DISCLAIMER: AMI does not support the workarounds proposed in this article. Since Microsoft has dropped WMDC support, we do not stand by any problems that arise due to following these instructions. Please take caution and test thoroughly before pushing anything into production.
Microsoft officially ended support for Windows Mobile Device Center (WMDC, formerly ActiveSync) in Windows Vista. For newer operating system versions, especially for Windows 10, it is highly recommended to use an alternative like a direct Internet or network connection on the handheld. Such a connection may be established on the handheld by using Wifi, cellular modem, or through an Ethernet dock/cradle.
WMDC may not work in newer Windows versions, particularly Windows 10 version 1703 (Creators Update) OS Build 15063. If you absolutely need to use WMDC in a newer version of Windows, some possible methods to get it to work are as follows.
After installing WMDC, if you are having difficulties running or connecting, download and run the following utility on your PC as an administrator.
Sometimes before being successful at installing WMDC, you must first manually enable the required .NET Framework 3.5 under “Turn Windows features on or off” and/or by using the previous dotNetFx35setup.exe installer from Microsoft.
We highly recommend that you run the 64-bit drvupdate-amd64.exe or 32-bit drvupdate-x86.exe installer as an Admin and in "Compatibility Mode" for Windows Vista if WMDC and the required drivers do not successfully install automatically through the Windows Update service when you connect USB.
After install and once "Windows Mobile Device Center" appears in the list under the Start menu on the desktop PC, similar to as is automatically applied by our "WMDC-Helper.exe" utility referenced above, you may need to run Windows Powershell as an administrator to apply the following registry commands, and then perform a Restart.
REG ADD HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\RapiMgr /v SvcHostSplitDisable /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f
REG ADD HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\WcesComm /v SvcHostSplitDisable /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f
This is less likely, but you may additionally need to open "Computer Management" as an Admin to view Services and Applications > Services to change the Properties of the “Windows Mobile-2003-based device connectivity” and “Windows mobile-based device connectivity” services to Log On using "Local System Account", and then Start each service. You may sometimes need to re-apply and Start these again when re-connecting device or after performing a Restart on the PC.
Even if you are not able to get WMDC to show it is connected, you may still be able to browse the contents of the device through File Explorer (which will appear as a drive under "This PC") or synchronize anyway.