How to boot GPS device directly into Windows CE

Recently I was given a GPS device which runs Windows CE 6.0. After the unit boots, custom GPS software is loaded automatically. The software itself is very clunky, but it does let you go into the Windows CE desktop.

Since I use Google Maps on my iPhone for all my GPS needs, I decided to try an hack the device so that it boots directly into Windows CE, and turn it into Win CE tablet in the process. Turned out all I had to do is change a registry setting.

To access registry on Win CE device, you’ll need CeRegEditor, which is a free application. After you’ve downloaded and installed it, connect your device to your PC. Open CeRegEditor and connect to the device.

Once connected, browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\init. In here you will see several Launch keys (10, 20, 30, etc.). One of those keys will contain the name of the GPS software .exe file, which will depend on your device. In my case it was Launch50. Edit the key and change value to Explorer.exe. Save changes and reboot your device – it will boot straight into Windows CE.