Install tools for Windows app development

To develop apps for Windows 11 and Windows 10, you'll need to configure your development computer with the required development tools.

1. Check system requirements

To develop apps, you'll need Visual Studio, the Windows SDK, and the Windows App SDK. For a list of the minimum system requirements for each of these tools, see System requirements for Windows app development.

2. Install Visual Studio

Use the following links to install Visual Studio 2019 or Visual Studio 2022 (Preview). 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, make sure the following items are selected in the Universal Windows Platform development section:

    • For Visual Studio 2019: C++ (v142) Universal Windows Platform tools
    • For Visual Studio 2022 (Preview): C++ (v143) Universal Windows Platform tools

3. 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.

4. Install the Windows App SDK extension for Visual Studio

The Windows App SDK provides a unified set of APIs, project templates, and other tools for building Windows apps. This SDK is available as a Visual Studio extension (VSIX). You can choose from three versions of the extension: stable, preview, and experimental. For more information about the differences between these versions, see Release channels.

Note

If you have already installed any previous version of the Windows App SDK extension for Visual Studio, uninstall the previous extension before installing a new version. For more information about how to uninstall an extension, see Manage extensions for Visual Studio.

For installation instructions, see the following tabs.

To develop desktop (C#/.NET 5 or C++) apps that can be used in production environments, install the latest extension from the stable release channel. For more information about the stable channel and the features available in it, see Stable release channel.

Choose one of these options to install the latest stable release (0.8.2):

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

    Note

    In the latest available stable release, the Windows App SDK extension for Visual Studio is named Project Reunion. In later releases, it has been renamed to Windows App SDK.

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

5. 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 Enable your device for development.

6. 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. For more information, see Create a developer account.

Other tools and downloads

  • To enhance the developer experience for MSIX-packaged desktop applications, you can optionally install the single-project MSIX packaging tools extension for Visual Studio and combine the packaging project settings into your application project. This extension enables you to develop and build your MSIX-packaged desktop application without requiring a separate packaging project. For more information, see Package your app using single-project MSIX.
  • If you want to customize your device and install other features or packages, check out the developer setup scripts.
  • For more tools and downloads, see Downloads and tools for Windows development.