No support for Windows CE and Compact Framework development in VS2010 - by WilkoSki

Status : 

  Won't Fix<br /><br />
		Due to several factors the product team decided to focus its efforts on other items.<br /><br />
		A more detailed explanation for the resolution of this particular item may have been provided in the comments section.

Sign in
to vote
ID 595712 Comments
Status Closed Workarounds
Type Suggestion Repros 0
Opened 9/7/2010 4:57:27 AM
Access Restriction Public


There is no support for development of both managed and unmanaged code on Windows CE platforms in VS2010.  Early in the beta for VS2010 MS stated "Hey its only a beta and there will be support" so where is it ?

Like many developers I've developed applications using the .NET CF from VS2003, VS2005 and VS2008 but now there is no support in VS2010 it seems that this decision is ridiculous. In fact we have an estate of several thousand Windows CE embedded devices.

Ok I can understand that support for earlier versions of the Windows CE platform can't always be rolled into newer VS versions but hey the current version of the Windows CE platform should be supported, Windows CE 7 is only in early beta.

It seems that all the focus is being placed on Windows Phone 7 and developing Silverlight and XNA applications using it's "Compact Framework".  But what about Windows CE and the embedded platform ?  You will find that many developers have produced managed applications running on Windows CE devices (headless and headed), Pocket PC etc.  These application need to communicate with the underlying hardware using serial comms, p/invoke etc and they need local database access (SQL CE, VistaDB, Codebase, SQL Lite etc). 

MS is confusing developers by talking about "Compact Framework" underpinning Windows Phone 7 development with no WinForms, no IO, no ADO support and no p/unvoke support.  This is not the .NET CF it is a compact version of the framework.

Is the real .NET CF dead ?
Are there any options to develop managed application on Windows CE 6.5/7.0 ?
Will the real .NET CF still support WinForms, IO, p/invoke and ADO ?

We aren't mind readers and we need a clear message from MS about what is happening otherwise we will have to look to alternative platforms i.e. Linux

Sign in to post a comment.
Posted by George Papadopoulos on 8/19/2013 at 3:52 PM
Microsoft is commiting suicide on this. Their Embedded lion's share will be chewed up by Android eventually. Just take a look at Motorola's MC-45 model. It's clearly a change of direction. You can forget about Windows Embedded 7/8 and 2013 too. And if the response is "Motorola is owned by Google, what do you expect?", I'd ask: "Where are the Windows Embedded 7/8/2013 devices by Intermec then?". What about the other MS OEMs? Why haven't they released new devices with these latest versions of Windows Embedded? MS thinks that this way, they can force companies to upgrade their devices to the latest versions of their Windows Embedded OS, but they are forgetting that due to the lack of devices with the latest version(s) of Windows Embedded(also due to the frequency of updates to it, 3 versions in less than 3 years?) OEM vendors are either holding a "wait & see" stance or are just jumping to Android, while Microsoft is shooting us(MS WE developers) in the foot with this.
Posted by _db_ on 6/3/2013 at 3:37 PM
After 5 years of total neglect and being stuck with .NET CF 3.5, now is comming .NET CF 3.9? Not even 4.0?
I think .NET CF is a dead technology based on what I have read here and other places.
Posted by Eriawan Kusumawardhono RX on 12/2/2012 at 10:57 PM
Hi guys,

Now the .NET CF will be updated to .NET CF 3.9 that will run on VS 2012.

Here's the update:

They blog also shows that .NET CF 3.9 will run .NET CF 3.5 code: "NETCF 3.9 is source compatible with NETCF 3.5"

But this brings another "have to wait and see" stance again: the .NET CF 3.9 will be released with the launch of "Windows Embedded Compact 2013" release.
This is somehow bad and good feeling mixed. For me it's still bad, because IMHO we have to test for runtime compatibility again!
Posted by Robert Owen 2012 on 8/29/2012 at 2:03 PM
Does Microsoft have an update on this issue. We've just been caught out big style with this. Our brand new rugged devices running Mobile 6.5 cannot be developed from our VS2010, and its 2012 so shows the manufacturers are staying put with 6.5.

Can we use our VS2010 key on VS2008? I do not have a MSDN subscription, and we cant really afford one. I dont really want to have to pay to get a legacy version of the software we have paid good money for.

Im a bit confused as to what to do.
Posted by Xentrax [Vyacheslav Lanovets] on 7/5/2012 at 8:52 PM
The case is similar to EVC 4.0 which we still use to produce patches for older version of our software. It's a disaster that Windows Mobile 6.5 and CE 6 devices will not be supported in VS. Rugged Windows Mobile 6.5 devices are being produced right now as there is no other option. Hence we will have to support our software on such devices at least 5 years from now.

Fortunately, we are all C++ now, and we have more options to abandon platform than poor souls who switched to CF.Net.
Posted by Martin.Robins on 6/15/2012 at 8:16 AM
Just to be clear, is this going to include backward compatible tooling for v5.x/v6.x, or will this just be tooling for the upcoming versions (such as Embedded v8 which I believe is currently in CTP)?
Posted by Doug [MSFT] on 6/13/2012 at 10:55 AM
Hi folks,

In the first quarter of 2013, we plan to provide tooling for Visual Studio 2012 to create apps for Windows Embedded Compact v.Next. We’ll be announcing more details in September, including the roadmap for .NET CF. You can find more details this Fall in the Windows Embedded Compact website at

Doug Turnure
Visual Studio PM
Posted by swordfishBob on 4/6/2012 at 3:35 PM
Another vote.
IEI and Honeywell, and many others, are still shipping new devices with CE5 or CE6. These are not consumer mobile phones, but they are products that are actively used and deployed. If MS can't resolve their support for this segment, another platform will gain traction and then dominate.
Posted by Noodle Biscuit on 3/26/2012 at 6:59 AM
With Motorola's ET1 and companies such as GETAC and RECON now releasing Android Industrial Handhelds, we need to ask ourselves where the market will be in 2014, when Microsoft will (according to Intermec's CTO Arvin Danielson) let their partners know what the plans for Windows 8 Embedded are.

2014! I've got news for Microsoft - come 2014, no one will give a damn what their plans are!

From our perspective, we will be making the decision as to whether we move away from Windows Mobile sometime later this year. What has at least made this option possible for us is "Xamarin for Android" - which has far exceeded our expectations, and will once again allowed us to combine our codebases back to .Net 4 and VS2010.
Posted by sporterau on 3/23/2012 at 1:39 PM
We have had a single code base for our business and data layer for both our Mobile and Web Applications. We migrated our web application to VS2010 and then realized .NET Compact Framework was not supported in VS2010. It’s too late to go back to VS2008 for the web application. Now we are left having to maintain a separate code base for our Mobile applications using VS2008, because all of the mobile enterprise devices (barcode scanners) we support from Motorola and other vendors are running Windows Mobile 5.x-6.x. This significantly increases the development cost having to keep code in synch between the web application in VS2010 and the Mobile application in VS2008. It is now costing my company more than ever to develop on the .NET platform. Thanks a lot MS!

MS needs to incorporate .NET Compact Framework into VS2010 ASAP!!!
Posted by NikiR on 2/29/2012 at 2:27 AM
It all reeks very much of the Microsoft dumping of serial ports early in .NET, only to have to re-instate them.
The guys in Microsoft seem to be so used to getting the latest toys, that they don't realise that the rest of the world has to work with whatever hardware the company has until such times as it falls to bits and HAS to be replaced. Even then, my company will still look to replace like with like due to the costs incurred in programming time.
I really, really hope they do an about-face on this one.
We have 10s of thousands of $ invested in CE.NET 4.2 hardware, and to not be able to program it in VS2010 is an absolute joke.
As the mobile technology advisor in the company, it's also making me rethink the purchase of handhelds using Windows compact O/S, if we can't program for them all of 6 years later. Really, REALLY bad guys!
Posted by John5150 on 2/6/2012 at 10:51 AM
Dallas also confirmed that Microsoft updated Windows Embedded Compact 7, the current generation of the Windows Embedded CE platform, in October 2011, and Windows Embedded Compact v.Next will follow in the second half of 2012, introducing support for Visual Studio 2010.
Posted by Ochss on 1/16/2012 at 1:14 PM
We are currently developing in VS 2008 for out Motorola MC9090 handheld bar code scanners (Windows Mobile 6.1). I have not seen any of the scanner/handheld vendors supporting anything else except Windows Mobile and/or CE. Does anyone know if they are selling any "Windows Phone" handheld scanners/mobile computers?

It would be nice to get an answer on this since we are one version behind (2008 vs 2010) for these apps already.


Posted by Tarek Al Bitar on 1/2/2012 at 3:10 AM
I realy hope microsoft fix this issue.
Posted by Capstoner on 12/19/2011 at 12:17 PM
I need to provide an ARM version (for WinCE 6.0) of a library for one of our clients. We are using VS2010 to build this library for x86 and x64 platforms already. I don't think it is unreasonable to expect Microsoft to support development for WinCE 6.x in VS2010.
Posted by Noodle Biscuit on 11/22/2011 at 8:18 PM
Another problem is that the device manufacturers like Intermec and Motorola will not tell their major developers what their next platform OS is going to be. Right now it's Windows Embedded Handheld (WEH) - but what it's going to be this time next year is anyone's guess. Having just invested over ten man years in developing one of our key products (including Bluetooth hardware), for Microsoft to just up and say "yeah, we're done with that" and for Intermec and Motorola to say "why should we tell you what OS we'll be shipping this time next year" is simply beyond contempt!

I'd say that these companies have less than six months to let their major clients know what the hell is going on! If they wait twelve months, I predict they will have lost (permanently) 90% of their clients and developer base!

So instead of those hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of CE devices that you see people using in industry and retail every day, you'll see hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of iPads in their place!
Posted by somethinginnovative on 11/18/2011 at 8:12 AM
Alberto says 'The only con is that you may have to end with 2 IDEs, in my case, 3 since we still support .NET CF 1.0 apps'. OK, that's the only problem huh? Have you tried to buy VS2005 or VS2008 lately? Microsoft has practically wiped them off the face of the earth to ensure that when we need to solve a problem on one of their devices, the only answer is to buy somebody else's devices, because Microsoft will never allow us to support any mobile operating system except the one coming out next year. I will accept the WPF excuse when I can buy a licensed copy of VS2008 from Microsoft or a legitimate retailer (everything out there is pirated). Until then, I will urge my company to avoid using Windows Mobile in the future.
Posted by Don Tucker on 11/10/2011 at 1:01 PM
I have developed applications for WinCE 5 using VS2005 some years ago. I have a new need to develop for the Windows Mobile 5 environment, which I presumed would not be supported by VS2005, so my department purchased the latest and greatest VS, VS2010. Whoops! Now I see that we really should have purchased VS2008. Working for a university, we have special licensing deals with Microsoft on software, but this deal no longer encompasses VS2008, alas.
Posted by kingkahn on 10/29/2011 at 9:10 AM
We have 2 commercial applications running on WinMobile 6 and 6.5. We released the latest version in Feb with WinMobile 6.5. I am utterly disappointed with the sheer lack of direction and thought on Microsoft's part, especially when there is so much commercial investment in CE. Over the last year Microsoft has screwed developers first with silverlignt and html then with win7 and win mobile. No one seems to know what they are doing at Microsoft.
Posted by Liam Murphy on 10/17/2011 at 5:30 PM
Its devestating for this to have happened. Over the last 10 years I have loved working with .NET, and still continue to do so albeit with VS2008 as we MUST support devices using WINCE. New R&D work though is restricted to generic C++ and iOS platforms - because we have no choice now that VS2010 dosn't let us work the way we need to.
Posted by WilkoSki on 10/7/2011 at 9:29 AM
It's not just handheld devices, there is a massive estate of low cost Windows CE powered embedded devices in circulation. Everything from industrial controllers to access control panels, everyone seems to forget this and just focuses on handhelds and mobile platforms.
Posted by NewMediaCoder on 10/6/2011 at 10:59 AM
These days you can get a rugged ipod touch with barcode assembly, scan wedge for under $700. MS knows this and has given up on this market. For my company (fortune 100) we are already deploying iOS devices.
Posted by NaFujbeck on 8/30/2011 at 9:12 AM
Glad this was re-opened, and I'm very disappointed in your lack of response to your customers, Microsoft. We are at a cross-roads in our mobile app development; the primary reason for opting for Windows Mobile devices (running 6.5, like all current industrial mobile devices) is because of the ability to reuse our code base. iOS and Android are look a whole lot better, since we have to jump through significant hoops to reuse our code, now.
One of the critical deciding factors for selecting .NET as a platform is because of the code portability from device to device and platform to platform. If you force your developers to sacrifice this primary advantage, you can sit back and watch your customers switch to iOS and Android like the consumer market. This portability should be one of your TOP concerns, as it is really your current leading advantage in the market.
Posted by Bernardo Salazar on 8/23/2011 at 3:13 PM
In my point of view, Microsoft is dooming itself the windows mobile. Why? is obvious that every day, loses terrain against other mobile OSes, like iOS, Android, even the BB OS, and, to complete the scenario, makes things harder, complicated and fuzzy to windows mobile aplications developers, just like me, that i made a investment in effort and time to develop in a platform that Microsoft insist to kill. Install two versions of Visual Studio in the same machine, to add a little more caos to my dev machine? i dont think so...
Posted by WilkoSki on 8/12/2011 at 5:19 AM
Despite this Connect item being in the top 3 most voted suggestions MS has chosen to ignore it and cheekily closed it as "Fixed". So I've cheekily re-opened it.

The same item has been logged on the Visual Studio Voice site which is supposed to be a direct line to the VS team.

Vote it up, perhaps someone will take notice.

VS Voice Suggestion:
Posted by WilkoSki on 8/11/2011 at 5:53 AM
Give us a firm commitment on the future of development on Windows CE devices, will support be included in the next version of Visual Studio given the level of support for this feature ?

People need to know what MS strategy is, otherwise they will move to alternative platforms.
Posted by WilkoSki on 8/11/2011 at 5:51 AM
Shouldn't this be really be closed as "Won't Fix" ?
Posted by WilkoSki on 8/11/2011 at 4:54 AM
Bloody typical Microsoft response. You completely ignore the feedback on an item that was one of most voted for suggestions. What's wrong was it getting too close to the top ?

This really does confirm that Microsoft has no commitment to the Windows CE environment and development tools for it. We are stuck with a product (VS2008) which is approaching 4 years old for developing software on a platform which is under a year old.
Posted by Warlord2000ad on 8/10/2011 at 4:40 AM
I work on commercial development for rugged mobiles. Even the latest mobiles only run CE5, WM6.1. If your lucky WM6.5, and only just released is CE6. I don't like .NET CF, as I miss so many features from .NET 3.5/4, but it is a hassle to keep swapping between VS2008 and VS2010.

The commercial world isn't going to adopt WP7 as its consumer OS, so support for CE5/CE6 which are the "current" OS's in this market is needed.
Posted by Doug [MSFT] on 8/9/2011 at 9:19 PM
Thank you for passing along this issue to us. We evaluate all the feedback our customers submit, but unfortunately we cannot fix every item that comes in. We have evaluated the issue you submitted, and at this time, we do not anticipate putting Compact Framework development tooling into VS2010.

If you would like to pursue further, feel free to contact our support via the Visual Studio Help and Support ( page on MSDN.
Posted by Nicholas Piasecki on 7/21/2011 at 2:18 PM
I just got an e-mail from BarcodesInc advertising "Honeywell Presents New Handhelds". Too bad the *BRAND NEW* Honeywell Dolphin series scanners are obsolete from a development standpoint straight out of the gate (they run WinMo 6.5 / WEH 6.5)!
Posted by AusRob on 7/10/2011 at 9:05 PM
I understand the focus on getting onto Windows Phone 7 development, but it's very new and there's plenty of investment in (at minimum) Mobile 6.5. Visual Studio 2008 is almost four years old; in our environment we are upgrading all our solutions to Visual Studio 2010 and Team Foundation Server 2010 - our scanner solutions are therefore not compatible with VS 2010 and breaks the upgrade path.

Simply stating, "it's old, we'd prefer people focus on Windows Phone 7" is an unacceptable answer for us, given that Mobile 6.5. isn't *that* old. I don't think it is unfair to expect Microsoft to support the previous release in emerging developer tools, especially when it has such a large impact on the support of a complete ALM solution (we can't use Team Build 2010 now, due to the lack of support for Devices in VS 2010!).
Posted by WilkoSki on 5/31/2011 at 4:34 PM
@Ignacio, there are no plans to support Windows Embedded Compact 7 in VS2010. Although MS hasn't publicly stated this, in private correspondance I've had with the Customer and Partner Advocacy Team they say....

"given the complexity involved it is not possible for us to merge all embedded developed into Visual Studio 2010. As such, for Windows Mobile 6.5 and CE, Visual Studio 2008 remains the tool to use."

Although they are announcing support for Windows Embedded Handheld and a range of associated tools for VS2010 at some point. Although Windows Embedded Handheld is based on the Windows Embedded 6.5 core so if MS can add support for that why not general Windows Embedded 6.5/7.0 ?
Posted by Ignacio Corderi on 5/18/2011 at 9:12 PM
What are the plans to support at least Windows Embedded Compact 7 on VS 2010?

I would appreciate some official microsoft response on this.
Posted by Kendall J Bennett on 4/20/2011 at 7:48 PM
Please add my vote for .NET 4.0 CF! We just got brand new scanners to port our software to, and to my dismay VS 2010 does not support Windows Mobile 6.5 which these devices run. We recently moved all our code development to .NET 4.0 for our desktop and web applications, and now I will have to build special projects and maintain them separately with VS 2008 for the apps we build for these devices! What a pain in the ass!

Please, add support for Windows Mobile 6.5 and .NET CF to Visual Studio 2010, and upgrade it all to .NET 4.0 at the same time. Not everybody has a desire to port their code to WPF ....
Posted by tibb on 4/19/2011 at 1:07 PM
Microsoft Explains Windows Phone 7 Lack of Compatibility

Lieberman said that the new paradigm for Windows Phone 7 Series could provide the tools for resurrecting Mobile applications in updated form: "The development platform gives people a lot of opportunities, and they may be able to recreate a lot of their previous work in a very accelerated manner."

Part of the reason behind a lack of upgrade path for applications, Lieberman added, was the timing required to push Windows Phone 7 Series to market. "This product was delivered in an incredibly accelerated timeframe," he said. "If we’d had more time and resources, we may have been able to do something in terms of backward compatibility."
Posted by tibb on 4/19/2011 at 12:44 PM
Ballmer: We 'screwed up with Windows Mobile'
Posted by WilkoSki on 4/14/2011 at 7:07 AM
I had some further correspondence with MS, I specifically asked if VS2008 would continue to be maintained with service packs in order to retain compatibility with and make use of other newer products/features e.g. TFS.
I also asked for details of planned updates to the Compact Framework and SQL Server CE 4.0. The response received for points 1 & 2 are as follows, no news on SQL CE 4.0 materialising for the embedded world:

1. Visual Studio 2008 is supported and will continue to be supported as defined in the support lifecycle ( – As for service packs we don’t announce them prior to release.

2. We have no news to share at this time regarding any possible future versions of the .NET Compact Framework.

These answers don't fill me with confidence. I think we are going to be stuck on the current SP for VS2008 and .NET CF 3.5. No new language or framework features and more than likely no fixes to bugs in the framework either. If you also happen to keep up with the latests and greatest versions of TFS, how long before there is some breaking change which forces you into maintaining multiple versions of TFS ?

Just a thought on the future of Windows Embedded CE, does anyone know if there are versions planned beyond V7 ? As embedded devices are getting faster and more powerful has MS strategy shifted so that Windows Embedded Standard would ultimately replace Windows Embedded Compact. They have already demoed an early version running on an ARM Cortex. So it seems there is a concerted effort to get Windows running on non-X86 platforms.

Thoughts anyone ?

Posted by ro6erx on 4/10/2011 at 6:50 PM
I'm new to CF, writing apps for a client's handheld device. I was getting ready to move from SharpDevelop to Visual Studio after finding out that SharpDevelop 4.0 had dropped support for Compact Framework. And then I find out that VS 2010 has dropped it as well. It doesn't make sense to get VS 2008 now, knowing that its a dead end.
Posted by jpears on 3/25/2011 at 6:21 AM
Microsoft's suggestion of just using VS2010 and VS2008 side by side doesn't address the problem we have which is that our full framework applications share a lot of code / projects / assemblies with our CF applications. - Common business logic, domain models, etc. So both our 2010 solutions and our 2008 solutions need to have a lot of the same projects added to them. And neither version of VS like to use projects that are tagged for use by a different version of VS. It's a maintenance nightmare having to maintain projects for both 2008 and 2010 that contain the same code. We're just sticking with 2008 across the board for now.
Posted by WilkoSki on 3/24/2011 at 10:04 AM
I've just received a response of sorts from Microsoft in relation to this thread, it does appear that MS is unwilling to budge on this issue.

The response doesn't give any indication on the future of .NET CF (is 3.5 the final version ?) .NET CF is crying out for additional functionality and support (MSMQ, WS for Devices etc.), it does not state if VS2008 will be actively maintained (i.e. future service packs) nor does it seem to recognise that not everyone wants or needs to build snazzy UI's, there is a existing massive estate of CE devices running managed code which are all headless or have minimal UI's (e.g. Access Control, Industrial Automation, POS, Barcode scanners, handheld order terminals etc etc.) much of these devices require access/integration with hardware and local database access.

The response does state that VS2008 can be installed side by side with VS2010, but we all know that right ?. However how long will they play happily together ? If anyone has developed for Windows CE on VS2005 and then updated to VS2008 then you've probably encountered the ActiveSync incompatibility when debugging or deploying to a CE device. Other things to consider are source control options, already if you have a mix of VS versions and TFS versions you'll find that you either you can't build a project from TFS (e.g. TFS 2005 with VS2008 projects) or you can't take advantage of the integrated unit testing or other new features of TFS.

The content of the response from MS is as follows, if you don't agree then vote the issue up. If you're attending any of the forthcoming Windows Embedded CE 7 events, please ask some pertinent questions:

"I have received a reply to your query although it's not an ideal situation but one that Microsoft will not change. I have also fed back to the product developers and if we receive enough feedback from our customers and Partners it maybe that Microsoft will address this although this is not guaranteed.

With the release of Visual Studio 2010 we made a decision to focus mobile application development on the Windows Phone 7 operating system. For developers wishing to continue targeting Windows Embedded CE for SmartDevice projects can use Visual Studio 2008, which contains the tools and project types necessary (Visual Studio 2008 and Visual Studio 2010 may be installed side-by-side on the same development machine).

For developers targeting Windows Embedded Compact 7 (formerly CE), Expression Blend 3 is the user experience development environment supported. Blend is the tool for interaction design on the Silverlight and .NET platforms. Expression Blend enables user experience concepts to be delivered with full fidelity, from initial prototype to completed project
Visual Studio 2008, Visual Studio 2010 and Expression Blend 3 can all be acquired together by purchasing Visual Studio 2010 Premium with MSDN (MSDN provides access rights to previous versions of Visual Studio).

I am sorry this is not the information you were hoping for, and I hope I have gone some way to answer your query although not the resolution you wanted."
Posted by Simon Henson on 3/14/2011 at 3:54 PM
Microsoft would no doubt point out that VS2008 doe the job very well - it does, no argument! But that would be to miss the importance of this. A clear statement of direction is needed to maintain confidence.

I am a decision maker - about to choose tech for a mobile warehouse solution(s)...

VS2010 can have every sort of designer plugged into it, I am sure the capable gentlement as MS could sort a CF Forms designer and CF debug support (even if they only did the same as VS2008) I would be happier...
Posted by Richardclan on 3/9/2011 at 9:56 AM
There are many thousands of industrial PDA/bar code scanner devices out there. Every one uses Windows CE/Windows Mobile or derivative. Look at the PDA you have to sign th next time you get a delivery! Why is development for these units not supported in VS2010? Windows Phone 7 is NOT a substitute for these systems. OK so these devices do not have the glamour of the phone units but the whole of industry depends upon CE/Mobile. Millions of warehouses, delivery and distribution organisations and manufacturing plants with process control, conveyor systems, bar code scanning etc. all use this technology.

If you want to go out and buy new hardware all you can get utilises CE/Mobile. Ask Motorola, Honeywell, Psion, Unitech, Opticon, Janam etc. etc. Worldwide manufacturers of this hardware.

OK, so you can use VS2008, but for how long will this be practical? Not too long I would guess.

As I make my living crating software for these devices this is a major blow to me. So come on Microsoft, be sensible and support the 'genuine' Compact Framework in VS2010.
Posted by James D. Schwarzmeier on 2/19/2011 at 8:55 AM
Now that Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 has been released, doesn't that warrant supporting smart device and .NET Compact development in Visual Studio 2010? I work on these platforms for a living and we have invested millions of dollars, years of development effort, and have tens of thousands of expensive, existing WM 6, 5, and earlier devices that won’t go away soon. Given that Windows Embedded Handheld seems to be formally extending this platform, it seems it should have first class support in the latest IDE. Anything less raises questions about Microsoft's commitment to the platform.
Posted by fritterfatboy on 2/4/2011 at 1:19 AM
As every professional developer will tell you, technical difficulty NEVER outweighs functionality.

I'm so glad I spotted this before we attempted the migration of our CE apps to VS2010

How many versions of the IDE do we really need to do our jobs?
Posted by GorancoB on 1/25/2011 at 7:26 AM
Ridiculus, outrageous and completly wrong decision from Microsoft. This is the biggest mistake Microsoft has ever made. I understand that they may be doing this in effort to promote the new OS7 - however with blindly shutting down developers support they are only hurthing them selves. Most pre OS7 devices are still in use and will be in use for some time. The businesses will not re-invest easy in new hardware just because Microsoft decided to drop down development/maintenance support for the old hardare/platform. What will happen in few years down the road with VS2015 for example, when most businesses will continue to use their outdated devices but unfortunatelly they will have to use archaic version of VS2005 or 2008 to support them. How about all people that purchased VS2010 in hope that they can continue mobile OS development - just to find outthat they can't - do they get free downgrade to 2008. I can not even see a simple excuse from Microsoft - not to mention more.

Bottom line. It is obvious that Microsoft has no intention in bringing this feature in. They were faking that the support will be included while VS2010 was in the beta stages, and now in final release stage they do not even give real explanation of why this direction was taken.

I feel pain and anger - and I am more sympatethic to driod now than ever.

Posted by StonewallPatton on 1/21/2011 at 12:37 PM
I sure do love MSFT and her tools BUT her complacency then the move to Phone 7 and to leave all CF C#,VB# guys in the dust will not go well for MSFT! Just another faulty half-worked move that will force thousands to move to Android / IPhone!

Posted by Timothy Carroll on 1/21/2011 at 8:47 AM
I voted this up because, like most of the people below, I think Microsoft is making a huge mistake by ignoring the rugged/specialty device market. I guess it is not highly profitable, but sometimes you do things because it helps your company's perception, not because it's highly profitable. A lot of us probably do a lot of other Windows, Web, and other development. Why piss us off collectively? It could affect decisions in the future.

Like many others, I've moved entirely to Android development for emerging projects and actually quite enjoy it! Java is not as nice as .Net, but it's certainly better than Obj-C. WP7 looks to be a joy to develop on too, but is so heavily restricted and missing so many features it's unusuable for anything except as an advanced feature phone or XNA game development.

I hope MS gets the ball rolling on "WM7" or whatever it will be called, even if legacy support never comes to VS2010. But legacy support would really be appreciated.
Posted by SXKote on 1/12/2011 at 5:45 AM
Hi all. I'm a developer from Russia and have many collegs and friends that were working on CE devices. Some of them (having salary ~2000 USD) have bought VS2010. Why for? Now all of them: 30% migrating to iOS and 60% migrating to Android... another 10% are trying to continue their work on CE devices with VS2008.

We can see that there is not enough NICE soft for WinCE and WinMobile on the market NOW.
The market is migrating from windows to iOS and Android
So all of us are thinking that WinCe and WinMobile 5-7 and other microsoft embeded OS has NO FUTURE.

Just one step follows by many conclusions.
Posted by Mimosa Arts on 12/16/2010 at 9:49 AM
The "answer" given is that there's a "Windows Embedded CE) make WEB a very suitable organization to lead the Handheld Device space" but I really don't know what that means.
No mention as to the fact that a developer cannot maintain or create apps for this platform in Microsoft's latest Visual Studio.
It's almost like there was a huge bug found at the core of Compact Framework and they are administering a mercy killing on a whole development environment. So i suppose device developers will just stay with VS2005 or VS2008 until they can no longer find an install when they upgrade everything else in their development world.
I told our director of IT and he said well we'll just stick in VS2008 for device and everything else will be VS2010+. He also mentioned to seriously start looking at other platforms for device development which seems to be the way to go at this point.
Posted by Henrik Sozzi on 12/13/2010 at 3:55 PM
This is one of the big mistakes that Microsoft will pay for the next years to come. There is a massive industrial market out there with Windows CE devices that look after investment returning and stability of the products. They don't want the ultimate operating system with a lot of bugs that require a more expensive hardware just for animating controls who need a COMPLETE rewrite of your existing softwares...
Please note that the majority of hardware we are using TODAY are mounting Windows CE 5.0, not Windows Embedded 6, not Windows Mobile 6.5. At the same time there are many PC with Windows XP in industrial world for the same reasons (but this is another story).
The result of Microsoft that, at the last minute, don't want to include CF tools in VS2010 for quite obvious commercial/strategic decisions (bad bad bad) is that all the industrial market will search for alternatives... And there are plenty of alternatives... Linux at the first line.
I've already tested Linux devices myself as an alternative... I'm so disappointed for that... Microsoft pushed me outside of his territory, by force, whitout a notice... It's really a shame. But why the hell is Microsoft doing that to the industrial sector I'll never understand.
PS: I was one of the stupid guys that was there to discuss with linux people about the stability and potential of Windows CE architecture.... Microsoft is saying today that I was really wrong.
Posted by Nicholas Piasecki on 12/11/2010 at 11:11 AM
We have several Honeywell (formerly HandHeld) Dolphin 7600 mobile computers running a Windows CE 5.0 platform build. These are wireless barcode scanners that are used to pick orders and receive inventory in our warehouse.

They will never run Windows Phone 7 because, and this is key, they are not phones.

While I could accept that there will no longer be innovation on the platform, I would expect to at least to continue to have the capability to open the project file in Visual Studio 2010 and compile the project. EOL for a product is one thing -- removing it entirely is quite another.

Is Microsoft just giving up on this entire market? I'm stuck with these $1,200/unit white elephants? Why has nothing been announced?
Posted by chass on 12/8/2010 at 1:08 PM
Hello mesheets,
As you noted Amit has changed teams. That said i just reached out to him to determine who now owns this story and what is the next chapter.
Sorry about the confusion on my blog! - As soon as hear back from Amit i will update it.

Posted by RikColeman on 12/8/2010 at 9:22 AM
Alberto Silva,

Unfortunately the combination of Microsoft _requiring_ at least the Pro Version of Visual Studio 2008 and not supporting .Net CF development under Visual Studio 2010 and presumably later versions means that very soon now you won't be able to acquire the tools needed to continue .Net CF development.

While it would have been better for Microsoft to include support for Windows Mobile devices under Visual Studio 2010, even if that meant that Windows Forms dropped from .NetCF and here's the important part, was replaced with a suitable WPF based development, the least Microsoft should do is to continue to provide an IDE for .Net CF development.

If you go to Microsoft's web site you will find that many of the links to Visual Studio 2008 either silently fail (the link to download the Visual Studio 2008 trial is one example) or have been redirected to Visual Studio 20010. There was already one commenter who remarked that having had his copy of Visual Studio 2005 stolen, the version to replace it was 2010. This isn't helpful if you need to do .Net CF 3.5/20 development.

I believe that Microsoft is doing the community of .Net CF developers a grave disservice, not only by their apparent abandonment of a thriving development community, but by their continued silence in this matter.

Posted by pcp_belgium on 12/7/2010 at 12:39 PM
Dear Ms product group,

As an independant consultant and MCSE with +10 years industry experience, I've recently changed career and I'm now teaching at a Belgian technical university.

Last year the school has invested in new PDAs, running the Windows Mobile OS.
The school also has their machines running the latest Microsoft IDE's.

When learning that VS2010 didn't support WM6.x anymore I was shocked.

Not only is our previous investment in hardware and in the developed educational tools no longer valid, but we're also facing huge internal discussions with regards to which IDE to use and/or with major/minor support issues when trying to run both VS2010 and 2008 on the student's development-machines (from the university or personal.)

When analysing whether we should take the road to Windows Phone 7 and hence towards Silverlight programming, I stumbled accross the fact that a strategic Ms decision has been taken to promote HTML5 and not Silverlight.

Needless to say that, although I can be considered a Microsoft fan, I'm very disappointed and confused by:
a) the decision no to include WM (compact framework) development within VS2010.
b) the lack of clear strategic direction with regards to Phone7/Silverlight.

All of the above makes the decision to educate students in Windows Mobile programming very difficult to defend.
Considering the above in relation to your current market share makes the defending almost impossible...

I'm still hoping that you will include the CF in VS2010 and that a clear strategy towards WM/WP programming can be made public.

With Regards,
Posted by mesheets on 11/29/2010 at 6:29 AM
During the beta part of the Visual Studio 2010 release cycle, multiple Microsoft employees blogged on MSDN that Smart Device Development *would* be included in the final release of Visual Studio 2010. Examples include the following:
* (specifically, see the comment from Amit Chopra on May 26, 2009 @ 1:27 PM [Charles Sterling had noted in his blog post listed above that Amit would have the latest news. If one now goes to Amit Chopra's blog at , the most recent post as of this writing is an entry from July 13, 2010, noting that he is now working with Test and Lab Management poducts.])

I have yet to find an explanation as to what happened between the time of these postings and the official release of Visual Studio 2010.
Posted by WilkoSki on 11/22/2010 at 1:47 AM
@Alberto Silva perhaps I am confused but is that my fault? I don't think so. Yes I understand that the forms designers have changed so WinForms may be a thing of the past, but access to hardware, unmanaged interfaces, database support are all still very very relevant.

However the crux of the post is that the message from MS is not clear at all, in fact the silence is truly deafening.

Perhaps we've been spoilt with VS in the past, one IDE for all development and being able to leverage a reasonably shared code base between the embedded world and the desktop world. I'm not going to get into the argument over whether managed code has a place in the embedded world but from my experience I think you will find there is a lot of managed code running on Windows CE platforms (not just PocketPC etc). So MS thought it would be a really good idea not to have a single IDE anymore, instead we can go back to the good old days with multiple development environments and all the headaches that it brings.

MS also has a habit of changing technology names in the embedded world just to confuse matters further, currently the marketing machine talks about Silverlight and XNA on WinPhone7 being under pinned by the Compact Framework. Errr no, it is not "the Compact Framework" as the developer community knows it. It is in fact a "Compact Version of the .NET Framework" much like Silverlight is on the desktop.
Posted by Dennis Nusser on 11/19/2010 at 11:45 AM
For us, certain functions are important. I do not want a game or some fun developing application. We develop software for building security and personal protection. For us, WP7 totally uninteresting.

MS forget again the important market of business users. And to us, we are developing with MS and MS poducts put a lot of money. Just by the software we buy. But the repeat business of our customers. (SQL Server, SharePoint, ...)

We may have to look at alternatives.
Posted by xxxScobiexxx on 11/16/2010 at 1:16 AM
I always appreciate the need to keep up with technological advancements (I had no issues progressively converting all my VB6 projects to, but this move is astonishing. My company has developed many .NET CF apps for WM5/6/6.5 and I have just completed writing an application for WinCE6.0 for a new Single Board Computer product which we have.

I have an MSDN Pro subscription primarily for the fact that I receive new releases of VS automatically, because I like to keep up with latest tech but if MS will so willingly dump such a huge dev base such as the .NET CF community there doesn't seem much point in renewing my MSDN subscription next time. I have always stuck with MS because my VB skills can be used across all platforms (full & compact frameworks for win forms apps & web) but if they are taking this approach, I may as well invest my time & money in another dev platform.
Posted by Smint80 on 11/9/2010 at 12:36 AM
Well I absolutely agree.
MS is so bitter for loosing the mobile consumer market to apple and google that they totally forget the dominance they have on the mobile enterprise market and of the loyal userbase on this market.

We develop applications for rugged handheld computers and all products worth considering for the rugged market is windows mobile 6.* devices (most windows mobile 6.0 classic).
It is an absolute delight to be able to use .NET CF for this as we can reuse a lot of our desktop code. Well this will soon end as MS shows no loyalty to its customers.

MS: If you wan't to be taken seriously at all on the mobile delevopers area you have to treat your customers properly.
My guess is that in a year or two Apple og Google launches something new and fantastic and MS will try a desperate attemp to catch up then leaving the windows phone 7 delevopers with the same problem as we have now cause all focus is on a new device/platform.

... and the funny thing is MS tries to spread the reputation that this is the uncertanty you get if you delevelop on linux/embedded linux as theres no one company to govern them. Well I think embedded linux/linux seems like the better choice now as the user demand drives the delevopment there. But I still hope MS will come to their senses on this as a transition will leave us with 2 main codebases as we can't just replace all existing devices.
Posted by Daniel Smith on 11/8/2010 at 7:14 AM
@Schaff - you've pretty much summed up my team's sentiments on this matter. What an absolutely appalling way for Microsoft to treat their existing developer base. Just to ditch us like this without even having the common courtesy of telling us, is just the absolute pits.

We're switching to Android.
Posted by HamishAhern on 11/1/2010 at 9:11 AM
So let me get this straight...

.NetCF1.0 you need VS2005?
.NetCF2.0SP2 you need VS2005? can you use VS2008?
.NetCF3.5 you need VS2005? can you use VS2008?

Alberto you said VS2008 supports all CF, but then you said you need 3 IDEs, why 3? is it because of the above?
Posted by Vaccanoll on 10/18/2010 at 12:26 PM
>> Is the real .NET CF dead?
It is. If it were not, Microsoft would not be keeping silent on it. They realize that they have really alienated a large portion of their supporters. I realize that the Management of the Mobile side of Microsoft's offerings have never really been all that good, but they are good enough realize that they have nothing to say. There is no future for the real .NET CF and anything more they say will just make people even more mad.

Sad thing is, this has really turned me off Windows Phone too. Why would I risk investing my time to become a developer of a platform that could be tossed away with out any kind of retirement or deprecation notice? (as Microsoft did with the real .NET CF) No, my next platform will be something safer like Linux embedded.

Basically it comes down to this. iPhone is handing Microsoft their hinnies in the consumer phone business. The a fore mentioned Management of Microsoft's Mobile stuff made the "brilliant" decision to sacrifice the bird in the hand (the enterprise mobile market) for the hope of getting the two in the bush (the consumer mobile market). Like I said, the mobile folks have never been that good at management (a fact that Microsoft as a whole admitted to a year or two ago).

Anyway. I guess I will finish this project with Windows CE and then look at Linux for the next one.
Posted by mkromb on 10/7/2010 at 12:50 PM
>>Is the real .NET CF dead ?
Listening closely to MS answer to this thread I'd say "YES"...sadly for us who are stuck....
Following the same answer as for DOS (16 bit apps) can use older VS versions to do so because...nobody cares anymore about nobody cares about CE and CF .NET anymore.

WMobile is different story...MS knows they have to win or die trying to regain this ground...I do not see Win7 being the MS's tablet/settop/appliance operating system. WMobile is a possiblity...

Posted by RolandOfDeschain on 10/5/2010 at 8:07 PM
This is a joke.
On the one hand we have in house line of business applications that run on the compact framework.
On the other hand we have vendors upgrading their toolsets to "require" .net 4.0 and VS2010.

Posted by Keith Hill MVP on 10/4/2010 at 12:45 PM

"As such, form designers also had to be rewritten as well and .NET Compact Framework apps forms designers haven't been included. Of course we all would love to have one IDE that fits everything, but at what cost?
Visual Studio 2008 is the tool to be used to develop .NET CF 3.5 apps for CE and Windows Mobile, not only the versions released up to today, but also the Windows Embedded Handeld devices just released."

At what cost? Well the cost of losing customers to Linux to be quite frank. Lack of VS 2010 support and, more importantly, the lack of messaging on the future on .NET CF/Smart Device/Windows CE support has sent our company down the path of investigating Linux for our embedded system needs. It is rather apparent that Windows Phone 7 is occupying most of the resources to the detriment of the folks that are doing small footprint embedded systems (ie not big Windows 7 embedded). Our code needs to run on inexpensive ARM4 processors and even .NET CF 3.5 code seems to overwhelm this processor. I'm not sure what Microsoft designs are here but IMO they have really dropped the ball in this space.
Posted by chris_tmba on 9/30/2010 at 11:55 PM
I agree. I had my laptop stolen in Italy recently. I had been using VS 2005 and when I went to the store VS 2010 was there on the shelf, so I naturally bought the latest version (why would I buy an outdated one!) Now I find that VS2010 cannot be used to develop (or maintain) applicationd designed for winmo 6.5!!!!!!
This is nothing but a ripoff. MS really need to fix this and QUICK!
Posted by Enricohb on 9/29/2010 at 4:16 AM
I dont know WilkoSki but I think he is not confused at all and I agree with him.

On the othe hand I disagree with Alberto Silva.

The fact we want to use VS2010 for .NET CF is so obvious and important that I think is became quite ridicolous saying again all the times. Anyway in case you don't undertsant some of the reasons you can take a look at the following page:

Moreover many if not most of the .NET CF programmers develope software for regular .NET(desktop) applications too and they are looking forward to use all these new technologies including C#4.0 keeping code and skills compatibility between the embedded and desktopo world. This one of the main reason of the .NET CF success.

Finally saying that we can use VS2008 to develop for embedded world is true but if you think this way you should say that we can use MSDOS and quickbasic too. Fortunatly we love technology improvment and we like to think about the future.

P.S.: You can also take a look for a similar discussion here:
Posted by İsmail Dönmez on 9/27/2010 at 10:33 AM
Unmanaged code should be supported by VS2010 as well. There is no excuse, really.
Posted by Alberto Silva on 9/27/2010 at 3:53 AM
As you may know, VS2010 has been completely rewritten and is today a WPF application and no longer a native application. As such, form designers also had to be rewritten as well and .NET Compact Framework apps forms designers haven't been included. Of course we all would love to have one IDE that fits everything, but at what cost?
Visual Studio 2008 is the tool to be used to develop .NET CF 3.5 apps for CE and Windows Mobile, not only the versions released up to today, but also the Windows Embedded Handeld devices just released.

I also think you are a bit confused about versions of the products you mention and also mixing the new Windows Phone 7 developer features with the current developer experience: with VS2008 you are able to develop apps to all Windows CE and Windows Mobile currently in the market, with all features you have been used to, with database engines from Microsoft and 3rd parties, P/INvoke, windows forms. The only con is that you may have to end with 2 IDEs, in my case, 3 since we still support .NET CF 1.0 apps.
Posted by Microsoft on 9/7/2010 at 5:01 PM
Thank you for your feedback, we are currently reviewing the issue you have submitted. If this issue is urgent, please contact support directly(