[28 September 2006 Update] The Windows Vista September CTP has been released to beta members. There is a matching September CTP from the .NET 3.0 Runtime Components, Windows SDK, "Orcas" Tools and Workflow Extensions to Visual Studio 2005.

I originally wrote this blog entry to help folks reconcile the differences between three concurrent releases of Windows Vista - each of which had different release points (public vs. MSDN vs. beta-only) - with the various moving parts that developers needed (.NET 3.0 Runtime Components, Windows SDK and Visual Studio 2005 Extensions). Due to popular demand, I've decided to continue updating it through RTM with each release of the various products.

Note: CTPs are generally removed once superceded by two releases. Therefore, this blog entry will be updated to remove the links to those releases which are no longer available from our servers.

Below, I’ve listed the builds in terms of what works with each operating system and development/runtime environment to help you decide which build you need. Once you know which build you wish to install, you can then use the Download Locations Matrix to locate the download pages/links. The last section then enumerates some key points regarding each build milestone.

Determining the Build that is Right for You

Are you setting up this environment for Windows Vista?
  • Is Windows Vista September CTP the most current build you have access to? (Beta Members and CPP) September CTP
  • Is Windows Vista RC1 the most current build you have access to? (MSDN Subscription, Beta Members and CPP) RC1
  • Is Windows Vista Beta 2 the most current build you have access to? (While the Windows Vista Beta 2 is publicly available to anyone, the June CTP requires a beta membership and July CTP requires either beta membership or an MSDN subscription) Beta 2
  • Do you have access to the Windows Vista June and July CTP builds and want the complete set of matching Windows Vista/.NET 3.0 development bits? June CTP (There is no July CTP build of the “Orcas” Development Tools for the .NET Framework 3.0)
  • Do you have access to Windows Vista July CTP and want the matching Windows Vista/.NET 3.0 development bits even though they do not contain the “Orcas” Development Tools for the .NET Framework 3.0? July CTP
Are you setting up this environment for Windows XP SP2 or Windows 2003 Server?
  • Do you want the latest complete set of matching .NET 3.0 development bits? September CTP

Download Locations Matrix

To use this matrix, simply locate the row that matches the operating system and build milestone that you're targeting (shown in the first column of each row). Then from left to right download and install each desired tool on that row with the following considerations:
  • If you want to run (not develop .NET 3.0 applications), you only need the .NET 3.0 Runtime Components for the desired build milestone. (The other downloads are for developing native and .NET 3.0 applications)
  • If you want to develop native-only (non.NET) applications, you only need the Windows SDK for the desired build milestone.
  • "Orcas" Tools for .NET 3.0 Development is only needed if you are writing Windows Presentation Foundation applications and are using a released (non beta) copy of Visual Studio 2005 (including the Express Editions)
  • Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) Extensions to Visual Studio is only needed if you are writing Windows Workflow Foundation applications and are using a released (non beta) copy of Visual Studio 2005 (including the Express Editions)
Note: Since these are all "prerelease bits", it is highly recommended that you install these products/technologies on a non-production, test machine and remove any previous versions before installing.

Operating System .NET 3.0 Runtime Components Windows SDK "Orcas" Tools for .NET 3.0 WF Extensions to Visual Studio
 Vista - September CTP (5728) Sept CTP (4506.03 - installed by O/S) Sept CTP (5728.0.4) Sept CTP Release Candidate 5
 Vista - RC1 (5600) RC1 (4324.17 - installed by O/S) RC1 (5536.0.2) RC1 Release Candidate 5
 Vista - Pre RC1 (5536) RC1 (4324.17 - installed by O/S) None None None
 Vista - July CTP (5472.5) July CTP (4306 - installed by O/S) July CTP (5472.2.1) None Release Candidate 4
 Vista - June CTP (5456) June CTP (4131.06 installed by O/S) June CTP (5456.3) June CTP Release Candidate 2
 Vista - Beta 2 (5384.4) Beta 2 (installed by O/S) Beta 2 (5383.1.1) Beta 2 Beta 2.2
 
 XP (SP2) or Win2K3 Sept CTP (4506.03) Sept CTP (5728.0.4) Sept CTP Release Candidate 5
 XP (SP2) or Win2K3 RC1 (4324.17) RC1 (5536.0.2) RC1 Release Candidate 5
 XP (SP2) or Win2K3 July CTP (4307) July CTP (5472.2.1) None Release Candidate 4
 XP (SP2) or Win2K3 June CTP (4131.06) June CTP (5456.3) June CTP Release Candidate 2
 XP (SP2) or Win2K3 Beta 2 Beta 2 (5383.1.1) Beta 2 Beta 2.2

Build Notes

Here are some key notes for each currently published build milestone for Windows Vista and the .NET 3.0 Framework development tools.

Windows Vista Pre RC1

  • Windows Vista Build 5536 was a prerelease for RC1 directed at end-users (non developers).
  • There were no released matching developer bits (Windows SDK, Visual Studio 2005 Extensions, etc.)
July 2006 CTP
  • Windows Vista July CTP (5472.5) is only available for MSDN subscribers and beta members
  • The July CTP includes builds of the .NET Framework 3.0 Runtime Components and Windows SDK for use with Windows Vista July CTP (5472.5), Windows XP or Windows 2003 Server
  • There is no July CTP build of the “Orcas” Development Tools for the .NET Framework 3.0
  • The July CTP builds of .NET Framework 3.0 Runtime Components and Windows SDK are not supported for .NET 3.0 development on Windows Vista Beta 2 or Windows Vista June CTP
June 2006 CTP
  • Windows Vista June CTP (5456) is only available to beta members
  • There are public downloads for June CTP builds of .NET Framework 3.0 Runtime Components, Windows SDK and “Orcas” Development Tools for the .NET Framework 3.0 for use with Windows Vista June CTP (5456), Windows XP or Windows 2003 Server
  • The June CTP builds of .NET Framework 3.0 Runtime Components, Windows SDK and “Orcas” Development Tools for the .NET Framework 3.0 are not supported for .NET Framework 3.0 development on Windows Vista Beta 2
Beta 2
  • Windows Vista Beta 2 (Build 5384) is the most current public build of the Vista operating system that is available to anyone.
  • There are matching bits for the .NET Framework 3.0 Runtime Components, Windows SDK, “Orcas” Development Tools for the .NET Framework 3.0 and the Visual Studio 2005 Extensions for Windows Workflow Foundation bits that are also publicly available.
  • If this is the most current version of Windows Vista that you can access (the June CTP requires beta membership and the July CTP requires beta membership or an MSDN subscription), then you should only use the matching Beta 2 bits for the aforementioned runtime components and development tools.