Arm64 Visual Studio is officially here!

Mark Downie

We are happy to announce the first fully supported Arm64 version of Visual Studio that will natively run, allowing building, and debugging Arm64 apps on Arm-based processors.

17.4 GA delivers a native Arm64 experience for Visual Studio that eliminates the need for emulation in most developer workflows. While the improved x64 emulator helps the speed and performance of emulated apps on Arm devices, we know that the absolute best Arm developer experiences will be supported by tools that run natively on Arm64.

We are building a comprehensive end-to-end Arm-native developer toolchain that will provide a fast, familiar, and highly productive managed and native developer experience for Arm-based processors.

Along with the recently released Windows Dev Kit 2023, you can bring your entire app development process onto one device, giving you everything you need to build Windows apps for Arm, on Arm.

Most valued Workloads and Components

During the preview we prioritized the workloads and components most valued by you and the broader developer community and as a result this GA launches with the following workloads enabled:-

Additionally, this release includes native Arm64 performance for the Windows SDK as well as Win App SDK!

Arm64 support for managed developers

.NET 6 has had native support for Arm64 from day one, and we are extending native Arm64 support for the .NET Framework in the form of .NET Framework 4.8.1 runtime and SDK. You can now build managed Arm desktop applications using both .NET 7/6, and .NET Framework 4.8.1.

The 17.4 GA release supports Windows Forms, WPF, Win UI 3, Win UI 2 and Universal Windows Platform (UWP). Support for.NET MAUI will be available in a future Visual Studio preview.

When you start with the Arm64 version of Visual Studio, before rebuilding your application make sure you update references to NuGet packages to their latest versions supporting Arm64. The vast majority of NuGet packages already work on Arm64 with no additional changes needed.

Arm64 support for native developers

The MSVC toolset, including the C++ compiler, libraries and runtime, has supported targeting Arm64 for a while now. When running directly on Arm64 devices however, the compilers would run emulated. With today’s release, you get access to the new native Arm64 MSVC compiler toolset, including its C++ Code Analysis capabilities, while still targeting all platforms currently supported by MSVC.

Vcpkg runs natively on Arm64, and while some dependent 3rd party tools may still run emulated, you are able to successfully build and consume 600+ C++ libraries directly in your native ARM64 build environment.

The Arm64 GA for Visual Studio also bundles Arm64 versions of CMake and Ninja.

The C++ Desktop and Game Development Workloads enable C++, with MSBuild or CMake, and all of the editing, building, and debugging capabilities you are already familiar with in Visual Studio on your Arm64 hardware.

Extensions authors

Support for writing and using Arm64-compatible extensions is now available!  You can also publish your Arm64 extensions on an existing extension entry in the Marketplace.   Minimal updates will be required for .NET extensions compiled to AnyCPU but native extensions will need to be rebuilt to support Arm64 Visual Studio. In general, however, making your extension Arm64-compatible can be accomplished in three easy steps.  Check out this blog post for more details.

Installing Arm64 Visual Studio

There is a single installer for both Arm64 and x64 Visual Studio. The 17.4 GA installer detects the system architecture and then downloads and installs the Arm64 version of Visual Studio when it is run on an Arm64 device.

Install note

For Windows 11 Arm64, you must uninstall all previous versions of x64 Visual Studio before installing Arm64 Visual Studio. There is no side-by-side support for x64 and Arm64 versions of Visual Studio.

To get started with the native Arm64 Visual Studio experience you will need to do the following:

  • Ensure you have an Arm64 device with Windows 11.
  • Uninstall any prior versions (x64/x86) of Visual Studio from your Arm64 device.
  • Download and install Visual Studio 2022 17.4 GA.

Let us know what you think!

We are not finished here; we are actively working on MAUI support in our preview channel. Please continue to vote here on the workloads, components, and experiences that are most valuable to you!