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Yesterday, I started experimenting with building a simple application using the .NET Compact Framework v3.5 and Visual Studio 2008. It was pretty simple to get running using the emulator after downloading and installing the Windows Mobile 6 SDKs (make sure you get the Refresh).

As part of the SDK install, you are reminded that you will need to install the Windows Mobile Device Center (WMDC) application in order to connect to a real device. Since I am running Win7 RC, I was a little nervous about this. I remember trying to install ActiveSync on Vista and getting in a mess before discovering you needed WMDC instead. I assumed that Win7 would come with WMDC but since the SDK couldna€™t see it I gambled and installed anyway.

After getting a simple application running with the emulator, I decided to try it on a real device. Connecting my phone with a USB cable, I ended up with Win7 detecting and then losing the connection and then re-detecting over and over every few seconds. I am not sure what went wrong but I guessed that maybe installing WMDC had been a mistake so I tried uninstalling and then reconnecting the phone. This time the driver for the phone downloading from Windows Update stalled.

I found a post on the TechNet forums from someone at Microsoft describing a driver install issue with Windows Mobile and the Win7 Beta. Although I would have expected this issue to be resolved by now, following the instructions to remove the RNDIS driver and then re-installing WMDC did the trick and on the third attempt the phone was detected and the drivers correctly downloaded and installed.

Ia€™m not sure exactly what the problem was and I hope that either I was just unlucky or that this issue is resolved before Win7 ships. Now that I can connect to the phone from Visual Studio, the next step is to deploy my test app and ensure it works on the device.

Update 8 May: Today, I just plugged my phone into a different Win7 machine and it automatically went off and downloaded everything it needed including Windows Mobile Device Center and everything just worked. I guess I went wrong before by trying to preempt what software I needed to install based on the SDK messages. Just plugging in the phone would have given me what I needed.