The only Windows update this week is a new version of .NET Framework — Version 4.5.1 for Vista and Windows 7.
Plus: Useful apps and tips for new Win8 systems, some USB driver problems and cleanup, and two patches for IT pros.
Skip this serving of .NET Framework 4.5.1
This time of year I go into full baking mode — bread, cookies, and pies all made from recipes handed down through generations. The products of those old recipes often taste better simply because they use pure ingredients: real butter, whole milk, lots of sugar, etc.
In software, too, newer doesn’t necessarily mean better. Take, for example, .NET Framework — which, as many of you know, I consider a bit of a turkey. Right before Thanksgiving, Microsoft is sending some of us a helping of the newly baked .NET 4.5.1 (see Figure 1; more info) for Vista SP2, Windows 7 SP1, and versions of Windows Server 2008.
.NET 1.1 and .NET 2 are notorious for patching failures on Windows XP. However, .NET 4, on Windows 7, has had relatively few issues. Moreover, you probably won’t need Aaron Stebner’s .NET Framework Cleanup Tool (site) if you do run into a problem installing a .NET 4 update. If it gets stuck, it’s typically fixed with a simple repair in Control Panel/Program and Features. Use these steps:
In Uninstall or change a program, click the Installed On column header to list the most recently installed apps. Find the problematic .NET update, right-click it and select Uninstall/Change, and then select the Repair wizard.
.NET 4 might have fewer problems, but it’s still not completely error-free. Moreover, Microsoft likes to proactively update .NET on Windows systems; it’s highly unlikely that you’ll need .NET 4.5.1 anytime soon. Most software built on this platform hasn’t rolled out yet.