There are lots of applications and games that has been based on C++ and in order to run the applications you need to install run-time components which are necessary to run the C++ applications. Different application needs different Visual C++ packages so its better to have all the packages under one roof. The packages include Visual C++ 2005, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015 , 2017, 2019 versions.
Microsoft Visual C++ is a integrated development environment (IDE) used to create Windows applications in the C, C++, and 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, test, and 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 to write their own from scratch. That shared code takes the form of dynamic link libraries (DLLs), a term most Windows users have come across at some point or other.
When it comes time to deploy their software to users, developers have a choice to make. They can bundle those DLLs into the installation of their application, or they can rely on a standard distributable package of shared code. Most choose the latter, and that package is known as a Visual C++ Redistributable. There are several advantages to using a redistributable. The packages are made available by Microsoft, who also tests and 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.
Some are installed along with Windows itself. The specific versions that get installed depend 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 also got both the 32-bit (x86) and 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 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 run. That means that, for example, if a developer used Visual C++ 2005 (or Visual Studio 2005) to create a program you’re installing, you can expect to 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 gamer, especially if you get your games through Steam. Typically, this means that the developer has chosen to have the latest 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 to install the 2012 and 2013 C++ Redistributables.
It’s also possible that you’ll see what look like 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 pack, while others might just have slightly different version numbers. So, while it sometimes looks like multiple versions of the same package are installed, they are all subtly different. And unfortunately, unlike with the somewhat similar .NET Framework, Microsoft never consolidated all these older versions into a unified package.
So in short: you’ll see some packages that come with Windows, and some that come with applications you install. And if you’re running 64-bit Windows, you’ll see both 64-bit and 32-bit versions of each package.