How to Resolve the "Missing Windows SDK"

Devanshu Agarwal

Written by Devanshu Agarwal /

Are you wrestling with the "missing Windows SDK" error when attempting to compile a project that necessitates Visual Studio 2017 or later? You're not the only one! This prevalent issue can be a significant hindrance for developers. In this captivating and informative article, we will walk you through the process of downloading and installing the required software to rectify the problem and return to developing your projects seamlessly.

Getting Started

The "missing Windows SDK" error usually arises when you're trying to compile a project that demands the Windows SDK and a version of Visual Studio 2017 or later, but your system is missing the required components. This can be especially exasperating when you're in the midst of a critical development project.

The objective of this article is to present a step-by-step guide to assist you in downloading and installing the necessary software to resolve the "missing Windows SDK" error. By adhering to these instructions, you'll be able to set up your development environment correctly and continue working on your projects without any additional issues.

In this guide, we will cover various topics, including:

  • Choosing the right edition of Visual Studio
  • Installing Visual Studio with the essential workloads for C++ development
  • Downloading and installing a specific version of the Windows SDK, if needed
  • Rebooting your computer to update environment variables and settings

By the conclusion of this article, you'll have all the knowledge required to resolve the "missing Windows SDK" error and enjoy a hassle-free development experience. So, let's get started and learn how to overcome this common issue once and for all!

Picking the Perfect Visual Studio Edition

Firstly, you'll need to select the appropriate edition of Visual Studio. There are three primary editions available: Community, Professional, and Enterprise. The Community edition is free for individual developers, open-source projects, academic research, education, and small professional teams. The Professional and Enterprise editions provide additional features and support but necessitate a paid subscription.

To download Visual Studio, visit the official download page at Choose the edition that best fits your requirements and download the installer.

Setting Up Visual Studio

Once you've downloaded the installer, execute it and adhere to the instructions displayed on your screen. While going through the installation process, you will be prompted to choose the workloads you wish to install. It is essential to make the right selection, as this will guarantee that your development projects have the necessary components and Windows SDK.

Remember to opt for the "Desktop development with C++" workload when installing. This particular workload includes all the vital components and Windows SDK, which will prevent you from encountering the "missing Windows SDK" error later on.

Obtaining and Installing the Windows SDK

In some instances, you may need to install a specific version of the Windows SDK. This could be due to project requirements, compatibility concerns, or other factors. To download and install a particular version of the Windows SDK, follow these steps:

  1. Visit the Windows SDK archive page at
  2. Select the required version from the list of available SDKs.
  3. Download the installer for the chosen version.
  4. Execute the installer and follow the on-screen guidance to complete the installation process.

By configuring your project settings accurately, you'll ensure that your project is utilizing the installed Windows SDK, which should resolve the "missing Windows SDK" error.

Rebooting Your System

After installing Visual Studio and the Windows SDK, it's crucial to restart your computer. This will guarantee that all environment variables and settings are updated, allowing your system to recognize the newly installed software correctly.

Once you've rebooted your computer, open Visual Studio and try compiling your project again. You should no longer encounter the "missing Windows SDK" error.

Wrapping Up

By following the steps delineated in this guide, you should now have a properly configured development environment that includes Visual Studio and the Windows SDK. This should resolve the "missing Windows SDK" error and enable you to continue working on your projects without any additional issues.

We hope you found this article informative. If you have any questions, experiences to share, or additional tips for resolving the "missing Windows SDK" error, please feel free to send an email to [email protected]. We value your feedback and are always here to help!

Happy coding!