Microsoft Releases the First Arm64 Build of Visual Studio

Posted on June 14, 2022 by Paul Thurrott in Dev with 16 Comments

Microsoft today announced that Visual Studio 2022 17.3 Preview 2 is now available, and there’s a native Arm64 version for the first time.

“This will be the first version of Visual Studio that will natively support building and debugging Arm64 apps on Arm-based processors,” Microsoft’s Mark Downie writes. “Our key goal with this preview is to introduce and stabilize the most popular workloads used by developers who are building apps that run on Arm64, and to gather feedback from the community to help us prioritize additional experiences and workloads as we work toward General Availability (GA) later this year.”

Microsoft announced that it would deliver an Arm64 native version of Visual Studio—as well as Arm versions of .NET, the .NET Framework, and C++—at Build 2022 earlier this month. And even this first build “significantly reduces the dependence on x64 emulation,” Downie notes, adding that it supports three workloads: desktop development with C++, .NET desktop development (Windows Forms, Windows Presentation Foundation) using both .NET Framework and modern .NET, and network and web development. These workloads will be generally available by the end of 2022, Microsoft says.

There is a single installer for Visual Studio 2022 17.3 Preview 2, so it will correctly detect your PC’s system architecture and install the right version.

You can download it from the Visual Studio website.

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Comments (16)

16 responses to “Microsoft Releases the First Arm64 Build of Visual Studio”

  1. dftf

    It's still shocking just how-little software is available in an ARM version for Windows on ARM.

    Edge and Firefox remain the only two browsers; only about half of the Microsoft Office suite apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook); and some third-party apps, like 7-Zip and WireGuard VPN.

    Compared to iOS, macOS and Android (where a 64-bit only future is approaching) it's telling that of all the apps I use regularly on my personal Windows PCs, about 90-95% of them still offer a current, 32-bit version available for download, yet only about 3-5% offer an ARM version.

    • will

      I think the reason is developers are not 100% sold that Microsoft is really in on ARM. They are actively building out x86 code with Windows 11 and have not given any signal that ARM is the future of Windows. If that were to happen, I think we would see that number go up a lot more. Why build something that is only in use by a few percent of users?

      Plus, the ARM hardware for Windows has been OK at best and nothing really to get excited about.

      • rob_segal

        I don't think Microsoft fully committing to ARM would move the needle at all. That won't solve the user enthusiasm gap between Windows users and Apple or Android users, especially Apple users. There are multiple other factors playing into this. Lack of confidence, comfort, and buy-in with newer Windows app development platforms, an unenthusiastic user base, no mobile platform and ecosystem, and no cohesive app development strategy from Microsoft themselves are barriers, too.

      • basic sandbox

        Personally I am fully committed to ARM laptops for battery life and minimal fan usage.

        • dftf

          I wonder how-important thesedays battery-life is in laptops is though?

          Since the pandemic, many-more people are working-from-home, where they can remain plugged-in, or for people who work "out in the field", the majority will be using smartphones or tablets to do their work on instead. (And desktop PCs are always plugged-in; some may have an UPS, but that is not the same as a battery, but there to permit a safe-shutdown and prevent data-loss).

          So... should ARM really be such a priority (in this respect) for Microsoft when most of the devices Windows is used on will mostly be permanently plugged-in to mains-power anyway?

      • dftf

        "I think the reason is developers are not 100% sold that Microsoft is really in on ARM"

        Fair-point. I don't-know why they won't allow anyone to just self-build their own ARM PC, for example.

        "They are actively building out x86 code with Windows 11"

        Are they? They have said they will no-longer ship the 32-bit kernel versions for Windows 11, but 32-bit app support is still fully-there, and no timetable as-of-yet for when Windows will only run 64-bit apps.

        "... have not given any signal that ARM is the future of Windows."

        Perhaps the question we could ask is: should ARM be the future of Windows? For mobile-devices and tablets, that are mostly used on-battery, ARM makes-sense as it gives greater battery-life than x64 chips. But as Windows is mostly used on devices that remain plugged-in (desktops and laptops) then it's not as major a concern. And sure, while Apple's M1 and M2 chips clearly blow most low-to-mid range chips from AMD and Intel out-of-the-water, once you get to the high-end, such as the i9 and Xeon range, you can still get CPUs (and separate, discreet GPUs) that are more-powerful. So... does Microsoft really need to move to ARM? It does somewhat feel to me like it's something people want just because other systems are doing so...

        • zamroni111

          Qualcomm has exclusivity deal with Microsoft, but Qualcomm main intention is more about putting cellular modem, instead of arm processor, in laptop.

    • rob_segal

      There's little to no incentive for Windows developers to update their apps for any reason. On the Apple side, there is a much more engaged user base and Apple advances its platforms more aggressively.

      • dftf

        "There's little to no incentive for Windows developers to update their apps for any reason"

        I assume you mean there no-incentive for them to update their apps to offer an ARM version, rather-than just not provide any app-updates full-stop (period)? As for the latter, of-course there is: fixing bugs and security issues for starters. In some cases, doing so may be legally-required, depending on the type of software and use.

        "On the Apple side, there is a much more engaged user base and Apple advances its platforms more aggressively"

        It should be no-surprise that when people specifically choose to move to a platform that has a higher cost-of-entry that they have greater investment and expectations. You pay more = you expect more. And because Apple remains very-much a "personal" computing company, of-course they can advance more-quickly than Microsoft, who have to maintain compatibility with past apps. Though Windows 11 clearly does show an advancement, as no-longer will they offer 32-bit kernel versions of Windows going-forwards, so once Windows 10 ends support in 2029, 16-bit app support, 32-bit drivers and the 32-bit Windows kernel will all be retired. (I'd imagine 32-bit app support will linger-on for a while yet though...)

    • nbplopes

      It's not really much of a shock. Simply put there is little to no incentive.

      1) There is no technological advantage that digital businesses can explore to differentiate from the pack.

      2) Build for whom? For the groupie that use them on the lab?

      3) Microsoft seam to be playing a "we too" game. Meaning, it will go nowhere the game of appearances of technological marketing.


    • spiderman2

      There are 2 main things to consider:

      • Mac has a low market share, apple decide from one day to another that tomorrow only ARM will work, devs shut up and rewrite all the app from scratch
      • Windows has a big market share, MS decide that in 10 years only ARM will work, and all devs starts to cry out lout because they need to change one line of code

  2. Donte

    Apple's M series chips are great but short of some good gains in terms of power/heat in laptops, they are not leaps and bounds more powerful than the Intel/AMD offerings.

    Once you step into a high-end desktop computer for performance of task, then all that power and heat advantage does not really matter.

    My point is, what is there to gain moving to ARM for software makers on Windows?

    • wright_is

      It depends. The power consumption is probably the most important part of the equation to me, in Europe. The electricity prices have nearly doubled in the last 12 months, we are now paying well over 40c/KwH. That makes the efficiency of the processor incredibly important, if it can do the same amount of work for less power, that gives it a huge weighting, when weighing up a new machine.

      One of the reasons I went with an M1 Mac mini this time round, replacing my Ryzen 7 desktop - similar levels of performance, but the M1 uses about an 8th of the electricity, under full load.

      We have sped up the replacement of other energy hungry devices in the house and things like the NAS only get turned on now, when they are needed. Likewise, gas has increased in price (and the gas company at the next town over announced a 117% price rise in August, we are waiting to see what our supplier does), so we are heating less in winter (dropping ambient temperature in the house by a couple of degrees).

      But, I am in a lucky situation, all the software I need runs on Windows and macOS (and most of it on Linux as well), so I can be very flexible about getting the most efficient hardware to run my software.

      I run the Mac mini, a RasperryPi 3 and a 400, the Ryzen 1700 still gets booted ocassionally, but less than an hour a week, I'd guess. Unfortunately, I have to use the Intel laptop that my company provides for work (that is probably the most power hungry computing device I currently use on a regular basis), but at least I get a tax rebate for working from home (covers some of the electricity costs and the ISP costs - I can claim the Internet usage prorata for each day I spend in home office).

      • dftf

        Yes, here in the UK, under the "price-cap", rates average about €0.32 (28p) per kW -- there is a daily "standing-charge" of around €0.52 (45p). (Do other European countries also have a standing-charge, or do you only pay for what you use? We have it on gas too; there it is around 7-8p currently.)

        Similar to Apple's M1 and M2 machines, versus Intel and AMD, the same is true for the various games-consoles: the Nintendo Switch will be cheapest to run; and the Xbox Series S averages about 15-30W less in peak-draw than the Series X or PS5 consoles, from what I can find online. (I'd imagine in the future, streaming will also help, as it will be more-efficient to run games on a data-centre, and then all people need in their own homes is a low-powered device to simply display the stream, and receive the input data from the controller.)

        • wright_is

          No standing charge, thank goodness. You just pay for what you use. We've gone from around 24c last summer to around 45c per KwH at the moment, with talks of the prices rising further.

          I think, with pollution and the Ukraine crisis, normal people will be looking more and more to the most efficient devices they can afford (in all areas, not just tech), going forward. We had a 2nd fridge in the cellar for drinks in summer and storing food for parties (it usually spent the winter turned off and was turned on when we had a family gathering etc. in the summer).

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