Skip to content

Windows Compilers

Mike Sarahan edited this page Aug 9, 2016 · 2 revisions

On Windows, each version of Python is associated with a particular MSVC compiler. This is because the runtimes from one compiler are generally not compatible forwards or backwards (though this is changing with VS 2015+).

This page is a superset of information at Extra information here is mostly of use for developing conda-build (finding where the compiler lives)

Python 2.6-3.2: VS 2008 / VS version 9 / cl.exe version 15

You can use either Visual Studio 2008 or the Microsoft Visual C++ compiler for Python 2.7 for this version.


  • VS 2008 Express (might be locatable somewhere on the internet)
    • 32-bit only
  • VS 2008 Pro (Available for purchase from 3rd parties, not sold by MS anymore)
    • must manually select x64 compiler when installing
    • make sure to apply service pack 1
    • EXE paths:
      • VS90COMNTOOLS environment variable
      • C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0\VC
  • Microsoft Visual C++ compiler for Python 2.7 ( - 83 MB)
    • 32-bit and 64-bit capable by default
    • Does not include msbuild.exe - obtain from Win 7.1 SDK
    • Does not set VS90COMNTOOLS - vcvarsall.bat may not be found. setuptools > 6 should know how to find it.
    • EXE paths:
      • System-wide install: C:\Program
      • User-local install: %LOCALAPPDATA%\Programs\Common\Microsoft\Visual C++ for Python\9.0\

Python 3.3-3.4: VS 2010 / VS version 10 / cl.exe version 16

You can use either Visual Studio 2010 or the Windows 7.1 SDK for this version.


Python 3.5+: VS 2015 / VS version 14 / cl.exe version 19


You can’t perform that action at this time.