Tutorial How to build projects for Compatibility Windows 7, 8 & 10

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Cesspool Admin
Jan 21, 2014
I'd have issues in the past with people complaining that my projects don't work on Windows 10, most of them were built on Windows 7 and targeting Windows 7 so I always figured it was user error. Now with Visual Studio 2017 default options you only can target Windows 10 and that scared me for the good folks out there still using Windows 7 and trying to run my haxx0rs. I'm going through my old projects and fixing bugs and shitcode for funsies and re-releasing them and want to make sure that they'll be compatible for everyone.

But the internet had tons of conflicting information, but I have formed a solution to share with everyone. If you have any insight please share with us here.
What I researched was to set the Target Platform to be Windows 8.1 which is guaranteed compatible with Vista, 7, 8, 8.1 and 10 and then to use 2 defines to select Windows 7 headers in the preprocessor.

First install Windows 8.1 SDK by going to Programs and Features, right clicking Visual Studio -> Change -> Individual Components

In Project Properties Set Windows SDK Version to Windows 8.1

Then in Project Properties-> C++ -> PreProcessor Definitions add:

Here is the define from windows SDK header for reference
#define _WIN32_WINNT_WIN7 0x0601

Alternatively add these to stdafx.h or targetver.h
#define _WIN32_WINNT _WIN32_WINNT_WIN7

Now you are guaranteed be building compatible programs with all OS above XP. I hope this is helpful and if you're smarter than me and know something I don't please add in a reply :)


Cesspool Admin
Jan 21, 2014
Update: Setting the target platform to Windows 8.1 is still recommended for best compatibility with all OS > XP
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