Getting Started (Compact 7)


Windows Embedded Compact 7 is a real-time, small-footprint OS that you can customize to meet the requirements of your specialized device. In this guide, which is intended for developers who are new to Windows Embedded Compact 7, we show you how to use Windows Embedded Compact 7 from installation of the product to debugging an application. To follow along, you do not need a physical device because you will create a virtual device.

The topics we cover in this guide include how to install Windows Embedded Compact 7, set up a virtual device, design an OS, create an SDK, create an application, download the OS to the virtual device, and run and debug the application. If you have some familiarity with Windows Embedded Compact, you can refer to just the tasks that you need help with. Keep in mind, though, that some tasks must be completed before others, as noted.


Windows Embedded Compact 7 includes a number of tools, which are listed below. This guide familiarizes you with the main tool, Platform Builder. As you become more familiar with Windows Embedded Compact 7, you may want to use the additional tools, which aid the development process further.

  • Platform Builder. This tool is an add-in to the Visual Studio 2008 integrated development environment. Platform Builder simplifies the process of designing and building an OS. With Platform Builder, you can start with an OS design template and then add and remove features so that your OS contains only the features that you need. The output of Platform Builder is an OS run-time image that you download to your device.
  • Remote Tools. You can use the Remote Tools to analyze and debug your Windows Embedded Compact 7 powered device. The available Remote Tools are the Remote Timeline Viewer (which includes the Kernel Tracker, Performance Monitor, and Power Monitor), Remote Profiler, Remote Registry Editor, Remote Resource Consumer, Remote Resource Leak Detector, Remote System Information, and the Remote File Viewer.
  • Compact Test Kit (CTK). This kit provides various tests and tools that you can use to verify the functionality of device drivers and hardware on your device. For information about the CTK, see Compact Test Kit Overview.
  • Microsoft Expression Blend 3 and Windows Embedded Silverlight Tools. You use these tools with Microsoft Silverlight for Windows Embedded, which is a development framework that you can use to create interactive multimedia UIs for shells and applications that run on Windows Embedded Compact powered devices. Microsoft Expression Blend is a visual tool that you can use to design Silverlight applications for desktop and web applications. You can then use Windows Embedded Silverlight Tools to import your Expression Blend Silverlight projects into Platform Builder so that you can develop Silverlight applications for a Windows Embedded Compact 7 OS. When you install Windows Embedded Compact, you can also install Expression Blend templates. For a tutorial on using Windows Embedded Silverlight Tools, see Getting Started with Silverlight for Windows Embedded.


As you design and build a Windows Embedded Compact 7 OS, you will encounter the following terms:

  • Board support package (BSP): Software that enables Windows Embedded Compact 7 to run on a specific hardware platform. Platform Builder includes sample board support packages (BSPs) for devices based on ARM and x86 processors.
  • Run-time image (or OS run-time image): A file, typically called nk.bin, that contains a combination of OS binary files, drivers, applications, services, and configuration data. After the run-time image is deployed to the device, the device can be booted.
  • Release directory (or flat release directory): The directory where Platform Builder places the completed run-time image, build logs, configuration files, and other files when you build a run-time image based on an OS design. The release directory is the location from which Platform Builder downloads the run-time image to a target device for further debugging and testing.
  • Catalog item: An item that you can select to include support for a functionality or feature in your OS. When you design your OS, you add and remove catalog items in Platform Builder. There are catalog items for file systems, networking, fonts, multimedia support, and so on.
  • Sysgen variable: A variable that the build process uses to include functionality in the OS design. Sysgen variables are closely related to catalog items in that each catalog item corresponds to a Sysgen variable.
  • Kernel independent transport layer (KITL): The communication link between your development computer and your Windows Embedded Compact powered device for debugging.

In This Section

  • Prerequisites
    Describes the hardware, OS, and software requirements that your computer must meet before you install Windows Embedded Compact 7 and complete the tasks in this guide.
  • Installation
    Shows you how to install Windows Embedded Compact 7.
  • Set Up a Virtual Device
    Describes how to set up a virtual device, called a virtual CEPC (vCEPC), that will run the OS that you design.
  • Create an SDK
    Describes how to create an SDK that enables application developers to create applications for your OS design.
  • Create an Application
    Shows you how to create an application as a subproject of your OS design in Platform Builder.
  • Download the OS to the Device
    Describes how to use Platform Builder to establish a connection with your vCEPC, and then download the run-time image to the vCEPC.
  • Debug the Application
    Shows you how to set a breakpoint in your application and then run the debugger so that it stops at the breakpoint.
  • What's Next
    Points you to additional resources that you can use to learn about Windows Embedded Compact 7.

See Also

Other Resources

Windows Embedded Compact 7