Using Project Rider under Windows without Visual Studio: prerequisites

If you have installed Project Rider on a Windows machine that has an existing Visual Studio installation, we expect Project Rider to start working without taking any further configuration steps.

However, if you want to use Project Rider on a copy of Windows that doesn't have Visual Studio installed:

  1. Download and install Microsoft Build Tools 2017 or earlier:
  2. (Optional, if not installed with Build Tools.) Download and install Microsoft .NET Framework Developer Pack 4.5.1 or later from this list: 
  3. (Optional, if you're interested in developing .NET Core applications.) Install .NET Core for Windows.
  4. (Optional, if you're interested in developing Web applications.) Download and install IIS Express (choose the x86 distribution for your language):
  5. (Optional, if you're interested in developing FSharp applications)
    1. Add nuget to project
    2. Changing TargetFrameworkVersion may be required

When can we expect support for .NET Framework versions later than 4.5.1? Seeing as 4.5.1 has been out of support for a full year now, it'd be awesome to see Rider support, say, 4.6 or 4.6.1.


What about using Mono with Windows, how can i choose between using .NET and Mono?

Can´t find any option in my project that i want to run/build in both frameworks.


Aapo, I have updated the instructions to reflect that any Developer Pack from the list at will do.


Daniel August
1. Set valid "mono root folder path" in Settings
2. For both Run and Debug configurations there must appear a checkbox "use mono runtime"

Also related



I follow the installation instruction and I got the error:

"Cannot load the project with the current MSBuild toolset. Please ensure MSBuild 15.0 is installed."

After that, I installed Microsoft Build Tools 2017 with MSBuild 15 and I still got this error.

When I installed Visual Studio the error gone.

Is it a bug or I'm doing something wrong? I'm using Windows 10, .NET Core 1.0.1 SDK

I'm using Windows 10, .NET Core 1.0.1 SDK, .NET Core 1.1.1 Runtime, .NET Framework 4.6 and above.


Przemysław Pogorzelec


Edited by Pogoprzem

Latest .NET Core 1.1 requires Workload ".NET Cross Platform development" from Visual Studio installation. We hope to remove this limitation soon.


Microsoft Build Tools 2015 link is dead, I believe it should be replaced by this one?

(Under "Other Tools and Frameworks" > Build Tools for Visual Studio 2017)


Thanks Jackson, the link is now updated.


 Regarding Step 5: The link seems to be down and I can't find any similarly named repository on GitHub either.


@Benjamin, Sorry I put a link to private repository. Copied info directly here.


@Ivan, thanks that put me on the right track! However with just the Microsoft Build Tools 2015 (I don't have Visual Studio installed at the moment) I couldn't get it to work; it always failed with a "The target "build" could not be found in the project..." error message. Installing the Build Tools for Visual Studio 2017 (1) and selecting F#-Support during the installation fixed that for me.





As you can see I don't have a Visual Studio 2017 IDE installed.

Here's what I needed to set to get Rider to recognize a .NET framework and to build applications.

If I try to select any other .NET SDK or targeting pack I can't build using Rider.

Rider needs .NET 4.5 to work. Given this these instructions don't see correct.



@S07h0sxxef Currently Rider default project templates have TargetFrameworkVersion =4.5 in csproj without checking what frameworks are installed.

However you can changeTargetFrameworkVersion to other value corresponding to TargetFramework installed on your machine.


I don't see any easy way to do this.

For a test I added 4.5.1

After doing that I would expect there to be an easy way in Rider to choose either 4.5 or 4.5.1 for this project. I still only see 4.5. Why?



While installing Microsoft Build Tools 2017 I saw license link.

Do I understand correctly that "Microsoft Build Tools 2017" can't be used for commercial development without a VS 2017 license?
Do you have suggestions on how to use the Rider for commercial development under Windows without buying VS 2017?

BTW, MSBuild is under MIT license. Will Rider work with custom MSBuild on Windows? And if so, is it legal?

Edited by Oleg


Good catch! We'll look into Microsoft Build Tools licensing more closely, and we'll modify the requirements if we can confirm there's an issue. The underlying MSBuild is under MIT.


"If you have installed Project Rider on a Windows machine that has an existing Visual Studio installation, we expect Project Rider to start working without taking any further configuration steps."

Well, it doesn't.  I am demoing Rider and so far the impression isn't very good :(

I have Visual Studio 2017 and 2015 installed and setup working with Unity, and I am evaluating Rider.  I installed Rider and opened my Unity project.  Rider complained that .NET 4.5 wasn't installed (which it was), and gave me a link to download it.  I followed the link and downloaded and installed it again, and restarted Rider.  Rider still insisted .NET 4.5 isn't installed and as a result gives me tons of errors in my project.

I checked Windows installed Apps and it clearly shows the .NET 4.5.1 and 4.5.2 SDKs installed, yet Rider apparently can't see them.


@John: Rider only recognizes the .NET 4.5 Framework as .NET 4.5, not the 4.5.1 and 4.5.2 Frameworks. You you should be able to change the used version for every Project however; just right-click on an opened Project in the Solution Explorer and select 'Properties' and there choose the desired target framework.



Plain 4.5 is also installed on my system according to what I see on disk (in C:\Program Files (x86)\Reference Assemblies\Microsoft\Framework\.NETFramework )

Setting the Rider Unity Preferences in Unity to use 3.5 seems to work, although there are several notices that I shouldn't be doing this so I would rather get it working with 4.5.



@John Vanderbeck
ou may manually put 4.5.1 instead of 3.5 or 4.5 in Rider Unity Preferences in Unity.
Plugin also has code for windows which is intended to detect target frameworks on PC.
But I see, that you wrote, there is 4.5 in the folder.
Could you please collect msbuild log?
Run Rider in internal mode and execute "Reload project and show logs" context action on project from Solution Explorer. It that case Rider will reload a project, collect all information from MsBuild and show log file in editor. Thanks!

Edited by Ivan Shakhov

Hey there! Is it possible to do Xamarin development using Rider without VS being installed? If so, what all would we need to install to do that? To the best of my knowledge, Xamarin is only able to be installed within Visual Studio anymore, so I just wanted to make sure.

Thanks for the awesome progress with Rider so far!

Edited by Derik

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