Set up your development environment

Follow these instructions to set up your development environment so you can start creating apps for Windows 11 and Windows 10.

System requirements

To develop Windows apps, you'll need to install and set up Visual Studio, the Windows 10 SDK, and the Windows App SDK on a development computer. These tools have the following system requirements.

Visual Studio is a comprehensive integrated development environment (IDE) that you can use to edit, debug, and build code, and then publish your app.

See this page for Visual Studio system requirements.

1. Install Visual Studio

Use the following link to install Visual Studio 2019. You can choose between the free Visual Studio Community edition, Visual Studio Professional, or Visual Studio Enterprise. Whichever version you choose, the latest Windows SDK will also be installed by default.

Required workloads and components

Make sure these workloads and components are installed with Visual Studio. These are all selected by default.

  • On the Workloads tab of the installation dialog, these workloads are required:

    • Universal Windows Platform development
    • Desktop development with C++
    • .NET Desktop Development
  • On the Individual components tab of the installation dialog, Windows 10 SDK (10.0.19041.0) is required in the SDKs, libraries, and frameworks section.

  • In the Installation details pane of the installation dialog, C++ (v142) Universal Windows Platform tools is required in the Universal Windows Platform development section.

2. Enable NuGet Package source

Make sure your system has a NuGet package source enabled for the official NuGet service index at https://api.nuget.org/v3/index.json.

  1. In Visual Studio, select Tools -> NuGet Package Manager -> Package Manager Settings to open the Options dialog.
  2. In the left pane of the Options dialog, select the Package Sources tab, and make sure there is a package source for nuget.org that points to https://api.nuget.org/v3/index.json as the source URL. For more information, see Common NuGet configurations.

3. Install the Windows App SDK Extension for Visual Studio

There are currently two release channels of the the Windows App SDK you can choose from: the stable channel and experimental channel.

Note

If you previously installed the WinUI 3 Preview extension for Visual Studio, uninstall the extension. For more information about how to uninstall an extension, see Manage extensions for Visual Studio.

Install the stable release

To develop desktop (C#/.NET 5 or C++/WinRT) apps that can be used in production environments, install the latest extension from the stable release channel. Choose one of these options to install:

  • In Visual Studio 2019, click Extensions > Manage Extensions, search for Project Reunion, and install the latest extension.

  • Alternatively, you can download and install the extension directly from Visual Studio Marketplace.

    Screenshot of the Windows App SDK extension being installed

Install the experimental release

To develop desktop (C#/.NET 5 or C++/WinRT) apps or UWP apps that use the latest experimental features, install the latest extension from the experimental release channel. This version of the Windows App SDK cannot be used by apps in production environments. Choose one of these options to install:

  • In Visual Studio 2019, click Extensions > Manage Extensions, search for Project Reunion (Preview), and install the latest extension.

  • Alternatively, you can download and install the extension directly from Visual Studio Marketplace.

4. Enable your device for development

Before you can deploy apps to your development computer, you have to enable it for development. For detailed instructions, see this article.

5. Register as an app developer

You can start developing apps now, but you need a developer account to submit your apps to the Microsoft Store. To get a developer account, see this article page.

Other tools and downloads

  • If you want to customize your device and install other features or packages, check out the developer setup scripts.
  • For more tools and downloads related to Windows app development, see this page.