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How to: Install the .NET Compact Framework on a Device

Visual Studio 2008

Visual Studio installs the .NET Compact Framework Software Development Kit (SDK) versions 2.0 and 3.5 on your development computer. To run, test, or debug Visual C# or Visual Basic smart device applications on your device, the .NET Compact Framework must be installed on your device or emulator.

Some devices come with .NET Compact Framework installed in ROM. On other devices, the .NET Compact Framework must be installed to the RAM manually. For more information, see Device Capabilities and Required Development Tools.

This topic describes two ways to install .NET Compact Framework on your device:

Remember that all installation methods have two fundamental steps in common:

  • Copy the correct .NET Compact Framework installation CAB from the desktop to the device

  • Run Wceload.exe to install the CAB on the device.

    NoteNote:

    Typically, you do not directly call Wceload.exe. Instead, Wceload is called programmatically by other programs to install CAB files. For example, if you use File Explorer to run a CAB file, File Explorer automatically calls Wceload.exe to install CAB file.

To install the .NET Compact Framework when you deploy your project

  1. Open an existing or create a new Visual C# or Visual Basic smart device project.

  2. Configure the device project to deploy the .NET Compact Framework to a target device.

    1. In Solution Explorer, right-click your device project and then click Properties.

      The Project Designer appears.

    2. Click the Devices tab

    3. Check Deploy the latest version of the .NET Compact Framework (including Service Packs).

    4. Select a device or emulator in Target device.

  3. To deploy, on the Build menu, click Deploy.

    - or -

    On the Debug menu, click Start Debugging.

    Visual Studio displays progress information about the deployment in the Status Bar. First, Visual Studio establishes a connection with the device or emulator. Then, if the latest version of the .NET Compact Framework is not installed on the device, it will locate and copy the.NET Compact Framework installation CAB to the device and start the installation in silent mode.

To install the .NET Compact Framework with Windows Explorer

  1. Connect the device or cradle the emulator to your computer.

    NoteNote:

    Your computer must have Windows Mobile Device Center or Microsoft ActiveSync installed.

  2. On the desktop computer, start Windows Explorer and navigate to the folder drive:\Program Files\Microsoft.NET\SDK\CompactFramework\v2.0 or v3.5\WindowsCE.

    NoteNote:

    Files in wce400 are designed to run on devices that are based on Windows CE 4.X such as Pocket PC 2003 devices. Files in wce500 are designed to run on devices that are based on Windows CE 5.X such as Windows Mobile 5.0 and Windows Mobile 6 devices.

  3. Use Windows Explorer to copy the appropriate CAB file to a folder on the device.

    NoteNote:

    The CAB files are named by their supported platform and CPU architecture type.

  4. On the device, start File Explorer and navigate to the folder where you copied the CAB file.

  5. Click or tap on the CAB file to start installation.

    File Explorer automatically calls Wceload.exe to install .NET Compact Framework CAB file. Follow the prompts and complete the installation.

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