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This page is obsolete and kept only for historical interest. It may document features that are obsolete, superseded, or irrelevant. Do not rely on the information here being up-to-date.
Additional information: Support for the WinCE compile was removed in a7b2dcf0ee052630b5469fb2dac652d307e0784c. If you still want to compile for WinCE, either checkout an older revision, or revert the necessary removals.


This is a guide for cross-compiling VLC for Windows CE on Linux with a step-by-step instruction to download, install, configure and build your VLC.

First, you might want to take a look at compiling instructions for Win32, as the process is roughly the same, and it includes useful discussion and explanations.

Building VLC

Prepare your environment

VLC uses automake, autoconf and friends for compilation. Make sure they are up to date and usable for your system.

Get mingw32ce

To compile VLC, we use Mingw32CE, a cross-development environment for Windows CE. Download the latest version on Sourceforge.

Go the the directory where you dowloaded CeGCC, and untar it, for example:

% tar xjf arm-mingw32ce-0.59.1.tar.bz2 -C /

You should now see the folder /opt/mingw32ce.

Get the source

Start by getting the source, using FTP for releases, or using Git for development. If your are using the release, download source code and extract the archive and go into your VLC directory.

% cd /path/to/your/vlc/folder/

If you are using the Git version, start by bootstrapping your VLC.

% cd /path/to/your/vlc/folder/
% ./bootstrap

Get the contribs

You can get official WinCE contribs on, for example contrib-20091114-wince-bin-gcc-4.1.0-runtime-3.15.2-only.tar.bz2. Uncompress them in /usr/wince


You need to tweak your configure line.

./configure is used to check whether your system is able to compile VLC. Also you choose the functionalities of your build.

% ./configure --help

will show you the various options

Create a new file named and add in it:

PATH=/opt/mingw32ce/bin:$PATH \
CPPFLAGS="-I/usr/wince/include -D_WIN32_WCE=0x0500" \
LDFLAGS="-L/usr/wince/lib" \
PKG_CONFIG_LIBDIR=/usr/wince/lib/pkgconfig \
./configure --host=arm-mingw32ce --enable-optimize-memory \
            --disable-directx --disable-dvdnav --disable-libgcrypt \
            --disable-mad --disable-remoteosd --disable-sdl --disable-skins2

You will probably want to add more options like --disable-sout --disable-httpd --disable-vlm to remove stuff that you won't need if your device is limited in storage space and memory.

Save the file and make it executable:

% chmod u+x

Compiling source code

Now run your configuration script and build VLC:

% ./
% make

Creating self contained packages

Once the compilation is done, you can build self-contained VLC packages with the following command:

make package-wince

This will create a archive. Transfer it on your device, uncompress it and enjoy!

There is not (yet) an option to build a .cab file.

Using and Debugging VLC

Interacting with your device

Use SynCE to synchronize your device with Linux. Or find an Windows machine with ActiveSync installed and download your fresh new VLC build.

Debugging VLC

CeGCC provides a stub for GDB to permit remote debugging on Windows CE. To use it, go in the vlc folder:

% cd vlc-1.0.0
% arm-mingw32ce-gdb vlc.exe

This GDB will upload vlc.exe to /gdb/ on the device. Make sure you uploaded all the VLC directory on your device.

Then, follow the demo of a debugging session for Windows CE.

Known issues

  • There is no usable GUI for WinCE. There used to be a WinCE GUI module up to the 1.0 branch, however, it was unmaintained and badly broken, so it was removed in the 1.1 branch. Yes, not having a GUI makes VLC pretty useless, so contributions from developers are badly welcome.
    The diffs in which the WinCE GUI was removed are this one and this one. The module may compile, load and show up when you launch VLC, but it doesn't work (clicking on buttons doesn't do anything etc).
  • When launching VLC, if you get an error saying "vlc.exe is not a valid PocketPC application" (and you use Windows Mobile 6.1), read this and set up your registry accordingly (yes, that's one entry for libvlc.dll, one for libvlccore.dll, and one for every DLL in the plugins directory; good luck).
  • If an error message appears about missing DLLs, it might be due to mingw32ce dynamically linking against libgcc. The build system of VLC doesn't fetch and include this library when it creates the package, which is why it is missing. Try looking for libgcc*.dll files in /opt/mingw32ce and copying them in the directory where you extracted VLC. For the same reason, some C++ plugins might refuse to load due to a missing libstdc++ DLL, so you'll want to copy libstdc++-6.0.dll onto your device too.
  • Up to Windows CE 5.0, the memory model limits each process to 32 MB of virtual address space. If you compiled VLC with too many plugins, they will quickly fill up those 32 MB, which leads too missing features, or VLC simply freezing. In any case, check the vlc-log.txt file in the root directory for Error 14 logs. If you find some, you can try reducing the memory footprint of VLC by disabling some modules during the ./configure and/or removing them from the plugins directory. In my experience, VLC can load a maximum of roughly 16 MB of plugins.
  • If the colors are wrong when playing a video (red and blue swapped), try removing the libswscale plugin.

See also WindowsCE