Quite often these days you will see various programs that you downloaded from the Internet require the .NET Framework to be installed on your system. When a .NET application is run on a machine without the framework present, the results are unpredictable: The application will either not work, crash, or be frozen as an open window that does nothing. Most of the time you’ll get an error similar to this one:
The application failed to initialize properly (0×0000135). Click OK to terminate the application.
So, what is .NET Framework? The .NET Framework is a an application development platform that makes it quicker and also easier for software developers to create a range of Windows applications and services. Programming languages can be made to interact with other programming languages without the need to worry about finer details like memory management etc. A .NET application also runs inside its own virtual machine which is a big help from a security standpoint.
The problem is .NET is a sizable download and when installed, can take up several hundred Megabytes of hard drive space. Add to this the fact that usually more than one version has to be installed at the same time and you can understand why some users refuse to have .NET installed on their systems. Although with the rapidly increasing amount of .NET reliant applications, not having it installed will put you at a growing disadvantage in what software you can install and run.
In short, you need Microsoft .NET Framework in order to run programs that require .NET Framework. Just like you need to have Java Runtime installed in order to run Java Programs and you need to have Adobe Flash Player in order to view flash videos.
The .NET Framework is included with Windows Server 2008, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8. The current versions of the framework can also be installed on Windows XP and the Windows Server 2003. Since there are many versions of the .NET Framework (1.0, 1.1, 2.0, 3.0, 3.5, 4.0 and 4.5), and multiple versions are often present on the same system to run different applications, sometimes even the users themselves don’t even know what version of .NET Framework is installed on their own computer. Here’s a few ways you can find out.
1. Raymondcc .NET Detector
There are several different ways you can try and find out which versions of the .NET Framework you have on your computer, some are manual and others automatic, but not all of them are accurate. One good way is to check the system registry because if a .NET package is installed, its information should be correctly entered in the registry, although it’s not the registry location to tell you about the install/uninstall information. We’ve decided to create a little tool which does the plain and simple task of telling you which versions of .NET you have installed, along with which Service Pack version and whether it’s a Client/Full distribution.
.NET Detector couldn’t be simpler to use, just run the executable and it will tell you which .NET’s you have by showing them in dark text, the grayed out ones aren’t installed. Clicking on a non installed .NET package will take you to the download page at Microsoft for it, and the information from the window is automatically copied to the clipboard to paste into help files etc. The program is able to detect from .NET 1 up to the latest 4.5 frameworks, is portable and works on Windows XP and above.
2. ASoft .NET Version Detector
This program is a small and lightweight portable tool that gives information on all the different versions of .NET Framework that are installed on a machine. If the system does not have a specific version installed, there are handy button links provided to give you quick access to the related Microsoft webpage where you can easily download it. Links to download each versions Software Development kit is also provided.
If you look in the colored boxes, an already installed version will be shown with white text. Clicking the logo next to it will navigate to its install directory. The log box at the bottom shows which versions are present in a simple plain text format, including 32bit/64bit, and the relevant folder locations.
The copy button will simply copy all the text in that box to the clipboard. Something else which is a good reference is the box to the top right. This tells you exactly which versions of .NET are installed on an operating system as standard. For example; Vista SP2 comes shipped with versions 2.0 and 3.0 SP2 already integrated into the o/s.
.NET Version Detector supports detecting all versions (1.0, 1.1, 2.0, 3.0, 3.5, 4.0 and 4.5) of the .NET Framework and can also be run in Windows versions 2000, XP, 2003, Vista and 7.