If I were to build a game using Visual Studio 2015 and (Most likely) SDL2, I think I'm right in assuming that in order for that game to run, the user's target windows version needs to have Visual C++ Redistributable for Visual Studio 2015 installed, which according to this page (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=48145) is compatible on all these targets: Windows 10 , Windows 7 Service Pack 1, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2, Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2, Windows Server 2012, Windows Vista Service Pack 2, Windows XP Service Pack 3

My question is: Is it standard practice to just auto install the required runtime when the game is installed and hope it works, or do you install and test your game on a real installation of all the various Windows versions? Either virtual machines or maybe a multi - boot?

Of course I could use VS2010, with the assumption that the redistributable for VS2010 would be installed in most modern machines. And the chances of it working correctly up to and including windows 10 would be very good. But I think there is still no guarantee unless you test the game on the actual windows versions you intend to target.

1 Answer 1


Yes, package and install the runtime with your application. Everyone seems to do that already and I have never seen it hurt anything. If you want fancy you could use a network installer that only downloads it as needed.

As for testing you should never "just hope it works." At least try it on virtual machines for the latest XP service pack, Vista and 7. I assume you are developing on 8 or 10.

If your games use DX10,11,12 then virtual machines probably won't work for you (But then you couldn't be supporting XP either). I'd recommend buying some old used gaming laptops (should be cheap) and testing on those. New hardware running old OS's gets into weird problems like not having drivers for USB 3 or the GPU. I think XP had problems with hard drives bigger than 2 TB as well.

Also, pet peeve, please check that your DPI awareness is correct. If you don't deal with it make sure the manifest does not claim that you do.

  • Thanks for the suggestions. I think, as you say, VM's will have trouble with DX/SDL. Probably worth investing in some old laptops to test the games properly.
    – user118672
    Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 21:38
  • @user2783034: You could use old desktops too but I think they use up too much space. Laptops can just sit in a small pile while not in use for testing.
    – Zan Lynx
    Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 21:53

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