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I read that some versions of .Net do come pre-installed on Windows 7.

To be consistent, shouldn't that mean that the latest version of .Net and Silverlight should come pre-installed on Windows?

As a developer, it sure would make conceiving, chosing architecture for, and deploying applications easier knowing the existence of the runtime wasn't an issue.

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Please note that latest version of .Net does not necessarily include previous versions of .Net. For example it's quite difficult to install .Net 1.1 on Windows 7 even though it ships with .Net 3.5. Also I think but am not 100% sure that windows 7 does not have .Net 2.0 preinstalled. – AndrejaKo Oct 1 '10 at 15:19
@AndrejaKo: .Net versions do not supercede, they accumulate. You have to have 1.1, 2.0, 3.5, etc. at the same time to support the features that each one provides. – Dennis Williamson Oct 1 '10 at 15:25
@Dennis Williamson Yes, that's right. Maybe what I wrote looks different? Anyway, I think it should be pretty clear now to readers. – AndrejaKo Oct 1 '10 at 15:29
The OS and .Net are not necessarily on a synchronized development schedule. There may be a feature freeze on the OS before the next version of .Net is ready. If you're targeting a particular .Net feature set and a target system doesn't have it, you'll have to ensure that it gets installed as a dependency. See this blog post (and others there) for a discussion of .Net dependencies. – Dennis Williamson Oct 1 '10 at 15:41

Since at least XP sp3, Windows has always shipped with the latest version of .Net available at the time of RTM. Additionally, it is available via Windows Update. Beyond this, though, it would be a bad idea to add it to a particular manufacturing run mid-stream. Much better to be consistent so customers, support staff, and even developers at least know what to expect from a certain version of the operating system.

Update: For completeness, I need to add that while Windows Server still ships .Net using this same policy, but with the addition that .Net is a feature that you turn on and off like other features, and also like other features it is turned off initially.

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XP sp3 doesn't include .NET – Casebash Jun 29 '11 at 6:06
@Casebash - if you upgrade to sp3 from a prior install, it won't be there. But if you do a new install to an empty hard drive it will be. – Joel Coehoorn Jun 29 '11 at 14:01

I think the way it's meant to work is that as a developer, you write against a set of components. To deploy, you ensure that your installer brings along any components you depend on. If the target system has them already, all well and good. If not, then you install them.

It's easier for users and sysadmins if you depend only on relatively common stuff, but it is your choice as a developer.

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