The information that was previously contained in this article is now published in the following Microsoft Knowledge Base article:
913507 Microsoft deploying .NET applications lifecycle guide
The Microsoft .NET Framework is a Microsoft Windows component that is available to Windows users through various distribution channels. These distribution channels include the Microsoft Update Web site and the Microsoft Download Center. This component is also installed on some new computers. This article reviews the benefits of having the .NET Framework installed on the computer.
For more information about the Microsoft Update Web site, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
There are currently five released versions of the .NET Framework:
The .NET Framework 3.5
The .NET Framework 3.0 Service pack 1 (SP1) is the latest service pack.
The .NET Framework 2.0 Service pack 1 (SP1) is the latest service pack.
The .NET Framework 1.1
Service Pack 1 (SP1) is the latest service pack.
The .NET Framework 1.0
Service Pack 3 (SP3) is the latest service pack.
You may have several versions of the .NET Framework installed on your computer. Each version of the .NET Framework can co-exist with the other versions on the computer.
Most of the time, you can use the latest version of the .NET Framework to run applications that were created by using earlier versions of the .NET Framework.
Before you install a release version of the .NET Framework, you must remove any beta versions on which the release version is based. If you do not do this, the installation of the .NET Framework release version will fail. You can uninstall beta versions of the .NET Framework by using the Add or Remove Programs item in Control Panel. This is a good first step to try if the installation of the .NET Framework fails from the Microsoft Update Web site and if you have to troubleshoot the issue.
The following list includes some benefits of having the .NET Framework installed:
Easier installation of commercial applications Many commercial applications from Microsoft and from third-party companies rely on the .NET Framework to support their core functionality. If you have the .NET Framework installed, commercial applications are easier to install.
Easier updates After the .NET Framework is installed, it is updated automatically by the Microsoft Update service. If you receive Automatic Updates through Control Panel, any versions of the .NET Framework that are installed on the computer will always be up to date with the latest service packs.
The following are only some new features that are available in the .NET Framework 3.5:
WCF and WF integration
Durable WCF services
Partial trust support for WCF in targeted scenarios
WCF Web programming model (JSON)
WCF Syndication (Atom and RSS)
WF rules improvements
WCF interoperability for updated standard XAML Browser Applications (XBAPs)
WPF Interactive 3D API and 2D on 3D API
Increased WPF XBAP integration with browsers to enable unified cookie access
WPF UI Add-Ins Model
Firefox support for XBAPs For more information about the Microsoft .NET Framework, visit the following MSDN Web site:
For more information about how to download redistributable packages of all versions of the .NET Framework and related service packs for distribution with your own applications, visit the following MSDN Web site:
For more information about installed versions of the .NET Framework and related service packs on your computer, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
318785 How to determine which versions of the .NET Framework are installed and whether service packs have been applied
The third-party products that this article discusses are manufactured by companies that are independent of Microsoft. Microsoft makes no warranty, implied or otherwise, about the performance or reliability of these products.