Which Version of the Windows SDK Should You Use?
The Old Windows XP Platform SDK
Have you tried to download the Windows XP Platform Software Development Kit (PSDK) lately? It’s not there, although you can still find a link to where it used to be in Brian Johnson’s weblog:
Thursday, September 02, 2004 5:00 PM by Brianjo
The reason the old Windows XP PSDK is gone, is that it has been replaced. First it was replaced by a combined PSDK for both Windows XP SP2 and Windows Server 2003 R2, and later by the new “Windows SDK” for Vista which still supports development for previous versions of Windows.
The Windows Server 2003 PSDK
Microsoft published a new SDK on 3/14/2006 for application development on 32 and 64 bit versions of both Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. (It also provides limited support for development on Windows 2000, Windows NT 4.0, Windows Me, Windows 98, and Windows 95.) The release notes are available here: Windows Server 2003 R2 PSDK Release Notes. You can download this PSDK from either of the following links below:
- Windows® Server 2003 R2 Platform SDK – Web install
- Windows® Server 2003 R2 Platform SDK – Full download
The New Windows SDK
In November of 2006, Microsoft released a new combined Windows SDK. This was the beginning of Microsoft’s new strategy to combine all the SDK’s for Windows development in one SDK called the “Windows SDK”. You can download a video in which Melinda Jackson describes the combined Platform SDK, .NET Framework SDK, and WinFX SDKs, in the new Windows SDK here: MSDN TV: Introduction to the New Windows SDK. This video is the only overview of the Windows SDK I have been able to find on the internet. If anyone has a link to a written overview of the Windows SDK, please post it!
The Windows SDK for Vista was released on 11/7/06. It can be downloaded from this link:
- Microsoft® Windows® Software Development Kit for Windows Vista™ and .NET Framework 3.0 Runtime Component- Web install
- Microsoft® Windows® Software Development Kit for Windows Vista™ and .NET Framework 3.0 Runtime Component – ISO download
On 3/22/07, Microsoft issued an update to the Windows SDK for Vista. This update only contains the platform SDK, it does not include the .NET Framework 3.0 which was part of the previous release of the Windows SDK and has not changed. This updated SDK is the version recommended for Windows development on Vista, Windows XP, or Windows Server 2003, and contains the same compilers used in Visual Studio 2005 SP1. The SDK and it’s release notes can be found via the following links:
- Microsoft® Windows® Software Development Kit Update for Windows Vista™ – Web install
- Microsoft® Windows® Software Development Kit Update for Windows Vista™ – ISO download
- Release Notes for Windows SDK Update for Windows Vista
Note: While the DirectX SDK is not included in the Windows SDK, DirectShow is included in the Windows SDK. (The DirectX SDK does not include DirectShow.)
The Next Windows SDK
A preview of the next Windows SDK is available here: Microsoft® Windows® Software Development Kit (SDK) for Windows Server code name “Longhorn” and .NET Framework 3.5
Release notes for this preliminary Windows SDK is are available here: Windows SDK for Longhorn release notes
Links to More Information