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How to: Install SQL Server Compact 3.5 on a Device

To deploy applications or run smart device tests that use SQL Server Compact 3.5, the target device or emulator must have SQL Server Compact 3.5 installed.

Some devices come with SQL Server Compact 3.5 installed in ROM. On other devices, it must be installed to the RAM. For more information, see Device Capabilities and Required Development Tools.

There are two ways to install SQL Server Compact 3.5 on the device or emulator:

  • Deploy managed smart device applications that reference SQL Server Compact 3.5. Visual Studio automatically installs SQL Server Compact 3.5 on the target device when you deploy the application.

  • If you are deploying an unmanaged device application or running smart device tests, perform the manual installation that is described in the following procedure.

To manually install SQL Server Compact 3.5 on a device

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

    For more information, see How to: Cradle and Uncradle the Device Emulator.


    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 SQL Server Compact Edition\v3.5\Devices\wce400 or wce500\CPU architecture type.


    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 following files to a folder on the device:

    1. sqlce.platform.processor.cab

    2. (Optional)sqlce.dev.platform.processor.cab - query analyzer application

    3. (Optional)sqlce.repl.platform.processor.cab - support for replication.


    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 files.

  5. Click or tap the CAB files to start installation.

  6. File Explorer automatically calls Wceload.exe to install SQL Server Compact 3.5 CAB files. Follow the prompts to complete the installation.

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