[c++] How to fix the error "Windows SDK version 8.1" was not found?

I recently updated visual studio 2015 and now, when i try to build any project it always fails and i get the error

Severity Code Description Project File Line Suppression State Error MSB8036 The Windows SDK version 8.1 was not found. Install the required version of Windows SDK or change the SDK version in the project property pages or by right-clicking the solution and selecting "Retarget solution". Proj D:\Program Files (x86)\visual studio 2017\Common7\IDE\VC\VCTargets\Platforms\Win32\PlatformToolsets\v141\Toolset.targets 34

I retargeted the solution as it said, and the problem persisted, even though the retargetting was completed.I decided to install visual studio 2017 because of this, and, lo and behold, it did the exact same thing.I'm also using windows 7.

What is the problem and how can i fix it?

This question is related to c++ visual-studio

The answer is

Another way (worked for 2015) is open "Install/remove programs" (Apps & features), find Visual Studio, select Modify. In opened window, press Modify, check

  • Languages -> Visual C++ -> Common tools for Visual C++
  • Windows and web development -> Tools for universal windows apps -> Tools (1.4.1) and Windows 10 SDK ([version])
  • Windows and web development -> Tools for universal windows apps -> Windows 10 SDK ([version])

and install. Then right click on solution -> Re-target and it will compile

I had win10 SDK and I only had to do retarget and then I stopped getting this error. The idea was that the project needs to upgrade its target Windows SDK.

I installed the 8.1 SDK's version:


It used 1GB (a little more) in the installation.

Update October, 9. There's a https error: the sdksetup link is https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?LinkId=323507

"Save link as" should help.

  • Install the required version of Windows SDK or change the SDK version in the project property pages


  • by right-clicking the solution and selecting "Retarget solution"

If you do visual studio guide, you will resolve the problem.

Grep the folder tree's *.vcxproj files. Replace <WindowsTargetPlatformVersion>8.1</WindowsTargetPlatformVersion> with <WindowsTargetPlatformVersion>10.0</WindowsTargetPlatformVersion> or whatever SDK version you get when you update one of the projects.

I realize this post is a few years old, but I just wanted to extend this to anyone still struggling through this issue.

The company I work for still uses VS2015 so in turn I still use VS2015. I recently started working on a RPC application using C++ and found the need to download the Win32 Templates. Like many others I was having this "SDK 8.1 was not found" issue. i took the following corrective actions with no luck.

  • I found the SDK through Micrsoft at the following link https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/downloads/sdk-archive/ as referenced above and downloaded it.
  • I located my VS2015 install in Apps & Features and ran the repair.
  • I completely uninstalled my VS2015 and reinstalled it.
  • I attempted to manually point my console app "Executable" and "Include" directories to the C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SDKs\Windows Kits\8.1 and C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v8.1A\bin\NETFX 4.5.1 Tools.

None of the attempts above corrected the issue for me...

I then found this article on social MSDN https://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/office/en-US/5287c51b-46d0-4a79-baad-ddde36af4885/visual-studio-cant-find-windows-81-sdk-when-trying-to-build-vs2015?forum=visualstudiogeneral

Finally what resolved the issue for me was:

  • Uninstalling and reinstalling VS2015.
  • Locating my installed "Windows Software Development Kit for Windows 8.1" and running the repair.
  • Checked my "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SDKs\Windows Kits\8.1" to verify the "DesignTime" folder was in fact there.
  • Opened VS created a Win32 Console application and comiled with no errors or issues

I hope this saves anyone else from almost 3 full days of frustration and loss of productivity.

I encountered this issue while trying to build an npm project. It was failing to install a node-sass package and this was the error it was printing. I solved it by setting my npm proxy correctly so that i