Running the Windows Phone Emulator on Windows 8.1 Preview

June 26, 2013

Today is an exciting day at Build – the Windows 8.1 Preview is available for download! If you’re like me, you can’t wait to update your machine to take advantage of everything delivered in the new release.

Among the enhancements and changes in Windows 8.1, it looks like the team made some changes that affect Hyper-V, creating a compatibility issue with the Windows Phone emulator (XDE) included in the Windows Phone SDK 8.0. Thankfully, this is quickly fixed with Visual Studio 2012 Update 3.

When you start up the Windows Phone 8.0 emulator on your newly updated machine, you’ll likely be greeted with the following dialog box from the Windows Program Compatibility Assistant, informing you that the emulator has compatibility issues:


To resolve the issue, you need to install the Visual Studio 2012 Update 3 (hereafter simply referred to as VSU3 for the sake of brevity). Among all the goodness in the update that RTM’d today, VSU3 includes an update that enables the XDE to install and work on Windows 8.1. And, in case you’re curious, you should be able to install VSU3 either before you install the Windows 8.1 Preview or after…as long as you install it before you use the emulator again, you’re all good.

To install VSU3, you can either download it from the Microsoft Download Center page, or you install it from within the Visual Studio 2012 environment. To install VSU3 from within VS2012, follow the following steps:

  1. From within Visual Studio 2012, select the ‘Extensions and Updates…’ option from the ‘Tools’ menu
  2. Within ‘Extensions and Updates’, you want to navigate into the ‘Updates’ section and select ‘Product Updates’, which should provide you with the option to update Visual Studio to VSU3
  3. Click ‘Update’ and let the update roll

6-23-2013 10-47-26 AMRegardless of the update path you take, you can kick off the upgrade and grab a coffee (or, in my case, a Slurpee) and let it run for awhile. After it completes, we’re once again on the happy path and the emulator launches just fine!

I hope this blog post helps you out,

[Edit Jul-1-2013: I modified this post to remove some dialogs that I encountered when I was installing VSU3 RC2 and also to add in how to install the update from within Visual Studio; thanks to those who provided these suggestions!]

Cliff Simpkins


12 responses to Running the Windows Phone Emulator on Windows 8.1 Preview

  1. Thank you Cliff for this post. I can now run my emulator too. For a second, I was thinking to reimage my machine to Win8.

  2. thank you!!!

  3. Saved me bitching about not thinking about us developers again! 🙂 Thanks

  4. Thanks Cliff for the post . Was really helpful 🙂

  5. Can the VSU3 be installed alone without installing VS2012 Express first?
    Can VSU3 be applicable for VS2013 Express Preview ?


    • VS Update 3 is applicable to either VS Express 2012 or VS 2012 Pro/Premium/Ultimate — I don’t believe VSU3 is applicable to VS2013, those emulator changes are all baked in to the VS2013 release.

  6. Thank you so much! You saved me a lot of trouble. It worked like a charm!

  7. I’m not able to run the Windows Phone 8 emulator when I’ve installed Visual Studio Ultimate 2013, version 12.0.21005.1 REL, with Windows 8.1 update.I’m using BootCamp on my MacBook Pro. The emulator worked fine when I had Windows 8 installed. Any ideas about any incompatibility issues here? Thanks.

    • (sorry about delay in responding – some personal issues over the past week)
      I don’t believe there are compatibility issues. Are you getting any errors when you try and run it?

  8. Problem isn’t solved here, windows 8.1 with vs2012u3, the simulator boots up, but freezes before showing anything on the simulator screen, then closes without errors, resulting in vs2012 being frozen in place.
    And there doesn’t seem to be any solution out there, you think repairing vs2012 might help? :-/

  9. Problem not solved after VSU4 installed ( not VSU3, link to VSU3 shows VSU4 download ). Laptop with Win 8.1.
    Microsoft Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Phone
    Version 11.0.61030.00 Update 4
    Microsoft .NET Framework
    Version 4.5.51641

    Problem: emulator requires hyper-v. needs win 8 pro.
    How can I run WP projects with above os and software?

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