Install Windows Embedded Compact 2013


This section provides prerequisites and instructions for installing the Windows Embedded Compact 2013 developer tools on your integrated development environment (IDE).


This installation guide has been updated to reflect the most current information for Windows Embedded Compact 2013 Update 5.


Before you install Compact 2013, make sure that your development computer meets the following hardware, OS, and software requirements.

Minimum hardware requirements

  • 100 GB of available hard disk space
  • 1.6 GHz processor (2.4 GHz recommended)
  • 2 GB of RAM
  • 5400 RPM hard drive
  • DirectX 9-capable video card running at 1024 x 768 or higher display resolution

Supported operating systems

  • Windows 7 (x86-based and x64-based) and any available service packs
  • Windows 8 (x86-based and x64-based) and any available service packs
  • Windows 8.1 (x86-based and x64-based) and any available service packs
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 (x64-based) and any available service packs. The exercises in this guide use the full installation of Windows Server 2008 R2.
  • Windows Server 2012 (x64-based) and any available service packs. The exercises in this guide use the Server with a GUI installation of Windows Server 2012.

Minimum software requirements

  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2015, Microsoft Visual Studio 2013 or Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 Update 4, Professional Edition or higher. To install a trial version, go to Visual Studio trial software and language packs. When you install Visual Studio, select the following options:
    • Microsoft Foundation Classes for C++.
    • Blend for Visual Studio. Select this option if you want to develop applications with XAML for Windows Embedded on this particular IDE.
  • Application Builder for Visual Studio 2012, Visual Studio 2013 or Visual Studio 2015. You can download the installation file from the Microsoft Download Center. You can also install Application Builder from your Windows Embedded Compact Update 5 compact disc. The installation program is located in the Application Builder for Windows Embedded Compact 2013 folder.
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5. Service Pack 1. You can download .NET Framework 3.5 at the Microsoft Download Center.

Prerequisites to host a virtual test device

This guide shows you how to configure your IDE to host virtual machines and create a single virtual machine for a test device. To host a virtual test device, your IDE must meet the following additional requirements:

  • At least 4 GB of RAM. If you want to run several virtual machines, you will need additional RAM.
  • 15 GB free hard drive space for each virtual machine.
  • A TCP/IP network connection with access to a DHCP server. Because the virtual machine uses a virtual Ethernet switch, you can use any physical interface for this connection.
  • If you want to run Client Hyper-V on a computer running , the computer must have a 64-bit processor that supports Second Level Address Translation (SLAT).

Install the Windows Embedded Compact 2013 development tools

Before you begin the installation, make sure that:

  • Your IDE meets the requirements and prerequisites described in Prerequisites.
  • If you only have the previous version of Windows Embedded Compact 2013 and Visual Studio 2012 installed, you can ignore the following steps. Otherwise, we recommend that users uninstall any previous version of Windows Embedded Compact 2013.
  • You have a set of Windows Embedded Compact 2013 installation disks, or you have registered for an evaluation license on the Developing with Windows Embedded Compact website.
  • Your product key is available. If you registered for the trial version, you should receive a confirmation email that contains the product key.
  • You have time to install the Windows Embedded Compact 2013 tools. The amount of time you'll need depends on the number of Windows Embedded Compact 2013 features that you install. While this guide shows an installation containing only the minimum required features, a full installation can take several hours.


Do not let your computer restart, hibernate, or sleep during the Windows Embedded Compact 2013 installation.

To install Windows Embedded Compact 2013

  1. Start the Windows Embedded Compact 2013 installation wizard. Insert the Windows Embedded Compact installation disk or run the downloaded installation file.

  2. If you have a previous version of Windows Embedded Compact 2013 installed and only Visual Studio 2012 installed, installation will automatically upgrade all previous installed components to Windows Embedded Compact 2013 Update 5. Otherwise, you will be asked to uninstall Windows Embedded Compact before proceeding. We recommend a clean installation where users have uninstalled any previous version of Windows Embedded Compact 2013.

  3. On the End-User License Agreement page, review the terms and conditions. If you agree, select I agree to the terms and conditions.

  4. On the Product Key page, enter your product key, including the hyphens.

  5. On the Installation Options page, select Custom Install.

    If you want to do a full installation, select Full Install. However, this procedure shows you how to install only the features needed for the exercises in this guide.

  6. If you want to change the installation folder, click Change, and browse to the folder you want to use. The installation directory that you select here will be referred to as the Compact root folder or %_WINCEROOT% throughout the documentation.


    Do not use spaces in any folder names in the Compact root folder path.

  7. On the Customize Installation page, select the following options:

    • Platform Builder
    • English (en-us) Documentation
    • x86 Architecture

    This Getting Started guide does not use the following features. For more information about these features, see the Learn more about… section.

    • Compact Test Kit
    • Windows Embedded XAML Tools 
    • Blend for Visual Studio templates
    • Shared Source
    • ARMv7 Architecture
  8. On the Install Offline Layout page, if you want Compact 2013 to create a local copy of the installation files, select Yes, create an offline layout and browse to the location where you want to store the local files. If you don't need a local copy of the installation files, leave this option at No, do not create an offline layout.

    You should consider creating an offline layout if you are downloading the Compact 2013 installation files. You can use an offline layout to reinstall Compact 2013 without an Internet connection. If you create an offline layout, allow an additional 2 GB of disk space for each hardware platform or board support package (BSP) that you install.

  9. On the Ready to Proceed page, confirm the list of features, and then click Install to start the installation. If you want to change your selections, click Back.

  10. If the User Account Control dialog box appears, click Yes.

  11. The Installing Windows Embedded Compact 2013 page displays the installation progress for each selected feature. Note that several features have multiple files to acquire and install.

    If you are installing directly from the Internet, an Installation Source File dialog box appears. To allow the installer to acquire all the necessary files, select Allow downloading for all files, and click Download. If you want the installer to prompt you before it acquires each file, clear the check box next to Allow downloading for all files. You must click Download to download each installation file.

  12. After Compact 2013 completes the installation, you have the opportunity to register for Windows Embedded Developer Update. Your response to this offer has no effect on the Compact 2013 installation. For more information about Windows Embedded Developer Update, see the Learn more about section.

Learn more about

  • Compact Test Kit
    The test tools in the Windows Embedded Compact Test Kit (CTK) provide feedback about the functionality and performance of device drivers and related hardware. The tools in the CTK can help you enhance the reliability of your device. For more information about the CTK, see Compact Test Kit Overview.
  • Shared Source
    The Windows Embedded Shared Source program lets you use and slightly modify existing code to meet new hardware requirements or develop a new driver. For information about how the Shared Source program can help you speed development, reduce troubleshooting and code debugging time, receive assistance in remote device support and gain a deeper understanding of the Windows Embedded Compact OS, see Windows Embedded Compact & CE Shared Source Program.
  • ARMv7 Architecture
    You can use Compact 2013 to build devices with a processor that conforms to the ARMv7-A architecture with VFPv3-D32 floating-point extensions, as defined by ARM Holdings. For more information about ARM architecture support in Windows Embedded Compact, see ARM Microprocessor BSPs.
  • Expression Blend for Visual Studio templates
    You can use Blend for Visual Studio project templates to create XAML-based applications specifically for Windows Embedded devices. The template removes controls and features that are not compatible with the XAML for Windows Embedded API. For more information, see Expression Blend and XAML for Windows Embedded.
    For information about the WESTTEK JETCET PDF Viewer, see the release notes file located at %_WINCEROOT%\public\viewers\Westtek JETCET PDF 6 Release Notes.htm.
  • Windows Embedded XAML Tools
    This plug-in for Visual Studio helps you convert Blend XAML projects into native (C++) Windows Embedded Compact applications. For more information about Windows Embedded XAML Tools, see Getting Started with XAML for Windows Embedded.
  • Windows Embedded Developer Update
    An add-in to Visual Studio, Windows Embedded Developer Update automatically checks for updates to Windows Embedded Compact 2013 and notifies you of available downloads. For more information about Windows Embedded Developer Update, see Windows Embedded Compact Development Update.

See Also


Getting Started