Debugging CE Apps without ActiveSync

If you’ve done much development on non-Windows Mobile CE devices I’m sure your painfully aware of the pain in the ass process of getting Visual Studio 2005 to actually attach to the device.  Lately I’ve been doing nothing but non-WM development and deviced to automate and solidify the process, plus document it while I was at it.

We’ve got a (native) tool called CEDbgSetup that you run on your device (x86 or ARMv4I supported) and then you set up Studio once and only once, then you can debug every time using wired Ethernet, 802.11, USB RNDIS (and likely any other transport that uses TCP/IP) and without ActiveSync.

The tool supports auto-launching from WindowsStartup or by setting up an LaunchXX entry in HKLMInit in the device registry, or just manual click.  It should work headless too, though I’ve not specifically tested it.

It works with native or managed apps.

The tool, along with full source can be downloaded here (607k zip).

A white paper on how to set up Visual Studio 2005 can be viewed here (144k PDF).

Feedback is appreciated, but keep in mind that its free and completely unsupported (read: don’t ask me for support).

2 thoughts on “Debugging CE Apps without ActiveSync”

  1. I tried this on a headless device but it didn’t work. It seems like there is a problem creating the shortcuts. (It worked with a GWES installed on the CE device). Have anyone tried this?


  2. Hi,

    we were using the CEDbgSetup program following the great article "Debugging Without ActiveSync" when we were using Visual Studio 2005 and everything worked perfect.

    Now we moved to Visual Studio 2008 and we still getting connection with "Windows Mobile 5.0 pocket PC Emulator", but we are not able to connect with the "Windows Mobile 5.0 pocket PC device" for debugging.
    Error message: Connection Failed. The version of Conman Client running on the device is incompatible with desktop. Bootstrap the device with desktop compatible device binaries and try again".

    I think that the problem should be CEDbgSetup or one of the files CMMapG CMMAP but I don’t know what to do…


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