Windows Vista, .NET 3.0 and Windows SDK Compatibility Matrix

[28 September 2006 Update] The Windows Vista September CTP has been released to beta members. There is a matching September CTP from the .NET 3.0 Runtime Components, Windows SDK, "Orcas" Tools and Workflow Extensions to Visual Studio 2005.

I originally wrote this blog entry to help folks reconcile the differences between three concurrent releases of Windows Vista - each of which had different release points (public vs. MSDN vs. beta-only) - with the various moving parts that developers needed (.NET 3.0 Runtime Components, Windows SDK and Visual Studio 2005 Extensions). Due to popular demand, I've decided to continue updating it through RTM with each release of the various products.

Note: CTPs are generally removed once superceded by two releases. Therefore, this blog entry will be updated to remove the links to those releases which are no longer available from our servers.

Below, I’ve listed the builds in terms of what works with each operating system and development/runtime environment to help you decide which build you need. Once you know which build you wish to install, you can then use the Download Locations Matrix to locate the download pages/links. The last section then enumerates some key points regarding each build milestone.

Determining the Build that is Right for You

Are you setting up this environment for Windows Vista?

  • Is Windows Vista September CTP the most current build you have access to? (Beta Members and CPP) September CTP
  • Is Windows Vista RC1 the most current build you have access to? (MSDN Subscription, Beta Members and CPP) RC1
  • Is Windows Vista Beta 2 the most current build you have access to? (While the Windows Vista Beta 2 is publicly available to anyone, the June CTP requires a beta membership and July CTP requires either beta membership or an MSDN subscription) Beta 2
  • Do you have access to the Windows Vista June and July CTP builds and want the complete set of matching Windows Vista/.NET 3.0 development bits? June CTP (There is no July CTP build of the “Orcas” Development Tools for the .NET Framework 3.0)
  • Do you have access to Windows Vista July CTP and want the matching Windows Vista/.NET 3.0 development bits even though they do not contain the “Orcas” Development Tools for the .NET Framework 3.0? July CTP
Are you setting up this environment for Windows XP SP2 or Windows 2003 Server?

  • Do you want the latest complete set of matching .NET 3.0 development bits? September CTP

Download Locations Matrix

To use this matrix, simply locate the row that matches the operating system and build milestone that you're targeting (shown in the first column of each row). Then from left to right download and install each desired tool on that row with the following considerations:

  • If you want to run (not develop .NET 3.0 applications), you only need the .NET 3.0 Runtime Components for the desired build milestone. (The other downloads are for developing native and .NET 3.0 applications)
  • If you want to develop native-only (non.NET) applications, you only need the Windows SDK for the desired build milestone.
  • "Orcas" Tools for .NET 3.0 Development is only needed if you are writing Windows Presentation Foundation applications and are using a released (non beta) copy of Visual Studio 2005 (including the Express Editions)
  • Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) Extensions to Visual Studio is only needed if you are writing Windows Workflow Foundation applications and are using a released (non beta) copy of Visual Studio 2005 (including the Express Editions)

Note: Since these are all "prerelease bits", it is highly recommended that you install these products/technologies on a non-production, test machine and remove any previous versions before installing.

Operating System .NET 3.0 Runtime Components Windows SDK "Orcas" Tools for .NET 3.0 WF Extensions to Visual Studio
 Vista - September CTP (5728) Sept CTP (4506.03 - installed by O/S) Sept CTP (5728.0.4) Sept CTP Release Candidate 5
 Vista - RC1 (5600) RC1 (4324.17 - installed by O/S) RC1 (5536.0.2) RC1 Release Candidate 5
 Vista - Pre RC1 (5536) RC1 (4324.17 - installed by O/S) None None None
 Vista - July CTP (5472.5) July CTP (4306 - installed by O/S) July CTP (5472.2.1) None Release Candidate 4
 Vista - June CTP (5456) June CTP (4131.06 installed by O/S) June CTP (5456.3) June CTP Release Candidate 2
 Vista - Beta 2 (5384.4) Beta 2 (installed by O/S) Beta 2 (5383.1.1) Beta 2 Beta 2.2
 XP (SP2) or Win2K3 Sept CTP (4506.03) Sept CTP (5728.0.4) Sept CTP Release Candidate 5
 XP (SP2) or Win2K3 RC1 (4324.17) RC1 (5536.0.2) RC1 Release Candidate 5
 XP (SP2) or Win2K3 July CTP (4307) July CTP (5472.2.1) None Release Candidate 4
 XP (SP2) or Win2K3 June CTP (4131.06) June CTP (5456.3) June CTP Release Candidate 2
 XP (SP2) or Win2K3 Beta 2 Beta 2 (5383.1.1) Beta 2 Beta 2.2

Build Notes

Here are some key notes for each currently published build milestone for Windows Vista and the .NET 3.0 Framework development tools.

Windows Vista Pre RC1

  • Windows Vista Build 5536 was a prerelease for RC1 directed at end-users (non developers).
  • There were no released matching developer bits (Windows SDK, Visual Studio 2005 Extensions, etc.)
July 2006 CTP

  • Windows Vista July CTP (5472.5) is only available for MSDN subscribers and beta members
  • The July CTP includes builds of the .NET Framework 3.0 Runtime Components and Windows SDK for use with Windows Vista July CTP (5472.5), Windows XP or Windows 2003 Server
  • There is no July CTP build of the “Orcas” Development Tools for the .NET Framework 3.0
  • The July CTP builds of .NET Framework 3.0 Runtime Components and Windows SDK are not supported for .NET 3.0 development on Windows Vista Beta 2 or Windows Vista June CTP
June 2006 CTP

  • Windows Vista June CTP (5456) is only available to beta members
  • There are public downloads for June CTP builds of .NET Framework 3.0 Runtime Components, Windows SDK and “Orcas” Development Tools for the .NET Framework 3.0 for use with Windows Vista June CTP (5456), Windows XP or Windows 2003 Server
  • The June CTP builds of .NET Framework 3.0 Runtime Components, Windows SDK and “Orcas” Development Tools for the .NET Framework 3.0 are not supported for .NET Framework 3.0 development on Windows Vista Beta 2
Beta 2

  • Windows Vista Beta 2 (Build 5384) is the most current public build of the Vista operating system that is available to anyone.
  • There are matching bits for the .NET Framework 3.0 Runtime Components, Windows SDK, “Orcas” Development Tools for the .NET Framework 3.0 and the Visual Studio 2005 Extensions for Windows Workflow Foundation bits that are also publicly available.
  • If this is the most current version of Windows Vista that you can access (the June CTP requires beta membership and the July CTP requires beta membership or an MSDN subscription), then you should only use the matching Beta 2 bits for the aforementioned runtime components and development tools.


Comments (113)

  1. Cox, Ken says:

    Thanks for putting this together Tom.

    You’re going to save a lot of frustration for us bleeding-edge aficionados!


  2. The July CTP .NET Framework 3.0 and Windows SDK are now available for download. This release is primarily…

  3. The July CTP of .NET 3.0 (formerly WinFX) is now available, but be careful; it may not be for you. …

  4. The most common setup or download error by far for our users has been corrupt DVD ISO downloads. We are…

  5. The July CTP release of the Windows SDK and .NET Framework 3.0 are live on the web at these URLs:


  6. stic says:

    Jeszcze nie przebrzmiały echa zmiany nazwy pakietu technologii znanego jako WinFX na .NET 3.0, a już…

  7. [This has been produced primaily for UK ISVs we are engaging around Vista and WinFX development – but…

  8. I have updated my short article on getting started with .NET Framework 3.0 and Windows Vista to reflect…

  9. What’s the point of a July framework release with no corresponding Visual Studio toolset release?

  10. Paul Andrew says:

    Thankfully Tom Archer has written up a piece on which bits work with what.

  11. Solo sobre un par de noticias sobre el día de hoy:

    1) Microsoft adquiere Winternals Software, los creadores…

  12. Tom Archer says:

    Kevin D. White – There are many scenarios where customers were asking for the July CTP.

    * Not all development is managed. Many customers wanted the latest Win32 API fixes.

    * Many customers don’t absolutely need things like project templates as they’re close to shipping their product and are willing to put with not having Intellisense for a month in order to get bug fixes

    * The Workflow extensions shipped a July CTP so customers doing Workflow still want a release.

    I could go on, but the point is that there were enough customers that the CTP helped to warrant sending it out. For those that it doesn’t help, they simply don’t install it and stay with the June CTP.

  13. Ashraf says:

    is windows SDK needed to be installed to develop “Orcas”/”Indigo” applications, when I consider BETA 2 release??

  14. Will the next CTP have the VS extensions?

    Mikael Söderström

  15. Today we released the .NET Framework 3.0 July CTP. You can download the components for the July CTP here:

  16. Tom Archer has published a nice matrix to determine what pieces you need for getting moving with the…

  17. MSDN Subscriptions is pleased to bring you the Windows Vista July 2006 CTP (Build 5472).  The July…

  18. Paul says:

    Tom, Thanks for specifying what build works with what. However, I’m a little confused as to the implications of there being no corresponding "Orcas" July CTP. Does this mean the "Orcas" June CTP will work with the .NET3.0 July CTP? As the .NET3.0 July CTP is a "bug-fix" release and not a "new-feature" release, does this imply I could develop with the .Net3.0/Orcas June CTPs, and deploy to a machine with the .Net3.0 July CTP runtime? Your clarification of this matter would be very helpful.


  19. Today I knocked together this very simple tool which generates proxy classes which can be used to communicate…

  20. BugSplat says:

    Paul Mehner alerted me to the new .NET 3.0 CTP a couple of days ago and suggested that I try…

  21. There are actually no Visual Studio “Orcas” development tools for the July CTP!

    Your best bet seems…

  22. When a new development technology comes, the first thing that makes the developers busy, crazy and tensed…

  23. The Windows SDK July CTP is live and ready for download. Note that there are many caveats around this…

  24. Alors qu’il est de bon ton de parler de .NET 3.0 et de ce fait de Vista, une question fondamentale…

  25. How to download Vista July CTP says:

    I am a beta member. How can i download the July CTP of the Vista Operating System. The links i find on the microsoft website say that the Windows vista download is no longer available. Can anybody help?

    And thanks tom. it was really confusing before.

  26. Dev Emporium says:

    Tom Archer put together a matrix of what versions of the OS, Runtime Components, Windows SDK, Orcas tools,…

  27. John says:

    Should the June Oracas bits install w/ the July .Net 3.0 runtime?   Getting an error that the runtime is not installed when it is.

  28. Mathava says:

    Enterprise Developers over the years have had the choice between Microsoft’s .NET and Java’s J2EE framework…

  29. Adam C says:

    Before I try this, what might happen if I install the June CTP "Orcas" Tools for .NET 3.0 on a box with the other July CTP bits (on winXP)?

  30. chris harty says:

    looking forward to it… i already have IE 7, win media 11, and office 2007, and i like the new trimmings!

  31. Mental Block says:

    More and more people are interested in exploiting WPF application development as Windows Vista get closer…

  32. Marc Mercuri says:

    Looks good – I’d recommend adding in a column for ‘Supported by Go Live License’

  33. Arnaud Weil says:

    Thanks for clarifying. Can you answer to the above question someone else asked, about whether the June "Orcas" will work with the July CTP? I have a slow connection here, so avoiding me extra downloads would be great…

  34. Jogy says:

    I have downloaded the setup for Windows SDk Beta 2 (file setup.exe) and WF extensions for Visual Studio.

    When I try to run the WF extensions installation, it finds the file setup.exe and runs it instead without any notice.

    Is this a bug? This behavior is quite confusing for a new user who doesn’t know how the installations should look.

  35. Vincent Maier says:

    Lot of great information thanks alot

  36. As we are nearing the release date for Vista, .Net30 and Office 2007, there are many CTPs published for…

  37. Howard Dobel says:

    I’m quite confused about the Beta membership requirement. I signed up for and was accepted months, maybe even a year ago. Both og my email addies were given, which is the preferred account, and Being in a wheelchair keeps me in front of my computers 24/7/365. I spend all my time at MSDN, Technet, the communities, and downloading and testing betas. Us disabled vets don’t get enough to afford wither MSDN or Technet subscriptions, so I’m quite grateful for the opportunity to be on your beta testing team. But sometimes I run into problems getting a beta I want to test, either the site is down, or momentarily your servers don’t connect the "I am already a beta tester, filled out all the forms here a long time ago dots". 2 days ago I started signing my comments in the KB, Libraries, etc with my community moniker "Teachable" so you’d eventually realize how extensively I read, test, and evaluate, Any how, by your own rules, I’m already eligible to download the July CTP of Vista. I hope I have no problems, but so often do, I thought I’d best give you a heads up on this. I work hard beta testing. I want a better view of Vista as Rollout approaches this fall. It could make all the difference in making me a Re-Abled Veteran with a salary large enought to pay for an MSDN Subscription. Right now I’m locked out of everything. So is every other person who served their country and happened to be where the artillery/mortar shell landed. $800 a month doesn’t stretch like it should Sorry for the SOB story, but let us in!

  38. John Doe says:

    I am  not interested to test 32 bit version!

    Where I can get a RC windows Vista 64 bit?

  39. Josh Usovsky says:

    My poor VS 2005 installation is quite a mess after installing, uninstalling, and hack-installing the various CTPs and toolsets that have been released since January.  It, along with Server 2003, is *still running* however!  That says a lot for the robustness of these two products.  They take a licking…  Has anyone heard when we should expect to see an RC of .Net 3.0?  If it will be soon, I’ll gladly put off cleaning up Visual Studio until an updated build will be released.

  40. Lazarus Bullock says:

    ok from everything here the most confuing thing is "where do i download windows vista beta 2"? I have looked at everything and nothing tells me a thing.

  41. Matthias Götzke says:

    when will th rc1 sdk be released ? right along the vista rc1 release or some time later ?

  42. Jules says:

    I note that on 9/1/2006 we have a MS Pre release .NET 3.0 Release Candidate.

    could the advice be updated. – I am running Vista Beta 2 Build, with Orcas etc, and woul;d like to know whether I get a better VS Developer experience with the .NET Framework 3.0 Release candidate.

    I am still waiting for WCF and WWF to be integrated with each other !  

  43. Bob Baker says:

    I second all requests for an updated map for RC1. I’ve been waiting since Beta 2 for a complete and synchronized refresh of the development environment. Here’s hoping RC1 can support all the latest bits for us developers.

  44. nadohyun says:

    i want down vista

  45. Jayesh says:

    Hi there,

    Can you please tell me which Workflow extention & .NET 3.0 Runtime Components work with Visual Studio Express edition?

  46. My name is Pat Litherland, I’m a new addition to the Program Management team in the Windows SDK group,…

  47. As an IT Manager you might be responsible for application development within your organization. …

  48. Well, we made it; the September CTP of the Windows SDK for Vista is available for download! …

  49. The Windows SDK team has now released their September CTP to match the Windows Vista September CTP. While…

  50. Is it ‘safe’ (i.e. does nothing break) if I install the May CTP of LINQ on build 5728 of Vista (along with the 5728 compatible Windows SDK). It’s really rather anoying that MS has choosen to only make future Orcas CTPs available via Virtual PC rather than giving us MSI’s or ISO’s. What if we’re commited to Vista? Does this mean we won’t be able to work with the latest Orcas parts until November when according to the Virtual PC 2007 beta opens (assuming VPC 2K7 behaves on Vista).

    Its a little unclear to me how, to quote the Orcas September release notes I can "Build and **debug**" Vista applications if I can’t run the thing on Vista. Tom, any news on when a Orcas / Vista solution will be able?

  51. alt says:

    I need some clarification about requirement for installing SDK in the following scenario –

    My dev machine has XP SP2, VS 2005.

    The documentation for current SDK release says it is for Vista RC1 only.

    But the doc for the VS2005 dev tools says it needs SDK installed.

    Does it mean I need to d/l and install the SDK on XP SP2 also?

  52. Mark Donoghue says:

    The table seems messed up – cant see the 3rd and later columns.  Tried on IE 6 and Firefox – same problem on both.

  53. Deepak says:

    I cannot see the third column of compatibity matrix, tried on other browsers, same problem exists.

  54. rwishlaw says:

    I cannot see the third column of the table of the compatibity matrix.

  55. Arunthep says:

    What is RC2? Is it the same as RC1?

  56. Kristian Whittick says:

    This pages does not display correctly.

    The half of "Download Locations Matrix" table is hidden under the "tags" right hand menu "white space"

  57. Raju says:

    Experiencing problems viewing the complete "Download Locations Matrix"?

    Just Right Click –> View Source –> Save it to Matrix.html –> replace all "nowrap" with "" –> open it in Matrix.html in browser


  58. Ann Brady says:

    I am looking at Vista RC2 and see a "checked build" option for each.  Do you know the difference between a "checked build" and a non checked build?

  59. James says:

    Yes if anyone can explain what the difference is between the standard Vista RC2 and the "checked build" version ??

  60. Tom Archer (Program Manager for the Windows SDK) hat auf seinem Blog eine Kompatibilitäts-Matrix veröffentlicht. Sie zeigt, die kompatibilität zwischen Windows Vista, .NET Framework 3.0 und Windows SDK. Gefunden auf Tom Archer Alex on

  61. Zac says:

    When will .net development be available on my MSDN subscription?

  62. Rick says:

    Someone please delete/smack those people for posting spam webpages as their URL’s from megamozg!

  63. Estuve intentando descifrar cuáles eran las versiones más recientes de WF y WCF con las que quiero jugar,

  64. coral says:

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  65. Hi – I have downloaded the Vista SDK for Vista but get a error during setup. I have installed the Vista SDK on an XP system but it shows the error – ‘SDKSetup has stopped’ I have searched for help but to no avail.

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  67. Mental block says:

    Windows® Presentation Foundation (formerly code named "Avalon") is Microsoft’s® unified presentation

  68. The Windows SDK team has now released their September CTP to match the Windows Vista September CTP. While

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