What version of Visual Studio should I use for Windows Embedded Compact?

I want to develop on Windows Embedded Compact and I see that different versions of Visual Studio are available.
Which one should I use?

The version of Visual Studio you should use depends of the version of Windows Embedded Compact you plan to run on your modules.

If you plan to run Windows CE 6 or Windows Embedded Compact 7 then you need to use Visual Studio 2008, if you plan to run Windows Embedded Compact 2013 then you can use Visual Studio 2013 or Visual Studio 2015.
For Visual Studio 2008 you need, at least, the Professional version of Visual Studio. Development for embedded devices is not supported in the express version.

You may use the Community edition of Visual Studio 2013, but this version (that is feature-comparable with the Professional one) has some licensing limitation about the scope of your project and the size of your company and development team.

You can have them installed side by side on your development machine, the only thing you need to do is to setup VS2008 first and then VS2013/VS2015.

We provide SDKs that you can install to develop your application targeting our modules:


If you need to develop applications you need just the SDK (for Visual Studio 2008) or the SDK and Application Builder (for Visual Studio 2013/2015) available here:

If you need to build a Windows Embedded Compact OS image using our BSP you need to install also Platform Builder. Platform Builder is OS-version specific and you need:

  • VS2005 for Windows CE6
  • VS2008 for Windows Embedded Compact 7
  • VS2013/VS2015 for Windows Embedded Compact 2013

    On CE6 and Windows Embedded Compact 7 Platfom Builder requires a license but it includes also the license for Visual Studio.

The installation of Application Builder for Windows Compact Embedded 2013 keeps failing as it requests Visual Studio Professional or Enterpreside 2015 (license required).
It does not seem to accept VS 2013 Community which is what we need to evaluate the OS and boards for our target development.

Could you confirm that as of August 2016 it is still possible to install App Builder for Windows CE 2013 having previously installed VS 2013 Community Ed only?

Unfortunately, since VS2015 support was added to platform builder it seems that the community version is not longer supported. You may download an evaluation version of VS2015 from Microsoft’s website, this should be time-limited but functional.

i really like this so many logos watched but you have some different kind

Hello ,Can you please specify the Support of WIN CE 2013 For T20 Colibri Module I want to use Graphical interface using C#.

@t20 please create a new question for your request as per our community rules, thanks:

What about 2017? https://www.visualstudio.com/en-gb/productinfo/vs2017-compatibility-vs

Currently there are no announcements from Microsoft about support for Windows Embedded Compact 2013 development on Visual Studio 2017.

Hi, thank you for the information. I have VS 2015 CE (Community Edition) installed and when trying to install VSEmbedded AppBuilder (V24930) the installer says, I need at least the professional edition?! Will I need to develop with VS 2013 CE or is there a workaround for installing? thank you! Tilli

Unfortunately the AppBuilder plugin worked with the community edition of VS2013 but is not longer supported on community edition of VS2015.
You’ll have to get the professional version or to use VS2013 if you prefer a free development tool.

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