Bill Reiss is a Windows Platform Development MVP and a Senior Consultant for AgileThought

Setting up the Windows Phone development environment on Windows 8

I’ve been running the Windows 8 Consumer Preview on my personal laptop as my primary (and only) OS since it was released at the end of February, and for the most part it’s been a good experience. There hasn’t been much that I miss since almost everything works. The one major exception to this was that the Windows Phone emulator wouldn’t run. You could still compile your apps and deploy to a device, but not having the emulator was a major limitation, especially since I will presenting at the Orlando Code Camp this weekend and one session is on Windows Phone so last night I broke down and set up a dual boot of Windows 7. It figures that they day after I did this that Microsoft would release support for the Windows Phone emulator in Windows 8 Consumer Preview.

This support comes in the form of the official release of the Windows Phone SDK 7.1.1, an update to the 7.1 SDK which allows you to develop and test apps for 256MB “Tango” Windows Phones.

So here are the steps I followed to get the environment up and running.

1. Install Windows 8 Consumer Preview (duh) – Can’t really go much further without this, you can download it now. In order to run the emulator and have it perform well, you’ll want to either install it as your primary OS or dual boot from a VHD. You don’t want to run in Virtual PC or something similar because the emulator takes advantage of hardware acceleration.

Note that if you install it as your primary OS you’re better off installing it clean instead of upgrading since there was an issue with registering to develop Windows 8 Metro Style apps after upgrading from Windows 7, not sure if this is still an issue, if you know this is fixed please mention in the comments and I’ll update this post.

Update: Reordered steps 2 through 4, and made 3 and 4 optional. Ginny Caughey pointed out that Windows Phone SDK 7.1 will install Visual Studio 2010 Express and related updates if Visual Studio is not installed.

2. Install the Games for Windows Marketplace Client. If you don’t do this, XNA Game Studio (which is included in the Windows Phone SDK) will not install properly.

3. Install Visual Studio 2010 (optional, the Windows Phone SDK will install Express if Visual Studio 2010 not installed).

4. Install Visual Studio 2010 Service Pack 1 (only required if you do step 3).

5. Install the Windows Phone SDK 7.1. Yes, that’s right, you need to install 7.1 first, the Windows Phone 7.1.1 SDK requires it.

6. Install the latest Async CTP for Windows Phone (optional) This will make it easier to create cross platform Win8 Metro/Windows Phone libraries (where the code can be shared). Thanks to Jay Kimble for this tip!

7. Install the Windows Phone SDK 7.1.1 Update.

8. Profit! You should now be ready to go. The 7.1.1 SDK also includes an updated Microsoft Advertising control which is supposed to fix some issues.

9. While you’re at it, install Visual Studio 11 Beta. You can’t develop Windows Phone apps with it yet, but it’s a great time to get started writing Windows 8 Metro Style apps. Visual Studio 2010 and Visual Studio 11 Beta will happily coexist.