How to run multiple instances of the Windows Phone 7 emulator

It’s not that difficult to run multiple instances of a Windows Phone 7 emulator, or any other mobile emulator for that matter, when you’re doing testing, development, or having some DIY fun!

You can run multiple instances of the Windows Phone 7 emulator by generating unique GUIDs for each instance that you need to run. You’ll also need to pass a VMID in order to get these multiple instances working. You can also run multiple instances of later versions of Windows phones like Windows Mobile 10.

Ever since there were just rumors that Microsoft was going to make its own phone, we’ve wanted to run multiple instances of the Windows Phone emulator. For example, to test different command-line options in separate instances.

By default, you cannot customize this behavior in Visual Studio 2010, that by now is the standard way to access the emulator. However, there is still an option provided by Microsoft that is not mentioned too often.

The first thing you want to do is to be familiar with basic command line operations like how to launch applications from the command line and how to send specific parameters when executing an application—or script, for that matter. If you are familiar with these concepts, then you are good to go.

If not, you should brush up on your command line basics.

You’re also going to want to know how to configure emulators for Windows phones and Windows Mobile.

The last thing you need to know is where the emulator and the default development WP7 OS image are located. On my system, I can find them in the following folders.

WP7 OS Image:

C:Program Files (x86)Microsoft SDKsWindows Phonev7.0EmulationImages 

WP7 Emulator:

C:Program Files (x86)Microsoft XDE1.0 

If you try running XDE.exe from the emulator folder right away, you will be prompted with this message:

Not exactly what we’re looking for, but nonetheless it is helpful. So the emulator by itself won’t start – I need to specify an OS image to be loaded. And here is when the console comes into play. Open the system console by pressing the Win+R keys and then typing CMD and clicking OK.

Once the console is open, first of all copy and paste the path to the emulator, and then after a space, copy and paste the path to the OS image.

The complete path string should look like this:

"C:Program Files (x86)Microsoft XDE1.0XDE.exe" "C:Program Files (x86)Microsoft SDKsWindows Phonev7.0EmulationImagesWM70C1.en-US.bin" 

And once you run it… nothing happens. Besides the actual image, you need to pass a VMID – a GUID identifier that will be unique to the specified instance.

NOTE: You can generate GUIDs quickly here.

The VMID parameter is required to be unique for every given running instance. Otherwise, you will be getting an error message like this:

Here is how you should pass the VMID to the emulator:

“C:Program Files (x86)Microsoft XDE1.0XDE.exe” “C:Program Files (x86)Microsoft SDKsWindows Phonev7.0EmulationImagesWM70C1.en-US.bin /VMID{3e7d1f17-dbf6-4e74-b1ef-20206c5fe7b9}

Curly braces are required.

Once you run this command, the emulator should do a full OS boot (no, the main applications will still be locked) and will get in the “Ready” mode in around 30 seconds. As long as you change the GUID, you can run as many instances as your machine allows you to.

What is the Future of Windows Mobile?

There are currently more questions about the end of Windows Mobile than there are answers.

Microsoft has recently announced that Windows mobile 10 will be the last version of the software to receive any official support. This means that we’re going to start to see applications no longer receiving updates, bugs going on fixed, and the continuing depreciation of the Windows mobile 10 software.

We’ve already begun to see the beginning of the end for Windows mobile. The Xbox app on Windows mobile 10 no longer fully updates with the latest achievements and is already starting to show signs that it needs an upgrade.

Windows mobile never had a strong position in the Apple and Android-dominated mobile market oh, so it was only a matter of time before Windows decided to close the door on this project.

Is Windows 7 Still Supported? What About Windows 10?

Windows 7 has been out for nearly a decade which means that there are few devices running this version of the Windows mobile software. Most modern Windows mobile devices are running the latest Windows mobile 10.

Windows Mobile 10 is still officially supported, but Windows has announced that they will not be continuing development for the software.

How Long do Windows Phones Have Left?

Is very difficult to say how long Windows phones have left. Well, there is some speculation that the summer of 2022 is going to be something of the official end of Windows mobile, support for this platform really depends on how long developers want to stick with it.

There would be nothing stopping developers from continuing making and updating their software for Windows mobile devices, but this does raise some important questions for developers looking to work in the space.

What Does This Mean for Developing for Windows Mobile?

Whether you’re developing Java applications or you’re looking to learn more about Windows mobile, you’re in for an uphill battle when it comes to Windows 10 for phones.

Developers are going to be hard-pressed to continue updating the software that they have on Windows mobile devices. This largely comes down to the fact that Windows has officially abandoned this project.

This means that they won’t be able to receive sufficient support for resolutions for core bugs within the mobile OS that could be creating problems for their own applications.

At the end of the day, we can probably expect mobile application developers to continue releasing updates in the near future. However, we’re going to see these developers shifting their focus to Apple Android Windows devices become less and less popular.

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