The Windows Software Development Kit (SDK) for Windows 8.1 contains headers, libraries, and tools you can use when you create apps that run on Windows operating systems. You can use the Windows SDK, along with your chosen development environment, to write Windows Store apps and desktop apps for Windows 8.1 as well as Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2008 R2, and Windows Server 2008.
The Windows SDK also includes the Windows App Certification Kit 3.3 (Windows ACK) to test your app for the Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and Windows 8.1 Phone certification program.
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 2013, which includes the appropriate components of the Windows SDK. To download the SDK and install it on another computer, click the download link and run the setup. Then in the Specify Location dialog box, click Download the Windows Software Development Kit for installation on a separate computer.
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Last updated: April 29, 2015
Originally published: October 17, 2013
Note: For the latest SDK and mobile emulator, see Downloads and tools for Windows.
Windows SDK for Windows 8.1 upgrades the Windows App Certification Kit, AppVerifier, and Windows Performance ToolKits. If you install the Windows SDK for Windows 8.1 on a PC that includes the Windows SDK for Windows 8, the tools will be upgraded and moved to the Windows Kits\8.1 folder.
You might not be able to uninstall AppVerifier, a tool for testing and verifying the correctness of running apps, separately. To remove it from your computer, uninstall the App Certification Kit or uninstall the Windows SDK.
This tool, designed for manual testing of UI automation, does not run on ARM devices in Windows 8.1.
If you install the Windows SDK for Windows 8.1 on a PC with the Windows SDK for Windows 8, and then uninstall it, the upgraded tools (Windows App Certification Kit, AppVerifier and Windows Performance ToolKits) stay in the 8.1 folder. To recover the Windows 8 version, repair the Windows SDK from Control Panel.
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.hr.
The Windows ACK installs Te.Service, which allows Windows ACK to perform automated tasks in a secure manner; for example, in the context of a standard user. It also enables other functionality, like, remote task execution across PCs. The service only starts when the Kit calls it during execution and stops after the call is complete. When the service starts, it opens firewall ports and doesn’t prompt the user for consent. Though Windows ACK does stop the service and closes the port when it’s done.
Test fails when a developer package is updated from an earlier version to a newer version. Uninstall the earlier package before running Windows ACK on the updated package.
To run Windows ACK on a Windows 8.1 ARM PC, the Kits policy needs to be installed. The setup for Windows ACK on Windows 8.1 ARM will install the policy on your PC. Note that Kits policy is required to be installed only once on a PC. The Kits policy is not required when you need to run Windows ACK on a PC running Windows 8 ARM.