Scott Hanselman

Favor - Help Us Test .NET 4 Beta 2 on Windows Update (WU)

January 14, 2010 Comment on this post [37] Posted in ASP.NET | Microsoft | Programming | VS2010 | Win7 | Windows Client | WPF
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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

Web install only Local package and Web install.
Only Windows XP SP2 or SP3 and x86 architecture. All platforms and CPU architectures supported by the full .NET Framework 4 Beta 2 except IA64.
Separate from the framework. Part of the full .NET Framework. The .NET Framework is made up of the Client Profile and Extended components that exist separately in Add or Remove Programs.
Windows Update will upgrade it to the full .NET Framework. Independent component.
  • 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.

Read Carefully - Here's the Favor.

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


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.

The .NET Framework 4 Client Profile Beta 2 being offered in Windows Update

And here's the same package being offered on Windows XP in Windows Update.

 The .NET Framework 4 Client Profile Beta 2 being offered 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. ;)

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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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January 14, 2010 10:50
Hey Scott
thanks for the Heads up.
Turns out i was looking for this for some other reason completely so the registry opt-in hack is a time saver.
January 14, 2010 10:59
IS this only though the Update site, or are we also testing WSUS distributions as well?
January 14, 2010 11:03
The test seemed to go well, it installed perfectly fine, and now the system is waiting on me to hurry up and reboot. Will post back after the reboot.
January 14, 2010 11:05
Richard - I'll ask the team to answer here, but as far as I know we're just testing WU.
January 14, 2010 11:23
Richard - At this point, We're currently testing on Windows Update. From implementation point of view, Windows Update testing provides pretty good coverage for WSUS as well. We would be making .NET4 RTM available for WSUS customers as well. Thank you for trying out .NET4 Beta2 using Windows Update!
January 14, 2010 11:34
Everything here seems to be a go. Update installed successfully on Windws 7 Ultimate 64bit.
January 14, 2010 11:39
No worries. Installed fine on W2K3 with MOSS + VS2008
January 14, 2010 13:16

I've just done this on a Vista machine and an XP machine. Both have asked for a restart after the install, which is a pain in the backside.

Could we get an explanation of why this is? I'd understand it for an upgrade, but this was supposed to be side-by-side, so why does it need a restart? Are there *still* people at MS who are casual about asking for restarts, and if so could they please be sent out into the snow and asked not to come back?

January 14, 2010 13:43
Done - shouldn't even have to ask!!
January 14, 2010 13:58
It will NOT make any of your existing .NET apps run under .NET 4
So, what purpose is there in my installing it? Or is this simply to allow me to run apps that require the .NET 4 framework?
January 14, 2010 14:18
Hi Scott,

I tried it, but WU says "No Updates available". I am Using the german Version of Win7 32bit.

Any ideas?

January 14, 2010 16:17
Doesn't seem to work for me... Win7 x64
January 14, 2010 16:43
I'm much more a fan of giving people a reg.exe command-line they can copy-paste into cmd/powershell - so much simpler and less error-prone IMHO, and has the bonus of letting them know about the very-helpful reg.exe that comes with Windows :)

reg.exe add "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\NET Framework Setup\NDP\v4B2WU" /v OptIn /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f
January 14, 2010 16:55
I believe the purpose is that MS doesn't believe in QA Test ing when they can get others to do the testing for them for free......Explains a lot.
January 14, 2010 17:58
Peb - if Microsoft didn't offer this you would be complaining that they don't do any 'real world' testing... they can't win for loosing some times.
January 14, 2010 19:45
One related thing I'd like to get a handle on is what percentage of desktops is the .net framework 3.5 (with or without SP1) installed on? I haven't seen any recent numbers for this (there is a stackoverflow post that gives some numbers from the May timeframe I think) are there any internal Microsoft numbers you could share?

It would be interesting see how that maps to the IE6.0 user base as well, as non-upgraded IE6 machines might act as a good proxy for anal IT departments rather than home users (I have a personal product on the drawing board where this would be useful info).
January 14, 2010 21:01
Worked great running on Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard (running on a VM). Best feature: no reboot required!
January 14, 2010 21:28

You are right. This means that any application that needs .NET4 to run will install faster (as it does not need to install .NET4 on your computer)
January 14, 2010 21:55
Somebody with an OpenId login said: "Best feature: no reboot required!"

That makes me even more interested to know why both the machines *I* tried on required a reboot.
January 14, 2010 23:01
I installed VS 2010 beta 2 last night and as a by product, I got .NET 4 installed.

I had a bit of an issue with the VS install requiring a reboot in the middle of the process, which I'm learning now is most likely caused by the .NET 4.0 install. I think this process should be streamlined a bit better so the reboot is at the end of the VS install (especially since I highly doubt the install requires .NET 4.0, and if it does,hhhhmmmm maybe it shouldn't! it's an install after all).
If you care for more infomration, please read my review here.
January 14, 2010 23:22

There are some .Net Framework 4 installation scenarios that cause your computer to reboot. These scenarios are definitely a pain, and we are working very hard to minimize their impact on applications. In fact, we have whittled down the list of components that are capable of causing reboots to a mere handful and have spent considerable effort on minimizing the likelihood that they will cause problems in the future.

Though .Net 4 is a side-by-side release, there are a few files that it shares with previous frameworks. These files, called the Shared Components, are used to determine which version of the Framework should be loaded for a given application. Since these files were installed by previous frameworks, they might be in use by managed applications when we try to update them and thus cause reboots. I expect that your machines rebooted because they were both running apps that happened to use one of these Shared Components during installation.
January 14, 2010 23:40
Hi Harry,

The update will not get offered if you have a version of .NET Framework 4 already installed on your machine.
You can verify whether .NET 4 is installed by checking the keys below.

For the Client SKU
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\NET Framework Setup\NDP\v4\Client]

For the Extended SKU
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\NET Framework Setup\NDP\v4\Full]

Also I'd check to make sure the optin regeky mentioned above is set correctly.

I have a Windows 7 x86 German machine and got the update offered this morning. Please let me know if you still run into any issue.

January 15, 2010 0:35
Installed just fine but I have to agree with others, having to Reboot after installing something that is New and not an Upgrade shouldn't force a Reboot. = Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit
January 15, 2010 3:53
I ran the command line registry update, then checked windows update and it said no new updates available. Win7 x64. I do not have .NET 4 installed, I do have the May CTP of Oslo installed, not sure if that counts as .NET 4
January 15, 2010 5:32
If you are in a managed site (e.g., behind a WSUS server), you might want to scan for the update by selecting “Check online for updates from Microsoft Update”
January 15, 2010 12:50
@ Thao


Thank you for your reply! I was offered the update this morning! :-)))

...worked beautifully!


January 15, 2010 15:08
Installed just fine on my Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition (US) machine. Later I'll try at home on XP.
January 15, 2010 17:19
It works on Server 2008, thanks.
January 15, 2010 19:24
Update successful on Windows 7 Enterprise x64.
January 15, 2010 21:07
I've implemented the registry change and applied the update. In case you're curious it's 48.5MB for Win7 Ultimate x64 and I did have to reboot.

I'm glad to see their will be offline install support for this version, as there have been a few scenarios where I had to distribute the entire .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 to a few customers running on closed networks.
January 15, 2010 22:44
Install workes yes, but like above I'm not given a 28M download like the folks on XP, Win 7 x64 apparently is 48.5M? that's a major difference.
January 15, 2010 22:53
Um, but why oh why does it require a restart?
January 16, 2010 6:46
Installed fine on Windows XP Professional SP3 [IT], too.
January 16, 2010 17:26
@Minimalist360: I suppose this is because both the x86 and the x64 installers are downloaded...

@thao: Thanks, my first atempt did not work because I had VS2010 beta2 installed and the following regkeys in my registry:
and even a NDP/v4.0 with its default value set to "deprecated"...

Once I reset the Install value to 0 for both the client and the full setup, the download appeared in my Windows Update (and yes it is 48 Mb on my x64 Win7). It downloaded correctly then installed... Well it's kind of weird, because my .NET fx 4 was already up to date: 4.0.21006... Well I suppose I have to wait for next updates to note a difference.

I also checked VS2010B2 was not broken, and it wasn't, but here again I'll have to wait until the next real update to really test it.
January 16, 2010 19:28
I ran the command line registry update, then checked windows update and it said no new updates available. Win7 Ultimate x64. I do not have .NET 4 installed, Nor have I installed any of the 2010 Betas. I have VS2005 and VS2008 installed. I ran the regedit file yesterday afternoon and since it hadn't show up, I just did a "check for updates" and it told me my computer was up to date.
January 22, 2010 4:45
.NET Rules! Happy to spread the .NET virus!

Can't wait for .NET 4 to be out of beta. I am especially pumped up about MVC 2. Remember the old days when we used to walk ten miles to school in the snow without shoes and we developed websites with WebForms....LOL
February 11, 2010 11:27
Avoiding a reboot is very important. If a 3rd party app or service is running that depends on .NET, can these apps or services be requested to close or stop when .NET 4 is installed? Certainly for services and applications that are restart-aware, this seems like an appropriate solution. When the .NET 4 install completes it can restart the processes.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.