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Windows Dev Center

New to app development?

Learn how to develop desktop apps in the platform of your choice. Find out which technology is best for your needs.

Win32 and COM

Build desktop apps and services using the core Windows APIs to leverage the performance and flexibility of the operating system.


Build and run the next generation of desktop apps and XML web services with this comprehensive and consistent programming model.


Build, deploy, and manage apps and PaaS/IaaS services through a global network of Microsoft-managed datacenters.


Create desktop and browser-hosted apps using a resolution-independent, vector-based engine to leverage modern graphics hardware.

Make your app compatible

Verify your existing or planned apps are going to work with the latest operating systems. The Compatibility Cookbook provides info about changes to and new features of the Windows 8.1, Windows 8, and Windows Server 2012 R2 operating systems.

Building a game?

Find out how to get started creating a Windows desktop game with Visual Studio 2013 and Direct3D, or incorporating the latest features introduced with DirectX 11.2. (Note that the DirectX SDK is part of the Windows SDK for Windows 8.1.)

Set up a developer account

Before you can certify your desktop app for Windows, you need a developer account.

Essential downloads

Windows SDK for Windows 8.1

Get the headers, libraries, and tools you need to create Windows Store and desktop apps. (Includes the Windows App Certification Kit.) Learn more about the Windows SDK for Windows 8.1.

Visual Studio Express 2013 for Desktop

Visual Studio Express 2013 for Windows Desktop enables the creation of desktop apps in C#, Visual Basic, and C++, and supports Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), Windows Forms, and Win32.