Windows Software Development Kit (SDK) for Windows 8

The Windows Software Development Kit (SDK) for Windows 8 contains headers, libraries, and a selection of tools that 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 (only on Windows 8) using web technologies (such as HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript), native (C++), and managed (C#, Visual Basic) code; desktop applications that use the native (Win32/COM) programming model; or desktop applications that use the managed (.NET Framework) programming model.

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. 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.

Install and download  (974 KB, English)

Published: November 15, 2012

Note: For the latest SDK and mobile emulator, see Downloads and tools for Windows.

What's new

Windows ACK 2.2

As of November 28, 2012, either Windows ACK 2.2 or the previous version (9200) is required when submitting desktop apps for Windows 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:

Optimized binding references (when using bindings, WinJS.Binding.optimizeBindingReferences should be set to TRUE in the app’s JavaScript to optimize the memory usage).

  • Branding validation (apps should not use the default icons generated by Visual Studio or included in the SDK samples).
  • Private code signing (remove any private code signing keys, such as .pfx files, from the package).
Windows Store apps

The Windows SDK provides all the headers, libraries, Windows Metadata files, and tools to build the new Windows Store apps introduced with Windows 8.

.NET Framework 4.5 SDK

The Windows SDK includes the reference assemblies, tools, headers, and libraries needed to build applications that target the .NET Framework 4.5.

Integrated DirectX SDK

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.

Decreased size

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.

Updated or removed features

The following items were either changed or removed from this version of the Windows SDK.

Command-line build environment

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.

Microsoft Help Viewer

The Microsoft Help Viewer no longer ships as part of the Windows SDK.

.NET framework tools and reference assemblies

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 Code Samples .


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

System requirements

Supported operating systems

Windows 8, Windows 7,
Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2008 R2

Supported architectures

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.

Installing and uninstalling

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.

Windows SDK disk space requirements

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.

How to uninstall SDK components

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:

  • 1. In the Control Panel, choose the Programs section. Choose the Programs and Features entry.
  • 2. In the list of installed programs, choose Windows Software Development Kit, and then select Uninstall.
  • 3. Remove the shared components. This list provides some of the components you may see:
    • Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5 SDK
    • Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5 Multi-Targeting Pack

Release notes

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.

.NET Framework 4.5 SDK Tools on Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008

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.

  • 1. Run the Windows SDK for Windows 8 installer on a supported operating system (for example, Windows 7, or Windows 8).
  • 2. On the Specify Location screen, select Download the Windows SDK for installation on a separate computer, and then click Next.
  • 3. Answer the questions on the Join the Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) screen.
  • 4. On the next screen, choose the .NET Framework 4.5 Software Development Kit feature. Unselect all other features that can be unselected.
  • 5. Choose the Download button.
  • 6. Go to the download location (specified in step 2) and find the following .NET Framework 4.5 SDK tool installer files:
    • sdk_tools4.msi
  • 7. You can copy these files to a Windows Vista or Windows 2008 Server computer within your organization. These files need to be copied to same directory on the Windows Vista or Windows 2008 Server computer.
  • Note: Do not redistribute these files outside your organization or as part of any other installer.
  • 8. On the Windows Vista or Windows 2008 Server computer, review the license terms here.
  • 9. Check whether .NET Framework 4.5 is already installed on the computer. Otherwise, download and install .NET Framework 4.5 from the Download Center.
  • 10. Open a command prompt with administrator privileges.
  • 11. Go to the directory where .NET Framework 4.5 SDK Tools installed files were copied.
  • 12. Install .NET Framework 4.5 SDK tools by using the command line: {"Msiexec /i sdk_tools4.msi VSEXTUI=1"}

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.

WinRT MetaData APIs

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

Windows App Certification Kit Port Usage

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.

Explore more

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.

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