Announcing the official release of the Visual C++ Build Tools 2015

Looking for the Visual Studio 2017 Build Tools? See this blog post about the new VS 2017 installer that makes the Build Tools part of the regular VS product.

Last November we previewed a different way of installing the C++ tools: Visual C++ Build Tools 2015. The Build Tools are the same C++ tools that you get with Visual Studio 2015 but they come in a scriptable standalone installer that only lays down the tools you need to build C++ projects. You don’t need the Visual Studio IDE in your build lab or your continuous integration systems. The Build Tools give you a way to install the tools you need on your build machines without the IDE you don’t need.

We asked you whether we met your requirements and what suggestions you might have for the future. Over 15,000 of you in 140 countries installed these tools. And many of you contacted us directly with your feedback and suggestions. Thank you!

The majority of your feedback can be summed up in two points:

  1. You want to use the Build Tools in a production environment. You need us to get these tools out of preview and ship them with a go-live license.
  2. ATL and MFC are important libraries. The fact that they were missing from the Build Tools made it impossible for you to use the Build Tools for your projects.

Today, we’re happy to announce that we’re answering both of these suggestions.

  1. The Visual C++ Build Tools 2015 now ship with a go-live license. You can adopt the Build Tools in production environments just as you would the full Visual Studio 2015 release.
  2. We’re now including both ATL and MFC with the Build Tools so that you can build projects that depend on those libraries.


Download the Visual C++ Build Tools 2015 now!

The Visual C++ Build Tools installer will install the following components:

  • Visual C++ Compilers (targeting x86, X64 and ARM)
  • Visual C++ headers & libraries (CRT & STL)
  • Visual C++ build scripts (targeting Windows desktop)
  • Microsoft Build Tools 2015 (MSBuild)
  • Windows SDK 8.1 (optional, on by default)
  • Windows SDK 10 (optional, off by default)
  • ATL and MFC (optional, off by default)
  • C++ Build tools specific command prompts

Because these components are the same as the ones installed by the Visual Studio 2015 Update 2 setup, you cannot install the Visual C++ Build Tools on a machine that already has Visual Studio 2015 installed. You can however upgrade from the Visual C++ Build Tools to a full Visual Studio 2015 install.

These tools allow you to build C++ libraries and applications targeting Windows desktop. If you are using the latest Windows 10 SDK, make sure you also install the optional Windows 10 SDK components by selecting “Custom” installation type and select “Windows 10 SDK” from the list.

We want your feedback

Send us your feedback in the comments below or through Connect. We want to make it as easy as possible for you to install the tools that you need to build your code. Let us know how you’re using the Visual C++ Build Tools and send your suggestions on how to improve them.