Visual C++ Toolkit 2003

Yesterday we posted the Visual C++ Toolkit 2003. This toolkit includes the full Visual C++ 2003 optimizing compiler. If you're already using Visual Studio .NET 2003, then you don't need to download this toolkit unless you just want to see what this is all about. The information page for the toolkit includes links to 4 articles that are designed to show different features of the compiler and it also includes a small FAQ that describes the toolkit in more detail. Here's a link:

Visual C++ Toolkit 2003

I see they picked this up already at ActiveWin. I'll add a headline link to the Visual C++ Developer Center on Monday.

Comments (46)
  1. Brian,

    this is so cool. i’m sure the guys from sharp develop will be happy to integrate the compiler with their ide… 🙂 [ i’ll still be using visual studio though… 🙂 ]

    btw: this got picked up alread at ( ) also.

  2. MT says:

    cirus: How does it feel to have such a small brain?

    MS: Great news!! Finally, normal people doesn’t have to use the Borland free commandline tools. Finally some proper directX support 😉

  3. Pretty cool. BTW, I notice that the CL compiler that comes with Visual Studio .NET 2003 has version number 13.10.3077 whereas the one from the VC++ Toolkit is 13.10.3052. Is this the same for you?

  4. Zak says:

    This is perfect for me!! I use MSVC++ 6.0, and this .NET 2003 edition compiler and linker is perfect for me to import my makfiles with and make a more stable XP builds to release with the originals, and all for free!

  5. MC says:

    A hopeful sign. Does anybody know whether it’s possible (and legal) to use this compiler with the "Standard" (a.k.a. "Crippleware") version of the Visual C++ IDE? MS don’t sell the Professional version any more, and I’m not going to shell out for the whole of Visual Studion when I don’t want, and won’t use, most of it.

  6. This was really great news and I am glad now we have some competition for the Intel C++ compilers and better C++ compilers than the ones that Borland Ship (Mind you I do use the C# Builder)plus these compilers are from Microsoft to boot. I have worked on some of the samples and this is really great stuff.

  7. Spiny Norman says:

    Hmmm… Has anyone else noticed that the toolkit lacks any facility for linking against the DLL C run-time libs? It also lacks libcmtd.lib. Not sure whether that was intentional or an oversight. Otherwise, it works great for all of my projects.

  8. Ryan says:

    Thank you MICROSOFT, I appreciate this very much. Now I am satisfied again with C++ .NET 2003 : Really Cool.

    Also some critisism: Updates would be cool too, but you here my complain less further now.


    Enjoy your day further,


  9. Andy says:

    Splendid! Grabbing it with my 33.6 kpbs link 😉 Yarr!

  10. Andy says:

    Splendid! Grabbing it with my 33.6 kbps link 😉 Yarr!

  11. Nektar says:

    When launching the Toolkit from its shortcut in the Start menu a command window appears which has a spelling mistake. Instead of documentation it says documentaion.

    Also, the Toolkit is only installed for the current user, as opposed to other tools such as the Platform SDK, which install for all users. So, the Toolkit’s shortcut appears only in the current user’s Start menu and so does the environment variable. It is only set for the current user.

    Why do such errors occur? I thought that you check a lot your apps before releasing them. If we could find a spelling mistake in minutes what about other errors, which are hidden?

  12. Szczepan Hołyszewski says:

    No NMAKE.EXE. No problem, it’s in the .NET Platform SDK anyway.

    No LIB.EXE. Can’t make libraries, and I want to build wxWidgets that happens to be a library! BIG PROBLEM. Is there a freely available package from MS that contains LIB.EXE?

  13. Paul Winwood says:

    No problem. Lib.exe is just a wrapper around link /lib. Try running Link /lib from a command line and see.

  14. My company uses C++ 6.0 for all development.

    Should I install this on my machine?

  15. Django says:

    Sounds nice, but what about *debugging*?

    Is there a debugger or is this a pure compile-and-build-suite?

  16. Dean says:

    For debugging why not download the Windows debugging tools package (WinDbg) from

    It’s not the VS.NET debugger (which is really quite cool), but hey – it’s free, and it does the job quite nicely.

  17. Nektar says:

    You can download the Debugging Tools for Windows package which includes both command-line debuggers for user mode and kernel mode as well as WinDBG a graphical debugger. And all for free.

  18. Dossy says:


    1) No libcmtd.lib — shipped with libc.lib, libcmt.lib, and libcd.lib, so this has to be an oversight.

    2) You have to install the 500MB+ Core Platform SDK (as well as the Internet SDK I think) in order to get winsock2.h — lame.

    3) No NMAKE.

    4) include-files are mixed case! i.e., winsock2.h is WinSock2.h. Why is this a problem? If you want to call cl.exe from Cygwin (which IS case sensitive), it’ll actually complain/fail when trying to compile this: #include <winsock2.h> — it can’t find the file because the file is WinSock2.h. Going through and renaming all the files to all-lowercase is just an annoyance.

    Overall, it’s a good first step for Microsoft. Look forward to more …

  19. asdf says:

    This sounds like a scam to make everyone install the .net runtime. I’ll stick with VC6 and Intel’s compiler thank you very much.

  20. Shaun says:

    No libcmtd.lib

    No msvc*.libs

    This toolkit is GREAT for those using older ide’s (alla VS6) but in order to link against MFC4 or ot generate any Multithreadded DLL code you NEED those msvc*.libs Anyone know here these can be found?

  21. Nils says:

    Will it work, if I install it over my VC++ 2003.NET standard (the cheap one)??

  22. Dima says:

    Try building a CLR application with some STL inside. No luck, libcpmtd.lib is missing.

  23. Sam Smith says:

    I am a home user of Visual C++ .Net Standard 2003. I write games at home for pleasure and I have written and deployed some applications at work as well.

    This toolkit release is good for me because the standard edition does not optimise. I am pleased Microsoft has come back to showing commitment to C++.

    I think the CLR has many great features and feel much more comfortable with writing apps for the .Net libraries than with MFC.

    I do feel strongly that we need to retain support for creating native executables as well as CLR framework code though.

    I think that C++ 2005 is supposed to be able to target native 64-bit code – and as long as that remains the case I am likely to buy VC++ 2005 or VS++ 2005.

    I feel they should make the standard edition of VC++ 2005 optimising for us hobbyists on a budget.

    I would be really interested in an answer to the question above, can I use the IDE from Visual C++ Standard edition?

  24. Greg Messer says:

    I installed the toolkit on the same system as VC++ .NET Standard.

    Then I used PC Magazine’s wmatch program to see what was different. It looks like the compiler is all that changed. Here are the differences:

    (1) The compiler files in the toolkit(cl.exe and c*.dll) are newer than the Standard install.

    (2) The link.exe that came with the toolkit is an older version than the Standard install.

    (3) There are ms*71.dll and dbghelp.dll in the bin directory of the toolkit that are in different directories in the Standard install. They’re the same versions.

    (4) There is an mscoree.lib in the lib directory of the toolkit that is in a different directory in the Standard install. They’re the same versions too.

    So, it looks like you could just copy the cl.exe and c*.dll files over the ones that came with the Standard install and they would work.

    Does anyone see a problem with that?

  25. Ghughuthatha says:

    VC++ .NET Standard IDE: Optimizing switches disabled… Overwriting cl.exe is not enough.

  26. Pheo says:

    You can use it with Visual C++ .NET 2002: replace the cl.exe, cl.exe.config and cl2.dll files into the vc7bin directory and you can compile without any problem any application with optimizing options (you need to put optimizing options manualy into the "C/C++ / Command Line / Additional Options" section).

    Especially, you can compile MFC application that required Multi-Threaded DLL runtime.

  27. KevinH says:

    The posting "Try building a CLR application with some STL inside. No luck, libcpmtd.lib is missing." interests me. I am trying to compile/link some C++ code with this toolkit, and I get the error "LINK : fatal error LNK1104: cannot open file ‘libcpmtd.lib’"

    The libcpmtd.lib is indeed missing. What is weird is that the library exists in the lib/IA64 subdirectory. Did they neglect to include the X86 versions, or did they accidentally include too much of the IA64 stuff?

  28. Brian says:

    Hi Kevin,

    Thanks for the feedback. I’ll pass this along and let you know if I hear anything back.



  29. Sam says:

    Hello all,

    I’ve got a problem, I want to know how to compile a whole Visual C++ project by using command line. I’d ask for someone who was able to explain how to do it with jam build application, I’m new with it and I need help!

    Thanks !

  30. Pheo: Thanks for the tip. Do you know what the c1.dll and c1xx.dll files are for? With my MSVC++ .NET 2003 Standard Edition installation, I tried copying all 5 (the three you mention, and these two) from the Toolkit into the vc7bin directory, and using the tips described on this page ( ), I received from a 90% to 200% speed up. Very cool… I hope Microsoft will soon offer an upgrade to the Standard Edition to allow selection of such features from the GUI.

  31. xingZZ says:

    I want use "Visual C++ Toolkit 2003" without other tools to build DLL and loaddll in my application,who can help me?

  32. xingzz says:

    When i use Visual C++ Toolkit 2003 building a winform application use .net framework ,it ok. But when i run the application ,it always show a console window, how to get rid of it.

  33. Moonraker says:

    Jason Doucette:

    So essentially you were able to get MSVC++ .NET 2003 Standard Edition working with the toolkit? That’s great news. I wanted to hear this from someone before plonking ~$90 for the IDE.

    Were there any other problems that you faced??


  34. Hello all,

    I’ve got a problem, I want to know how to compile a whole Visual C++ project or samples included in platform SDK by using command line. I’d ask for someone who was able to explain how to do it with jam build application, I’m new with it and I need help!

    Thanks !

  35. NKS says:

    hi all…

    Is there any toolkit like MSVC++ toolkit 2003 that is related to visual basic and that tool is downloadable also..



  36. drew says:

    when downloading the core SDK to use with this (to get winsock2.h!), the Microsoft SDK/include/win64/crt directory has comutil.h, while the Microsoft/SDK/include/ directory does not.

    shouldn’t this be available for non-64 bit programs? or am I doing something stupid?

  37. Amit says:

    The libcmtd issue can be resolved simply by installing the .NET Framework SDK 1.1 and adding its include and lib directories to your INCLUDE and LIB environment variables — the .NET Framework SDK 1.1 comes with the Standard compiler set (that can also build native apps using the Platform SDK).

  38. Moonraker:

    I have had no problems at all since copying the Toolkit c*.* files over the cooresponding files in my VC++ .net Standard 2003 install. In fact, I copied over all 5 c*.* files, including the c1*.*, even though Pheo did not include these. I had a hunch that they were also part of the compiler. Does anyone know any differently? Since this is so important, I published an article on this that you can give out to people, instead of making them search through weblogs for information:

    Let me know if you have any more information I could add to make this easier.

  39. Hello All,

    Can we use winsock2.h in the download of Microsoft Visual C++ Toolkit 2003 from

    If so where do we get winsock2.h from please? Where do we install it in the directories of Microsoft Visual C++ Toolkit 2003? How do we address include <winsock2.h> in the code?


    George Kermeen

  40. jimmy says:

    I’m having the same problems with missing libcpmtd.lib. I downloaded the .Net Framework SDK v 1.1, and the required libs no longer seem to be there. I was really excited about developing with the Microsoft compiler, but without these libraries it is pretty much useless for any real apps.

  41. Jimmy says:

    furthermore msvcprt.lib (no debug or release) is completely missing as well. Is this some sort of plan to get a lot of people to waste their time?

  42. Andrew says:

    This works GREAT… the full blown optimizing compiler and cool IDE for approx. $90 ! Can’t beat that.

    You don’t even need to copy the C*.* files over the corresponding files in the VC++ .Net Standard 2003 install folder.

    Just go into the options for the VC++ directory settings and add the toolkit BIN folder to the top of the list. I did the same with the include and lib folders but I’m not even sure that’s necessary.

    So far I haven’t had any trouble and I verified that it was using the optimizing compiler when I changed the priorities on the two bin folders..

  43. Laurent says:

    I am annoyed because I cannot find libcmtd.lib/libcpmtd.lib too (I’ve downloaded v1.01). Is this deliberate ?

  44. Brian says:

    Hi Laurent,

    Yes. The toolkit was designed to make the optimizing compiler available, and so not everything was included in the kit. I wasn’t involved in the choice.

    I’ll make sure that the appropriate people are aware of your comments.



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