How do I update the version of OpenGL on Windows so that I can use anything newer than the Version 1.1 header file that is included in the Platform SDK? Even version 7.0A of the SDK for Windows 7 only includes GL.h and GLU.h for version 1.1 of OpenGL. I've installed the NVidia driver for my board that includes OpenGL 4.1 support, but I don't see header files included in this package.


3 Answers 3


You can download glext.h from the OpenGL website, which has extensions for OpenGL.
Or, download a function pointer handling library like GLee, which solves the problem as well as making it easier to access them; no more functor declarations.

To quote the OpenGL site:

Microsoft will never update gl.h and opengl32.lib that comes with their compiler. It hasn't been updated since 1995. Basically, the solution is to use glext.h and wglext.h (wglext.h is for Windows only) which define all the GL 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 2.0, 2.1 and above tokens and functions. Keep reading.
Download glext.h and wglext.h from The Extensions Registry.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Is that all I need to do? Grab the glext.h? \$\endgroup\$ Aug 5, 2010 at 18:12
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Yes, and in your code you would need to do something like: PFNGLACTIVETEXTUREPROC glActiveTexture; Then to use: (PFNGLACTIVETEXTUREPROC) wglGetProcAddress("glActiveTexture"); Which is why I find it much easier to use the GLee or GLEW libraries. [They're close to the same, but GLEW needs to be initialized] \$\endgroup\$ Aug 5, 2010 at 18:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ GLEW seems to be updated more frequently though. \$\endgroup\$
    – UncleZeiv
    Feb 9, 2011 at 12:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ Uhh I think it should also be mentioned that updating your latest graphics cards drivers will (if stated) provide an update to GL as well. Case and point: developer.nvidia.com/content/… \$\endgroup\$
    – user6484
    Sep 22, 2011 at 13:42

Take a look at this OpenGL getting started page:


You'll see that The Communist Duck is right: it's just a matter of downloading a header or two from the extension registry:


However, as he also said, it might be easier for you to download an extension handler which does all the gritty work for you, like GLee - or GLEW:

GLee : http://elf-stone.com/glee.php

GLEW : http://glew.sourceforge.net/


You can directly download updated header files and drivers from this page here for Windows. There is even a little how-to-install at the top of the page.

Swiftless OpenGL Drivers Page

I hope this helps!


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