Connectivity Troubleshooting
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Connectivity Troubleshooting (Devices) 

Most connectivity difficulties between the development computer and a device result from either security or network issues. The following paragraphs help you identify and resolve some of the more common connection issues and provide steps to establish reliable and secure connections.

Use the DMA transport that Visual Studio 2005 provides for connecting to the Device Emulator. This transport eliminates virtually all connection issues between the development computer and the emulator.


Use the TCP/IP transport only if you have some serious specific reason. To resolve issues arising from use of TCP/IP with the emulator, review the steps that follow. For more information, see the Mobile Developer Center.

Failed to Open Virtual Switch Driver

If you are trying to connect the Device Emulator to a network using the emulated NE2000 or CS8900 card, you need a Virtual Switch Driver. You can download a driver from the Mobile Developer Center.

An error opening the driver can arise for several reasons, including:

  • Lack of driver.

  • The network card on the development computer does not have the driver installed.

  • There were problems during the installation of the driver.

  • The driver is in a disabled state.

  • The development computer does not have a network card.

Use the following steps to diagnose the precise cause.

To diagnose the precise cause of the failure

  1. Look on the Network tab of the Emulator Properties dialog box.

    If the NE2000 and/or the CS8900 cards are enabled, verify that the network cards they are bound to are present and connected. To open the Emulator Properties dialog box, click Configure on the emulator File menu.

  2. Look at the network properties of the adapter to verify that the item Virtual Machine Network Services is present, enabled, and of the correct version, which is 2.6.465.224 or later.

  3. If these steps fail to fix the problem, reinstall the driver.

Deployment to Emulator Error

If your development computer has a wireless network connection and you are using the TCP Transport, you might need additional steps, such as installing the Microsoft Loopback Adapter. For more information, see the Mobile Developer Center.


Unless you have some serious specific reason to use the TCP Transport, use the DMA transport to avoid network issues.

Cannot Debug After Switching Transports

You can change the transport for the emulator, but the emulator does not bind to the new transport until you soft-reset the device.


The DMA transport is the preferred transport for the Device Emulator. Use the TCP/IP transport only if you have serious specific reasons for doing so.

To switch transports

  1. On the Visual Studio Tools menu, click Options, then click Device Tools, and then click Devices.

  2. Select an emulator, and then click Properties.

  3. In the Transport box, select a different transport.

    If you are switching to TCP/IP, click Configure to set additional options.

  4. Click OK to close the dialog boxes.

Cannot Connect to Emulator While Running in Virtual PC Session

You can avoid this connection issue by using the DMA transport for the emulator. For more information, see How to: Connect to the Device Emulator From a Virtual PC Session.

Repairing the Device Emulator Installation

Errors indicating a failure to connect to the Device Emulator are typically not installation errors. However, you can use the following steps to repair the Device Emulator installation. To do this, you need your original installation media. Repairing your Visual Studio 2005 installation does not repair Device Emulator installation.

To repair the Device Emulator installation

  1. Navigate to wcu\ARM on your original Visual Studio 2005 installation media.

    The location of this folder, under Disk 1, Disk 2, and so on, varies with your edition of Visual Studio.

  2. Double click vs_emulator.exe to open the Device Emulator Setup Wizard, and then follow the instructions.

Additional Tips

The Device Emulator independent Help system provides additional tips. For more information, click the Device Emulator Help menu and look for "Troubleshooting Connection Issues" on the Content or Index tabs.

Lack of Proper Certificates on Device

Some devices, including Smartphone 2003 and later, require proper certificates to be installed on the device for security reasons. Certificates for day-to-day development work are included in Visual Studio 2005, along with a tool to install them.

To install the required certificates

  1. Connect to the device using whatever connection mechanism you have available.

  2. Copy from the development computer to the device. is located by default under \Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 8\SmartDevices\SDK\SDKTools.

  3. On the device, explode to install the certificates.

Lack of Prepping Windows CE 5.0 Device

Windows CE 5.0 devices that do not have ActiveSync support require preparation steps before a connection can be established with a Visual Studio instance. For more information, see How to: Connect to Windows CE Device Without ActiveSync.

Unexpected behavior during deployment

If the development computer is connected to a device through ActiveSync and you then try to make a TCP/IP connection with, for example, a Windows CE device, —and a connection error occurs, then the development computer connects with the ActiveSync-connected device, and does not warn that the TCP/IP connection failed.

Although Visual Studio 2005 supports the use of wireless technology to connect to devices, wireless technology introduces additional factors that can adversely affect a successful and maintainable connection. These factors include misalignment of IR ports, obstruction or degradation of signal in RF connections, and so on.

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