Note: To get the latest version of the Windows SDK, go to Downloads for developing desktop apps.
You can use the SDK to build applications that target these operating systems: Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008.
The Windows SDK also includes the Windows App Certification Kit (ACK) 2.2 to test your app for the Windows 8 Certification Program and the Windows 7 Logo Program. If you also want to test your app on Windows RT, use the Windows App Certification Kit for Windows RT.
The Windows SDK no longer ships with a complete command-line build environment. You must install a compiler and build environment separately. If you require a complete development environment that includes compilers and a build environment, you can download Visual Studio Express, which includes the appropriate components of the Windows SDK.
As of November 28, 2012, either Windows ACK 2.2 or the previous version (9200) is required when submitting desktop apps for Windows 8 certification. Windows ACK 2.2 is also required for app submissions to the Windows Store as of December 11, 2012. Windows ACK 2.2 includes bug fixes as well as three new tests:
The Windows SDK provides all the headers, libraries, Windows Metadata files, and tools to build the new Windows Store apps introduced with Windows 8.
The Windows SDK includes the reference assemblies, tools, headers, and libraries needed to build applications that target the .NET Framework 4.5.
The DirectX SDK is now part of the Windows SDK. Many of the tools and components that originally shipped in the DirectX SDK now ship as part of the Windows SDK to support building great DirectX applications for Windows using only a single SDK. Directions for using the DirectX SDK with the new Windows SDK through Visual Studio 2012 can be found here, if you need to continue to use the DirectX SDK for access to legacy components.
At roughly 300 MB, this version of the SDK is about half the size of the Windows SDK for Windows 7 and the .NET Framework 4. Therefore, the newer version installs faster and has a smaller system footprint.
The following items were either changed or removed from this version of the Windows SDK.
The Windows SDK no longer ships with a complete command-line build environment. The Windows SDK now requires a compiler and build environment to be installed separately. By removing the command-line build environment, the Windows SDK no longer ships the following components: Windows SDK Platform Toolset, Visual C++ Compilers and C Runtime (CRT), and Windows SDK Configuration Tool.
The Microsoft Help Viewer no longer ships as part of the Windows SDK.
The Windows SDK for Windows 8 includes support for the .NET Framework 4.5 development tools and reference assemblies. Tools and reference assemblies for previous versions of the .NET Framework aren't included in this version of the Windows SDK. You can continue to download and install the Microsoft Windows SDK for Windows 7 and .NET Framework 4 to acquire tools and reference assemblies for previous versions of the .NET Framework.
The XML documentation comments for the .NET Framework reference assemblies no longer ship as part of the Windows SDK.
All Windows samples have been moved to the Windows Dev Center. The Windows Dev Center provides access to hundreds of demonstrative samples which are filterable by technology, programming language, and development platform. Samples are available for Windows Store apps and Desktop apps. Additional samples are available on the MSDN Code Gallery.
Many obsolete or deprecated tools have been removed from the Windows SDK. The following tools have been removed: Apatch.exe, Bind.exe, Checkv4.exe, Consume.exe, DeviceSimulatorForWindowsSideShow.msi, Err.exe, FDBrowser.exe, FXCopSetup.exe, Guidgen.exe, Make-Shell.exe, MDbg.exe, Mpatch.exe, MSIZap.exe, PTConform.exe, ReBase.exe, sddlgen.exe, setenv.cmd, SetReg.exe, SoapSuds.exe, Sporder.exe, TcpAnalyzer.exe, TSPDesigner.exe, UTL2IDL.exe, ValidateSD.exe, VirtualLightSensor.exe, WinDiff.exe, WpfPerf.exe
Windows 8, Windows 7
Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2008 R2
x86, x64, ARM (Windows Store apps)
Note: The Windows SDK cannot be installed directly on the ARM architecture. To build apps for the ARM architecture, you can install the Windows SDK on an x86 or x64 platform.
To install the .NET Framework 4.5 SDK feature, you first need the .NET Framework 4.5 redistributable package installed. This release of the Windows SDK doesn't include a .NET Framework Redistributable Package. You can download it from Microsoft Download Center.
To optimize your Windows SDK setup experience, we strongly recommend that you install the latest updates and patches from Microsoft Update before you begin installing the Windows SDK.
The complete installation of the Windows SDK requires 10 megabytes (MB) to 1 gigabytes (GB) hard disk space for installation, depending on the features selected. Please verify that the computer you are installing to has the minimum required disk space before beginning setup. If the minimum required disk space is not available, setup will return a fatal error.
When you uninstall the SDK through Programs and Features, most of the SDK components will be uninstalled automatically. However, a few shared components installed by the SDK may need to be uninstalled separately. This guide provides instructions for uninstalling those shared components.
Note: If you uninstall components that other applications use, they will be adversely affected. For example, Visual Studio 2012 also uses the .NET Framework 4.5 SDK.
To uninstall shared SDK components:
This release has the following known issues:
AppVerifier, a tool for testing and verifying the correctness of running applications, might be installed in such a way that it cannot be separately uninstalled. In order to remove it from your computer, uninstall the App Certification Kit or uninstall the Windows SDK.
The installer for the Windows SDK for Windows 8 is not supported on Windows Vista and Windows 2008 Server. However, if you have another computer with a supported operating system, you can install the .NET Framework 4.5 SDK Tools on Windows 2008 Server by following these steps.
Certain operations may fail if you use the x64 version of signtool that is included in the SDK. Please use the x86 version of signtool available under \Windows Kits\8.0\bin\x86 for all your code signing needs.
If you want to use the WinRT metadata functions, you must install the .NET Framework SDK 4.5 to have access to the complete set of necessary header files. The WinRT metadata functions are RoGetMetadataFile, RoParseTypeName, and RoResolveNamespace in RoMetadataResolution.h. Also, you need the IMetaDataDispenser definition in RoMetadataApi.h and MetaDataGetDispenser in RoMetadata.h.
The Windows App Certification Kit (ACK) installs a number of services to your machine. One of the services is Te.Service, which allows ACK to perform automated tasks in a secure manner, for example, in the context of a standard user. It also enables other functionality, for example, remote task execution across machines. The service only starts when needed during execution and stops once it is done. When the service starts, it opens firewall ports and doesn’t prompt the user for consent. Though ACK does stop the service and closes the port upon completion.
Find previous versions of the Windows SDK.
Get more downloads for the Windows desktop.
Find community support for questions related to the Windows SDK.
Get help with developing desktop apps.