Scott Hanselman

Update on the GDR that is coming for .NET Framework 3.5 SP1

November 15, 2008 Comment on this post [23] Posted in ASP.NET | Programming | Windows Client
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As I've you've probably heard, we are working on an update for .NET3.5 SP1 and its 2.0/3.0 sub-components which will contain fixes for the small number of bugs reported by customers since the release of 3.5 SP1 this summer. More information regarding the specific bug fixes included in the update will be provided in a knowledge base article that will be released with this update, although at the end of September I blogged about this upcoming "GDR" (General Distribution Release) update to .NET 3.5 SP1 and listed the bugs I've been able to confirm so far as being fixed.

In that post I said:

"Later this year, probably November-ish, the .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 will begin show up on Windows Update in a rolling and throttled fashion so that all machines that have .NET 2.0 or higher will be automatically upgraded to 3.5 SP1."

Turns out I was wrong on this, and the update will be available for download from the web in November, and will be up on Windows Update in January. There's a number of reasons for this but the primary one is that customers in general prefer not having any updates during the holidays (IT staff that needs to handle enterprise wide deployments are on vacation, etc) there is no non-security “refresh” for the fourth Tuesday in December, so the next earliest possible release date for our .NET Framework update on WU (Windows Update) is going to be early in into the next year (tentatively a Tuesday in January). As you might suspect the potential audience for such updates on Windows Update (WU) is very large (the vast majority of 1 billion windows PCs worldwide) so we err on the side of caution.

Once testing is complete and we’re ready to release the update, the release schedule needs to snap to a predetermined release cadence for updates shipping on WU. In general Microsoft releases security updates on the second Tuesday of every month and non-security updates such as this one on the fourth Tuesday of every month. We release on a cadence because large enterprise customers need a predictable schedule for all updates so they can in turn plan their own enterprise wide deployments for updates once we release this.

The extended testing process and release cadence takes time but the processes are designed to ensure we provide a broad and diverse set of customers with a high quality update combined with a smooth deployment experience.

Once this is released to Windows Update, you'll be much more likely to find 3.5 SP1 installed on the majority of the 1 billion or so Windows PC worldwide. It'll be nice to have a common baseline for developers to target. Remember also that WU is automatic and unattended, so the .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 will just show up on machines one day (of course Enterprises have additional controls over deployment). All this should make it easier for us developers to figure out which framework to target.

I hope this post gives you some more information and context on what's going on with this update. It takes a while to dig all this up and bring it to you, so I hope it provides you some value. Spread the word.

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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November 15, 2008 6:43
That's great news Scott. Does Microsoft publish any data on the current market penetration of the various frameworks?
November 15, 2008 8:51
.NET is pretty great...In fact, I would say that it is the best project Microsoft has ever undertaken.

I have found it to be a stable, enjoyable framework to write software with (I mostly work with ASP.NET).

Recently, I have started working with WPF. It allows an amazing amount of customization and code-wise seems to be quite functional.

One question though:

I am currently using Visual Studio 2008 SP1 and I am wondering when the IDE is going to "catch up" with the framework? The reason that I ask is that in a given 8 hour session working with WPF, the IDE will just give up the ghost and close for apparently no reason -- usually multiple times.

For instance, if I have a Xaml file open and try to select a project's properties, the IDE will just shut down. If I reload the solution and close the Xaml file, close VS and then reopen it, the project's properties will be available. The event logs reveal cryptic "Fatal Execution" errors.

It also seems to have a hard time rendering a lot of Xaml pages.

After having googled some of these issues, it seems that I am not alone in this experience.

Is there an update for Visual Studio in the near future?
November 15, 2008 13:55
Since .net 4.0 is next ahead ... why not call it .net 3.5 SP2 ??? instead of "GDR for .net 3.5 SP1" .... you at microsoft love service packs and are quite professionals in numbering them ...
November 15, 2008 19:49
Yeah. Thanks for your news but about 10-20% of Windows users prefer to turn automatic updates off!

It's because of some bugs! The first time I installed Windows Vista on my PC, after I wanted to upgrade it to SP1, It ran down. I enforced to reinstall my Windows Vista and that time SP1 installed successfully.
Anyway, Thanks for your always-useful information.
November 15, 2008 23:33
I think someone needs to tell the people at Microsoft that they have serious problems with their version naming. {Given your credentials Scott, I think you will have to have a little chat with your namesake (Scott Gu) and see what can be done to alleviate this naming insanity}.

.NET 3.5 SP1 .GDR

What moron have they got deciding on version naming?

Sane Sensible Logical 3.5.1 -> 3.5.2 -> 3.5.3

They had the same problem with Expression Blend Before Blend 2.0 we had a CTP 2.5 Beta which became Blend 2.0 SP1. Logically it would appear that the product took a significant step backwords.

Would you or any other sane developer have a versioning system like this?
November 15, 2008 23:37
Folks, you're PREACHING to the Choir. I agree the numbering SUCKS. I have talked to folks and I continue to talk to folks all the way up the food chain. I will pass your comments DIRECTLY to them.
November 16, 2008 0:58
So will we get an updated .NET installer that uses the shiny new .NET logo? :)

Also, for the bootstrapper EXE currently out there for .NET 3.5 SP1, will it start pulling down the bits for .NET 3.5 SP1 GDR instead? (My preference is yes.) Or will we have to integrate a newer bootstrapper EXE? This is in reference to either the 2.8mb version of the .NET download, or the 280KB Client Profile.
November 16, 2008 11:25
Hi Scott,

Its really appreciable that you are giving that as a Windows Update. So when can we expect the VS2010 and .net 4.0 release.

Thanks ,
November 17, 2008 5:43
What about machines without .Net 2.0, i.e. most XP machines.
No update for them??
November 17, 2008 17:29

as much as I'd like to believe that .NET 3.5 will somehow magically appear on millions of desktops around the world, sadly that's not the case.

As far as I know (and I'd LOVE to be wrong about this) when the .NET Framework (any version) does appear on WU it's only as a recommended, not mandatory update. I think same goes for .NET service packs too.

What the developer community would surely appreciate is if Microsoft would make the .NET platform MANDATORY on WU. If there's no risk associated, why not? If there is a risk, why (and can Microsoft do something about it)?

I will still build and deploy all my apps using the .NET because I really like the technology, but the deployment story is far from ideal.

November 18, 2008 0:42
Thanks for the update, Scott.

Sadly, however, .net 3.5 SP1 simply doesn't exist for my client's development team until this "GDR" arrives (as 3.5 SP1 broke things on which my client depends but for which my client is uninterested (and I concur) in dealing with QFE) and what's worse is that 3.5 SP1 won't exist for our users until it hits Windows Update and actually gets out there. In the end this means that while 3.5 SP1 was supposedly released in the summer it really won't exist until January 2009.

Summer 2008 quickly became November and now November has become January 2009. My client's December release was hoping to take advantage of a number of the SP1 enhancements too, not just the fixes for what SP1 broke. Now they won't be able to do that. All this because Connect bugs weren't taken seriously enough before the original SP1 release. :( And when January comes, what is to say that the date won't change again?

I certainly wouldn't want you to feel this pain personally ;) but I certainly hope that some of this pain, heck, a good amount of it, is felt up the chain at MSFT, because it is sure being felt out in the world.
November 18, 2008 4:06
FYI: The SQL 2008 GDR RC1 for VS2008 was released on October 28 and can be found at: Microsoft® Visual Studio Team System 2008 Database Edition GDR Release Candidate 1
November 18, 2008 9:24
Hi Scott,

It would be neat if you could convince someone at MSFT to publish a list of bugs fixed or planned to be fixed in the GDR.

I have read the partial list in your blog entry, but surely there must be some tracker db at Microsoft where a complete list can just be generated from and then pasted into a MSKB article...?

Specifically, I am very interested in knowing if the ngen image loading issues have been fixed or improved..?
November 19, 2008 5:50
.NET Framework (any version) does appear on WU it's only appear as recommended, not mandatory update. So I hope computers with .net 2.0 should not be upgraded to .net 3.5 sp1 , It should appear in windows update as recommended for all machines with .net 2.0. As Windows XP doesn't come with .net 2.0 by default like in VISTA, my opinion is not to force people to install .net 3.5 sp1 using windows update.

November 19, 2008 17:39
SHARETHIS is undefined.
You've got some major javascript errors on your site today.
November 20, 2008 0:53
Hello Scott,
I'm curious as to why these service pack releases aren't using the .NET versioning system. In my (probably naive) view a service pack would be a minor dot release, and publishing policies would be installed to redirect applications by default to the new version. This would give us the opportunity to override the redirect for our application if our application is broken by the service pack.

FWIW: We are suffering the TypeLoadException problem and face much redesign and engineering if the problem is not resolved in the GDR. Effectively, we're in dll hell again except this time we don't even have the opportunity to supply the correct dlls with our app - the January auto-update will kill our application.

Have you any insight into why the service packs do not use the versioning system?
November 20, 2008 9:54
Most helpfull blog.
November 20, 2008 14:27
While this is a great news, what can be done to ensure working .NET 2.0 apps that are already deployed ? I know 3.5 builds upon 2.0 but is there any chance that existing apps may be broken?
November 20, 2008 18:53
Scott, please get back to the community with regards to whether this GDR will appear as mandatory or not. We are stuck with 2.0 for the foreseeable future until we have better .NET penetration in the XP space.
Deployment is still a huge issue for us. We can't use the "Client Profile" because we use some classes that aren't part of the profile (WebClient for example).
We could add 3.x as a pre-requisite, but the 50+MB download dwarfs our 4MB client download. Today, we are getting a lot of internal flack for the size of 2.0 (~22MB).

We would love to upgrade, but need Microsoft to help with the framework deployment.

November 27, 2008 14:14
Hello Scott,

I have looked for the GDR on and could not find it yet. Is it already out there? Will it be published in November or is there another delay?

Could you post the official name and the download link?

Best regards,
December 01, 2008 13:40
Hi Scott,
today is the 1st of December, any news about the GDR 1?
Kind regards,
Alessandro Riolo
December 13, 2008 1:34
Comment at the bottom of Connect issue -

John, the patch for this specific bug and other bugs recently found in .NET 3.5sp1 will be available for download late December.
Posted by Dennis Cheng on 7/11/2008 at 4:50 p.m.
Update: the NET 3.5sp1 fixes will be available from Windows Update mid-February 2009
Posted by Dennis Cheng on 4/12/2008 at 6:53 p.m

December 19, 2008 3:35

The package containing fixes for NET3.5sp1 for Windows Vista, Windows 2008 Server are now available here:


Posted by Dennis Cheng on 17/12/2008 at 11:10 p.m.

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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.