Windows Embedded CE Platform Behavior

[This documentation is for preview only, and is subject to change in later releases. Blank topics are included as placeholders.]

It is important to be aware of platform-specific behavior when you develop applications for Windows CE devices that are not Pocket PCs or Smartphones, especially when you create forms.

Windows CE has no specific screen size requirement, and many devices provide substantially large displays that can easily display multiple application forms. .NET Compact Framework applications can have forms of any size and position on the display. By default, these forms can be resized and repositioned in much the same way as forms that are created by the full .NET Framework on the desktop.

The following table describes how controls and other elements operate and appear on Windows CE. For more information about controls, see Controls in the .NET Compact Framework.

Note Note

You should explicitly set the Focus method as appropriate for controls and child forms.

Control or element


Back color for container controls

The BackColor property for a Form, Panel, and TabPage is the control system color.

Control box

If ControlBox = true, the form has a Close (X) button.


Screen without the taskbar.


The ClientSize property of the form does not decrease when a menu bar is added to a form. Developers must accommodate any overlap possibilities after adding the menu bar.

Maximize button

Windows CE forms include a Maximize button.

Menu bar and toolbar

(These controls are combined and can display both menu items and toolbar buttons.)

Retains a fixed position at the top of the screen. The location cannot be changed because the form owns it. The bar occupies its portion of the client area.

Menu separator on the Main menu

An exception is thrown when you attempt to add a menu separator to the Main menu.

MessageBoxIcon enumeration

Supports the Asterisk, Exclamation, Hand, None, and Question members.

Minimize button

Windows CE forms include a Minimize button.


If you do not specify a file name extension, Windows CE does not append an extension but does return the ordinal position of the current filter.

Smart Minimize button (X)

Not applicable. The X button closes the application.


Bar at the bottom of the screen with the Start button and buttons for running programs.

The following table lists behavior specific to the .NET Compact Framework for members of the FormBorderStyle enumeration.




The window has a caption.


The window changes size programmatically and has no caption.


The window has a caption, can change location, and can size programmatically.


Same as FixedSingle.


The window has no borders.


Same as FixedSingle.


Same as FixedSingle.

The following table lists behavior that is specific to the .NET Compact Framework for members of the FormWindowState enumeration.




The window size is the size of the desktop area.


The window size is the specified size. Its default size is the size of the desktop area.