Using Platform Builder remote tools over ActiveSync

Posted by: Sue Loh

This information is something I only personally discovered recently, and it has important implications for our application developer community!  For years I thought our "platman" remote tools (Remote Kernel Tracker, Call Profiler and Performance Monitor) were only usable on devices that had a KITL connection through Platform Builder.  Meaning I thought they were only usable by OEMs.  But it's not true!  You do still need a copy of Platform Builder (you can download an eval version online but ultimately you end up having to buy it), but you can connect over ActiveSync to an off-the-shelf Windows Mobile device!  To me this is huge, because for YEARS now I've had to break the bad news to customers that there are no profiling tools available to Windows Mobile application developers.  It turns out I'm wrong.

Here's how to do it!  I'll use Kernel Tracker in my steps here for setting up the connection but all tools will work after you do this.

  1. Install Platform Builder
  2. Open Remote Kernel Tracker from the Tools or Target menu (depends on which version of Platform Builder you're using)
  3. Cancel the "Select a Windows CE Device" dialog
  4. Go to Connection | Configure Windows CE Platform Manager...
  5. Select "Windows CE Default Platform" and click the "Add Device" button.  Name the new device "ActiveSync Device."
  6. Select the new device and click the "Properties..." button.
  7. Set the Transport and Startup Server to ActiveSync.
    ActiveSync device platman settings
  8. Hit OK and close the Platform Manager Configuration window.
  9. Connect your device to ActiveSync.
  10. In Kernel Tracker, go to Connection | Connect to Device.  This time when it asks you what device to connect to, the ActiveSync Device will show up.
    Platman connection to ActiveSync device
  11. Select the ActiveSync Device and click OK.  Kernel Tracker will connect to your device!

Now, before you go spend a lot of time on it, I need to warn you:  I think there is a bug in Platform Builder 6.0 that makes this method not connect to Windows Mobile devices reliably.  It's still worth a try, but if it doesn't connect, then you might need to wait for some upcoming updates.  (No, I can't promise when those will be available.)

UPDATE June 6, 2007:   The "updates" I was talking about were the Platform Builder 6 Service Pack 1, which is now available online.  (  At the time I wrote this post I was helping someone with a Remote Call Profiler problem which seemed to be fixed by SP1.  It was Call Profiler specific however.  If your remote tools still won't connect, it may take some troubleshooting; I'll try to get a new post out about that soon.  Often it is a mismatch between the CPU/architecture reported by your BSP and what the tools are looking for.  Sometimes it's an install error where the necessary files are missing from your PC.

UPDATE June 6, 2007: Nicolas Besson posted a similar message about configuring CoreCon remote tools (mine is about those that still use the older Platman transport).