Banish Those Missing .NET Framework Errors Forever


NET. Framework version windowThe most popular tool with which to create Windows software is Microsoft's Visual Studio. Pretty much all programs that you create with it, though, won't run unless the end user's machine has the Microsoft .NET framework installed. That's why, when you install new software on your PC, the installer often complains that you're missing the .NET framework and that you'll need to download and install it before you can continue.

There are literally dozens of versions of the .NET framework, and making sure you have the correct ones installed can be tricky. Which is where a rather neat utility called the .NET Version Detector comes in. It'll tell you which versions are currently installed on your computer, and provide links to all of the other versions in case you want to install them. The links are correctly customised for your current version of Windows and your language so, for example, if your PC is set to use Spanish then the links will direct you to the Spanish versions of the framework.

Note, by the way, that the program creates links to both the frameworks and the SDKs. Unless you're a software developer, then you'll only ever need the frameworks - don't worry about the SDK links.

The .NET Version Detector is free, so head to to download it. The file is around 0.5 MB and is malware-free according to VirusTotal and Web of Trust. The detector itself doesn't require any .NET framework, and is portable too, so it's easy to get up and running quickly.

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But that it could be so! lol (( - :

Is Microsoft Visual C the same as net framework ? There seems to be a lot of those on my computer.

The C Runtime Libraries that you see many programs install perform a similar function to the .Net framework. They are a collection of functions that many C programs routinely use. They are distributed as .DLL files, so that, technically, they could be shared by several programs written in C by different developers.

But, the Microsoft developers didn't think ahead enough when they set this up. They did not change the name of the .DLL from one version to the next. So, when Developer A released their program, they assumed a particular version of the DLL was installed on the user's computer. That was fine. Until six months later, when the user installs Developer B's program, which installs a newer version of the DLL over top of the one being used by Developer A. Ideally, that shouldn't be a problem. But, in real life, it wasn't uncommon for the new version to break Developer A's program. And, maybe Developer B's program won't work with the older version of the DLL.

So, what the developers quickly learned they needed to do was install their own copy of the runtime libraries with their programs. That defeated the purpose of saving space by reusing those libraries. But, as hard drives have grown, that's really not a concern. Several copies of the libraries are trivial in size, by today's standards.

So, I assume the plethora of .Net versions grew out of the experience gained from dealing with the C Runtime Libraries.

In addition to the runtime libraries, C programs might also use one of the .Net frameworks to perform some functions. They are not mutually exclusive. The C Runtime Libraries tend to be lower-level calls, like how to read from a hard disk, get the date from the OS, etc. .Net has those, plus a boatload of more baroque functions.

For example, the C runtime libraries will help the developer read data from an image file. But, it's up to the developer to decode the format and build the image in memory. Whereas .Net has functions that read any of multiple different image file formats and build up the in-memory copy of the file in a single call. .Net can makes some things easier. But, there are special cases where a developer might want to get at the raw data himself. So, neither is "better."

Drake Christensen

I agree with what BobF was saying. You never know when some program you wish to run will need .Net Framework #? My machine, and some of its predecessors from which I have upgraded, have been piling them uup for years, like a person who hordes newspapers. I used to build webs, with Microsoft programs and utilities, and .Net is the backbone of those programs, going way back. I am not sure whether MS occasionally removes one when implementing another for the same type of work. probably just as well to leave them. If it works...etc. I just love (mostly Free) utilities that clean unneeded junk off my machines. One of the reasons I originally became addicted to Gizmo's. Windows Secrets.. So much less cool than "BriansBuzz" lol. fairly good forum going there on Windows 10, now. Thanks for the input, everyone. Probably stopped me from doing something really OCD. (( - :

This is a great utility. I am not missing any .NET Framework, but I am fairly certain that I have more versions, and I mean like 10 or more versions, that I do not need. Anyone know of a program like this, which works to tell us about un-needed .Net frameworks, and help us get them off our machines? That would be sweet.

I would love to have a program that did that as well greyman .

Windows secrets talked about using process explorer to see if net frame is in use and for which program , but this is not for novices as you would have to activate every important program you have one by one to see what needs what . As said before games need net frame and so does some office suites and many security tools and various maintenance apps . If you have this many versions you must be a heavy user games or not and shouldn't remove a version unless you know what you're doing.

Bob F. part time tech Montreal

If I'm not mistaken, everything should be listed quite plainly in the "Programs and Features" control panel, so you can uninstall them just as easily as any other program. Keep in mind that they are not backwards-compatible – programs that need version 2 of the the .NET Framework will not work with version 4, and so on.

My question is what net frameworks should i have for a Win 7 64 bit SP1 laptop ? Is there a negative to having all of them , i am not a developer .

I never play games or anything like that . Which ones are required for basic computer internet surfing ?

You probably shouldn't install them if you don't need them. Security updates for the various versions are constantly being pushed through Windows Update, and in the past the installation of those updates has sometimes been problematic. (I haven't seen any problems with them in a long time, though, so maybe that era is over.)

If you're constantly installing new applications from all over the place, then you'll probably need them sooner or later, but for "basic computer internet surfing" the frameworks serve no purpose whatsoever. Even those who are playing games are probably using Steam, and Steam is generally pretty good about providing these things whenever they are required.

I thought i needed some of them but i guess not .

Thank you very much Sir.

This one is useful especially when you are playing games, and also installing software's. Thanks :)