Re: How to create a universal .exe ???

David Wilkinson <>
Wed, 14 May 2008 22:23:33 -0400
blangela wrote:

Is there a way to create a .exe which will execute on any PC? I was
creating .exes (from C++ code) using VC Express 2005 that seemed to be
able to execute on almost any PC.

I have switched to VC 2008 Professional and now the .exe I create
(both in Debug and Release Mode) will not execute on all of the PCs I
have tried so far (the exception of course is the PC which has VC 2008
installed. I get the error message "This application has failed to
start because the application configuration is incorrect".

I find this strange since I would have thought that there would be
more restrictions on a .exe created with a "free" VC IDE than with a
professional vesrion and not vice versa.

Is there some compiler/linker switch(es) I must use to create a
"universal" .exe ?


You are seeing this because you are using dynamic linking. With dynamic linking,
the CRT DLL's (and perhaps other library DLL's) must be on the target machine.
Because VS 2005 is older than VS 2008, more (maybe most) machines will have the
corresponding DLL's, but the only reliable solution is to distribute the DLL's
with your application. As Nathan says, this has gotten harder rather than easier
in recent versions of Visual Studio.

But there is a road to salvation: static linking. You executable is a bit
bigger, but all the hassles are gone.

David Wilkinson
Visual C++ MVP

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