Target Windows XP in Visual Studio 11 Beta using the Visual Studio 2010 compiler and libraries

Target Windows XP in Visual Studio 11 Beta using the Visual Studio 2010 compiler and libraries

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In my previous blog I talked about how in Visual Studio 11 we have eliminated the need to convert your Visual Studio 2010 C++ projects in order to adopt the new IDE. The blog also mentioned that you can build your projects using Visual Studio 2010 compiler (tools and libraries) from within Visual Studio 11 using the multi-targeting feature. This means while you adapt to using the new compiler and while your 3rd party vendors provide you with binaries compatible with the Visual Studio 11 compiler (tools and libraries) you can leverage the new Visual Studio 11 IDE without disrupting your ship cycle. Just set the platform toolset property to v100 in the property pages (requires Visual Studio 2010 to be installed side-by-side with Visual Studio 11). Since no upgrade of your project file is necessary you can continue to load the project/solution in Visual Studio 2010 as well.

We have recently received feedback from a number of customers about the inability to build binaries that run on Windows XP with the Beta version of the Visual Studio 11 compiler and libraries. This is because the C++ compiler and libraries in Visual Studio 11 Beta leverages platform capabilities only available in Windows Vista and higher. However, if support for Windows XP targeting is important to you, then you can use Visual Studio 11 Beta’s multi-targeting capability described above in order to employ the Visual Studio 2010 compiler and libraries to build applications and libraries than execute on Windows XP. This enables you to enjoy the new features of the Visual Studio 11 Beta environment without sacrificing backward compatibly in your applications!


Amit Mohindra


  • If maintaining support for XP would come at the cost of not doing something else, like say, reinventing the UI in a horrible grey monotone, I'm all for that. Actually does this explain the UI? Presumably having colors would have required more testing.

  • The new UI does have a certain old timey look to it.  Sort Of wind

  • The new UI does have a certain old timey look to it.  Sort of Windows 3.0 meets DOS.

  • "Based on all of the feedback offered on this thread as well as in places like UserVoice and Channel9, it's clear that a large number of VC++ customers would really like to see Dev11 support XP targeting."

    It's a minor point, but replace "would really like to see" with "need".

  • To expand on that last point a little bit, I would really like to *not* have to target Windows XP in my application.  However, I need to continue to target Windows XP, because that is what a large percentage of my customers use.

    In the same vein, Microsoft would like to not have to target Windows XP in Visual C++.  However, it needs to continue to target Windows XP, because that's what a large percentage of the customers of its customers use.

  • @Jon

    I agree 100%. They spend time inventing a boring montone UI no one wants when they could have been working on stuff people actually wanted or expected.

  • Unfortunately using VC10 toolset isn't going to work at all. There are issues Microsoft isn't going to fix in VC10 that's why we need VC11. Among them are cooperative blocking problems (primarily with asend) in ConcRT that make the whole framework very hard to use:

    None of the workarounds really work. I can imagine it's only a fraction of problems with VC10 so we really need VC11 to work on XP to address those.

  • Sorry the second link should be:

  • GregM: +1, agreed completely. If it weren't for the 30% of XP users, I'll ditch XP support in an instant.

  • VC++11 supporting XP as a target platform is absolutely needed. The other features might be nice, but they're not usable if you can't target XP. XP support is a prerequisite for VC++11 to be usable.

  • The whole purpose of Visual Studio 11 for me is improved C++11 support. If I cannot target XP with VS11, I will have to look at other options (such as staying on VS2010).

  • XP support is of utmost importance to me and my colleagues. Without it, many of us have absolutely no reason to upgrade. Multi-targeting is not a solution for two reasons:

    1) We cannot take advantage of the improved C++11 compliance in VS11

    2) We can't justify spending a large amount on money for just a refreshed IDE (although improved Intellisense and all that are great, I admit)

    We await your decision with great hope. Microsoft will surely deliver. Fingers crossed.

  • Everything has been said, but let me chip in as well: XP targeting support when using C++11 is a must!

  • The Microsoft Security Essentials team apparently has realized that they cannot ditch the 30% still on XP. The fresh 4.0 version still runs on XP SP3. I don't care if VS11 doesn't run on XP. But VS11 should be able to produce binaries that run on XP.

    Multi-targeting is useless. Why upgrade to VS11 if we are going to use the VS2010 toolchain?

  • If anyone still think this might be a good idea, look at the trouble people are having to go to just to avoid breaking their product: (and specifically

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