Offline Layout for Windows Embedded Compact 7

February 14, 2012

Offline Layout


Offline Layout is a new feature that has been released with the latest update of Windows Embedded Compact 7 and Windows Embedded Silverlight Tools. This feature can create a reusable layout of all the content a user would need to install, modify, or repair the software. The big advantage of this feature is that the update patches will only need to be downloaded once. Now, when patches need to be acquired, the layout folder can be used as the source.


1. Select the options you want to add to your offline layout.

2. Select “Yes, create an offline layout.”

3. Allow offline layout to be created.

Quick tips:

· Have the original install DVD’s close by. It is quicker to use the DVD’s as a source rather than downloading. Note not all options are available for download.

· When updating and performing the offline layout only the options currently installed will be saved to the offline layout folder.

· Offline layout will only add files to the layout folder. It will never delete files from the folder.

· The folder can be shared to enable network access and the folder content can be copied anywhere.

· Uninstalling the software will not remove the offline layout folder or its content.

For more details read section below:

So how does one perform an offline layout? It is very simple. If you are installing for the first time or modifying a current install you will see a new screen titled “Install Offline Layout”. See Below:


By default, offline layout is not selected. Select “Yes, create an offline layout” to enable offline layout.


When “Yes, create an offline layout.” is selected, new controls appear on the screen. The location of where the layout folder will be created and an additional check box are displayed. This check box can be unchecked to allow only the creation of the offline layout folder without installing the product. In this case any currently installed options will not be modified. For this demonstration, I’ll leave the check box checked and click next.

The “Ready to Proceed” screen will appear, and a new icon may be displayed.


In this scenario, Platform Builder is being modified to the update 3 level, so the Update 6 patch is being removed. Update 3 is already applied to Platform builder, so only the offline layout action is performed on that package. ARMv5 is also being installed, hence the installation of Architecture Common updates.

This floppy disk icon is displayed when a package is planned to be saved to the offline layout folder, and no other action is being taken with the package.


Packages that are being installed or modified will also be saved in the offline layout folder.

The estimated size of the offline layout is displayed and added to the total disk space required.

· Tip: at this point it is a good idea to have your original install media handy.

· If your system has AutoRun enabled a second instance of the installer may start. Close it down if it does.


Once the acquire phase has completed the offline layout action will begin. The packages will be saved and the modify phase will begin. Once all modifying is complete the “Finished” screen will display.


The location of the offline layout folder is displayed as a link. Click on this link to open the offline layout folder.


The layout folder will contain the packages required for installing the options that have been selected. This includes any updates that the options may have. Performing a Full install with Offline layout will result in a layout folder like the shown below.


I have found that the quickest and easiest process is to update your current install to 7.0.2810 (Update7) without performing the Layout action. Then drop the Windows Embedded Compact 7 DVD into the drive and proceed to perform layout only action on all of the options you may ever want to install. From here on forward only new update folders will need to be acquired.

Links to more information: (Official Install Blog)


How to check the current install level of Compact 7.

December 1, 2011
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There are several ways to determine your Windows Embedded Compact 7 install level.

For the typical developer the easiest method is to launch the WindowsEmbeddedCompact7.exe to the Modify screen. Here at the top left section the screen Current Install Level will be displayed under Found Version.


For those who would rather use a log file entry to determine the install level, you can search near the end of the last WindowsEmbeddedCompact7.00**.log in the user temp directory.



The third method is for more advanced users.

Warning: Changes made to the Windows Registry may affect the operations of the computer. Making a backup of the registry is highly recommended. Use Registry Editor, or other methods to access the registry at your own risk. For more information about the Windows Registry please go to:

As of version 7.0.2807.0, (October 2011 Update ), the value of the InstalledLevel is stored in the registry.

Registry Editor can be used search for the value of InstalledLevel. Regedit.exe can be used on the cmdline or with the GUI.

For 32 bit machines:


For 64 bit machines:



The RegRead method is also able to programmatically retrieve the value of InstalledLevel.

More information about that method can be found here:

Finding log files for Windows Embedded Compact 7

August 14, 2011
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This post is a condensed version a post wrote and had published at

So please go to the above link for more detailed information on trouble shooting, or to ask a question about this topic.

Here is a clip of the post that is focused on finding the log files that Windows Embedded Compact 7 creates. These log files are in the user profile temp folder, of the user who ran the software. The easiest way to get to that folder is to click on Start and Select Run.



In the text window type %temp%, click Ok.



That will open your temp folder and you should see the log files listed.


All four of log files shown were created by the software. When some prerequisites are not found, an entry like the highlighted one here will explain why you are having a problem.


The snippet above is an entry showing that Visual Studios 2008 could not be found on the computer.


When Visual Studios 2008 is found at the proper version, an entry like this can be found in the log. clip_image011


If you are having issues, please visit this link: (Official Install Blog, Trouble Shooting post)

I have few posts lined up. Once I have them finished, I will be publishing them. Please check the site for updates in the next few weeks.



Links for more information: (Official Install Blog)