Final post for Windows Embedded Compact 7. Build 2817 available.

September 14, 2012
Leave a Comment

This will likely be the final post I share about Windows Embedded Compact 7. I have moved off of the team, but the work will go on. As the title shows, the installer can be updated to build 2817 (released last week).

I encourage you to look for updates and post questions or comments to this blog moving forward: (Official Install Blog)


Thank you



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)

Windows Embedded Compact 7 releases October updates.

November 15, 2011
Leave a Comment


Updates are available for Windows Embedded Compact 7. These updates include changes for DCHP, MSFLASH, and NETIO. There are also changes to the installer software. There are two features added to the software that most people will never see, but will appreciate if they do. Sleep is now blocked by the software when content is being acquired or when an action is performed on an option. This will not over write the system’s power settings. Some updates can take a considerable amount of time to download, and to be applied. This feature prevents the system from going to an idle state where Sleep, Stand by, or Hibernate can take effect.

Of course there are still times when the system can enter into Sleep, Stand by, Hibernate, or even Shutdown while the software is running. To address the issue of having to uninstall everything in the event of an interruption to the software progress, a resume feature has been added. Previously the software was able to recognize that the state of the installation was compromised and an uninstall action would be performed to return the machine to a clean state. This can be annoying and costly in terms of time. The resume feature will keep track of the progress of the software. In the event of an interruption, such as a power loss, the software will store the current state. When the user logs in again the installer software is launched and will attempt to resume the action it was taking prior to the interruption. In the event of a reboot or power loss, the software will launch automatically when the user logs in.

One bug fix that is worth noting is the behavior of the download all check box and Shared Source. A user can select to download all of their content. Shared Source cannot be downloaded. Previously if a user with a retail version of the software wanted to install an option like Platform Builder and Shared Source but did not have Disk 1 in their DVD drive, they would be prompted for source. The user could select to download all the content. The software would proceed to download all of the content until it reached Shared Source. The user would not be able to uncheck the Download All check box, and would have to cancel the out of the software. Now the user can uncheck the Download All check box, and browse to the location of Shared Source.

Please let me know if you have a questions or comments.


Links for more information: (Official Install Blog)

Modifying Windows Embedded Compact 7

August 11, 2011
Leave a Comment

The installation of Windows Embedded Compact 7 can be very large and complex. Users have the ability of installing, repairing, adding updates, removing updates, adding options, and removing options without ever uninstalling the product. Some users will work with one or two architectures, other users may develop for many architectures, based on several points in time. For that user, Windows Embedded Compact 7 has been deployed to allow the user to quickly and easily select options at a point in time that they require.

For example, a developer has installed on their system Platform Builder, English Documentation, and ARM v5 Architecture at the July 2011 Update level. The project that developer was working on is finished and the next project requires Arm v6 Architecture at the RDP RemoteFX Update level. So how does the developer configure their system for this project? It’s simple; let me show you how.

Start with opening Programs and Features from the control Panel, or in this case, Add or Remove Programs for XP, highlight the Windows Embedded Compact 7 entry and select “Change”:



Then Select Modify



The next screen will show the user what options are currently installed, and what level they are installed at.



The user will need to move the slider to middle spot, and will see that the label to the right now states “Revert to RDP RemoteFX Update”. The user also wants to add ARM V6 Architecture, so they check that option. The user decides that they no longer need English Documentation so they uncheck that option. Note that unchecking an option will result in that option being removed from the system:



When the user clicks on Next, the Ready to Proceed screen will appear and show the user the actions that will be performed. This shows that English Documentation will be uninstalled:



Scroll down a little and the user will see that the Update 2 for ARMV5 Architecture will be uninstalled:



Scroll down a bit more, and the user will see that ARM V6 Architecture will be installed at Update 1 level:



At this point the user can click Back to change the plan, or click Modify to proceed with the actions.


The options to be installed will be acquired first:



Options to be uninstalled next:



Options will be modified and installed last:



When the action has completed, the user will have Platform Builder, ARM v5 Architecture, and ARM v6 Architecture installed at the RDP level.

Key notes to remember:

· Any option that is NOT “Checked” will be uninstalled.

· Any option that is “Checked” will be installed.

· All options will be at the current install level. There will not be a time when ARM v5 is at update 1 level and ARM v6 is at Update 2 level at the same time.

Please let me know if you have a questions or comments.


Links for more information: (Official Install Blog)

Updating Windows Embedded Compact 7

July 25, 2011
1 Comment

Windows Embedded Compact 7 is a large, powerful program. To the best of my knowledge, it is the largest installed piece of software the world has ever known. A full install uses more than 50 gigabytes of drive space. Most users do not want a full install the software, as they typically only work with one or two architectures. So users can choose to install only what they need, and nothing more. This is not a new concept. Keeping the installation up to date can be a challenge for users. In the Embedded space, updates seem to occur hourly! Ok, so that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the idea. Many embedded developers have to program devices at a set firmware level. Ideally all devices would be at the newest firmware, but in the real world this is rarely the case. In the past, if a developer had updated their software, and had a request to work on an older device firmware, that developer would have to uninstall the software and reinstall the software up to the point that matches the device’s firmware level. That can be a time consuming task. Now try to do that with 50 GB’s.
This is where the new approach to installing AND maintaining software comes into play. With the Windows Embedded Compact 7 installer, the user can update the software with a click of a button. And it will only update the software that is installed. But better yet, the user can add new options as they become available. Most software allows the user to add options after the initial install, as does Windows Embedded Compact 7. Not many allow an option to be removed without uninstalling all the software. Now the test to success for the Windows Embedded Compact 7 installer is, not only updating an option, but down grading an option. That is to say, revert the install level to an earlier time, without uninstalling and reinstalling all the software. I do not know of any developer software anywhere, which will allow the user to do that. Simply moving the time slider left to revert, and right to update allows a developer to change their environment in minutes. I can tell you from programming PLC’s and HMI’s, this is a big time saver. For the smaller shops working with distant customers, uploading a new program as much safer than trying to update the firmware and load a new program. Customer support issues will be much easier handle when the developer can work in the same code base as the customers device. If a picture is worth a thousand words, than a presentation could be half a million words.

Here is a presentation to help show how the update process works. WindowsEmbeddedCompact7-Updating

I would like to hear about your experiences with the software, and what kind of project you are working on with it. In a few weeks I plan on creating a presentation regarding modify. Until then, enjoy the programming.

For those of you who would rather not open the presentation, I have inserted an overview of it here.


Updating an installation with Windows® Embedded Developer Update.


The update process for Windows Embedded Compact 7 is slightly different from other software updates:

•A full install of Windows Embedded Compact 7 is over 50 gigabytes. Updating a 50 gigabyte install would be time consuming if you really only need one option. This is why you are able to install only what you really want. Updates will apply only to what you have installed.

•When new features become available they can be installed with the updates.

•To keep the update process simple and quick adding or removing other options during the initial update is disabled.

Acquire the new release

•Now you know that a new release of Windows Embedded Compact 7 is available, but how do you get the update?

•Windows Embedded Developer Update (WEDU):

•WEDU allows you to receive information about new releases.

•Registration is required to install WEDU.

•Didn’t register for WEDU when installing Windows Embedded Compact 7? You still can, the process is simple.

WEDU Registration

•Start by locating Windows Embedded Compact 7 in the list of installed programs:


Select Update and Next.


•If registration has not been completed this screen will appear:


Click Next, and a Window will open.


•Already have a Windows Live ID? It can be used to register.

WEDU Check for updates

Select Check for Update now, and click Next.


A new version is available, click Next to download it.


Update EULA, you’ll have to agree to proceed.



Summary is displayed first. Note the slider at the top.


Ready to Proceed


Installing the updates


Finish screen


Frequently Asked Questions

•Why don’t I see any options to select?

During the update process, currently installed options receive updates.

•Why do I see an option that did not exist before?

Options that are new in the release can be selected to be installed with the updates.

•Can I remove the updates?

Yes. To do this open Windows Embedded Compact 7 from Add or Programs, select Modify. On the time line slider, select the far left position and continue to remove the updates.

•Does removing an update revert the installer too?

No, the installer will remain at the highest level, only the options can have updates removed.

•Can I hurt my system if I run the installer from the original DVD?

No, the installer will detect the newer version of itself on the system and launch that version instead.

•Can I add an option?

Yes. Open the installer and select Modify, and click Next. Select the option to be installed and proceed. Note: unchecking a currently installed option will uninstall that option.

•Can I remove an option?

Yes. Open the installer and select ‘Modify’, and click ‘Next’. Uncheck the option to be removed and proceed.

•Can I be automatically informed about a new release?

Yes. WEDU can install a plug-in for Visual Studio 2008 service pack 1 that can be configured to automatically check for an update as often as once day.

•How can I install the WEDU plug-in?

Open the installer and select Update.


Select Configure Automatic Updates.


Select Check for updates automatically and choose how often. Then click Next.


You may be prompted for source, you can use disk 1 if you installed from disk, or simply select download. It is that easy.


Now you will know when an update is available.

Links for more information: (Windows Embedded Compact 7) (Official Install Blog)