Installation Instructions for the Windows SDK 

You can install the Windows Software Development Kit (SDK) directly from the Web by running the Web Setup program, or you can download an ISO image file that you can burn onto a DVD or mount on a virtual drive for installation. This topic provides instructions for both options.

Before you install the Windows SDK, make sure that you have the prerequisites and that you install components in the order specified in the "Order of Installation" section later in this topic.

You can download the Windows SDK and optional components from the Microsoft Download Center.


Please uninstall any pre-release versions of the Windows SDK before installing this release. These older components may interfere with this release, which could cause setup to fail or break the functionality of some installed components.


The Windows SDK requires the following software and hard disk space:

  • One of the following operating systems: Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2, or Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2.

  • Microsoft .NET Framework version 2.0.

  • 1.5 gigabytes (GB) of hard disk space.

Order of Installation

Install the components in this order:

  1. Visual Studio 2005 (optional).

  2. Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0 Runtime Components (optional; available as a separate download from the Windows SDK download page).

  3. Windows SDK.

  4. Development Tools for the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0 (optional; available as a separate download from the Windows SDK download page).

Installing from the Web

When you click the Setup file link on the Windows SDK download page, you are presented with the option to open or save the file.

  • Click Open to install the Windows SDK directly from the Web. If you choose this option, you can decide which components of the Windows SDK you want to install before you download them.

  • Click Save to download the Setup.exe file to your computer. If you choose this option, you can install the Windows SDK at a later time, by double-clicking the Setup.exe file you saved on your computer.

Installing from an ISO Image File

The ISO image file contains a DVD layout of the Windows SDK and its components. The image is an exact representation of a DVD, including the content and the logical format of the DVD.

You cannot install directly from the ISO image. Instead, you can use the image to install the Windows SDK in one of two ways:

  • Burn the image onto a blank DVD-R and use that DVD as an installation disc. The disc will be an identical copy of the original DVD, including file name and volume label information.

  • Mount the ISO image file virtually as a CD-ROM device without burning the image to a DVD. You can do this by using a tool such as the Virtual CD-ROM Control Panel for Windows XP. This tool is provided here for your convenience, and is unsupported by Microsoft Customer Services and Support. See the Readme file that is supplied with the tool for more information.

Options for Customizing Your Installation

During installation, you can choose whether you want to install the following components. To install a component, select the corresponding check box on the Installation Options page of the Setup Wizard. Clear the check box if you do not want to install the component.


By default, the Windows SDK installs documentation for both the managed and the unmanaged programming models for Windows. However, you can choose not to install one or both of the following documentation sets:

  • Win32: Documentation and code examples for developing applications using the unmanaged programming model for Windows.

  • Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0: Documentation and code examples for developing applications using the managed programming model for Windows.


Two sets of samples are included by default:

  • Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0 samples: These samples are available in the documentation. If you also choose to install them,,,,, and are installed to \Program Files\Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v6.0\samples on your computer. These files contain all of the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0 samples.

  • Win32 samples: These samples are not included in the documentation. If you choose to install them, they are installed as subdirectories of \Program Files\Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v6.0\samples —they are not in a .zip file.


The Windows SDK includes the following platform options:

  • x86

  • x64

  • IA64

By default, the Setup program detects the platform you are running and includes only the matching components in the installation. However, you can choose to include other platforms if you want to create multiple versions of your applications. For example, if your development computer is x86 but you want to compile x64 versions of your applications, include the x64 platform during installation. The x86 platform will be included by default.


The Windows SDK includes tools that make it easier for you to create, deploy, and manage applications and components that run on Windows.


FxCop is a code analysis tool that checks managed code assemblies for conformance to the Microsoft .NET Framework Design Guidelines. It uses reflection, Microsoft intermediate language (MSIL) parsing, and call-graph analysis to inspect assemblies for more than 200 defects in the following areas: library design, localization, naming conventions, performance, and security.

This distribution of FxCop includes both graphical and command-line versions of the tool.

Debugging Tools for Windows

This installation option includes tools to help analyze and debug Windows, Windows drivers, and applications for Windows. It includes the WinDbg debugger, which is a graphical tool that enables you to debug Windows-based applications, service applications, and kernel-mode drivers.

Win32 and Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0 Desktop Tools

This installation option includes the reference assemblies, IntelliSense files, and tools needed to develop Windows-based applications using both the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0 and Win32. If you plan to use Development Tools for the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0, you must install these desktop tools. Note that before you can run Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0 tools, you must install Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0 Runtime Components.

If you install the desktop tools, you can find documentation for them on the Start menu. To open the tools documentation, point to All Programs, point to Microsoft Windows SDK, point to Tools, and then click Tools Reference.

Mobile Tools

This installation option includes the .NET Compact Framework reference assemblies and tools needed to develop applications for mobile devices that use the .NET Compact Framework. Note that the .NET Compact Framework must be installed separately. Mobile tools are not installed by default.

Microsoft .NET Compact Framework 2.0

If you want to develop applications for mobile devices, you can install the .NET Compact Framework by selecting its check box.

See Also