Notice: This page contains information for the legacy Phidget21 Library. Phidget21 does not support VINT Phidgets, and will not support any new Phidgets. Phidget21 will be maintained until 2020. We recommend that new projects be developed against the Phidget22 Library.

Click on the 2phidget22.jpg button in the menu bar to go to the Phidget22 version of this page.


OS - Windows CE

From Phidgets Legacy Support
Icon-Windows CE.png On Windows CE, Phidgets can be either plugged directly into a USB Port or run over a network using the WebService.

Phidgets are designed to run on Windows CE 5.0 or newer.

Quick Downloads

If this is your first Phidget, we highly recommend working through the Getting Started guide for your specific Phidget device, which may be found in its user guide.

If you are already a pro, and just want the Windows CE installer:

The above installers are intended for the target Windows CE system.

In addition to owning a Windows CE system, you will also need a Windows (2000/XP/Vista/7) system for developing and deploying Windows CE applications. (View our page on Phidgets with Windows (2000/XP/Vista/7))

For special cases where you want to install the Phidget libraries without the installer, please see the Advanced Uses section. You will also have to download the Windows CE Libraries on your development machine.

Getting Started with Windows CE


To install the libraries on the Windows CE machine, follow these steps:

1. Download one of the Phidget installer for your system, depending on whether your system is ARM4VI, x86, or MIPSII.

2. Open up the CAB installer, and proceed through the wizard. If you have installed the Phidgets library before on the same system, it may mention that the Phidget libraries are already installed. This is safe to ignore. Please note that by default, the installer places the Phidget libraries in \Program Files\Phidgets.

3. Once the installation is complete, you are ready to program with Phidgets.

For a description of what was installed onto your system, please see the Description of Library Files section.

Proceed onto to the next section where an example program will be run to confirm that the libraries were installed correctly.


To confirm the libraries were installed and work correctly, you can check if the software component works.

If you have the Phidgets library installed on your system, you can verify that the software component is working by running the \Program Files\Phidgets\HelloWorld.exe application and seeing if the Phidget device is listed in the output. You can run the application by simply double clicking on it in Windows Explorer. Note that if the Phidget is already plugged into the system, you will have to re-attach it after the Phidget libraries are installed.

If the Phidget is plugged into an USB port and you are not able to see that the Phidget is in the list, there may be a hardware issue.


If the examples do not work but USB does work (i.e. your computer can consistently see the device in the hardware), take a moment to check the basics:

  • You are using Windows CE 5.0 or greater.
  • You have the correct package installed according to your system's architecture.
  • No other programs, drivers, or processes are using that USB port in software
  • The Phidget libraries are the latest version (visit the getting started section to download them)
  • Check the common problems section below, some specific combinations can cause problems

If your problem doesn't seem to be fixed by these steps, make sure that the Phidget is seen consistently by USB (if it is erratic, try our general troubleshooting guide). If you are still having problems after using the troubleshooting guide, please ask us!

Programming Languages

Phidgets’ philosophy is that you do not have to be an electrical engineer in order to do projects that use devices like sensors, motors, motor controllers, and interface boards. All you need to know is how to program.

After you have installed the drivers above, you should pick a programming language, install libraries, and run the examples for that specific language. You can learn more about what is needed to program in a particular language by choosing the language of your preference below. If you need help choosing a language, please look at the language comparison table.

Phidgets’ philosophy is that you do not have to be an electrical engineer in order to do projects that use devices like sensors, motors, motor controllers, and interface boards. All you need to know is how to program.

On Windows CE, we recommend the following languages:


The Phidget WebService allows you to remotely control a Phidget over a network.

Drivers for the Phidget WebService on Windows CE are already included in the Drivers above. The WebService is started with the PhidgetWebservice21.exe application.

You can connect to a Phidget hosted on another computer if you know the IP address/host name of the host computer.

This section helps you install, check, and use the WebService on Windows CE, but we also have an overview of the Phidget WebService in general.

Turning the WebService On and Off

The WebService can be turned on and off using command line. If you used our installer, the WebService utility is automatically installed in \Program Files\Phidgets.

You can get command line help with PhidgetWebservice21.exe using the -h option:

 PhidgetWebservice21 -h
'phidgetwebservice21' is a Phidget and Dictionary server from Phidgets Inc. See for more information.
Usage: phidgetwebservice21 [OPTION]
All parameters are optional. The default parameters are: port=5001, ServerName=(Computer Name) and no password

  -p      Port
  -n      Server Name
  -P      Password
  -v      Debug mode
  -h      Display this help

Please note that as Windows CE does not support the use of mDNS, the -n option cannot be used.

To find the defaults used by phidget21webservice, the command line is the fastest way to learn the IP address of your computer:

  • For your IP address, type ipconfig in the command line.
    • A line in the return text, will say something like IP Address ........, which is your IP.

Here are some usage examples. The Windows command line is used. Traverse to the Phidget installation directory(By default, it is located in \Program Files\Phidgets).

To start the WebService with default parameters:


To start the WebService on port 5002:

 PhidgetWebservice21.exe -p 5002

To stop the WebService, simply close the command line window or press Ctrl and c at the same time in the command line window.

Using the WebService

To use a Phidget over the WebService, you'll want to:

  • Start the WebService on the computer that directly connects to the Phidget
  • Run your program on the remote computer that will control the Phidget over the network

The easiest way to test these steps on Windows CE is simply to start the WebService and run the Phidget program on the same computer. Later, you can replace one of the two ends with a different computer and/or operating system.

To quickly create code to run remotely, we will need to modify the example code. We will go over how to modify the C#(.NET Compact Framework) in Visual Studio. Please go ahead and download the example code. Extract it, and open up the \CE\HelloWorld\HelloWorld.sln in Visual Studio.

Find the line in our HelloWorld example that says:;

and change it to be:"", 5001);

The IP address "" simply loops back to the same computer, and 5001 is the default port as found from using phidget21webservice -h in the Setting Up the WebService section.

Build the project in Visual Studio. This will create an executable in the Project Folder\bin\Debug(if you are running in debug mode).

1. Start a command line window to run this test. First, traverse to the \Program Files\Phidgets directory and start the WebService.

This will broadcast any Phidget events, and receive any Phidget requests, both over the network.

2. Transfer the newly created executable onto the Windows CE system. Double click on the application to run it.

3. Now, plug in the Phidget to the Windows CE system! The Phidget21webservice program captures the Attach event and other events and sends them out over the network and the example application will receive them.

4. You can confirm that the WebService was indeed behind this exchange by killing the WebService process while still allowing the remote program to run. Simply, in the command line window, press Ctrl and c at the same time.

Note that since Windows CE does not have mDNS and cannot be detected using the Windows Control Panel or the OS X Preference Pane.

Debugging the WebService

In addition to enabling logging in your Phidget code, you can get additional debugging information from the WebService itself. This additional debugging can be enabled by specifying the -v option:

 PhidgetWebservice21.exe -v -n "myServer"

The debugging information is shown command line output.

Advanced Uses

Manual File Installation

The Phidget installer installs the most commonly used files onto your system. However, there may be special cases where you want to install the Phidget libraries without the installers. Please take a look at the Description of Installer files sections to see which files you will need to install yourself.

Regardless of what language you will be using to program Phidgets, you will need the phidget21.dll placed in the \WINDOWS directory. Additional files are needed for the language that you choose. Please refer to the documentation provided by your language to determine what files are needed and the steps needed to install them onto your system.

You can find the phidget21.dll in the link below:

PhidgetWebService21.exe is also provided in the link above.

Deploying the Program

For simple programs in .NET, if the compiled Windows CE program runs on the development machine, then it should behave the same way on the target machine with the exception of the need for Invokes. It is also recommended that the program be debugged over a remote connection to the device. Make sure to include the phidget21CE.NET.dll with your distribution.

If you receive a Can't find PInvoke DLL error on deployment, check to make sure that the Phidget Framework .dlls are installed to the device (normally in the Windows folder). Running the CAB installer is the easiest way to ensure the files are installed and registered correctly.

You can use the Phidget WebService to connect to remote Phidgets if USB ports are not available. Note that Windows CE does not support mDNS and by extension some open() calls. In .NET, use open(serial,"IPAddress", port, "pass").

Deploying the Program on an Emulator

Your success for running Phidgets on an emulator may vary based on the type of the device being emulated, and whether it supports USB devices or the installation of the Phidget Framework. Here, if you receive a Can't find PInvoke DLL error during execution, this means the emulator image does not have the Phidget Framework installed. One approach installing it on an emulator is to set up a shared folder (File → Configure... → General → Shared folder) with the ARMV4I or x86 Framework inside, then browse to its location and run the installer. Also, if you’re running the Phidget WebService, you may want to have the network connection shared between the PC and device through ActiveSync.

Compiling Your Own OS Build

Often you’ll also find that after power cycling the device, the state of the operating system is reset and the Phidget drivers are lost. As a matter of convenience, it’s possible to include the Phidget drivers into the OS build so that they do not need to be reloaded every time. Building an OS image is often a complicated task and is not covered in detail here. However, if you are going to try this process it will involve using the SDK for the device, including the ARMV4I or x86 .dlls, and inserting entries into the registry for USB detection of Phidgets. The easiest way of getting the .dlls and registry entries is to copy them off the device after installing the CAB file. The CE kernel source can also be found at the [#Quick Downloads | beginning] of this page

Common Problems and Solutions

Issue: The Phidget Windows CE libraries need to be installed everytime the system restarts

This is discussed in the Compiling Your Own OS Build section.

Issue: The Phidget is not attaching to my Program

If the Phidgets are already plugged into the USB port of the Windows CE device, the Phidgets will need to be re-attached to the device once the Phidget libraries are installed. The reason for this is that when the Phidget drivers are not present on the system, the devices will associate with a generic USB HID driver. Installing the Phidget drivers will then allow them to be associated with the proper driver, but it does not disconnect them from the HID driver. Unplugging and reconnecting the device will cause the OS to look for the appropriate drivers again and it will now be able to find the Phidget drivers.


Description of Installer files

Here is the list of files and their description for each file that is distributed through the iOS drivers.

  • phidget21.dll contains the actual Phidget library, which is used at run-time. It is placed in \Windows.
  • PhidgetWebService21.exe is used to control Phidgets remotely across a network using the PhidgetWebService.
  • phidget21.lib is used by your compiler to link to the dll. Your compiler has to know where this file is.
  • phidget21.h lists all the Phidget API function calls available to your code. Your compiler also has to know where this file is.
  • phidget.dll is the Phidgets kernel driver. It is placed in \Windows.
  • Phidget21CE.NET.dll is the .NET(Compact Framework) Phidgets library. It is placed in \Windows.