Start here

Your guide to get started writing Windows apps (or writing apps with Windows).

Developer at desk

Welcome to developing apps for Windows. This guide will walk you through the steps you need to get started. It will also point you to resources that will help you learn more about Windows development.

Here's a summary of what you'll need to do:

  1. Enable developer mode on your computer,
  2. Install the necessary development tools, and
  3. Start coding!

Enable Developer mode

Windows has a special mode for developers that adjusts security settings in order let you to run the apps you are working on. Here is how to turn it on:

Now is also a good time to create a developer account. Among other things, this will allow you to publish your apps to the Microsoft Store. Here is how you do that:

Now you are ready to install the tools you need to create apps.

Install the development tools

Dev Home was introduced with Windows 11, and is a dashboard that provides quick access to the tools you need to develop apps for Windows. It also provides links to training and code samples. It can help you take care of the rest of the items on this list.

In order to speed up common development tasks, you can create a specially formatted drive that will be used to store your projects. This is called a Dev Drive.

The preferred development tool of many Windows developers, Visual Studio will let you create projects for Windows, and many other platforms. It is a powerful IDE that can help you write, debug, and deploy your apps.

A highly extensible editor, Visual Studio Code can be customized to support almost any kind of development you can think of. It is a great choice for writing apps for Windows, and other platforms.

Windows Terminal is a modern host application for the command-line shells you already love, like Command Prompt, PowerShell, and bash (via Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL)). It provides a modern, tabbed interface, and supports themes and extensions.

WSL lets you run Linux distributions on Windows. This is a great way to use open source tools to develop apps for Windows.

Start coding

If you are writing an app that will run on Windows, you'll need to select a development framework. Popular frameworks include Windows App SDK, Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), Windows Forms, and Win32. Here you will find help selecting one approach over the other:

If you are using Windows to write apps for Windows and/or other platforms, you'll be interested in this topic. It covers using other langauges such as Python and Rust, and other tips such as installing Linux on Windows to gain access to open source tools.

Once you have your developer tools all set up, you might want to explore some of the online training, and code samples.