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I have a random office computer that may be subjected to all sorts of software. Let's assume it may end up with software that requires any of the versions of the Microsoft .NET Framework that have been released over the years.

What files do I install to get a fresh Windows XP machine into this condition?

First, the easy part: .NET 4.0 Client Profile supports most .NET 4.0 installs; you may have to switch to the full profile if the Client Profile isn't sufficient.

Second: .NET 3.5 SP1's installer claims it is backwards compatible to version 3.5, 3.0, and 2.0, but is the Web Installer for 3.5 SP1 updated with all the security patches? Does an updated installer even exist or does everyone have to run through Windows Update 15 times after installing 3.5 SP1?

Third: What the heck do I install for Framework 1.0, 1.1, and 1.1 SP1? Does 1.1 SP1 provide all 3 versions to the system the way 3.5 SP1 does, or do I have to install all three of them individually? And again, are there security patches rolled into installers?

It seems to me like this would be a candidate for a 'install all the .NET stuff for me please' single install program.

So, my "TL;DR" question: to get all the .NET frameworks comprehensively installed on a computer, what files do I install and in what order?

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Have fun with framework 1.1! To install it, you need to download the 1.1 bare installation and the 1.1 SP. After that you need to (on Vista and later) extract the 1.1 installation from the file you have and then apply 1.1 SP on that and install what you get. (there's a bug in the 1.1 installer so it doesn't run on Vista and later and it has been fixed in SP1, but the SP1 is just update and not stand-alone installer). Framework 1.0 as far as I know has been completely replaced by 1.1, so it shouldn't need to be installed. – AndrejaKo Jan 3 '12 at 2:18
up vote 1 down vote accepted

It is true that a .NET 3.5 application will not run on a default installation of .NET 4.0, but that behavior can be changed with a simple config file. Normally this kind of configuration would be done on a per-application basis, but given the goal in your question it sounds like you would want a "set it once and work everywhere" kind of solution. You're in luck because .NET has that ability.

You shouldn't need anything more than .NET 4.0 Full Profile and a properly written machine configuration file. After installing .NET 4.0 Full Profile add a machine configuration file. In that machine configuration file add a supportedRuntime section. Add a supportedRuntime section for each version of .NET that you want to be handled by the .NET 4.0 Runtime. (Adding support for .NET 1.0 is a little different.) See this page for a full explanation of how to target a .NET framework version.

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Why on earth isn't this the default configuration, then? I imagine there is something that can go wrong, otherwise Microsoft would simply say "hey, you don't have to goof around with security patches for 2/3/3.5 any more, just install 4 and keep that up to date! Hooray!" This is interesting though, I'll look in to it... – evilspoons Jan 3 '12 at 15:15

I found all you need on following link; it contains client + extended version of .NET4.

Be advised that this version of Microsoft .NET Framework 4 does not support the Server Core role on Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2. To get a version of Microsoft .NET Framework 4 that supports Server Core role on Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 go to this link.

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