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Microsoft Visual C Redistributable Pack (2007-2018) (x86-x64): Features, Benefits, and Tips





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What is Microsoft Visual C Redistributable Pack and why do you need it?




If you use Windows applications, chances are you have encountered Microsoft Visual C Redistributable Pack at some point. You may have seen it as a requirement for installing certain software, or as a list of multiple entries in your Control Panel. But what exactly is it and why is it important for your system?




Microsoft Visual C Redistributable Pack (2007-2018) (x86-x64) full version


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In this article, we will explain what Microsoft Visual C Redistributable Pack is, how it works, how to install it, what are its features and benefits, and how to use it for your own development projects. By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of this essential component of Windows applications.


What is Microsoft Visual C++ and how does it work?




Microsoft Visual C++ is an integrated development environment (IDE) that allows developers to create Windows applications using the C, C++, and C++/CLI programming languages. It is part of Microsoft Visual Studio, a suite of tools for developing software for various platforms.


Microsoft Visual C++ provides developers with various features, such as code editing, debugging, testing, project management, and more. It also uses a set of software libraries that contain pre-written code for common functions and operations. These libraries are called Microsoft C and C++ (MSVC ) Runtime Library. These libraries provide support for various features and standards of the C and C++ languages, such as input/output, memory management, exception handling, and more.


When developers create applications using Microsoft Visual C++, they compile their source code into executable files that can run on Windows systems. However, these executable files are not standalone. They depend on the MSVC Runtime Library to function properly. This means that the target system must have the same version and architecture of the MSVC Runtime Library as the application. Otherwise, the application may not run or may encounter errors.


This is where Microsoft Visual C Redistributable Pack comes in. It is a collection of files that contains the MSVC Runtime Library and other runtime components that are required by applications that are built with Microsoft Visual C++. By installing Microsoft Visual C Redistributable Pack on your system, you can ensure that you have the necessary components to run applications that are developed with Microsoft Visual C++.


What are software libraries and runtime components?




As we mentioned earlier, software libraries are collections of pre-written code that developers can use to perform common functions and operations in their applications. For example, if a developer wants to print a message on the screen, they can use a function from the MSVC Runtime Library instead of writing their own code from scratch. This saves time and effort, and also ensures consistency and compatibility across different applications.


Runtime components are parts of software libraries that are loaded and executed when an application is running. They provide support for various features and operations of the application, such as memory allocation, error handling, file access, and more. For example, if an application needs to allocate memory for a variable, it will use a runtime component from the MSVC Runtime Library to do so. This ensures that the application can run smoothly and efficiently on different systems.


Software libraries and runtime components are essential for developing and running applications. However, they also pose some challenges. One of them is compatibility. Different versions and architectures of software libraries and runtime components may not work well with each other or with different applications. For example, if an application is built with Microsoft Visual C++ 2015 (x86), it will not run on a system that only has Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 (x64) installed. This can cause frustration and confusion for both developers and users.


What are redistributable packages and how do they differ from online installers?




To solve the compatibility issue, Microsoft provides two types of files that can be used to deploy applications that depend on MSVC Runtime Library: redistributable packages and online installers.


Redistributable packages are standalone files that contain all the necessary software libraries and runtime components for a specific version and architecture of Microsoft Visual C++. For example, vc_redist.x86.exe is a redistributable package for Microsoft Visual C++ 2015-2019 (x86). By downloading and running this file, you can install all the required components for any application that is built with this version and architecture of Microsoft Visual C++. You do not need an internet connection or any other prerequisites to do so.


Online installers are smaller files that download and install only the necessary software libraries and runtime components for your system. For example, vcredist_x86.exe is an online installer for Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 (x86). By downloading and running this file, you can install only the required components for your system based on your operating system version, service pack level, and other factors. You need an internet connection and some prerequisites to do so.


The main difference between redistributable packages and online installers is that redistributable packages are larger in size but more convenient to use, while online installers are smaller in size but require more steps to use. Both types of files can be used to install MSVC Runtime Library on your system, but they have different advantages and disadvantages depending on your situation.



How to install Microsoft Visual C Redistributable Pack on your system?




Now that you know what Microsoft Visual C Redistributable Pack is and how it differs from online installers, you may wonder how to install it on your system. The process is simple and straightforward, but there are some things you need to consider before you do so.


First, you need to determine which version and architecture of Microsoft Visual C Redistributable Pack you need for your system. This depends on the applications that you want to run or develop on your system. For example, if you want to run an application that is built with Microsoft Visual C++ 2017 (x64), you need to install the redistributable package for Microsoft Visual C++ 2015-2019 (x64). If you want to develop an application that uses Microsoft Visual C++ 2008 (x86), you need to install the redistributable package for Microsoft Visual C++ 2008 (x86).


Second, you need to download the redistributable package from the official Microsoft website. You can find the links for different versions and architectures of Microsoft Visual C Redistributable Pack on this page. Make sure you download the correct file for your system. For example, if you need the redistributable package for Microsoft Visual C++ 2015-2019 (x64), you should download vc_redist.x64.exe.


Third, you need to run the redistributable package as an administrator on your system. You can do this by right-clicking on the file and selecting "Run as administrator". You will see a user account control prompt asking for your permission. Click "Yes" to continue. You will then see a license agreement window. Read the terms and conditions and click "I Agree" to proceed. You will then see a progress window showing the installation process. Wait for it to finish and click "Close" when done.


Congratulations! You have successfully installed Microsoft Visual C Redistributable Pack on your system. You can now run or develop applications that depend on MSVC Runtime Library without any issues.


How to locate the redistributable files on your system?




If you want to check which redistributable files are installed on your system, there are two ways to do so: using environment variables or using Control Panel.


Environment variables are strings that store information about your system, such as the path of certain folders or files. You can use them to locate the redistributable files on your system by following these steps:


  • Open a command prompt window by pressing Windows + R keys and typing cmd in the Run dialog box.



  • Type set PATH in the command prompt window and press Enter. You will see a list of paths that are stored in the PATH environment variable.



  • Look for the paths that contain "Microsoft Visual C++" or "VC". These are the paths of the redistributable files on your system. For example, C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio\2019\Community\VC\Redist\MSVC\14.28.29325\x64\Microsoft.VC142.CRT is a path of a redistributable file for Microsoft Visual C++ 2015-2019 (x64).



Control Panel is a graphical user interface that allows you to manage various settings and features of your system. You can use it to locate the redistributable files on your system by following these steps:


  • Open Control Panel by clicking on the Start menu and typing Control Panel in the search box.



  • Click on Programs and Features under Programs category. You will see a list of programs that are installed on your system.



  • Look for the programs that have "Microsoft Visual C++" or "VC" in their names. These are the redistributable packages that are installed on your system. For example, Microsoft Visual C++ 2015-2019 Redistributable (x64) - 14.28.29325 is a redistributable package for Microsoft Visual C++ 2015-2019 (x64).




How to repair or uninstall the redistributable packages if you encounter any errors?




Sometimes, you may encounter some errors or issues with the redistributable packages on your system. For example, you may see a message saying that the installation failed, or that a file is missing or corrupted. In such cases, you may need to repair or uninstall the redistributable packages to fix the problem.


To repair a redistributable package, you can use the same file that you used to install it. For example, if you want to repair the redistributable package for Microsoft Visual C++ 2015-2019 (x64), you can use vc_redist.x64.exe. Follow these steps to repair a redistributable package:


  • Run the redistributable package file as an administrator by right-clicking on it and selecting "Run as administrator".



  • Click "Yes" on the user account control prompt.



  • Click "Repair" on the license agreement window.



  • Wait for the repair process to complete and click "Close" when done.



To uninstall a redistributable package, you can use Control Panel. Follow these steps to uninstall a redistributable package:


  • Open Control Panel by clicking on the Start menu and typing Control Panel in the search box.



  • Click on Programs and Features under Programs category.



  • Find the redistributable package that you want to uninstall and right-click on it. Select "Uninstall".



  • Follow the instructions on the screen to complete the uninstallation process.



Note that repairing or uninstalling a redistributable package may affect other applications that depend on it. Make sure you backup your data and restore points before you do so. Also, make sure you reinstall the redistributable package after you fix the problem.


What are the features and benefits of Microsoft Visual C Redistributable Pack?




Now that you know how to install, locate, repair, and uninstall Microsoft Visual C Redistributable Pack on your system, you may wonder what are its features and benefits. Why should you use it for your applications?


Microsoft Visual C Redistributable Pack has several advantages that make it a useful and convenient component for Windows applications. Here are some of them:



How does it improve security, reliability, and performance?




One of the benefits of Microsoft Visual C Redistributable Pack is that it improves the security, reliability, and performance of your applications. This is because it provides the latest supported version of the MSVC Runtime Library and other runtime components that have the most recent updates and fixes for C++ features and standards. These updates and fixes address various issues, such as bugs, vulnerabilities, compatibility, and optimization. By installing Microsoft Visual C Redistributable Pack on your system, you can ensure that your applications run smoothly and securely on different systems.


How does it enable automatic updating of the Visual C++ libraries?




Another benefit of Microsoft Visual C Redistributable Pack is that it enables automatic updating of the Visual C++ libraries on your system. This means that you do not have to manually download and install new versions of the redistributable packages whenever they are released. Instead, you can receive the updates through Windows Update or other channels. This way, you can always have the latest and best version of the Visual C++ libraries on your system without any hassle.


How to use Microsoft Visual C Redistributable Pack for your own development projects?




If you are a developer who wants to create and distribute applications that use Visual C++ libraries, you may also find Microsoft Visual C Redistributable Pack useful and convenient. It can help you simplify and streamline your development and deployment process. Here are some tips on how to use Microsoft Visual C Redistributable Pack for your own development projects:



How to choose the right version and architecture for your target system?




One of the tips on how to use Microsoft Visual C Redistributable Pack for your own development projects is to choose the right version and architecture for your target system. This means that you need to match the redistributable package with your app's toolset and platform. For example, if you use Microsoft Visual C++ 2019 (x64) to build your app, you need to use the redistributable package for Microsoft Visual C++ 2015-2019 (x64) to deploy your app.


To choose the right version and architecture for your target system, you need to consider the following factors:


  • The toolset version that you use to build your app. This is the version of Microsoft Visual C++ that you use in Visual Studio or other IDEs. You can find it in the project properties or the solution platform. For example, if you use Visual Studio 2019, you can use Microsoft Visual C++ 2015-2019 as your toolset version.



  • The platform target that you use to build your app. This is the architecture of the system that you want your app to run on. You can choose between x86 (32-bit) or x64 (64-bit). You can find it in the project properties or the solution platform. For example, if you want your app to run on a 64-bit system, you can use x64 as your platform target.



  • The minimum supported operating system that you want your app to run on. This is the lowest version of Windows that you want your app to be compatible with. You can find it in the project properties or the application manifest. For example, if you want your app to run on Windows 10 or later, you can use Windows 10 as your minimum supported operating system.



Based on these factors, you can choose the right version and architecture for your target system from this table:


Toolset Version Platform Target Minimum Supported Operating System Redistributable Package --- --- --- --- Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 x86 Windows XP SP2 or later Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 SP1 Redistributable Package (x86) Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 x64 Windows XP SP2 or later Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 SP1 Redistributable Package (x64) Microsoft Visual C++ 2008 x86 Windows XP SP2 or later Microsoft Visual C++ 2008 SP1 Redistributable Package (x86) Microsoft Visual C++ 2008 x64 Windows XP SP2 or later Microsoft Visual C++ 2008 SP1 Redistributable Package (x64) Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 x86 Windows XP SP3 or later Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 SP1 Redistributable Package (x86) Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 x64 Windows XP SP3 or later Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 SP1 Redistributable Package (x64) Microsoft Visual C++ 2012 x86 Windows Vista SP2 or later Microsoft Visual C++ 2012 Update 4 Redistributable Package (x86) Microsoft Visual C++ 2012 x64 Windows Vista SP2 or later Microsoft Visual C++ 2012 Update 4 Redistributable Package (x64) Microsoft Visual C++ 2013 x86 Windows Vista SP2 or later Microsoft Visual C++ 2013 Redistributable Package (x86) Microsoft Visual C++ 2013 x64 Windows Vista SP2 or later Microsoft Visual C++ 2013 Redistributable Package (x64) Microsoft Visual C++ 2015-2019 x86 Windows Vista SP2 or later Microsoft Visual C++ 2015-2019 Redistributable Package (x86) Microsoft Visual C++ 2015-2019 x64 Windows Vista SP2 or later Microsoft Visual C++ 2015-2019 Redistributable Package (x64) Note that some redistributable packages are backward compatible with older versions of MSVC Runtime Library. For example, if you use Microsoft Visual C++ 2017 (x64) to build your app, you can use the redistributable package for Microsoft Visual C++ 2015-2019 (x64) to deploy your app, as it includes all the components from previous versions.



How to include the redistributable package as a prerequisite for your app's installer?




Another tip on how to use Microsoft Visual C Redistributable Pack for your own development projects is to include the redistributable package as a prerequisite for your app's installer. This means that you can bundle the redistributable package with your app's setup file, so that it can be installed automatically when your app is installed. This way, you can ensure that your app has all the necessary components to run on the target system.


To include the redistributable package as a prerequisite for your app's installer, you can use Visual Studio or other tools that support this feature. For example, if you use Visual Studio 2019, you can follow these steps:


  • Create a setup project for your app by using the Setup Wizard or the Setup Project template.



  • In the Solution Explorer, right-click on your setup project and select Properties.



  • In the Property Pages window, click on Prerequisites.



  • In the Prerequisites window, check the box for the redistributable package that matches your app's toolset and platform. For example, if you use Microsoft Visual C++ 2019 (x64) to build your app, check the box for Microsoft Visual C++ 2015-2019 Redistributable Package (x64).



  • Choose whether to download the prerequisites from the same location as your application or from the component vendor's website.



  • Click OK to save the changes.



Now, when you build and run your setup project, it will include the redistributable package as a prerequisite for your app's installer. When your app is installed on the target system, it will also install the redistributable package if it is not already present.


Conclusion




In this article, we have explained what


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