V5 Documentation

Build Sdk

Project-level NCrunch configuration setting Introduced NCrunch v4.19 Default Value: (Depends on IDE)
ID/Tag in config file: BuildSdk


This setting specifies the version of MSBuild that should be used by NCrunch to build the associated project.

By changing this setting, it is possible to force NCrunch to use a version of MSBuild that is packaged with newer SDKs of .NET, particularly .NET 6 and above. Newer versions of the .NET SDK ship with their own versions of MSBuild and are installed separately to Visual Studio. This makes it possible to operate the NCrunch Grid Node or Console Tool on a machine that does not have Visual Studio installed.

When left as the default value, NCrunch will use the version of MSBuild that is best suited to the IDE currently being used. For example, when running VS2022, NCrunch will use the version of MSBuild that is packaged with VS2022. Under VS2010, NCrunch will use the version of MSBuild that is preinstalled on every Windows machine (as part of .NET Framework v4).

It is not possible to use this setting to force NCrunch to use a version of MSBuild packaged with Visual Studio if the version of VS is not the same as the one currently hosting NCrunch. For example, it is not possible to make NCrunch under VS2010 use the version of MSBuild installed in VS2022. This is because each installed version of NCrunch only ships with the binaries required to integrate with a single instance of VS.

If the specified version of MSBuild is unavailable, NCrunch will fall upward to a newer version (if found). Otherwise, it will fall downward to an older version. This can result in the build successfully completing, but a warning will be shown by NCrunch.


Unless you are working with a grid node or console runner machine without Visual Studio installed, this setting is generally best set to its default value. Running NCrunch with a different version of MSBuild to the one being hosted by Visual Studio can result in NCrunch's build behaviour being vastly different to the IDE, which can sometimes cause problems that are difficult to diagnose.

Changing this setting to use one of the newer non-VS dependent versions of MSBuild is useful if you want to operate a grid node without needing to install VS. Note that changing this setting will alter the build behaviour on both your local machine and the grid node, as the setting is passed over the network when the NCrunch client requests a node to build a project on its behalf.

Newer versions of MSBuild packaged in the .NET SDK are themselves running on newer versions of .NET, with the platform itself effectively being newer versions of .NET Core. Older build tasks that have not been maintained by Microsoft will likely fail to run under this platform. It should be expected that you will not be able to use these versions of MSBuild when working with old solutions that depend on deprecated toolsets.

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