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Step By Step! How To Install Microsoft .NET Framework?

5 Min. Read

Sometimes, upon installing new software on your PC, you will see an error pop up because the new software will require the installation of the .NET framework or the latest version of the .NET framework.

This application requires one of the following versions of the .NET Framework
This application requires one of the following versions of the .NET Framework

But what does the Microsoft .NET framework do, and why is it necessary to download it on your PC?

We will answer all these questions and more! This is an informative and easy-to-understand step-by-step guide on installing and enabling the .NET framework on Windows.

Let’s begin!

What Is Microsoft .NET Framework and What Does It Do In Windows?

Programmers make software for PCs or mobile phones. They write extensive code, sometimes millions of lines of code, using different coding languages. These codes act as instructions that tell the computer what to do.

But writing codes for every task can be a tiresome and time-consuming process. So to simplify this problem, Microsoft introduced the .NET framework, a software development framework. It is a collection of pre-written codes and additional tools, with the help of which programmers can easily create new software.

One of the main features of the Microsoft .NET framework is that it provides a common platform to write programs in multiple languages. Many apps and games also interact with the .NET framework.

How To Install Microsoft .Net Framework On Windows?

Many programmers use the .net framework to run their apps. Sometimes, the .net framework comes in-built, but if it is not, you can download it using the offline installer provided by Microsoft on its dotnet website:

Here is how you can access and download the offline installer:

1) Go To The Official .Net Website

Open a browser of your choice or open Google through the browser. In the search bar, type “.net framework” and press enter. Click on the first option on the Google search engine result page. It should be the official page of Microsoft.

Here is the direct link: https://dotnet.microsoft.com/en-us/download/dotnet-framework

Once you click on the link, the official website of .NET will open, and you will see all the framework versions.

The best thing about this is that the supported and unsupported versions will be listed separately. Make sure that you only download the supported and recommended version.

2) Download The Required .Net Version

You can download the latest version or the one you need to support a new app from this page. A new window will open with the version you want to download.

Here, you will see two options. One is the runtime package, which can be used to run apps and programs built with .Net. The other is the developer pack, which developers only use to create applications using Visual Studio.

Select the runtime package if you don’t want to use it for development. A window will open asking you to save the exe. Select the folder where you want to save the exe file and click save.

3) Unblock The EXE

Your computer’s security automatically blocks files from a different computer to protect your PC. To unblock the .NET exe, go to the folder where you saved the exe file, right-click on it, and select properties.

Unblock Microsoft .NET Framework EXE
Unblock Microsoft .NET Framework EXE

In the dialog box that opens, select the “Unblock” option at the bottom and click “Apply“.

4) Install The Microsoft .Net Framework

Before you start the installation, make sure that no application or software is open on your PC.

Double click on the exe or right click and select “run as administrator” to install. The .net framework setup window will pop up. Check the box that says “I have read and accept the license terms,” and click Install.

If a dialog box asks to close programs, click Yes and proceed.

Make sure your PC has an internet connection. Depending on your internet connection, it can take a few minutes to install. Once the installation is complete, click Finish.

5) Restart Your PC

Reboot your computer when the installation is finished. After restarting, you can try running the .net application. If there is an error, you can fix it by troubleshooting.

Enable .Net Framework 3.5 on Windows

Some previous versions of the .net framework have gone out of support. So there will no longer be any updates, including security fixes or technical support for these versions.

.Net framework 3.5 will continue to get five years of mainstream support and then five years of extended support from Microsoft. Microsoft will no longer support this .net framework version after January 9, 2022.

The latest .net framework version is 4.8, but many Windows features and apps require an older version, like the .net framework 3.5, to run.

Here is how you can enable and install the .NET Framework 3.5 on Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8.1, and Windows 8 on your PC:

Step 1- Access Turn Windows Features On or Off

There are two ways you can open the “Turn Windows Features On or Off” interface:

1) Press Windows and search for “windows features.” Press Enter, and the “Turn Windows features on or off” box will pop up.

2) Go to the Windows control panel, open programs, and select “Turn Windows features on or off”.

Step 2- Click On The .Net Framework 3.5

In the “Turn Windows features on or off” dialog box, you will see .net framework 3.5 on top. Select the check box beside it and click OK. This version also includes the features of its previous versions.

Install the .NET Framework 3.5 on Windows
Install the .NET Framework 3.5 on Windows

When you click on .NET framework 3.5, two more options will appear below it, i.e., Windows communication foundation HTTP and Non-HTTP activation. You don’t need to select either of those unless you are a developer.

Alternatively, you can enable .Net Framework 3.5 on Windows client by opening PowerShell as administrator and running the following command:

Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName "NetFx3"

Reboot the computer if prompted, and the .NET framework 3.5 will be enabled.

Enable .Net Framework 3.5 on Windows Server

You can also install and enable the .Net Framework on any Windows Server version without downloading the .NET Framework.

To do this, press Windows and search for “Server Manager”.

On the dashboard page click “Add roles and features“.

The Add Roles and Features Wizard will open, keep the default Role-based or feature-based installation, and then click Next > three times.

On the Select features screen, select “.NET Framework 3.5 Features” and then click Next >.

Install the .NET Framework 3.5 on Windows Server
Install the .NET Framework 3.5 on Windows Server

On the Confirm installation selections screen, a warning will be displayed asking Do you need to specify an alternate source path?

If the target computer does not have access to Windows Update, click the “Specify an alternate source path” link to specify the path to the \sources\sxs folder on the installation media and then click OK.

Enable .NET Framework 3.5 by using the Add Roles and Features Wizard
Enable .NET Framework 3.5 by using the Add Roles and Features Wizard

After you have specified the alternate source, or if the target computer has access to Windows Update, click the X next to the warning message, and then click Install.

If you are using Server Manager to add a role or feature to a remote server, the remote server’s computer account (DOMAIN\ComputerName$) requires access to the alternate source file path because the deployment operation runs in the SYSTEM context on the target server.

You can also install .Net Framework 3.5 on Windows Server using PowerShell by running the following command:

# Install .NET Framework 3.5 from installation media locally
Install-WindowsFeature Net-Framework-Core -source d:\sources\sxs

# Or install .NET Framework 3.5 from installation media located on a network share
Install-WindowsFeature Net-Framework-Core -source \\network\share\sxs

How do I install .NET Framework 4.8 on Windows Server?

Please note that .NET Framework 4.7 and 4.8 are included by default with Windows Server 2019/2022, and run any .NET Framework 4.x app. However, you can install the latest .NET Framework version on any older Windows Server version as described earlier.

Conclusion

We hope that this guide was helpful in successfully downloading and installing the required version of the .net framework on your PC.

You should always keep the latest .net framework version installed. You can do it directly from the offline installer directly from here or using Windows installation media.

If any error occurs with the installation process, then you can try to troubleshoot issues or contact Microsoft support.

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Thank you for reading my blog.

If you have any questions or feedback, please leave a comment.

-Charbel Nemnom-

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Author
Charbel Nemnom
Charbel Nemnom is a Senior Cloud Architect, Swiss Certified ICT Security Expert, Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP), and Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT). He has over 20 years of broad IT experience serving on and guiding technical teams to optimize the performance of mission-critical enterprise systems with extensive practical knowledge of complex systems build, network design, business continuity, and cloud security.

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