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