6 Ways to Check .NET Framework Version: Step-by-Step

A vast amount of applications will require the Microsoft .NET Framework to be installed on your system before they will run. When a .NET based application runs on a machine without the correct version of the framework present, the results can be unpredictable. It’s a certainty the program will not work correctly or at all, but what happens to inform the user about the issue differs from program to program. Quite often you will get a rather obscure error message pop up which doesn’t really tell you anything informative.

The application failed to initialize properly (0x0000135). Click OK to terminate the application.

This is a common error message but gives no indication of whether the problem is related to the program itself or something else.

Windows application error 0135

Some programs might be a bit more helpful and warn you a specific version of the .NET Framework is required before installation can continue. Other software could trigger Windows to offer to download and install the missing version of .NET automatically.

.Net framework auto install

A big issue with .NET is it’s a sizable download and when installed can take up several hundred Megabytes of hard drive space. Programs are also built requiring a certain version of .NET so just installing one version probably won’t be enough. For example, Program A might need .NET 3.5 while program B might need .NET 4.6. In that case, you will need both installed on your system.

Windows Server, Vista, 7, 8/8.1 and 10 all come with a version of .NET integrated into the operating system. Since there are many versions of the .NET Framework (from 1.0 up to 4.8) and more than one are often present on the same system to run different applications, sometimes even you as a user might not even be sure which .NET is installed on your computer. Here are a few ways you can find out.

1. Raymondcc .NET Detector

One way to check which versions of .NET are installed is through the system registry. If a .NET package is installed, its information should be correctly entered in the registry. We decided to use this method and create a little tool which does the plain and simple task of telling you which versions of .NET you have installed.

Raymondcc .net detector

The tool couldn’t be simpler to use, just run the executable and it will tell you which .NET’s you have by showing them in dark text, the grayed out entries aren’t installed. Hover over an installed package to get its version number. Clicking on a version that isn’t currently installed will take you to its download page at Microsoft. The relevant package information is automatically copied to the clipboard so it can be pasted into help files or on forums etc.

The program is able to detect .NET Frameworks from 1.0 up to the latest 4.8 (including versions specific to Windows 10), is portable and works on Windows XP and above. Any feedback you might have about the tool is welcome.

Download Raymondcc .NET Detector

2. Raymondcc .NET Detector Command Line Edition

There doesn’t seem to be many tools around that allow you to use the command line to easily find out what versions of .NET are installed. As a consequence, we created a version of .NET Detector that works from batch scripts and the Command Prompt instead of a GUI. The output will be shown in the console window.

Raymondcc .net detector cli

Run NET_Detector_cli.exe from a script or Command Prompt to get a simple display of the installed versions of .NET. Add the argument /v to include a second column with the full version number of each installed framework.

Raymondcc .net detector cli versions

This tool works the same way as the GUI version and checks the system registry for the installed versions of the .NET Framework. It also works on any XP or above system and detects .NET versions 1.0 to 4.8. Feedback is welcome on this tool as well.

Download Raymondcc .NET Detector CLI Edition

Note: We are fully aware that both .NET Detector tools produce a small number of detections in some online Virus Scanners like Virus Total. Raymond.cc created and hosts these files so we know every line of code and can assure you any detections are false positives.

3. ASoft .NET Version Detector

This program is a small and lightweight portable tool that gives information on all the different versions of .NET Framework that are installed on a machine. If the system does not have a specific version installed, there are handy button links provided to give you access to the related Microsoft webpage page so you can easily download it. A link to download each version’s Software Development Kit (SDK) is also provided.

.Net version detector

An installed .NET version will be shown with white text. Clicking the logo next to it will navigate to its install directory. The log box at the bottom shows which versions and related update patches are present, including 32bit/64bit, and the relevant folder locations. The copy button will simply copy all the text in that box to the clipboard.

Go to Help > .NET Version History to see which versions of .NET are installed on which operating systems as standard. ASoft .NET Version Detector checks versions 1.0 to 4.8 of the .NET Framework and can also be run in Windows 2000 and above.

Download .NET Version Detector

4. .NET Version Check

Version Check is aging a bit these days and hasn’t been updated for several years, but it still works. When we tried, Version Check detected the latest .NET Framework 4.8. Make sure to run this tool as Administrator, even if you are an Administrator, otherwise nothing will be shown in the window relating to version numbers.

.Net version checker

There is also a check on the version number of the currently installed Internet Explorer which might be useful for older systems. Some buttons are provided for copying the information to the clipboard and printing or emailing it. Inside the zip file, there is a command line version (.com file) that you can use in batch files. The command line version doesn’t need administrative privileges like the GUI version does.

The information provided in both the GUI and command line tool gives a version number as opposed to an easily readable name. That can make it difficult to determine whether minor or service pack versions are installed.

Download .NET Version Checker

5. Use PowerShell to Detect .NET Versions

While it’s possible to use Command Prompt or PowerShell to get the versions of .NET present on your computer, many methods found online give incomplete results. Like our own tool does, the best method of determining installed .NET versions is by querying the Registry, and PowerShell can do that quite easily.

gci ‘HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\NET Framework Setup\NDP’ -recurse | gp -name Version -EA 0 | where { $_.PSChildName -match ‘^(?!S)\p{L}’} | select PSChildName, Version

Installer .net framework powershell

The list of names is slightly unfriendly and you won’t get better information like service pack numbers or minor revisions. It also will not detect .NET 1 or 1.1 as they are at a different place in the registry to all other versions.

Another option is downloading a ready made PowerShell script that will detect .NET versions and show the information in a much more friendly way.

.net framework installed versions getter

The .Net Framework Installed Versions Getter script is hosted on Github and makes the information easier to read for most users. It currently supports and detects from 1.0 up to the latest .NET Framework 4.8.

Download .Net Framework Installed Versions Getter

6. Checking Manually

There are a few manual ways of checking which versions of Microsoft .NET Framework are installed. One of them is through “Programs and features” or “Add and Remove Programs” in Control Panel. This is a very basic way to check but could also be wrong because the uninstall entries that are displayed can be easily be removed from the registry or left over from a previous install. Also, versions of .NET that are integrated into the operating system will not show.

Installed .net frameworks

Another manual way of checking is to look in the folders where most of the .NET program files are stored to see what’s in there. The location is in the C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework folder and also the Framework64 folder for 64-bit systems. Hover over the folder to get its size in the info tip (we use Free Commander below to get all folder sizes at once).

.Net framework folder sizes

The .NET version 1.0 and 1.1 folders above are practically empty on this system. Therefore it’s safe to assume they are not installed. The v4.0.30319 folder can be misleading because it could contain any single version of .NET 4 from 4.0 up to 4.8 or above. Open the folder and hover over a DLL or executable file to get an info tip that shows the real installed version of .NET 4.

Installed .net 4 infotip

It’s not the most accurate method but at least gives you a rough idea of what’s installed by just using Windows File Explorer.

The .NET Version Detecting tools are handy for getting some useful information about exactly what versions a user has installed which is good for troubleshooting. If an application requires .NET v4 or higher and you only have v3.5, problems or crashes will likely be averted by installing the correctly required version.

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