The upcoming Windows SDK for Windows 7 and .NET Framework 4 (WinSDK v7.1) is packed with new features supporting developers creating applications for Windows 7/Server 2008 R2 or targeting the .NET Framework 4. This SDK will be released soon after the RTM version of Visual Studio 2010 is released.

You can build Windows 7/Server 2008 R2 and .NET Framework 4 applications right out-of-the box with Visual Studio 2010. This standalone release of the Windows SDK will help you create Windows 7/Server 2008 R2 applications using earlier versions of Visual Studio or another build environment. If you are creating applications to run on older operating systems this is likely the right SDK for you, too; see the support section below.

What’s new in the WinSDK v7.1 release?

· Smaller/Faster: at less than 600MB, this SDK is one third the size of the Windows 7 RTM SDK; it installs faster and has a smaller footprint.

· Cleaner setup: features on setup screens have been grouped into native, managed, and common buckets to help you choose the components you need faster.

· New Microsoft Help System v1.0: this brand new system was first introduced with Visual Studio 10. You can import just the content you need from the MSDN cloud, and update it according to your schedule.

· VC++ 2010 RTM compilers/CRT with improved compilation performance and speed. These are the same compilers and toolset that ships with Visual Studio 2010.

· New command line build environment that uses MSBuild 4.0, now the common Microsoft build system for all languages, and supporting the new C++ project type, .vcxproj.

What does the Win SDK v7.1 support?

· OS: You can install this SDK on and/or create applications for Windows 7, Server 2008 R2, Server 2008, XPSP3, Vista, and Windows Server 2003 R2.

· Platform architecture: you can install this SDK on and/or create applications for platform chipsets X86, X64, and IA64 (Itanium).

· .NET Framework: you can use the SDK resources to create applications that target .NET Framework versions 2.0, 3.0, 3.5, 4.

· Visual Studio: you can use the resources in this SDK with Visual Studio versions 2005, 2008, and 2010, including Express editions. (Not all features work with all versions of Visual Studio. For example, you can’t use the .NET 4 tools with Visual Studio 2005/2008; some samples will not build in VS 2005, and samples require upgrade in VS2010.)

· Setup/Install options: Win SDK v7.1 will be available through an ISO or a Web setup download and install experience. Web setup allows you to install selected components of the SDK without having to download the entire SDK.  The DVD ISO setup allows you to download the entire SDK to install later, or share among different computers.

What are the prerequisites for the SDK: you’ll need to install the full version of .NET Framework 4 Redistributable Components. This must be the final, RTM version of the full, extended Framework. The Client version of the Framework will not work, and the SDK will not install on a computer that has a pre-release (Beta or RC) version of the .NET Framework 4.

Tell me more!

Here’s more detailed information about the features in the Windows SDK v7.1, which are arranged on the setup screen into 3 groups

· Common development resources useful to all developers

· Native developer resources

· Managed developer resources

Common development resources

· Microsoft Help System 1.0:  This new Help System was delivered first with Visual Studio 2010. MHS allows you to view documents on MSDN Library, and select documents to download from the MSDN cloud to your computer for viewing when a connection to the Internet is unavailable or undesired.  You can download, update or delete content on your own schedule.  The DExplore document viewer that shipped with previous SDKs is no longer delivered via the SDK, and documentation is no longer delivered in-box with the SDK. You’ll be prompted at the end of SDK setup to download documentation to your computer using the Microsoft Help System if you wish to do so.

· Command line build environment: A redesigned build environment builds both native (C++, makefile) and managed applications (C++/CLI, C#, VB) using the new Visual C++ 2010 compiler/CRT and MSBuild 4.0 is in WinSDK v7.1.  Upgrading earlier versioned projects is supported, and you can create debug and release builds targeting XPSP3, Vista, Server 2003 R2, Server 2008, Windows 7 and Server 2008R2.  The SDK build environment is now completely separate from Visual Studio build environments, and changes made to one environment no longer affect the other.

· Popular tools: Nearly 100 great tools for both native and managed developers are delivered with this SDK, such as Debugging Tools for Windows, Windows Performance Toolkit, Application Verifier, Windows Troubleshooting Pack Designer, Windiff, and lots more.

Native development resources

· Windows headers and libraries:  Each release of the SDK ships with the latest RTM headers and libraries for native Windows development. WinSDK v7.1 includes a slightly more recent set than the Windows 7 RTM SDK.  This set matches exactly the Windows headers/libraries delivered via Visual Studio 2010 RTM.  (If you’re already using Visual Studio 2010 or VC++ 2010 Express there’s no need to update the Windows headers, libraries and tools using the SDK. Visual Studio 2010 is completely up to date.)

· VC++ 2010 compilers/CRT: The brand new, version 10.0 native compilers/CRT for X86, X64 and IA64 are available with WinSDKv7.1 and integrated with SDK command-line build environment.

· Windows samples: This release provides the same set of Windows samples delivered in the Windows 7 RTM SDK, with limited, high-priority updates. Take a look at the Windows SDK Blog posts about the sample updates for Windows 7. Native samples have a mix of VS 2005 and VS 2008 project files, which can be upgraded in the SDK v7.1 build environment to build with the VC++ 2010 compiler.

· Windows Tools: WinSDK v7.1 includes a slightly more updated set of Windows tools than the Windows 7 RTM SDK or VS2010 RTM.  Several tools have been updated and several new tools added.

· Windows Reference assemblies: These are the same versions that shipped in Windows 7 RTM SDK and VS2010 RTM for FSRM, MMC, TabletPC, UDDI, Windows Media Services and Windows PowerShell. (A reference assembly is an assembly that is referenced by design-time tools typically for the purpose of examining the metadata that describes the types in the assembly. Some of the SDK samples illustrate use of these reference assemblies.)

· Windows SDK v7.1 Platform toolset: This set of custom WinSDK v7.1 props and targets files allows the native multi-targeting function in Visual Studio 2010 to use the Windows SDK v7.1 resources with Visual Studio 2010. Multi-targeting is the ability to use the current version of Visual Studio to build your application with a different set of installed tools or SDKs. If you want to build a native application in Visual Studio 2010, but you want to use the Windows headers, libraries and tools delivered in the WinSDK v7.1, you can do so by using the Windows SDK v7.1 Platform toolset. (Remember though, there’s no need to do so for most development scenarios. The Windows headers, libraries and tools delivered via Visual Studio 2010 are completely up to date.)

· Windows SDK Configuration tool: If you’re using Visual Studio/Visual C++ versions 2005 or 2008 you can use this tool to integrate the WinSDK v7.1 version of the Windows headers, libraries and tools with Visual C++. This tool makes it easier to build a Windows 7 application with Visual Studio 2005/2008.

Managed development resources

· .NET Framework 4 Reference Assemblies: The Windows SDK is the new delivery vehicle for .NET Framework 4 reference assemblies.  The .NET Framework Redistributable Package ( .NET Framework 4 will be available soon on the Microsoft Download Center) no longer delivers these assemblies. Visual Studio 2010 customers receive these as part of the VS install, but users of third-party tools for managed development may want to get them from WinSDK v7.1. 

· .NET Framework IntelliSense: These XML files are used to provide interactive documentation for .NET Reference Assemblies, which appears dynamically in the form of tooltips while programming.   Visual Studio 2010 customers can use the IntelliSense feature and files installed with Visual Studio, but users of third-party tools for managed development may want to get the IntelliSense filese from WinSDK v7.1. 

· .NET Framework Hosting & Tools Development Headers/Libraries: These native header files provide developers with the ability to inter-operate between managed and unmanaged environments s to enable native access to the .NET Framework 4 runtime.   The APIs can be used for writing custom native runtime hosts, compilers, disassemblers, obfuscators, debuggers, and profilers, etc., which will target the .NET Framework 4.

· .NET Framework samples: WinSDK v7.1 provides links to these samples available on MSDN Code Gallery.  .NET samples are no longer delivered via the Windows SDK.

· .NET Framework 3.5 tools: This release includes the same .NET 3.5 SP1 versions of the .NET tools as previously shipped in the Windows 7 RTM SDK, allowing you to create applications that target the .NET Framework 3.5 SP1.

· .NET Framework 4 tools: This release includes the VS2010 RTM versions of the .NET 4 tools, allowing you to create applications that target the .NET Framework 4.

I want to use Visual Studio 2010. Should I install the Windows SDK v7.1?

If you install Visual Studio 2010 there’s no need to update the Windows headers, libraries and tools using the WinSDK v7.1. Visual Studio 2010 RTM version is completely up to date.  If you want to install an SDK component that is not included with Visual Studio 2010, such as the Windows Samples, you may wish to download and install the SDK.

I want to use Visual C++ 2010 Express. Should I install the Windows SDK v7.1?

If you install Visual C++ 2010 Express, the Windows headers and libraries in that product are already up to date. However, the Windows SDK v7.1 includes more tools than are delivered with Visual C++2010. If you want to install an SDK component that is not included with Visual C++ 2010 Express, such as the Windows Samples or 64-bit native compilers/CRT, you may wish to download and install WinSDK v7.1. You can use the Web setup utility to install only the components you need. Web setup allows you to install selected components of the SDK without having to download the entire SDK. 

How can I get it?

This SDK will be released soon after the RTM version of Visual Studio 2010 is released. The SDK release will be announced on the MSDN Windows SDK Developer Center and the Windows SDK blog. Subscribe to the RSS feed to be notified when the SDK is released.

Karin Meier
Program Manager
Windows C++ Team
Windows SDK