Windows Mobile Device Center: Won't fully install, connect, or uninstall

 What to do when Windows Mobile Device Center will not fully install, connect, or uninstall

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Windows Mobile Device Center: Won't fully install, connect, or uninstall

Sometimes when installing Microsoft Windows Mobile Device Center (WMDC), it may fail to fully install even though it may appear like the install was completed. When WMDC is only partially installed, it can cause issues when connecting to our rugged handheld computer products (handheld), as well as other issues. Such issues may include the following:

  • Not able to connect with having the default "Enable Advanced Network Functionality" checked on the handheld under Start > Settings > Connections > USB to PC icon.
  • When the handheld is connected, it only appears in Sync Center but not in WMDC.
  • In Device Manager, the connected handheld appears as "Microsoft Windows Mobile Remote Adapter" under Network Adapters or as "Microsoft USB Sync" under Mobile Devices, but the device name never also appears under Portable Devices as it should.

This issue may also prevent WMDC from being fully uninstalled, leaving issues even after re-install. When WMDC will not fully uninstall, it may appear as follows:

  • "Windows Mobile Device Center" and/or "Windows Mobile Device Center Driver Update" can not be removed from the Programs and Features (Uninstall or change a program) list, or from "Add or remove programs".
  • Even if uninstall appears to have been successful, you may still find services such as "Windows Mobile-2003-based device connectivity" and "Windows Mobile-based device connectivity" running in System Configuration (MSConfig), and/or the C:\Windows\WindowsMobile\ folder still exists and must be manually deleted (after stopping services and restarting).

If you have encountered such issues, you may need to alternatively fully uninstall WMDC using a utility such as is provided at the following web page:

Once WMDC has been truly fully uninstalled, if desiring to re-install make sure that your WMDC installer file download is not corrupt or partial. Known good copies of the installer are available under the 64-bit and 32-bit links at this web page.

Windows Mobile Device Center (ActiveSync)

Also make sure that no firewall or other system security is enabled preventing WMDC from fully successfully installing and connecting. After install is complete and connection is tested, you may then be able to re-enable the security. If having connection issues with security enabled, some suggestions are provided at this web page.

Corporate Security (Firewall or Virus Scan) conflict