Share via

What's New (Compact 2013)

November 15, 2017

Windows Embedded Compact 2013 Update 5 and Update 11 provide many new features, improvements to existing features, and general enhancements, including support for the latest version of Visual Studio, networking stack improvements, XAML improvements, a new BSP, and generic USB WiFi drivers.

Support for Visual Studio 2012, Visual Studio 2013 and Visual Studio 2015

In Compact 2013, you can develop applications and operating systems using Visual Studio 2012, Visual Studio 2013 and Visual Studio 2015, which means that you can take advantage of the latest features of Visual Studio, including:

  • The new ARM compiler. Additionally, Windows Embedded Compact no longer provides its own tool chain for Managed Code development. Instead, it uses the same tools as desktop development. For Native code development, Windows Embedded Compact 2013 continues with its own tool chain.
  • Application Builder for Windows Embedded Compact 2013 replaces Visual Studio for Devices (VSD).
  • Platform Builder tools have moved to Visual Studio 2015 to offer the latest desktop toolsets and features to Windows Embedded Compact Developers.
    Compact 2013 now has fewer overall components and a simplified SYSGEN list allowing for easier OS Configuration.

BSP and Driver Updates

The BSP for the TI OMAP4470 Blaze Tablet2 Development Platform now provides the WLAN driver for TI WiLink 7.0. For more information, see the WiLink driver release notes located in %_WINCEROOT%\platform\TI_SDP44XX\SRC\DRIVERS\NETCARD\TIWLAN.

The BSP for the i.MX6Q SABRE Lite Development Platform is now included in the Windows Embedded Compact 2013 in-box BSP package. For more information, see the i.MX6Q SABRE Lite BSP release notes located in %_WINCEROOT%\Platform\iMX6Q_SABRE_Lite

The WLAN Driver with NDIS6.x support for Realtek Semiconductor's RTL8188CU, RTL8192CU, and RTL8188EU 802.11n WiFi chipsets is provided as an in-box driver. It is integrated with the Microsoft native USB stack and WPA/WPA2-PSK Supplicants. The drivers are tested and validated on CEPC x86, G-Series x86, iMX6Q SABRE ARMV7, and TI OMAP4470 ARMV7 platforms. For more information, see the Realtek driver release notes located in %_WINCEROOT%\public\COMMON\oak\drivers\netcard\rtwlanu

Networking Stack

Compact 2013 provides networking stack improvements, including:

  • Enhanced network performance.
  • Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol version 6 (DHCPv6) client with stateful and stateless address configuration.
  • Layer Two Tunneling Protocol/Internet Protocol security (L2TP/IPsec) over IPv6 for VPN connectivity.
  • Utilities for configuration and display of IPv6 information.

The networking stack also includes a new registry setting that you can use to improve the performance of network miniport drivers. For more information about how to use this registry setting, see Enable Caching to Improve NDIS 6.0 DMA Performance.

Streamlined Catalog

Compact 2013 streamlines the OS to focus on the scenarios that are the most relevant to our customers. To achieve this, some elements were removed from the product, including:

  1. Internet Explorer 7.
  2. Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP).
  3. Some consumer supported features, such as Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) and device sync.
  4. The Windows 95 shell.

In addition, some items in the catalog were merged with other catalog items. Some catalog items were enabled by default, and additional items were added to the catalog.

For more information, see Catalog Changes from Compact 7 to Compact 2013.

OS Design Templates

Compact 2013 provides you with five new OS design templates to make creating OS designs simpler.

For more information, see Design Templates

Native Application Development

In Compact 2013, native Windows Embedded Compact application development has been moved to the newest Microsoft C++ compiler and supports the latest versions of the C++ runtime, the Active Template Library (ATL), the Standard Template Library (STL), and the Microsoft Foundation Classes (MFC).

Managed Application Development

Compact 2013 uses .NET Compact Framework 3.9, which is an upgrade from .NET Compact Framework 3.5 used in earlier versions. Some improvements in the latest version include a smaller memory footprint and faster startup time. .NET Compact Framework 3.9 has backward compatibility with .NET Compact Framework 3.5.


Compact 2013 uses the Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 compiler, which introduces modern compiler support to Windows Embedded Compact that is the same as the Windows desktop, and also introduces improved support for the latest ISO C++11 specification. Because the Visual Studio 2012 compiler targets a newer version of the ARM Embedded-Application Binary Interface (EABI), there are changes you will have to make to your existing ARM code to run on Windows Embedded Compact devices.

For more information, see Port ARM Code to Compact 2013.

Board Support Packages (BSPs)

Compact 2013 provides three new BSPs: the x86 based AMD G-Series, the ARM v7T2 based Texas Instruments OMAP 4470, and the ARM v7 based Freescale i.MX6. For more information, see AMD G-Series Development Kit, TI OMAP4470 Development Kit, and Freescale i.MX6 Development Kit (Compact 2013).

Snapshot Boot

In Compact 2013, snapshot boot significantly reduces the time that is required for your device to boot by saving the state of your device to persistent storage and then restoring that state when the device reboots. Snapshot boot restores the system by using a previously saved memory image that contains the state of the system, including the program and driver states, that you want restored on boot.

Snapshot boot supports large snapshots up to 500 MB, and also supports paging on demand from the snapshot image to further reduce boot time.

For more information, see Snapshot Boot Development.

Expression Blend

Compact 2013 has incorporated Expression Blend to design applications for compact devices, removing the need to download a separate tool. It is now called Blend.

For more information, see Expression Blend and XAML for Windows Embedded.


Compact 2013 provides improved support for data binding, including:

  • UI-to-UI data binding
  • Resource references
  • Data context setting
  • Type conversion
  • Indexing

Compact 2013 also provides support for new triggers, including:

  • ChangePropertyAction
  • ControlStoryboardAction
  • GoToStateAction
  • RemoveElementAction

OOM Model

The previous Windows Embedded Compact 7 out-of-memory (OOM) model was designed specifically for devices that have limited RAM. This design required users to close applications to avoid memory allocation failures. The new Compact 2013 design of the OOM model uses several thresholds, adjustable by registry, to provide different levels of available memory for different types of components.

The new design includes the following features:

  • Fails memory allocation if there is no memory available.
  • Provides notifications of low-memory or critical-memory issues, before memory allocation starts failing.
  • Provides a notification for a healthy memory status.
  • When applicable, enables any application or shell to monitor and take the correct action on an OOM event. For example, a device could reboot on an OOM event, use a shell that handles an OOM event, or not take any action so that the application handles the OOM event.

For more information, see OOM Handling.

Generic Error Handler Support

Compact 2013 now supports the use of a generic error handler plug-in at the FSDMGR level that can catch the failed disk I/O related operation and return an error value that can be acted upon. The return value that the plug-in provides to the error handler helps determine what action to take when encountering an error.

For more information, see File System Driver Manager Error Handler Support

Monotype Imaging iType font engine

Compact 2013 offers the Monotype compact Asian solution, a licensable, embedded offering which includes the iType® font engine and Monotype’s YingHei font, with support for Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Japanese and Korean languages. It is a separate download for use in conjunction with Compact 2013. For more information, see Monotype Imaging IType Font Engine

HTML Help Viewer

Compact 2013 uses HTML to display simple help files on a device. To use this feature, you’ll need to enable a new SYSGEN variable, SYSGEN_HELP.

For more information, see Catalog Changes from Compact 7 to Compact 2013.

In this Section

  • Migrate from Compact 7 to Compact 2013
    Provides essential documentation topics for Windows Embedded Compact 7 developers who want to migrate their existing products to Windows Embedded Compact 2013.