The ArcPad Team Blog

Unofficial stuff from the team behind the World's leading mobile GIS platform

Thursday, January 10, 2013

ArcPad & Windows 8 - A beautiful marriage

Hi everyone,

We have had several questions about ArcPad being compatible with Windows 8 Pro and the answer is YES (it just isn't documented in the system requirements yet).  One recent test was to install Windows 8 onto a rugged tablet and thought we should show you the results.

By now many of you have probably heard that the new start screen in Windows 8 is a little different and a bit confusing.  The great thing about all of those icons is if you don’t like them then remove them. You don't have to uninstall anything (unless you want to) but why look at it if you don't have too?

You really only have to think of it as a full screen toolbar that you have pinned items on. In actual fact ArcPad and the Shortcut Apps really benefit from this new full screen look, as the shortcuts apps that were introduced in ArcPad 10 are no longer in a pokey little folder but are smack bang in the middle of your screen with a nice big button.

Above you will notice the standard marketing screenshot of Windows 8, and a business focused version showing only my ArcPad projects. Notice that I don't even have a link to ArcPad on the screen because I want the field crew to only access predefined maps and tools through the shortcut apps.  You may also notice that there is no icon to get to the desktop, which could reduce headaches of switching to and from the start screen.

Here is a screenshot of the shortcut apps.

Now here is a quick view of ArcPad running on Windows 8. What you may notice is that I have turned on the auto-hide function of the toolbar so ArcPad runs in full screen. Once again there are less options for someone to press. Remember "If you don't need it why display it?"

When you exit from ArcPad, as always, you enter back to the classic Desktop, but since Windows 8 doesn't come with a Start button visible on the screen, I have provided some instruction on my desktop background to get back to the start menu.

I think you will see that this is actually a very nice option for field work. A full blown operating system with lots of grunt with an "easy to get started" menu that feels like a tablet (after all that's what a Yuma is).  For many years we have been waiting for Windows to be much more touch friendly and now with Windows 8 it looks like the professional GIS mapping world may just have an excellent candidate.


Rather than having the lovely instructions on the screen you can actually write one line of code to quit ArcPad and send you straight back to the Start screen. Here are the steps:

  • Open ArcPad Studio
  • Open your ArcPad.apx file - This is a configuration file (Lives in My ArcPad by default)
  • Click the System Objects Button
  • Choose Application and the OnShutDown Event
  • Choose your line of script and copy into the script win
    • VB: CreateObject("WScript.Shell").SendKeys "^{ESC}"
    • JScript: new ActiveXObject("WScript.Shell").SendKeys("^{ESC}");
  • Press Ok, save the file and exit Studio

The next time you open ArcPad this will load and be ready for when you close ArcPad.


  • At Sunday, January 13, 2013 11:58:00 am, Blogger Unknown said…

    to configure a GPS in Arcpad one has to choose a com port, but as I understand Win8 don't use com ports. Which settings do you use?


  • At Monday, January 14, 2013 9:11:00 am, Blogger Marika said…

    Com ports work just fine in Windows 8 Pro. In some google research this morning I see there are questions about use of com ports with Windows 8 Store Apps only. ArcPad is not (currently) a Store App.

  • At Friday, January 18, 2013 2:13:00 am, Blogger Unknown said…

    I use a Windows 8 convertible notebook/tablet (x86 version of Windows, not WinRT) with an Atom Z2760 Clover Trail processor and an integrated GPS (Broadcom Gnss, it is a probably BCM47511).

    On this system, there are no com ports listed in the device manager. Apparently a “Location API and a Location Provider Driver” is used to get NMEA strings, ot so I gather from this post from a Microsoft rep:

    Is there any way to make the current version of Arcpad communicate with my GPS? If not, will future versions of Arcpad work? These Clover Trail convertible tablets are very suitable for gps assisted surveys, long battery life, good touch screens and optional keyboard so I'm hoping Arcpad will be compatible.


  • At Friday, January 18, 2013 1:17:00 pm, Blogger Marika said…

    Indeed convertable tablet/notebooks are a great choice for field work. Windows 8 Pro on these devices should present no problem for ArcPad users. If you have issues with the GPS, its most likely a driver issue - not software.
    Your message dosnt describe what happens when you search for the GPS from inside ArcPad. Once you try this, please contact Esri Tech Support to fully explore whats happening on your specific machine.

  • At Wednesday, January 23, 2013 6:27:00 am, Blogger bi0m3trics said…

    I have the same issue as Unknown above.. and likely the same tablet. It's the Dell Latitude 10 and it does have an integrated GPS (Broadcom's BCM47511) and we here at the School of Forestry at Northern Arizona University are currently evaluating how we might use these devices (with ArcPad) in our curriculum. However, there seems to be little online for solutions to this type of setup, which is becoming more and more common. After a weekend of reading, apparently newer devices running Widows 8 (x86) now utilize internal calls to Microsoft’s Sensor API and not com ports.
    There are some examples online (poste below), but as best as I can tell, if you want to use these devices (those using the Sensor API) with ArcPad someone has to write a custom device driver to pass the information to the com port or a new driver/version of ArcPad that will make the calls that the software needs... Otherwise, it doesn't show up in any drop downs and can't be found in any com port searchs.
    If anyone knows of a solution, other than developing your own device driver, please let me know.
    The example I found for driver development is here:

  • At Friday, August 02, 2013 8:38:00 am, Blogger Unknown said…

    Dear every ArcPad 8 compatible with windows 8?

  • At Friday, August 02, 2013 10:29:00 am, Blogger Marika said…

    Hi all,

    Further to the questions of support of the location sensors in some tablets - ArcPad 10.2 (available now for business partners and distributors, and soon to be available for all), does use the location API to display location in the GPS Position Window and Status Bar. The location API does only deliver longitude, latitude, optionally altitude and the estimated error.

    To the question of ArcPad 8 and Windows 8. ArcPad 8 will run in the same way it works on Windows 7, but of course new features (like the Location API support described above) will obvious not be available.

  • At Monday, July 25, 2016 1:45:00 am, Blogger Unknown said…

    Many people are upgrading windows 7, 8, 8.1 pro to windows 10, But I'm still have some conclusion, as I heard about its technical issue during upgrading and after upgradation.
    I just activated my OS being purchased a product key from ODosta Store, Now I want to upgrade, So please clear my doubt about it asap.
    thanks in advance.

  • At Monday, July 25, 2016 10:24:00 am, Blogger Marika said…

    I have been using ArcPad on my Windows 10 computer for about a year (since the beta release) and have no issues.


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