Visual Studio 2012 Release Candidate

The Visual Studio 2012 Release Candidate (formerly known as “Visual Studio 11”) is now available including all editions: Express, Professional, Premium, and Ultimate. See the Visual Studio blog entry for more information. As with the Visual Studio 11 Beta, this release includes a new C++ compiler, Standard Library with C++11 support, a graphics debugger, and integrated HLSL compiler. There’s a nice write-up on the performance of the new compiler and build system as well.

The Visual Studio 2012 RC includes the Windows SDK for Windows 8 Release Preview (which is also available as a standalone package for use with Visual Studio 2010). This release of the Windows SDK integrates many aspects of the DirectX SDK (see Where is the DirectX SDK?) including DirectXMath version 3.03, the RC version of DirectX 11.1 headers, D3DCompiler_45.DLL, D3DCSX_45.DLL, the latest GDFMaker.EXE, and the DirectX Capabilities Viewer utility.

There is an updated Migrating Consumer Preview to Release Preview document available for developers working on Windows Store apps (a.k.a. Metro style apps) moving from the Beta to the RC. See the Windows 8 app developer blog as well.

Update: The Visual C++ team announced they will be adding support to VS 2012 to target Windows XP, which is currently not supported by VS 2012 RC. The Windows 8.0 SDK included with VS 2012 does not support Windows XP, so developers will need to install and use the system headers/libraries from the Windows 7.1 SDK.

Windows 7 users: When looking for Win32 desktop samples on MSDN Code Gallery, be sure to filter by "Desktop" as the platform and "Win32" as the technology. If you just select "Desktop" you'll see a lot of Windows Store apps as well as Win32 desktop apps. Windows Store apps will not build or run on Windows 7. If you are looking for a 'starting template', just use the standard Win32 Project (under Templates \ Visual C++ \ Win32). You can cut & paste code in from the Win32 version of the Direct3D 11 tutorials, and use DirectXMath, Direct3D, D3DCompiler, etc. from there. You only need to do editing of VC++ Directory settings if you are trying to mix the Windows 8.0 SDK with the legacy DirectX SDK to use XAUDIO 2.7, XINPUT 1.3, XACT, or D3DX.

RTM: The Visual Studio team has announced the final build of VS 2012 is now ready. It will be available to MSDN subscribers August 15th along with Windows 8 RTM.


The Visual Studio 2012 RC supports new optimization features enabled with the /O2 and /Ox optimization levels. More details are available on Channel 9 and at the Parallel Programming in Native Code blog.

Security Features

Visual Studio 2012 RC includes a new /sdl command-line switch and some enhancements to the /gs switch, as well as support for /analyze in all editions.  See the SDL blog for more information.

Comments (15)

  1. YuriOh says:

    Since Windows 8 doesn't ship with any command line build environment – what is about the express editions? Will there no VC++ 11 Express for the hobbyists? Are we hobby programmers are not able to enjoy the new C++ 11 Features without spending a lot of money? Are we forced to use GCC to get new language features?

  2. YuriOh says:

    Oh as I can see here:…/express Microsoft plans to release an Express 2012 Product for Desktop Development also after VS 2012 is released. I hope there will be a C++ Compiler included.

  3. YuriOh says:

    @Chuck: Thank you very much. I really appreicate that you've posted this link. 🙂

  4. Doug Rogers says:

    I am not able to figure out how to build Direct3D apps in VS 2012 RC on Windows 7.  I have downloaded and installed:

    VS 2012 RC

    Windows 8 SDK

    All the DirectX Installers in ..Windows Kits8.0StandaloneSDKInstallers

    I do not get any Direct3D headers that I can find, or a Direct3D template in C++ like here:…/br229582

    What am I missing?  Is there a walk-through somewhere how to setup the environment to develop on Windows7 using the latest DirectX SDK?

  5. Those "Direct3D Application" templates are for Metro style apps. You cannot build Metro style applications on Windows 7. That is why VS 2012 Express for Windows 8 requires Windows 8. You can build Win32 desktop applications on Windows 7 using VS 2012 for Windows Vista, Windows 7, or Windows 8 and you have the "DirectX headers" for Direct3D, DirectInput, DirectSound, etc.

  6. Doug Rogers says:

    What I am trying to do is to use the DirectX SDK that comes with the Windows 8 SDK to develop applications on Windows 7.  Is this possible?  Or is the June 2010 DirectX SDK the only option.

  7. Yes you can write "DirectX" desktop applications with VS 2012 and the built-in Windows 8.0 SDK

    If you stick with Direct3D 9, Direct3D 10, Direct3D 11, DirectInput, DirectSound, DirectXMath, D3DCompiler, and D3DCSX then you don't need anything else. There are Direct3D 11 tutorials that build just fine for Win32 desktop on that setup WITHOUT the DirectX SDK on the MSDN Code Gallery. There are no VS templates for these applications in particular, but a standard Win32 C++ project template should work to get you started.

    If you need D3DX9, D3DX10, D3DX11, XAudio2 on WIndows 7, or XInput 1.3 on Windows 7 then you need the legacy DirectX SDK which you can 'mix' with the Windows 8.0 SDK as noted on MSDN.

    See Where is the DirectX SDK (blog) and Where is the DirectX SDK (MSDN).

  8. Doug Rogers says:

    >If you stick with Direct3D 9, Direct3D 10, Direct3D 11, DirectInput, DirectSound, DirectXMath, D3DCompiler, >and D3DCSX then you don't need anything else

    That is just the problem.  I installed VC 2012RC and the Windows 8.0 SDK and I could not locate the Direct3D headers anywhere on the harddisk.  Furthermore, the Direct3D samples did not even load into VS 2012 properly.    

    As I requested before, is there a step by step installation procedure for developing DirectX applications on Windows 7 using the Window 8 SDK?

  9. Which version of VS 2012 RC did you install? Which "Direct3D" header in particular is missing for you? Where did you get the "Direct3D' samples that are failling to load?

  10. Doug Rogers says:

    It turns out I was trying to run the metro examples, so that explains why they would not load.

    After reinstalling the DirectX SDK parts of Windows 8 SDK, the Direct3D headers were placed in:

    C:Program FilesWindows Kits8.0Includeum

    So I am good to go.  Thanks for your answers.

    A page that describes what can be developed on Window 7 (and what can't) would be a good thing.

  11. Again the DirectX SDK is not required to build "DirectX" apps if you stick with the components listed on the "Where's the DirectX SDK"? page. You do need it if you are using components that are now legacy (D3DX, XACT, etc.) or if you are using down-level XAUDIO or XINPUT.

    You cannot build Metro style apps on Windows 7 at all. The big thing that is confusing is that on MSDN Code Gallery, you want to filter by "Desktop" as the platform and "Win32" as the Technology to see the Win32 desktop apps (i.e. NOT the Metro style apps)

  12. Doug Rogers says:

    Understood.  Thanks again.

  13. Frenk says:

    I don't understand but is possible to publish with clickonce on vs2012 an x86 desktop C# application and install that on a windows xp 32bit? because i get an error ("is not win32 valid application"..)?

  14. I believe you need to make sure your C# project is set to the 4.0 Framework rather than the 4.5 Framework to support Windows XP. See

    Also, you can't be using VS 2012 Express for Windows 8. There will be a new Express edition for "Desktop" which can target Windows XP.

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