Sometimes it is useful to be able to run the Windows Phone 8 emulator without having to create a solution within Visual Studio 2012. Most of the time I am testing apps that I am writing, so launch through Visual Studio, but I have had the need to not do this. After a bit of Googling, the answer became quite clear on how to do this. Never one to keep useful snippets of information to myself, I’ve given the steps below on how to do it.
1. As an administrator, open a command prompt window
2. Navigate to the folder C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft XDE\8.0 (CD Program Files (x86)\Microsoft XDE\8.0)
3. Execute the following command: xde -vhd “c:\program files (x86)\Microsoft SDKs\Windows Phone\v8.0\Emulation\Images\Flash.vhd”
The emulator should then execute as expected. If you have installed the SDK to a different location, you will need to modify the folders/drive specified above, but if you have a default installation, the above should work fine.