How the Build System Works (Compact 2013)


The Windows Embedded Compact 2013 build system is a set of programs and files you use to build instances of Compact 2013. This section, aimed at the more experienced user, describes the build system in detail. It is the basis for understanding a command-line build, which in turn is the basis for understanding Platform Builder, the integrated development environment (IDE) builder that is implemented as an add-in to Microsoft Visual Studio 2013 and Microsoft Visual Studio 2015. Understanding the build system helps you do the following:

  • Create a stable and robust build process.
  • Take advantage of the power and flexibility of the command line.
  • Save time by creating targeted builds that build only what you need.
  • Debug build problems in your own projects more effectively.

For more information about Platform Builder, see Build with Platform Builder.

Compact 2013 runs on a variety of devices, not all of which require the same components. For example, a device that has no display or audio hardware does not require a media player application. The build system allows you to easily select which components to include in the OS. It combines these components into a binary image that can be downloaded to a device and then executed by the device.

You can select the following types of components for your Windows Embedded Compact OS:

  • Core OS (kernel, file system, security features)
  • Built-in applications and services
  • Built-in driver stacks (USB, networking)
  • Custom drivers and hardware abstractions (display driver, audio driver, OEM adaptation layer)
  • Custom applications

The following table describes the Public and Platform directories, which are directly beneath the %_WINCEROOT% directory.




Contains source code and modules that are common to all platforms.


Contains a directory for each board support package (BSP) that you specify in Platform Builder. The directories contain the device-specific source code files.

For more information about the directory structure of a Compact 2013 installation, see Directory Structure Overview.

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Build an OS