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Windows Embedded Compact Development Tools

Windows CE Software Development Kit (SDK)

Prior to starting Windows CE development for the Colibri module, we recommend you install the Colibri Software Development Kit (SDK). This will enable you to take advantage of some of the Toradex specific enhancements.

Software Development Kits for all supported versions of Windows CE/Embedded Compact can be downloaded using the following links:

Installation of Toradex SDKs for Visual Studio

Please follow the step by step documentation below to install the Toradex SDKs. The documentation has been tested on Windows 7 (32 and 64 bit) with Visual Studio 2008.

Install Windows CE 5.0 SDK

  1. Make sure VS2008 is up to date and close it before starting the installation.
  2. Download the Toradex Windows CE 5.0 SDK.
  3. Run the command prompt as administrator (Right-click -> Run as administrator).
  4. Browse to the folder you downloaded the SDK and run installation by typing:
    msiexec /qb /i NAME_OF_THE_SDK.msi
  5. Select Custom Installation.
  6. We only need the ARM4I platform. So extend Embedded Visual C++ and set all platforms to Entire feature will be unavailable except the ARMV4I platform.
  7. Finish the installation process.

Install Windows CE 6.0 SDK

  1. Make sure VS2008 is up to date and close it before starting the installation.
  2. Download the Toradex Windows CE 6.0 SDK.
  3. Start the installation process.
  4. Finish Installation Process.

Install Windows Embedded Compact 7 SDK

  1. Install Windows Embedded Compact 7 specific updates for VS2008: [1], [2]
  2. Close VS2008 before start the installation.
  3. Download the Toradex Windows Embedded Compact 7 SDK.
  4. Run the installation process.

Install Windows Embedded Compact 2013 SDK

  1. Install Visual Studio 2012 or 2013 and make sure you have Application Builder for Windows Embedded Compact 2013 installed. You can get it here.
  2. Download the Toradex Windows Embedded Compact 2013 SDK.
  3. Run the installation process.

Updating from older SDKs

Older SDKs did not have unified names. With the following SDK version the new naming convention has been applied:

  • CE 5 SDK 6.0
  • CE 6 SDK 2.0
  • CE 7 SDK 2.0
  • CE 8 SDK 2.0

In case you want to migrate your project to one of the new SDKs, some renaming in the .sln and .vcproj files has to be done. Toradex provides a command line tool that does this job for you. Run the tool and provide the path to one of your projects as a parameter. You get the tool from here.

Installation issues

SDK not shown in Visual Studio

Some customers reported, that their SDK was not shown in Visual Studio after finalizing the installation process. Installing the SDK using user Administrator by command line as described for CE 5 SDK solved this issue. Try to uninstall the SDK and install it again by doing the following steps in such a case:

  1. Run the command prompt as administrator (Right-click -> Run as administrator).
  2. Browse to the folder you downloaded the SDK and run installation by typing:
    msiexec /qb /i NAME_OF_THE_SDK.msi

Windows CE 5.0 SDK on Windows 10

When installing on Windows 10 we noticed that some users have issues with SDK not showing inside Visual Studio. To fix this issue please check that files are located in installation directory usually: C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows CE Tools\wce500\Toradex_CE500\
Then locate file WCE.VCPlatform.config and add this entry.

Include="$(VCInstallDir)ce\include;C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows CE Tools\wce500\Toradex_CE500\include\ARMV4I;C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows CE Tools\wce500\Toradex_CE500\include;$(VCInstallDir)ce\atlmfc\include;$(VSInstallDir)SmartDevices\SDK\SQL Server\Mobile\v3.0"
Library="C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows CE Tools\wce500\Toradex_CE500\lib\ARMV4I;$(VCInstallDir)ce\atlmfc\lib\ARMV4I;$(VCInstallDir)ce\lib\ARMV4I;"
<PlatformName>Toradex_CE500 (ARMV4I)</PlatformName>
<Macro Name="CEVER" Value="0x500"/>
<Macro Name="ARCHFAM" Value="ARM"/>
<Macro Name="_ARCHFAM_" Value="_ARM_"/>
<Macro Name="INSTRUCTIONSET" Value="ARMV4I"/>
<Macro Name="BINDIR" Value="$(VCInstallDir)ce\dll"/>

If the installation path of your SDK is different. Also, change your path inside the pasted code.

Webinar On-Demand: Windows Embedded Compact advantage with Toradex COMs powered by Freescale i.MX 6

Application Development with Windows CE


Microsoft moved most of the Windows CE documentation to, and it is not indexed by Google.

Application development for Windows CE is a straight forward affair. The development tools are the same tools you would use to develop a application for a PC running a desktop version of Windows. However, instead of running and debugging the code directly on the development PC, the application is deployed directly to the Toradex module (aka the "target"). The connection to the target is typically via USB or Ethernet.

It is even possible to develop applications which run both on an x86 development PC and the Toradex module if your application is written in managed code to run under the .NET Compact Framework.

Development Environments

Windows Embedded Compact 2013

WEC2013 requires Visual Studio 2012 or Visual Studio 2013. The Community Edition of Visual Studio will work too. The Community Edition is free in many cases (see terms for details).

Application debugging is done via an Ethernet connection.

WEC2013 is not available for the Colibri PXA line or for the Colibri T20 (Nvidia Tegra 2).

Windows Embedded Compact 7 and Windows CE 6

WEC7 and WinCE 6 require Visual Studio 2008 or Visual Studio 2005. Application debugging is done via USB client (Windows Mobile Device Center) or Ethernet. You will require at least the Professional Version or higher.

Make sure you install all the patches listed in this Article

Learn more in How to Setup the development Environment for VS2008.

It can be tricky to find & purchase an older version of Visual Studio; see our guide for recommendations: How To Purchase Visual Studio.


Toradex provides free samples and libraries to get you started.

Graphical User Interface

Very popular are Windows Forms, Silverligth/XAML in .Net CF or the Qt Framework. You find more information in the Graphical User Interface Article.

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Knowledge Base

For further information, please search our knowledge base.

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