How To Check .Net Framework Version For Updates

The .Net Framework is a software framework from Microsoft that provides a programming model for building and running applications. The framework is designed to be used by developers who want to create applications that can run on the Windows platform.

Microsoft has released several versions of the .Net Framework since its initial release in 2002. The most current (and last) version is .Net Framework 4.8. However, Microsoft is continuing to provide support for older versions, including 4.6.2, 4.7, 4.7.1, and 4.7.2. Any version older than 4.6.2 is no longer being supported by Microsoft, which means that there will be no more security updates or technical support for these past versions.

For developers, it is important to know which versions of the .Net Framework are still supported by Microsoft. Monitoring the support end dates will give you a chance to plan for migration to a newer version (if necessary) before your application becomes unsupported.

Why Check Your .Net Framework Version?

It's a good idea to check your .Net Framework version for updates on a regular basis, especially if you're a developer who relies on the framework to build applications. If the end support date for your version is coming up, you should strongly consider upgrading to a newer supported version in order to continue receiving security updates and technical support. If you don't upgrade to a supported version, you risk the following:

  • Applications May Not Run As Intended: The applications that you've built using your outdated .Net Framework version may stop working as intended when the support end date arrives. This can happen because you’ll no longer get support for any technical issues that may occur. It can also happen if your apps were built on an outdated framework and, as a result, aren't optimized to run on the latest operating systems (OS).

  • Vulnerabilities May Be Exposed: Security updates are meant to address vulnerabilities in the software. If you're not using a supported version of the .Net Framework, then there will be no security updates. As a result, any new vulnerabilities that are discovered or exploited won't be patched, leaving your application at risk with no way to address them.

  • Errors May Occur: If you're using an unsupported version of the .Net Framework, you may start to see errors that weren't there before. These errors can be caused by a number of things, such as incompatibilities with other software or changes in the OS. If you don't upgrade to a supported version, you won't be able to get help from Microsoft to fix these errors.

As you can see, there are some significant risks to continuing to use an unsupported version of the .Net Framework. With that in mind, the following are a few ways that you can check to see what version(s) of the .Net Framework you're using:

1. Checking Via The Windows Registry

The Windows Registry is a database that stores all of the configurations and settings for your computer. To check the .Net Framework version using the registry, follow these steps:

  1. Open The Registry Editor: Press the Windows key + R to open the Run window. Search "regedit" and press enter to open the Registry Editor.

  2. Navigate To The .Net Registry Key: In the Registry Editor, navigate to the following key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\NET Framework Setup\NDP to find the .Net Registry Key.

  3. Check The .Net Version: Expand the main version key and then select the Client key. The value for the current version should be listed here. If you're running a version that is older than version .Net 4, the key will be displayed as a number or a "setup." Finally, check the version string on the right to determine your version.


2. Checking Through PowerShell

The PowerShell is a task automation and configuration management framework from Microsoft. To check the .Net Framework version using PowerShell follow these steps:

  1. Open The Command Prompt: Click "Start," then do a search for "PowerShell." Right-click on the top result. Then choose the "Run as Administrator" option. You can also use the shortcut keys Windows + X to open the Power User menu and then launch PowerShell by pressing A. You can then identify the version through one of two ways:
    1. Get The .Net Version Through The Registry Query (Easy Method): Simply type in the command below and press enter to identify what version you're using.

       Get-ChildItem 'HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\NET Framework Setup\NDP' -Recurse | Get-ItemProperty -Name version -EA 0 | Where { $_.PSChildName -Match '^(?!S)\p{L}'} | Select PSChildName, version 
    2. Use The DotNetVersionLister Module (Alternate Method): Enter the command below:

       Install-Module -Name DotNetVersionLister -Scope CurrentUser #-Force 

      Then hit ENTER to download and install the “DotNetVersionLister” community tool from Github. Press Y + ENTER, and then run the command  Get-STDotNetVersion  to identify the .Net Framework version.


3. Checking With Command Prompt

The command prompt is a command-line interpreter that you can use to execute commands. To check the .Net Framework version using the command prompt follow these steps:

  1. Open The Command Prompt: Open the start menu and then perform a search for "Command Prompt." Then right-click the top result and choose the "Run as Administrator" option. You can also press the Windows key + R shortcut, then enter "cmd" in the Run dialog box. Then, press CTRL + SHIFT + ENTER to open the Command Prompt.

  2. Run The Initial Check .Net Version Command: Type in reg query "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Net Framework Setup\NDP" /s  to run the initial check.

  3. Check The Exact .Net Version: Once you've entered the previous command, check the "Version" field to identify what version you are using.


4. Checking With File Explorer

File Explorer is a file manager application that allows you to view, copy, move, and delete files and folders on your computer. To check the .Net Framework version using File Explorer follow these steps:

  1. Open File Explorer: Press the Windows key + E to open File Explorer.

  2. Browse C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework: In the left pane of File Explorer, navigate to the C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework directory.

  3. Enter The Folder With Latest Version: Open the folder with the latest version of the .Net Framework. The version number will be listed in the "Install" key.

  4. Right-Click “.dll” Files And Select The Properties Option: Right-click on any of the ".dll" files in the directory and select “Properties” from the context menu.

  5. Click The “Details” Tab: In the Properties window, click on the Details tab. The version number of the .Net Framework will be listed next to the "File version" field.


Keep Abreast Of Updates On .Net Frameworks

Making sure that the apps you've developed are using a supported version of the .Net Framework is crucial to ensuring that they are secure and continue to function as intended.

As such, you'll want to keep track of what version of the .Net Framework you're using and whether or not Microsoft is still providing support for that version. If support has ended (or is about to end) then you should begin taking steps to migrate your app to a newer version of the .Net Framework as soon as possible.

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