Visual C++ Toolkit 2003

For those 2-3 people still searching for this thing, it’s the old ‘free’ CLI C++ compiler from Visual Studio .NET 2003.

Microsoft (R) 32-bit C/C++ Optimizing Compiler Version 13.10.3052 for 80×86
Copyright (C) Microsoft Corporation 1984-2002. All rights reserved.

Although Visual C++ .NET 2003 SP1 gives you a later version of the compiler…

Microsoft (R) 32-bit C/C++ Optimizing Compiler Version 13.10.6030 for 80×86
Copyright (C) Microsoft Corporation 1984-2002. All rights reserved.

I’m not sure if you can service pack this toolkit.

You can download it from my site as VCToolkitSetup.exe

For anyone who wants to run this under newer versions of Windows as I know I can’t install it on Windows 8 or 10, I installed it on my Windows XP x64 machine, and uploaded it here as vc2003toolkit.7z

By the time this came out, Microsoft had started to admit that they had lost serious ground to GCC, as for years they had neglected the low end $99 market that they had dominated during their fights with Borland in the QuickC vs TurboC days.  Once Borland had withdrawn from the market, Microsoft felt no need to compete and this left plenty of time for GNU tools to take hold in the marketplace.  This was a stopgap reaction as a prelude to the Visual Studio Express that would happen in 2005 onward.

Elsewhere I’ve been able to find an old Windows 2003 SP1 Platform SDK image, it should certainly let this compiler build far more interesting things.  Although unless you really need 2003, you really ought to look at newer stuff.  Unless you like really old stuff, then as a reminder the Win32s 1.1 SDK includes the version 8.00 compiler from 1993 as well.  You can download it from here: win32s-1.1-build-88-msvc32sdev.7z 

7 thoughts on “Visual C++ Toolkit 2003

  1. Windows DDK for XP SP2 and 2003SP1 comes with yet another release (13.10.4035). I used it with Platform SDK and was pretty stable (unless you need floating point).

  2. says:

    “The Visual C++ Toolkit 2003, version 1.01 (released July 6, 2004) supplants version 1.0 (released April 16, 2004). Version 1.01 updates the included Visual C++ compiler to exactly match the compiler that ships with Visual Studio .NET 2003 (build 13.10.3077). In the initial 1.0 Toolkit release, the build numbers of the compilers differed slightly. Version 1.01 of the Toolkit also corrects some minor grammatical issues in the sample whitepapers and in the command prompt window.”

    It sounds like you have 1.0 then, but it probably doesn’t matter, because the page also says:

    “There are no compilation-related behavior changes in the Toolkit version 1.01 from version 1.0.”

    • I never knew there was a 1.01, at the time it was a super convenient way to ‘drop’ in the newer compiler onto older VC installs, using the old libs and includes…

      It’s nice the whole page is archived as well, cool!

      • For the question on about how to install, there’s a few options. It’s been a while since doing this, so I might be forgetting things. The newest system I’ve installed this on is Server 2022, there may be changes in later versions (although that seems unlikely by this point.)

        One simple option is just to set the registry key indicating .NET 1.1 is already installed to trick the installer into not trying to install it. See (scroll to the bottom for 1.1.)

        I think rather than 7z I’ve just been finding the component files by running the installer and pulling them out of the temp directory. Most importantly, there’s one “Microsoft Visual C++ Toolkit 2003.msi” file which is 7Mb and is really the compiler installer. The other 75% of this package is .NET, which isn’t needed at all. So copy that file out, and install it in isolation. Really, this whole product would be better if it was just that 7Mb file.

        The reason I’ve been doing this is the .msi has a check for Windows 2000 or above, which the compiler doesn’t need. So open the .msi in Orca, remove LaunchCondition, and save. (Orca is super fussy – don’t Save As or anything, it’ll break horribly.) The resulting .msi can install this thing in NT 4, including Terminal Server. From memory, the corresponding 2003 SDKs already install in NT 4 just fine.

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