Invoke the Windows Phone emulator console window without using the registry

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Invoke the Windows Phone emulator console window without using the registry

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I already talked about DECFG files a while ago - these were inherited from previous portable Windows platforms, when fragmentation was an issue and developers needed to configure different emulator instances to run different configurations. Something similar is currently implemented in the Android AVD structure. Times changed and WP7 is nowhere close to being as fragmented as Windows CE devices, but the configuration file is still useful.

By default, it is not used by XDE - what you see being invoked from Visual Studio or from the Start Menu goes through an app called XdeLauncher, that is based on Microsoft.SmartDevice.Connectivity. But you can still use the configuration files to launch your own emulator instances and later connect to them.

The debug console window was always accessible through the system registry, where it can be enabled or disabled. That setting will apply to every XDE entity running on the local machine, however - it is possible to invoke the console on a per-instance basis.

To do this, open any of the existing DECFG files, located i:

C:\Program Files [(x86) - for 64-bit systems]\Microsoft XDE\1.0

Notice that the first element is ConsoleWindow and its value is set to false:

Change that value to true and save the file. This by itself won't do anything, so even if you launch the emulator, the console window will be hidden.

In order to be able to use it, you need to launch a new XDE instance, by following this command pattern:


Once you execute this command, you will see that the emulator instance you just created now runs with a console attached.


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