It seems that Internet Explorer (IE) will soon disappear from our PCs and .NET 4.5.2, 4.6 and 4.6.1 drop support April 26. So we should remove IE and .NET from our machines, right?
Not so fast. First, you may have an application that is based on an older version of IE or .NET; Removing them may not be a good idea, especially if you are still using Windows 7. Or you may be waiting for major vendor updates. Case in point: I recently received an email from a key vendor saying it will be provide software updates to remove a dependency on IE. The provider goes so far as to provide updates to older software versions dating back to 2017. (The software is released annually and therefore needs updates to use older versions.)
But Microsoft isn’t scrapping or removing the Trident engine, which provides support for software including Forms.webbrowser and iemode. In fact, the Trident engine will be supported until 2029 and Microsoft itself is already. providing support for Webview2 to Chromium and Trident engines. (If you’ve suddenly wondered why Webview2 was installed on your computer, you probably have a Microsoft 365 app installed.) These days, I recommend having multiple browsers installed on your PC; use one for general browsing (with the highest restrictions and privacy plugins) and an alternative browser with the default settings intact that you can use for any website that refuses to work with your settings.
As for .NET 4.5.2, 4.6, and 4.6.1, they’re going away “because the .NET Framework was previously digitally signed with certificates that use the Secure Hash Algorithm 1 (SHA-1), and we’re prioritizing support for digital certificates newer”.
Don’t remember what the .NET framework is? It is the original implementation of .NET and provides a framework for developers to code (and deliver the software you use regularly).
As Microsoft points out, “it provides a consistent object-oriented programming environment, whether the object code is stored and executed locally, executed locally but distributed over the Internet, or executed remotely. Provides a code execution environment that minimizes software deployment and version conflicts. Finally, it provides a code execution environment that promotes the safe execution of code, including code created by an unknown or partially trusted third party.
Simply put, it’s one of those building blocks that developers use to build the software we all use.
To be honest, .NET has always been a bit confusing. For many years, I cringed every time a .NET update came out, as it wreaked havoc on so many of my line-of-business applications. Intuit’s QuickBooks, for example, would install the specific .NET I needed or complain when I didn’t have .NET 3.5 installed. Fortunately, .NET has been better behaved; I haven’t had to boot and reinstall .NET in years. (Too bad Windows as a whole can’t learn some of the same lessons.)
Let’s determine what version of .NET you have. Open a simple command line and type dir %windir%\Microsoft.NET\Framework /AD. On a typical Windows 10 machine, you’ll see a screen that says you have .NET 1, 2, 2, 3.5 Y 4. However, that doesn’t mean it’s time to get rid of those really old versions. (In fact, you probably don’t have all those older versions of .NET installed, it just means your .NET is backward compatible.) You should also know that there are newer versions of .NET that no longer use “Framework” and “Core”. ” in its name.
Another way to see what version of .NET you have installed is to check the registry key located at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\NET Framework Setup\NDP\v4\Full. If the entire subkey is missing, then the .NET Framework 4.5 or higher is not installed.
If you have the “Full” subkey, navigate to it and compare the number on the far right next to free in parentheses and then compare it to the chart on this page. On my Windows 10 21H2 machine, I have .NET Framework version 528372, which indicates that I have .NET Framework 4.8 which is still supported and patched.
You’ll also want to make sure that .NET is receiving security updates. You may not realize it, but you may never have enabled a setting for Windows, or rather Microsoft Update, to detect that you have .NET installed. If you go to Settings, then Update & Security, then Windows Update, then Advanced, make sure you check “Get updates for other Microsoft products when I update Windows.” Unless you have checked this box, your system may not get updates for newer .NET platforms installed by applications.
If you find that you have .NET 4.5.2, 4.6, and 4.6.1 installed on your computer, you might have a line-of-business application that still depends on that version. Do you remember which one installed it? Based on this FAQ, your app should work fine if you install .NET 4.8. But I still recommend contacting the provider to make sure that when you install .NET Framework 4.8 the app will continue to work.
Am I still confused? You’re not alone. I’ve often found it difficult to understand which versions of .NET ship with which versions of Windows 10. Keeping up with the times is hard enough for developers, let alone end users. I’m hoping someone can come up with a better and easier way to tell what’s on our systems and what’s the best way to remove what should and shouldn’t be there. I’ll keep you informed.
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