The Microsoft .net Framework contains a library of pre-coded functions and a virtual machine that manages code execution.
Properly coded .net applications will perform a check if the required Microsoft .net Framework is installed on the computer before they start the installation or execution. Improperly coded applications on the other hand may not which can lead to error messages, crashes, hangs or the program not starting at all and keeping you in the dark why it won't start up properly.
The Microsoft .net Framework comes in various versions that build up on each other. The current versions that are mostly used by software developers are the Microsoft .net Framework 2.0, 3.0 and 3.5 with their respective Service Packs.
A user with .net Framework 3.5 installed will also have the versions 3.0 and 2.0 on his computer whereas someone with the Microsoft .net Framework 3.0 will only have version 2.0 installed as well.
The concept is not that hard to grasp but it is still confusing as to why so many different .net Framework versions are installed on the computer.
Update: Microsoft has released newer editions in the meantime. Common new versions are the .Net Framework 4.0 and 4.5.1. It is not necessarily the case anymore that older versions are automatically installed on the system, which makes the whole support question that more confusing.
That's where the .net Version Detector comes into play.
The portable software scans the computer system for installed .net Framework components and displays the results in a list. It will also list the root directory of the Microsoft .net Framework on the computer system and provide download links to versions that have not been installed yet.
This software makes the detection easier. Experienced users could also look in the System Control Panel and see which versions of the .net Framework are installed there which will give the same information except for the root directory and the download links.
The main advantage of .Net Version Detector is that you can run it and it displays all the information that you need to you. While it won't tell you which framework version you need to run a particular software, you can be sure that it is not a dependency issue if a software does not start properly if you have all versions of the framework installed on your computer.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.