Visual Studio 2015 Platform Targeting and Compatibility

Last Update: 9/14/2016

Visual Studio 2015 contains many new and exciting features to support cross-platform mobile development, web and cloud development, IDE productivity enhancements, and more.

System Requirements

The system requirements for Visual Studio 2015 can be found on the Visual Studio 2015 System Requirement page.

Platform Targeting

Visual Studio provides cutting-edge tools and technologies to create apps that take advantage of the latest platforms capabilities. Visual Studio 2015 also targets earlier platforms such as Windows 7, so you can create new apps or modernize existing apps that execute on earlier versions of Windows while leveraging the enhanced development tools, quality enablement, and team collaboration capabilities in Visual Studio 2015. For more information, see Managing Project References and Visual Studio Multi-Targeting Overview.

Visual Studio 2015 Support for Windows Desktop Development

Targeted Platform 1 Native Code Development Managed Code Development
Client OS
Windows 10 ✔️ 2 ✔️ 2
Windows 8.1 ✔️ 2 ✔️ 2
Windows 8 ✔️ 2 ✔️ 2
Windows 7 ✔️ ✔️
Windows Vista ✔️ 3 ✔️ 3
Windows XP ✔️ 3 ✔️ 3, 5
Server OS
Windows Server 2012 R2 ✔️ 2 ✔️ 2
Windows Server 2012 ✔️ ✔️
Windows Server 2008 R2 ✔️ ✔️
Windows Server 2008 ✔️ ✔️
Windows Server 2003 ✔️ 3 ✔️ 4, 5
Footnotes:
1. Visual Studio supports the listed platforms when used with the latest available service pack for that platform. For more information, see Microsoft Support Lifecycle.
2. See table below for Visual Studio 2015 support for Windows Universal and Windows Store app development.
3. Remote debugging and profiling tools not available for targeted platform.
4. Requires side-by-side installation of Visual Studio 2010. For more information, see: A Look Ahead at the Visual Studio 2012 Product Lineup and Platform Support.
5. Requires using Visual Studio managed multi-targeting.

Visual Studio 2015 Support for Windows Universal, Windows Store, and Windows Phone App Development

You can create Windows Universal, Windows Store, and Windows Phone apps with the following editions of Visual Studio 2015.

Visual Studio 2015 Edition Installed OS for Development Windows Universal Windows Store apps for Windows 8.1 Windows Phone 8.1 apps Windows Store apps for Windows 8 Windows Phone 8 apps
Enterprise, Professional, Community Windows 10 ✔️ ✔️ 2 ✔️ Not Supported 3 ✔️ 4, 5
Enterprise, Professional, Community Windows 8.1 ✔️ 1 ✔️ 2 ✔️ Not Supported 3 ✔️ 4, 5
Enterprise, Professional, Community Windows
Server 2012 R2
Build only Build only 2 Build only Not supported Build only
Enterprise, Professional, Community Windows 8 ✔️ 1 Not supported Not supported Not Supported ✔️ 5
Enterprise, Professional, Community Windows
Server 2012
Build only Not supported Not supported Not supported Build only
Enterprise, Professional, Community Windows 7 Build only Not supported Not supported Not supported Not supported
Express for Windows 10 Windows 10 ✔️ Not supported Not supported Not supported Not supported
Footnotes:
1. When running on OS earlier than Windows 10, some Visual Studio features for Windows Universal development may be degraded.
2. Includes support for remote debugging to Windows 8.1.
3. Visual Studio 2015 supports migration of Windows Store app projects from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1. Existing Windows 8 projects may be maintained with Visual Studio 2013, including remote debugging to Windows 8.1 and Windows 8. Use Visual Studio 2012 to create new Windows 8 projects.
4. Visual Studio 2015 supports migration of Windows Phone 7 and 7.5 projects to Windows Phone 8.
5. Supports migration of Windows Phone 8 projects to Windows Phone Silverlight 8.1.

Compatibility with Previous Releases

Windows Store app projects for Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 can be opened in Visual Studio 2015.

You can install and use Visual Studio 2015 alongside Visual Studio 2013 and Visual Studio 2012. It can also be installed on top of Visual Studio 2015 RC without having to uninstall RC.

.NET 4.6 is a highly compatible in-place update of .NET 4, .NET 4.5, .NET 4.5.1, and .NET 4.5.2. See Application Compatibility in the .NET Framework for more information on .NET compatibility.

Upgrade paths

When following the supported upgrade paths, your Visual Studio source, solution, and project files will continue to work; however, you should expect to make some changes to sources. While we cannot guarantee binary compatibility between releases, we will do our best to document significant changes to assist you with updates.

Release Management upgrade paths

Release Management 2015 is a full layout that includes the latest feature additions and software updates. Before you try to upgrade to Release Management 2015, make sure that you have a full backup of your current databases and RSA crypto key (see this blog post for RSA crypto keys export instructions). If the Release Management installation fails, you will be unable to restart the update or roll back to the earlier version of Release Management without performing a restore operation.

The following upgrade paths apply to this release.

Supported upgrades

  • Release Management for Visual Studio 2013 to Release Management for Visual Studio 2015
  • Release Management for Visual Studio 2013 Update 4 to Release Management for Visual Studio 2015
  • Release Management for Visual Studio 2015 RC to Release Management for Visual Studio 2015

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