The folks in the .NET Framework Setup team have a favor to ask, and it's pretty cool info so I offered to help. Here's the deal. When .NET 4 releases, the .NET 4 Client Profile will be released as a recommended update on Windows Update (WU) for Vista and Windows 7. It'll be listed as optional on Windows XP. They need help testing the WU parts.
You may have heard, but the .NET 4 Client Profile size is WAY smaller than before. There's been lots of cool improvements since the .NET 3.5 Client Profile. For example, on Window XP the download for .NET 4 Client is just ~28Mb for machines with no framework.
.NET Framework 3.5 SP1 Client Profile
.NET Framework 4 Client Profile
Can be serviced separated.
Does not need the full framework.
You may have noticed on Soma's blog that .NET Framework 4 launch was moved back a few weeks. About 6-8 weeks after the .NET Framework 4 launches, the .NET 4 Client Profile will show up on Windows Update (WU) and Windows Server Update Service (WSUS) as it's considered part of the serviceable operating system. It'll start deploying the .NET 4 Client Profile as either optional or recommended, depending on some rules. More technical details are here on Rabi Satter's blog post on .NET Framework 4 Beta 2 on WU. Of course, corporate customers can block or delay updates also.
Before all this happens though, we'd like to test the Windows Update part of things even more.
The .NET Framework 4 Beta 2 is up on Windows Update for a while for testing, IF you set this special registry key to "opt-in" for the test. Otherwise it won't get offered to you.
If you have a machine that doesn't have any .NET 4 bits on it, make a text file on your system with a name like "NETFX4.reg" and put this text in it:
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\NET Framework Setup\NDP\v4B2WU]"OptIn"=dword:00000001
Then double-click this new registry file to create the key. Then check Windows Update and install the .NET 4 Beta 2 Client Profile. You can also do this key manually if you like.
Alternatively, you can open an Administrator Command Prompt and paste this command in. It'll have the same effect:
reg.exe add "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\NET Framework Setup\NDP\v4B2WU" /v OptIn /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f
Don't worry, later in the year when .NET 4 is released, it'll install over the top of your installation and upgrade it. We'd like to get several thousand more WU-based installations in the next few days, so please try this out on any machines, VMs, or other machines you have lying around.
It's a very safe install. Remember it's a small download. It can be uninstalled, and it's installed side-by-side and it will NOT break any existing .NET 1.1, 2.0 or 3.5 installations. It will NOT make any of your existing .NET apps run under .NET 4.
Here's a screenshot of the package being offered on Windows 7 in Windows Update. I put in a Registry screenshot also.
And here's the same package being offered on Windows XP in Windows Update.
If you do run into any rare problems then visit the .NET Framework 4 Setup & Deployment Support Forum as they really want to hear from you. They are actively manning the forum every day. I've installed this on all my VMs and six machines around the house with no problems.
Do me a favor and spread the word (blog, tweet, etc) about this test to your Alpha Geek friends. ;)
Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. I am a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.