Find out which Microsoft .Net Framework version a software requires

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The Microsoft .Net Framework is a highly controversial software framework that makes available a large library of classes to developers which they can make use of when they code applications. The framework has been criticized for performance issues, as well as for not being cross-platform.

What's probably most confusing to end users is that there are so many .Net Framework versions out there that can be installed on the computer at the same time.

All modern versions of the Windows operating system ship with at least one version of the Microsoft .Net Framework. Microsoft's most recent operation system, Windows 8.1 for example, ships with .net Framework 4.5.1, while Windows 7 with the .net Framework 3.5.

The only -- still supported -- Microsoft operating system that does not ship with .net is Windows XP.

You can either check the Windows Registry directly to find out which versions of the .net Framework are installed on your system, or use a handy program like the .Net Version Detector instead.

All you need to do is download the program to your system, extract the archive, and run it afterwards. An installation is not required.

net-version-detector

The program displays all versions of the Microsoft .Net Framework that are currently supported on the system. White text indicates that the version is installed, while gray that it is not installed. Service packs are also highlighted by the application.

Finding out which .Net version a program depends on

It can sometimes be important to find out which .Net Framework version a program requires, or if a program requires .Net at all.

If you do not like .Net, then this is a way to make sure that you do not run the software on your system.

As a tech writer, I need to make sure that my readers know which .Net version a program requires. While that is often listed on the homepage of the software, it sometimes is not.

I only know of one way to find out about it. Feel free to add additional methods to the comment section below.

You need the excellent Process Explorer for that. Run the application, then the .Net application. Locate it in Process Explorer, and double-click on it.

Here you need to switch to .Net Assemblies to find the required .Net Framework version listed there.

net-assemblies

In this case, it requires the Microsoft .Net Framework 4.0.

This method won't help you if you do not have the .Net Framework installed on your PC, as you cannot run the software in question.

Running it may however display a notification or maybe even an installation prompt to install the required .Net Framework version on the system.

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Responses to Find out which Microsoft .Net Framework version a software requires

  1. Ian January 17, 2014 at 3:59 pm #

    To call .NET a controversial Framework shows your lack of understanding of this topic. It is the most widely used framework in the U.S. for business applications and provides better and more modern capabilities than it's counterparts such as Java. In fact, anyone who has developed with both Java and C#.NET knows how similar they are. But C# having more capabilities and modern features that people complain about with Java. You said that it is not possible to run things cross platform, this is also incorrect, it can be used on other platforms with the assistance of things like Mono and some other mobile technologies that allow for .NET development for Apple and Android devices. Get your facts straight and don't just go off of what you like and don't like.

    Ian Kelly
    Senior Software Engineer

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