24 October 2007 ~ 1 Comment

Windows Mobile Emulation

Hardware vendors often provide hardware “emulators” for developers to increase the speed by which we can create software for them. For example, an emulator for Pocket PC looks like this:

Because the emulator runs on my desktop, I don’t have to worry about buying one (costing me $) or configuring it (costing me my sanity). I can test my website from the emulator with very little turnaround time.

Only because the cost benefits are so significant would anyone struggle through setting this up.


After downloading the emulator, let’s install it. Oops!


If typing long URLs made up of random characters killed zombies, I would be overjoyed at seeing this dialog. As it does not, each keystroke provided repeated insight into the psyche of the developer. Sadistic? Hurried? Junior? Who’s to say really. Rather than take the time to use a hyperlink control (1-5 minutes) he lazily pasted the URL into the error message.

What’s worse is that this dialog is completely unnecessary. The purpose of the installer is to walk me through the process. Why, when something is wrong, should a separate window tell me? Isn’t that the installer’s responsibility? The installer window is huge and would have easily fit this long error message.

And what am I saying “OK” to? Things are not OK. I should be clicking on a button called, “Download Virtual Machine Network Driver”.

Lastly, the wording in both the initial setup screen and this dialog show that someone without a terrific command of the English language was responsible for this creation. It’s a shame when companies assume things like the setup process and error messages don’t need to be scrubbed by tech writers.


Finally, a quick download of the Virtual Machine Network Driver for Microsoft Device Emulator and I’m all set!

One click on “Download” and I’m good to go. OOPS!

Note: This download has now been retired. If you would like to get the Virtual Machine Network Driver, please download Virtual PC 2007 from: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=46859

Another error message, another URL I can’t click on.

Any why do I have to read this? Why didn’t the initial download page automatically forward me to the Virtual PC 2007 download?

Or even better, why isn’t there a packaged version of Virtual PC 2007 for Pocket PC developers? That would have solved the entire problem from the beginning – 1 download with everything I need.


I was able to download Virtual PC 2007 and install it without difficulty.


Now that I have everything setup… after grinding my teeth typing URLs and jumping through additional steps, the Pocket PC emulator starts up.

After installing and starting the emulator, I’m staring at a blank screen? After all of the time and effort put into the install, it’s a safe bet to assume that I might actually want to run it.

I can’t recall if I clicked on the power button to start the emulator or if I had to activate a menu option…

…but at least I didn’t have to type any more URLs.

One Response to “Windows Mobile Emulation”

  1. Ray 31 March 2009 at 6:53 am Permalink

    Just as an FYI, you can typically do a Ctrl+C on a messagebox such as the one with the long URL. Windows will donk at you as though it did nothing, but you’ll then find the title and text of the error message in your clipboard, along with even some dashes around OK for the OK button.

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