Dang…that Windows SDK is sure Big!

At 1.44 GB, the Windows SDK is pushing the limits of being downloadable.  Many of you may be wondering why the heck it’s so big. 

Total size: 1478 MB (1.44 GB)

Documentation:  755 MB
   Win32 docs: 186 MB
   WinFX docs: 509 MB

Samples: 173 MB
   Win32 samples: 73 MB
   WinFX samples: 100 MB

Developer Tools:  675 MB
   Windows Vista Headers and Libs: 199 MB
      C++ Headers: 73 MB
      x86 Libs: 24 MB
      x64 Libs: 17 MB
      IA64 Libs: 19 MB
   C++ Compilers: 257 MB
      x86 compiler: 86 MB
      x64 compiler:  86 MB
      IA64 compiler: 85 MB
   FxCop: 7 MB
   Windows PowerShell: 10 MB
   Debugging Tools for Windows: 13 MB (x86); 11 MB (x64); 17 MB (IA64)
   Desktop Tools: 126 MB
   Mobile Tools: 59 MB

If you use the Custom Install options from the Web Setup, you can download and install only what you need.  We are still fine tuning this, so if you have any suggestions or find any bugs, please let us know.  There is still plenty of time for us to change things.

Hopefully, the next release of the SDK will have the option to install to the location of your choice.

We’re also investigating different ways to break up the downloads to give you more control if you have limited bandwidth.

Comments (6)

  1. Jeff Parker says:

    One of the suggestions I gave to the IE team, it sure would be nice if they could break out the IE into it’s own SDK. I dunno but there are a ton of things in the SDK that I do not need and when I am looking for something like say developing plugins for IE, well I have to wade through that whole SDK to find the small section on IE. There are other things in there I am sure that can be broken up, but that was one area I noticed could probably really broken out.  

    I am a professional developer but developing plugins for IE is not something I do normally but I just see a need for some improvements in IE or my own personal tools. However everytime I sit there and am working on something and think "Man this could be so much easier i could do this with less clicks or maybe a drag and drop" So I open the SDK go into it and well either one of 2 things happen. Either I get distracted by something else in there that has nothing to do with what I wanted, or I get to searching and searching and searching and cant find what I want and give up. Typically I find searching the entire web is easier to find what I need, then really just use the code libraries in the sdk.

    I really like the Direct X SDK, it is straight to the point deals with Direct X only and I really like the way it is sectioned and broken out. It could very easily have been put into the windows SDK but I am so glad it wasn’t. If the Windows SDK could be broken up into smaller sections like Direct X, then make all the code libraries separated downloads. It would also be nice not to put Win FX in there. Keeping Win FX and Win 32 separated. Just the separation of the SDK’s just feel cleaner, more organized. Like when you look in Visual Studio Help Under Content there is a tree there for every SDK Like I have Dev Tools and Languages, Mobile and Embeded, .Net, Office, Web, Direct X, Then this big huge section I get lost in Win 32 and Com development. I dunno I guess it just could be separated out more. So I am glad you guys are looking into it.

  2. YonatanBetzer says:

    The Size of the SDK, in my opinion, is not too large to download (considering the increasing band-width of the average user, and the average developper) – the main problem I could see with the installation process is the lack of seperation between the "download" part and the "install" part.

    To create a better user experience, the progress of the download process has to be clear, as well as the estimated length of the installation. an option must be given to download the whole SDK, and have it installed offline. As it is now – I couldn’t find a way to have the SDK installed on all of my company’s computers without re-downloading the whole thing !

    In addition, the samples and documentation should be. by default, "installed on first use" and devided into section (the WPF samples could be, for example, broken into : 3D, 2D, Text…).

    anyway, the SDK is great, and worth the 2-3 hours download and installation !

  3. MSDN Archive says:

    Thanks for the feedback Jeff.  

    We have heard from other folk that like individual SDKs per technology as well as folks that like everything together.  There has been tension between fans of "one stop shopping" (I only have to make one [large] download) and fans of the "SDK per technology" (only download what I need, even if I have to make several downloads) for as long as I can remember.

    Deciding how to componentize the SDK generally comes in three flavors:  by programming model (Win32/Com and .NET), by function (UI, Storage, Networking, etc.) and by technology (DirectX, WCF, Media Player).  Right now we are using the first approach and the other two approaches below that.  Ultimately, we may be able to provide a finer grained custom install that will give you what you want, but I can’t promise that by Windows Vista RTM.

    Lori Pearce

    Windows SDK Team

  4. ZippyV says:

    Is there a reason why the extensions of helpfiles are in mixed case: HxS?

  5. Josip says:

    hxs is MS Help 2 (new) file format and MS Help 2 is a completely new help system.

    for more info see:




    Josip Habjan

  6. Brian Cost says:

    Zippy, the mixed case of HxS is the standard Microsoft convention for all HTMLHelp 2.0 files: HxS, HxI, HxT, HxQ, HxR, etc. I’m not sure where the convention started, but it might be because the middle x doesn’t actually stand for anything.

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