Since the release of Windows Embedded Compact 7 CTP, I have seen a lot of confusion among WinCE beginners on the Visual Studio versions usage. I hope this blog will give some idea to them about the relation between Visual studio and Platform builder versions.

Until WinCE 5.0 the Platform builder was installed as a separate IDE using which we had to create OSDesign and also sub-projects. For application development embedded VC++ 4.0(eVC++) IDE was used.

At the time of WinCE 6.0 release, Microsoft integrated the Platform builder into Visual Studio 2005 IDE. So from WinCE 6.0 onwards developers can create both OSDesigns as well as smart device applications using VS2005 IDE.

In Windows Embedded Compact 7, Microsoft has integrated the Platform builder as part of the VS2008. So for creating OSDesign for this version, VS2008 is needed and VS2005 will not serve the purpose.

Features VS2005 VS2008 VS2010
Platform Builder WinCE 6.0 WinCE 7.0 Not supported
Smart Device Application Development Supported Supported Not Supported
.NET CF applicationdevelopment v2.0 v2.0v3.5 Not Supported

Since the release of VS2010 application developers are thinking to upgrade to VS2010 to explore new features. If you are developing Windows CE applications for embedded operating systems like WinCE/Windows Mobile then you cannot use VS2010 as VS2010 does not support smart device application development. Check out the following link for more detail.

If you want to develop applications for Windows Phone 7 OS, then you can download the “VS2010 Express for Windows Phone”, which is released with free license. Click here to download VS2010 Express for Windows Phone.

4 thoughts on “Relation Between Visual Studio and Windows CE Versions”
  1. I have only VS 2008 and CE 6.0 device. I do not want to purchase VS 2005. Can I develop an application for CE 6.0 using VS 2008?

  2. I wanted to develop an application for ARM using Windows CE 6.0 for which I have installed Visual studio 2005. But I have found no link for Windows CE 6.0 free download. Can I install Windows Embedded Compact7.0 for development and use it with VS2005?

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