.NET Framework 3.0 SP1 & 3.5 released with a small webdownload, which then manages the installation of .NET Framework across all supported OS and architectures. This Blog will explain what they are and how to use them in your role as an end-user, Administrator and ISV.

For End Users, we expect that you will get the .NET Framework 3.0 SP1 and .NET Framework 3.5 in one of the following ways:

  1. Downloading it from the links above
  2. via Windows Update as they become available
  3. Preinstalled on your box by an OEM like Dell, HP, Gateway, etc.
  4. Your network administrator might install it for you
  5. An ISV (application like ATI Catalyst) will install it as a prerequisite for an application that you might want to install.

If you download it yourself, then just go ahead and follow the instructions at the above links.

For ISVs and administrators, you should understand the process of what happens during the download steps. This is what is happening under the covers:

  1. It looks to see what you need to install on your machine and makes a list, which generates the total download size, this is displayed in the UI.

  2. Then it beings the download process

    • It first looks for each file in the list locally in a known and predetermined location verifying that it has the right package locally, if it exists then it moves to the next one.

    • If it does not exist locally, or if the validation fails on the local package, then it will attempt to download one for you from the internet, securely from Microsoft.

  3. After it has a full set of files that match what it thinks it needs then the download manager installs them.

This is very powerful in that now an ISV does not need to carry additional binaries for supported by non-mainline scenarios.  For example, an ISV might want to support both x86 & x64 but they know that they will have 80% of their customers on x86.  Therefore, they can optimize their redistributable experience in that they carry only the x86 packages, and let the bootstrapper download the x64 packages for the additional 20%.  Also, if a package becomes corrupted, then it provides a way to self heal the installation via a download.

For Administrators & ISVs, I've been getting the question frequently lately regarding what happened to the redist packages that we are used to?

In the past we were also asked why do I have to carry everything in the Redist, when I don't need everything for my particular scenario?

We addressed both of these issues of why do I have to carry everything and what happened to the redist packages in this implementation of the download manager.

(Full Admin guides for 3.5 & 3.0 SP1 are in the publishing pipeline, the following is just to whet your appetite)

For 3.0 SP1 see the following blog: http://blogs.msdn.com/aaronru/archive/2007/12/13/creating-net-framework-3-0-sp1-redist.aspx

For 3.5, please wait for the admin guide, which will be published soon.