Microsoft .NET Framework Support Lifecycle Policy FAQ

Created: August 7, 2014

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.NET Framework Support Lifecycle Policy History

In March 2010, Microsoft announced that beginning with .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1 (SP1), the .NET Framework is defined as a component instead of an independent product. As a component, .NET Framework version 3.5 Service Pack 1 (SP1) or later assumes the same Support Lifecycle policy as its underlying Windows operating system.

On August 7, 2014, Microsoft announced that support will end for .NET Framework 4, 4.5, and 4.5.1 on January 12, 2016. We recommend customers and developers complete the in-place update to .NET Framework 4.5.2 by January 12, 2016 to continue receiving technical support and security updates. Support for .NET Framework 4.5.2, as well as all other .NET Framework versions such as 3.5 SP1, will continue to be supported for the duration of the operating system support lifecycle.

Additional information on the history of .NET Framework support lifecycle is available below.

What is a component?

A component is defined as a set of files or features that are included with a Microsoft product whether it is shipped with the product, included in a product service pack or update, or later made available as a web download for the product.

When does .NET Framework 4.5.2 reach end of support?

Support for .NET Framework 4.5.2 will follow the Support Lifecycle policy of the Windows operating system, and will be supported as a component on the latest required operating system update. For example, .NET Framework 4.5.2 running on the latest Windows 8.1 Update will be supported until the end of Windows 8.1 Extended Support on January 10, 2023. To find the support lifecycle dates for all operating systems, search the Support Lifecycle Database here.

Why is support for .NET Framework 4, 4.5 and 4.5.1 ending on January 12, 2016?

Microsoft is making it easier than ever before for customers to stay current on the latest .NET Framework 4.x family of products with highly compatible, in-place updates for the .NET 4.x family. Microsoft recommends that customers and developers using .NET Framework 4, 4.5, or 4.5.1 complete the in-place update to .NET Framework 4.5.2 by January 12, 2016 to continue receiving technical support and security updates.

Does this support change affect any previous versions of .NET Framework such as .NET Framework 3.5 SP1?

No, the support change does not affect the support lifecycle policy for older versions prior to .NET Framework 4. Support for .NET Framework 4.5.2, as well as all other .NET versions such as 3.5 SP1, will continue to be supported for the duration of the operating system support lifecycle.

Will I need to recompile/rebuild my applications to make use of .NET Framework 4.5.2?

.NET Framework 4.5.2 is a compatible, in-place update on top of .NET Framework 4, 4.5, or 4.5.1. This means we expect applications built on previous .NET 4.x versions to continue to run on .NET Framework 4.5.2. Recompiling of apps is not necessary.

Are there any breaking changes in .NET Framework 4.5.2? Why do you include these changes?

There are a very small number of changes/fixes in .NET Framework 4.5.2 that are not fully compatible with earlier .NET versions. Such fixes are included only when absolutely necessary in the interests of security, comply with industry-wide standards, or to correct a previous incompatibility. A list of breaking changes in the runtime can be found here.

Additionally, there are a small number of fixes included in .NET Framework 4.5.2 that will only be enabled if you choose to recompile your application against .NET Framework 4.5.2. These types of changes are called retargeting changes. A list of retargeting changes for .NET Framework 4.5.2 can be found here.

The .NET Framework is also middleware in other Microsoft products such as Exchange Server, SQL Server, Dynamics CRM, SharePoint, and Lync. Do I need to make any updates to these products if they are using .NET 4, 4.5, or 4.5.1?

Newer versions of products such as Exchange, SQL Server, Dynamics CRM, SharePoint, and Lync are based on the .NET Framework 4 or .NET Framework 4.5. The .NET Framework 4.5.2 is a compatible, in-place update on top of the .NET Framework 4, 4.5, and 4.5.1. This means that an application, such as Exchange, built using the .NET Framework 4 or 4.5 will continue to run without any changes when the .NET runtime is updated from .NET Framework 4, 4.5, or 4.5.1 to .NET Framework 4.5.2. That said we recommend customers validate their deployments by updating the .NET runtime to .NET 4.5.2 in a pre-production environment first before rolling out a newer version in the production environment.

When I installed Visual Studio, it installed a version of the .NET Framework. Does this mean the version of .NET Framework that came with Visual Studio takes the Support Lifecycle of Visual Studio?

No. Versions of .NET Framework that shipped with host products other than Microsoft Windows shipped with a Windows Supplemental EULA. This means that the component is considered to be part of the Windows operating system.

What is the Support Lifecycle policy for the different versions of .NET Framework?

.NET Framework 1.1 SP1: The .NET Framework 1.0 was supported at the latest Service Pack level (SP1) under an individual product lifecycle policy until October 8, 2013. However, .NET Framework 1.1 SP1 will continue to be supported until end of support of Windows Server 2003 SP2 (with 32-bit only, not 64-bit).

Note that the extension does not apply to Windows Server 2003 SP2 64-bit edition and Windows Server 2003 Itanium based systems where .NET Framework 1.1 did not ship as a component in the operating system.

.NET Framework versions 2.0, 3.0, and 3.5: These versions are supported under an individual product lifecycle policy. For the respective end of support dates, see this site. Knowledge Base article 2696944 explains that in some cases where .NET Framework 3.5 relies on 2.0 or 3.0 to operate, Microsoft will provide support for the .NET Framework 2.0 and .NET Framework 3.0 components for customers who install the .NET Framework 3.5 for as long as the .NET Framework 3.5 remains in support.

.NET Framework 3.5 SP1: Beginning with .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1 (SP1) the .NET Framework is defined as a component instead of an independent product. So, support for .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 is driven by the support lifecycle policy of the Windows operating system (i.e. when Windows is in the Mainstream Support phase or Extended Support phase, so are its components). When a product such as Windows reaches the end of support, so do its related components. .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 is supported on Windows Server 2003 SP2, Windows Vista SP2, Windows 7 SP1, Windows Server 2008 SP2, Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, Windows 8.1 Update, Windows Server 2012, and Windows Server 2012 R2 according to the end of support date for each operating system.

.NET Framework 4: .NET Framework 4 did not ship in any operating system. .NET Framework 4 is supported on Windows Server 2003 SP2, Windows Vista SP2, Windows 7 SP1, Windows Server 2008 SP2, Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, Windows 8.1 Update, Windows Server 2012, and Windows Server 2012 R2 until January 12, 2016.

.NET Framework 4.5: .NET Framework 4.5 shipped both in Windows 8, Windows Server 2012 and also as a stand-alone redistributable package. .NET Framework 4.5 is supported on Windows Vista SP2, Windows 7 SP1, Windows Server 2008 SP2, Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2 until January 12, 2016.

.NET Framework 4.5.1: .NET Framework 4.5.1 is supported on Windows Vista SP2, Windows 7 SP1, Windows Server 2008 SP2, Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, Windows 8.1 Update, Windows Server 2012, and Windows Server 2012 R2 until January 12, 2016.

.NET Framework 4.5.2: Support for .NET 4.5.2 will follow the support lifecycle policy of the parent operating system. It will be supported as a Windows component on the latest required operating system update for Windows Vista SP2, Windows 7 SP1, Windows Server 2008 SP2, Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, Windows 8.1 Update, Windows Server 2012, and Windows Server 2012 R2. Microsoft recommends customers upgrade to .NET Framework 4.5.2 in order to receive the highest level of performance, efficiency, and reliability.

Last Review : August 14, 2014