VISUAL C++ REDISTRIBUTABLE RUNTIMES ALL

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Walter GlennFormer Editorial Director

Walter Glenn is a former Editorial Director for How-To Geek và its sister sites. He has more than 30 years of experience in the computer industry and over đôi mươi years as a technical writer and editor. He"s written hundreds of articles for How-To Geek & edited thousands. He"s authored or co-authored over 30 computer-related books in more than a dozen languages for publishers like Microsoft Press, O"Reilly, and Osborne/McGraw-Hill. He"s also written hundreds of trắng papers, articles, user manuals, and courseware over the years. Read more...

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UpdatedJul 3, 2017, 1:25 pm EST| 6 min read
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If you’ve sầu ever scrolled through your danh mục of installed programs in Windows, wondering why there are so many versions of the Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable on there, you’re not alone. Join us as we take a look at what these things are & why there are so many installed on your PC.


What Is a Visual C++ Redistributable?

Microsoft Visual C++ is a integrated development environment (IDE) used to lớn create Windows applications in the C, C++, & C++/CLI programming languages. It was originally a standalone product, but is now included as part of Microsoft Visual Studio. It offers developers a single application in which they can write, edit, kiểm tra, & debug their code. The programming environment includes access to a lot of shared code libraries, which let developers use already-developed code for specific procedures instead of having lớn write their own from scratch. That shared code takes the form of dynamic links libraries (DLLs), a term most Windows users have sầu come across at some point or other.

When it comes time khổng lồ deploy their software to lớn users, developers have sầu a choice to lớn make. They can bundle those DLLs inlớn the installation of their application, or they can rely on a standard distributable package of shared code. Most choose the latter, và that package is known as a Visual C++ Redistributable. There are several advantages lớn using a redistributable. The packages are made available by Microsoft, who also tests & updates them with bug and security fixes. Redistributables also offer a single installation on a user’s computer that multiple programs can use at the same time.

Why Are So Many Installed on MY PC?

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I installed a fresh version of Windows 10 on a new PC a little less than two months ago. As you can see in the picture above, I’ve already got four versions of the Visual C++ Redistributable on my system. On other systems, I’ve sầu seen as many as twenty. So, how do they all they get there?

Some are installed along with Windows itself. The specific versions that get installed depkết thúc on which version of Windows you’re using. I’m using Windows 10, which comes with the 2012 and 2013 Visual C++ Redistributables. You’ll also note that I’ve sầu also got both the 32-bit (x86) & 64-bit (x64) versions installed. If you have a 32-bit version of Windows, you won’t see those 64-bit versions of the redistributable. But if you have sầu a 64-bit version of Windows (which almost all computers are these days), you’ll see both versions, because a 64-bit Windows can run both 64-bit and 32-bit applications.


Any additional versions of the Visual C++ Redistributable you see on your system were installed along with some program that required it. When a developer codes in a specific version of Visual C++, the code libraries for that version must also be present on the user’s system for the application to lớn run. That means that, for example, if a developer used Visual C++ 2005 (or Visual Studio 2005) lớn create a program you’re installing, you can expect to lớn see the Visual C++ 2005 Redistributable installed on your system along with the program.

Sometimes, you’ll get a pop up the first time you run a program saying that the redistributable package is being installed. You’ll notice this a lot if you’re a PC bạn, especially if you get your games through Steam. Typically, this means that the developer has chosen to have the lachạy thử package downloaded from Microsoft at installation time. Sometimes, the package is bundled along with the application. Here’s a shot of the installation of the current AMD graphics driver package, which you can see wants lớn install the 2012 and 2013 C++ Redistributables.

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RELATED: What Is the Microsoft .NET Framework, and Why Is It Installed on My PC?

It’s also possible that you’ll see what look lượt thích multiple versions of the same redistributable installed, or at least multiple versions from the same year. For example, you might see multiple versions of the 2008 redistributable. One might indicate that it’s a service paông xã, while others might just have slightly different version numbers. So, while it sometimes looks lượt thích multiple versions of the same package are installed, they are all subtly different. And unfortunately, unlượt thích with the somewhat similar .NET Framework, Microsoft never consolidated all these older versions inkhổng lồ a unified package.

So in short: you’ll see some packages that come with Windows, và some that come with applications you install. And if you’re running 64-bit Windows, you’ll see both 64-bit và 32-bit versions of each package.

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Can I Uninstall Some of Them?

The short answer is: yes, but you probably shouldn’t.

You never really know which of your installed applications rely on each redistributable. If you uninstall a program, that program will not automatically remove the redistributable upon which it relied, since it has no way of knowing if other applications also rely upon it. Sure, there may be some redistributable packages on there that you don’t need–but if you manually remove a redistributable package that some programs are still using, you could cause them to not run correctly &, in some cases, even cause problems in your Windows installation itself.

It may irritate you seeing so many sitting there in your các mục of installed programs, but if things are running well on your PC, the redistributables aren’t causing any harm. They also don’t take up much space. The four versions I have installed on my system right now take up less than 100 MB of disk space, combined.


We have sầu seen some advice floating around the internet suggesting that you can remove older versions of redistributables, leaving just the most recent from each major release (noted by year) in place. In other words, they suggest you could leave sầu the lademo 2012 redistributable in place and uninstall older 2012 versions. We’ve sầu tested this and found it lớn be unreliable. It seems lớn work sometimes, but there’s no guarantee it will work for you. In my own limited thử nghiệm of three systems, it caused problems on one system where a couple of programs would no longer run.

What Can I Do If I’m Having Problems?

Unfortunately, it’s often hard to lớn narrow a problem with an application down to lớn a bad redistributable installation. You rarely get an error message during installation or operation of a program that points you directly to the redistributable packages. Still, it is a possibility and sometimes it’s worth testing, particularly if a program you’ve sầu just installed causes another already installed program to lớn break and you know they both rely on the same redistributable.

First, you can take a couple of basic steps. Make sure that Windows update has all its lademo updates. If an update to lớn the package is available, that might solve the problem. You can also try scanning for corrupt system files in Windows. It doesn’t take long và it can restore system files that have sầu become corrupt or gone missing. It’s always worth a shot.

RELATED: How to lớn Scan for (& Fix) Corrupt System Files in Windows

If those steps fail to resolve sầu the problem, you can try uninstalling và then reinstalling the version in question. And, if you don’t know the specific version, you can take a gamble & try uninstalling all the redistributable packages from your computer và then installing all the lademo implementations of each version. Whichever route you take, make sure you baông xã up your computer first!

You can uninstall the redistributables the same way you uninstall any other program in the Programs & Features control panel tiện ích. You can then download và install the lademo versions from Microsoft’s Download Center. Here are some direct link khổng lồ each version:

Just rethành viên that if you’re running a 64-bit version of Windows, you’ll need to download & install both the 32-bit (x86) & 64-bit (x64) versions.


And there it is. Hopefully, that at least explains what these Visual C++ Redistributable packages are và why so many are installed on your PC.


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Walter GlennWalter Glenn is a former Editorial Director for How-To Geek và its sister sites. He has more than 30 years of experience in the computer industry & over 20 years as a technical writer and editor. He"s written hundreds of articles for How-To Geek và edited thousands. He"s authored or co-authored over 30 computer-related books in more than a dozen languages for publishers like Microsoft Press, O"Reilly, and Osborne/McGraw-Hill. He"s also written hundreds of trắng papers, articles, user manuals, and courseware over the years. Read Full Bio »