchive says:

    I think I know what the problem is. Vista Beta 2 ships with a base version of the Windows Mobile Device Center (WMDC). This base version only allows you to explore the device. You cannot set up a full Outlook partnership like you could using ActiveSync. To setup a full fledged partnership, you need to download certain bits from Windows Update. However, I wasn’t aware until yesterday that those bits are only available to internal Microsoft staff at this time. They will be released to the public by the end of this month (that’s what I’m told, but it could change).

    Now once you have that update, it’s equivalent to having a full ActiveSync partnership. But until you have that partership, tools such as the SDK will not recognize the base connection, and thus they will think you don’t have ActiveSync on the computer.

    I think this is the problem everyone’s running into. I didn’t figure this earlier because I wasn’t aware that the Windows Update portion of WMDC is not released outside MS yet. Unfortunately this means you’ll have to wait until those bits are released. I apologize for not knowing the full situation earlier, but there you have it.

    Hope this helps, and you’ll be patient for a few more weeks until that update is available.


  15. Triskell2k1 says:

    Thanks for the answer 2 weeks to wait it’s long but…

    I have a question I successfull install VS2005 and WM5 SDK but I can’t browse my device with mobile cenetr (it’s freeze when I try it) so have you got an idea?

  16. Tom Allen says:

    I cannot install programs onto my ppc device on vista. Any ideas? Programs want to put info into a activesync folder so it can be put on the device, although there is no activesync. Ah, wonders if to leave beta 2 to xp.

  17. MSDNArchive says:

    Tom Allen and Triskell2k1: see my post above yours (from June 8). It will explain why ActiveSync is missing. Basically, it is unavailable in Vista B2 for a few more weeks. In the meantime, you can still explore the device and copy .cab files to it for installing apps.

  18. Nick says:

    So there was an update over the last couple of days for Vista B2 that should allow us to connect using ActiveSync.  However, it still doesn’t allow us to install the WM5 SDK properly.  Any suggestions?

  19. Triskell2k1 says:

    The updates work’s fine…

    For the WM5 SDK personnaly I have installed ActiveSync, and after the WM5 SDK. And finally removed ActiveSync (I did it before updating

  20. Nick says:


    Did you mind elaborating a bit more.  You’re comments don’t make sense in light of the fact we are talking about Vista where ActiveSync no longer exists????

    I did a clean install of Vista, made sure all the updates were applied (including the Windows Mobile Device Center update), installed VS2005 followed by the WM5 SDK.  The latter installs ok, but the device project types do not appear in the new project dialog and the WM5 emulators do not appear in the device emulator manager.  

  21. James says:

    I am having the same problem as Nick in that I have installed Vista along with Visual Studio 2005, all the updates (inc. WMDC update), and the SDK but when I open VS2005 I cannot see WM5 PPC project type, and it wont let me open existing WM5 projects.

    Any ideas?

  22. Triskell2k1 says:


    Yes I know we are talking about vista, and active sync no longer exists.

    But you can force it to install (after installing active sync will be not avaible to launch). And when it’s installing you can install the WM5 SDK (and it will not say you that active Sync is not installed). And now you remove active sync. And for me it’s works fine.

    Personnaly the order was :

    Clean vista install, install VS2005, install active sync, install WM5 SDK, remove active sync and now update WMDC.

  23. Brian says:

    Hm.  Well, I have the same WM5 issue that many others reported.  My install order was install VS, install WM5 SDK, then install WMDC.

    I tried to clean things off:  I removed the WM5 SDK and then VS 2005.  Now VS 2005 won’t install because it tells me I need XP SP2.  

  24. David Hearn says:

    Same here.  Clean install of Vista Beta 2.  Installed Visual Studio 2005.  Installed WM5 PPC SDK.  None of the WM5 projects appeared, and none of the emulator images appear in the emulator manager.

    Tried doing a Windows Mobile 2003 application and it built fine, installed okay on an emulator.

    Removing everything now and starting again…

  25. David Hearn says:

    Well, removed WM5 SDK then VS2005.  Rebooted.  Installed VS2005 (just C# and VB, included SmartDevice options for both).  Created WM2003 project, worked fine in emulator and on HTC Wizard device (WM5).  Installed WM5 PPC SDK.  Loaded up VS2005 and no WM5 projects listed, and none listed in emulator options.

    I’ve done this numerous times in XP without a problem.  Certainly something weird with Vista Beta 2.  Shame, as I wanted to do a demo of Vista 2 + WM5 development tomorrow.  Have to stick with XP now.

  26. Daniel Moth says:

    WM 5.0 projects on Vista – the solution

  27. Ok, so there are two points to this post:

    1) Daniel Moth points out that instead of complaining that…

  28. Tan Di says:

    We are using WinCE5.0 to develop a PDA like product and we hope it can sync with Windows XP and Vista. Now it can link to XP by ActiveSync, but when failed to link to Vista Beta2 by USB, we can see Windows Mobile Device Center appears, but a warning message pops up: A problem caused the service to stop working correctly. Windows will notify you if a solution is available.

    I don’t know if it is a problem of Windows Mobile Device center or WMDC dose not support WinCE? Is there any other way of sync function?



  29. tan.di@iac.com.tw says:

    We are using WinCE5.0 to develop a PDA like product and we hope it can sync with Windows XP and Vista. Now it can link to XP by ActiveSync, but when failed to link to Vista Beta2 by USB, we can see Windows Mobile Device Center appears, but a warning message pops up: A problem caused the service to stop working correctly. Windows will notify you if a solution is available.

    I don’t know if it is a problem of Windows Mobile Device center or WMDC dose not support WinCE? Is there any other way of sync function?



  30. Jan Kucera says:

    I had the same problem as many others with missing project types on Vista Beta 2, but this can be solved by installing or repairing WM SDK with UAC turned off.

    However, I have still no controls on Toolbox. 🙁

  31. Theo van der Sluijs says:

    Is is possible to Sync the Vista Contacts with your PDA? That would be great !

  32. John says:

    I’m having the same issue, except installed on Winxp with vs2005. The templates are just not showing up.

    Does this have anything to do with the sp1 for vs?

  33. crs says:

    No problems with mobile simulators too

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