During the recent community events I attended, there were a number of questions from the audience, asking whether Windows CE is still alive and the future outlook for Windows Embedded Compact.

  • Is Windows Embedded Compact (Windows CE) still alive?  The simple answer is:  “Yes”.

I am writing this blog post to talk a bit more about the Windows Embedded Compact . . .

Formerly known as “Windows CE”, initially released to the public in 1996, the latest Windows Embedded Compact 7 operating system (OS) is the result from 15+ years of continuing efforts to develop and improve the product.

Windows Embedded Compact provides an efficient and effective development environment to develop new generation of intelligent devices for broad range of markets, including the following:

  • Automotive infotainment devices
  • Industrial automation devices
  • Home building automation devices
  • Human machine interface devices
  • Information and self-serve kiosk
  • Medical devices
  • GPS navigation devices
  • Security access control
  • Smart phone
  • more . . .

As we are moving into the “Intelligent Device”, new generation of embedded devices are becoming more complex.  In addition to the core functions, many of these intelligent devices need to be connected and handle data with some degree of intelligent.  Using Visual Studio as the primary development environment, Windows Embedded Compact provides an efficient environment to develop embedded application in C++, C# and Visual Basic.

In addition to the efficient development environment and able to write code in popular programming languages, Windows Embedded Compact enable developer to take advantage of the large pool of production quality technologies developed, tested and supported by Microsoft.

Windows Embedded Compact is just one of the products within Microsoft’s Windows Embedded product team.  The following article, by Kurt Mackie with the Redmond Channel Partner, provides a short/good overview about Windows Embedded products:


For information about Windows Embedded product roadmap, visit the following URL:


For more information about Windows Embedded Compact, visit the following URL:


There are many different development tools available in the market to support embedded device development, each has their own advantage and disadvantage. 

While Windows Embedded Compact is far from being a perfect technology, it’s one of the embedded development tool that can help you gain strong competitive advantage, very quickly, efficiently with minimal risk. 

For those of you interested to learn more about Windows Embedded Compact, I will post a series of getting started articles to help you learn and become familiar with the development environment and tool.  Here are the subjects I plan to cover:

  • Part-1:  Introduction
  • Part-2:  Development Environment & Tools
  • Part-3:  Develop a Compact 7 OS Design
  • Part-4:  Develop Managed Code Application for Compact 7
  • Part-5:  Develop Native Code Application for Compact 7
  • Part-6:  Develop SQL Compact Database Application for Compact 7
  • Part-7:  Develop Silverlight for Windows Embedded Application for Compact 7
  • Part-8:  Debugging and Remote Tools
  • Part-9:  Deploy OS Runtime to Target Device for Distribution