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By Chris De Herrera 
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Device Drivers FAQ
By Chris De Herrera, Copyright 2003
 Version 1.00  Revised 6/29/2003

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So you've got the latest and greatest Pocket PC and want to use peripheral X with it. Well most peripherals today require some special software to allow you to use them with your Pocket PC or Handheld PC.  This article covers device driver compatibility.

Device Driver Compatibility

Generally device drivers have to be designed for each version of the Windows CE operating system.  Here is a list of the different versions of Windows CE and the device driver compatibility.

Windows CE Version Driver Compatibility Device Compatibility Notes
Windows CE 1.0 n/a n/a no drivers supported
Windows CE 2.0 none Handheld PC 2.0, Palm-size PC 1.0 original release with device driver support. Used named handles
Windows CE 2.11 none Handheld PC Pro, Palm-size PC 2.0 new device driver model.  Used numeric handles
Windows CE 3.0 partial Windows CE 2.11 compatibility Pocket PC, Pocket PC 2002, Handheld PC 2000 new GUI format for Pocket PC
Windows CE 4.2 partial Windows CE 3.0 compatibility Windows Mobile 2003 Wi-Fi drivers require support of the ability to change the 128 bit WEP key in compliance with 802.1x. 

Installing an Old Device Driver

You may experience problems if you install a driver from an older release. The only fix is a hard reset.  This is especially true between Windows CE 2.0 and all future releases.  Windows CE 2.0 used named device driver handles and all future releases used numeric device driver handles.


Before you install a device driver, I suggest that you perform a full system backup. I would also visit the vendor's website for any device driver updates and install the latest driver that is compatible with your device. If the device driver for your specific version of device, then I would contact the manufacturer to ask them to create a driver for it.

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