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  1. #1
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    Time to review .NET Framework installations


    PATCH WATCH



    Time to review .NET Framework installations


    By Susan Bradley

    The release of .NET Framework 4.6.1 is a good reminder to review our installed versions of .NET; support has ended for some older versions. Plus: An update of some nagging Office issues, and when a bug is a feature.

    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/patch-watch/time-to-review-net-framework-installations/ (opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.
    Last edited by Kathleen Atkins; 2016-01-27 at 14:35.

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  3. #2
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    Question

    As not an IT professional, I have to admit that this .NET Framework business is mysterious to me. Susan's post this week leads me to a question.

    Based on the following statement by Susan...

    Bottom line: To stay secure, you’ll need to stay on .NET 3.5 SP1 or upgrade to Version 4.5.2 or newer — and hope for the best.
    ...is it correct to say that version 3.5 SP1 is somehow more current than versions with an ostensibly later designation such as 4.5.1?? Why would support for a "4.0" version end before support for a "3.5" ends?

    Is there an explanation somewhere, written in plain English, where a non-specialist might learn more about this .NET business? I have PCs with multiple versions of this installed and I really don't understand the relationship between different versions of this mysterious concept.

    One last, two-part question: should I uninstall all previous versions of .NET Framework, and should I install version 4.6.1? Windows Update offered it to my Windows 7 system this month.

    Thanks in advance for helping to fill this gap in my Windows knowledge.

  4. #3
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    .NET is a library of functions that allow programmers to (hopefully) spend more time writing their program and less time finding out how to write, for example, a network stack or Window manipulation. As newer version of .NET arrive they have more "features" and bug / security fixes.

    You should leave whatever versions you have installed as you may have programs that require a specific version.
    It is generally safe to install updates offered by Windows.

    cheers, Paul

  5. #4
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    ...is it correct to say that version 3.5 SP1 is somehow more current than versions with an ostensibly later designation such as 4.5.1??
    No! Conventional version numbering schemes follow the rules of left-to-right languages, and also of Arabic numbers. Thus digits on the left have greater significance than digits on the right.

    The dots serve as separators designating different sections, and by convention the sections of a version number also follow the rules of left-to-right languages. A section on the left has greater significance than a section on the right.

    For example, in increasing version number order, you might specify:

    3.0
    3.5
    3.5.1
    4.0
    4.5
    4.5.1

    So what version is 3.5 SP1? Well, version numbering is ultimately in the hands of the vendor. If they insist upon the notation "version 3.5 SP1", then that's what it is. However a reasonable numeric-only interpretation of this is "version 3.5.1" or perhaps "version 3.5.0.1". Just know that if you are the only one doing this, you'll confuse rather than clarify. Clarity should be your guidepost, not some ruleset you bring to the party, that you cannot enforce or influence.

    Why would support for a "4.0" version end before support for a "3.5" ends?
    Well this is a pickle, isn't it? It's unusual to be sure, however we've recently seen other examples of this. Microsoft has announced they are ending support for Windows version 8, however support for Windows 7 and 8.1 continues.

    It appears to be the case that Microsoft considered the Windows 8.1 to be a minor upgrade to version 8. Since it was (relatively) non-disruptive and minor, they believe everyone should upgrade from 8 to 8.1. However major upgrades (7-8-10) have more potential for disruption. And in general, Microsoft has a policy to support major versions for several years each.

    That's what I would say is going on with .NET too. .NET v3.5 was the last release of the .NET v3 series, so Microsoft is OK with supporting that. With the .NET v4 lineage, Microsoft wants everyone on the v4.0 release to upgrade to v4.5 or v4.6.

    One way they can do that is to drop support for .NET v4.0. This doesn't actually force users to upgrade. However it sends a strong message about what Microsoft wants to see happen. And in the corporate world, a lot of corporations have policies that say they won't (or will strive not to) use unsupported software.

  6. #5
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    In regards to January’s safe-to-install, nonsecurity updates, Susan has mentioned, "I’ve not run across any reports of problems with the rest of this month’s nonsecurity Office updates" but in the last she said, "Unless you need a specific fix provided by one or more of these updates, hold off on installing them until I report back in the next Patch Watch."

    Now should we install the updates or not?

  7. #6
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    Your choice, but as there are no reports of major problems, install away!

    cheers, Paul

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