Getting Started (Compact 2013)


Whether you're new to Windows Embedded Compact or a veteran developer, or whether you build operating systems or end-user applications, this Windows Embedded Compact 2013 Getting Started guide is the best place to start with your development. Use the following table to see which sections of the guide are right for you.


Target audience

Install Windows Embedded Compact 2013

Describes the hardware, OS, and software prerequisites, and shows you how to install Compact 2013 in your development environment. Note: This information has been updated to reflect Compact 2013 Update 5.

All developers

Set Up a Virtual Test Device

Shows you how to install Hyper-V or Virtual PC and create a virtual machine that you can use to test Windows Embedded Compact.

Any developer who wants to use a virtual test device for Windows Embedded Compact. Note that all of the walkthrough exercises in this guide use a virtual test device.

Create Your First OS

Shows you how to use Platform Builder to design and build a Windows Embedded Compact OS. This section also shows you how to download the OS to your virtual device, modify the OS options, and update your virtual device with the new OS.

OS developers who are new to Windows Embedded Compact and Platform Builder, or application developers who want an introduction to the OS development process.

Create Your First Application

Shows you how to use Application Builder to create an application. This section also shows you how to add the application to an OS build and run the application on your test device.

Application developers who are new to Application Builder and Windows Embedded Compact, or OS developers who want an introduction to the application development process.

What's Next

Describes additional resources that you can use to learn about different aspects of Windows Embedded Compact 2013.

All developers

Terms used in this guide

This section describes the following terms and acronyms used throughout this guide that may be new to you:

  • Board support package (BSP). Software that enables Windows Embedded Compact to run on a specific hardware platform or motherboard. Platform Builder includes sample BSPs for devices based on ARM and x86-based processors.
  • Run-time image (or OS run-time image). A file that contains a combination of OS binary files, drivers, applications, services, and configuration data. After the run-time image is deployed to the device, the device can be booted.
  • Catalog item. An item that provides a function or feature in an OS, such as support for file systems, networking, fonts, and multimedia. When you design your OS, you add and remove catalog items in Platform Builder.
  • Sysgen variable. A variable that the build process uses to include functionality in the OS design. Sysgen variables are closely related to catalog items in that each catalog item corresponds to a Sysgen variable.
  • %_WINCEROOT%. The main installation directory. By default, this directory is C:\WINCE800.
  • Integrated development environment (IDE). The computer you use to develop OS designs or applications for the device running Windows Embedded Compact. To use the walkthrough exercises in this guide, your IDE must have Visual Studio, Application Builder, and Platform Builder, and a virtual machine to use as a test device.