Debugging Windows Mobile 6.5 Application On Windows 10

Published February 23rd, 2015

The following are the steps I used on Microsoft Windows 10 in order to develop and debug Windows Mobile 6 and Windows Mobile 6.5 applications requiring network or Internet access using Visual Studio 2008. Although I have not yet tested these steps outside of Windows 10 I see no reason why these steps would not work on earlier versions of Microsoft Windows including Windows 8 and Windows 8.1.

Setting Up The Development Environment

Install Visual Studio 2008

Before installing Visual Studio 2008 you may want to install .NET Framework 3.5 by going to the Control Panel then selecting "Programs" > "Programs and Features" > "Turn Windows features on or off". Once in the "Windows Features" window check the box next to ".NET Framework 3.5 (includes .NET 2.0 and 3.0)", click "OK" and allow the installation to complete. After .NET Framework 3.5 has been installed install Visual Studio 2008 as you normally would. Nothing special should have to be done to complete this installation.

Programs and Features

Install Microsoft Windows Mobile Device Center 6.1

You will now need to install Microsoft's Windows Mobile Device Center specific to the architecture of your operating system either 32bit or 64bit. The Windows Mobile Device Center will allow you to cradle your emulated and/or physical devices in order to allow network access if your application requires it. Select the proper installation package listed below depending on if your operating system is 32bit or 64bit. The installation itself is straight forward with no special steps required for it to install.

Install Windows Mobile Development SDK and DTK

Next you will need to install the Windows Mobile Developer Tools. If you wish to develop only for Windows Mobile 6 you will only need the fisrt file linked below. However if you wish to develop for Windows Mobile 6.5 you will need to install both files linked below. Make sure to install the Windows Mobile 6 Professional and Standard Software Development Kits Refresh before installing the Windows Mobile 6.5 Developer Tool Kit.

When downloading and installing the SDK and DTK be sure to select the proper files either the Professional or Standard versions depending on the platform you wish to target for development.

Using The Mobile Device Emulators With Visual Studio 2008

Open A Project In Visual Studio 2008

Open a smart device project in Visual Studio 2008 which requires network access which is ready to be debugged.

The creation of a Windows Mobile application to test the set up covered here is beyond the scope of this article. However If you would like to obtain a project to use for testing you can check out PingNG which is available on

Start Windows Mobile Device Center

Before starting up the mobile device emulator you will need to start and leave running the Windows Mobile Device Center application.

If this is the first time you have ran this program you will need to make one quick setting change. To do so open the Windows Mobile Device Center application. Once it has started you should see an area titled "Mobile Device Settings". Click on "Connection settings" displayed when you mouse over this section. In the "Connection Settings" window look for "Allow connections to one of the following:" make sure that it is checked and select "DMA" from the list below it.

Windows Mobile Device Center

Start The Mobile Device Emulator

Before deploying the application for testing you will need to start your device emulator and cradle it so that it can use the Windows Mobile Device Center as a means to connect to the Internet or your network. In order to do so in Visual Studio 2008 Click on "Tools" then "Device Emulator Manager...". This will open the device emulator manager which will display a list of available emulated devices for you to use. Highlight the device you wish to use then right click on it. In the context that opens click "Connect" which will start the chosen device emulator and connect it to Visual Studio.

Device Emulator Manager

Once the selected device has started up view the "Devie Emulator Manager" window once again. You will notice that the device you connected to now has a green arrow next to it's name in the list. Right click on this device then click on the "Cradle" option in the context that opens. Your device should display a message that it is setting up a DMA connection to your Windows Mobile Device Center. You will now need to open the Windows Mobile Device Center window and either set up the device or connect without setting up the device. Once this is done you can test that you indeed are connected to your network by going to either a website or network destination within the device.

Deploy Application To The Mobile Device

You are now ready to deploy your application to the mobile device emulator from within Visual Studio 2008. To do so simply start debugging the application within Visual Studio 2008. If you get a window titled "Display Handheld" simply select the device which you have running in the background from the list. Once you have done this your application will be compiled, sent to the mobile device emulator, and then executed. You should now see your application running in the mobile device emulator and access to your network and\or the Internet should be available as well for your application to use.


Added April 4th, 2015

Microsoft.CompactFramework.CSharp.targets was not found...

You may run into an error message like the one above when trying to load a smart device project into Visual Studio after a new Windows 10 build has been installed or when upgrading from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1. This error is due to the fact the following files were removed when the installation of the new build occured.

  • Microsoft.CompactFramework.Common.targets
  • Microsoft.CompactFramework.CSharp.targets
  • Microsoft.CompactFramework.VisualBasic.targets

To remedy the issue simply install Power Toys for .NET Compact Framework which will place these missing files back where they belong.