Aaron Stebner's WebLog

Thoughts about setup and deployment issues, WiX, XNA, the .NET Framework and Visual Studio

Removal tool to fix .NET Framework install failures

Removal tool to fix .NET Framework install failures

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I wrote an application late last year that is designed to clean up computers that have problems getting the .NET Framework 1.0 or 1.1 to install correctly.  I have been working on refining the tool for the past couple of months, working out some bugs, adding additional cleanup features, etc.  The .NET Framework setup Product Support team has been using this cleanup tool for the past few months to help resolve many cases, and the internal Microsoft helpdesk has also started using it to solve internal cases where employees cannot get .NET Framework service packs or hotfixes to install correctly.  I have also been sending this tool out to individuals who email me via my blog and ask for help resolving setup problems - most commonly this is because of issues installing .NET Framework service packs or hotfixes such as MS05-004.

Since I have been seeing really good success rates for using this cleanup tool and it has proven to speed up the process of resolving issues so customers can get the .NET Framework installed correctly and start using managed code on their computers, I decided to try to get a KB article written up with a copy of the tool that customers could download on their own without needing to contact me directly or call our PSS team.  The KB publishing process can sometimes take a while with technical reviews and things like that, so in the meantime I am going to post a link to the tool here on my blog.

You can download the tool by visiting the .NET Framework Cleanup Tool User's Guide and using one of the download links listed there.

There are a couple of very important caveats that you should read before using this tool to cleanup .NET Framework bits on your machine:

  1. You should try to perform a standard uninstall first.  This tool is not designed as a replacement for uninstall, but rather as a last resort for cases where uninstall or repair did not succeed for unusual reasons.
  2. This cleanup tool will delete shared files and registry keys used by other versions of the .NET Framework.  So if you use it, be prepared to repair or reinstall any other versions of the .NET Framework that are on your computer to get them to work correctly afterwards

The tool itself has been fairly well tested, but I'm sure it is still not perfect.  I'm still in the process of fixing bugs as I find them and adding features to make it more effective at cleaning up known issues and to make it more intelligent about identifying root causes so we can fix the underlying bugs in .NET Framework setup for future releases.  As I update it, I will post updates to my blogs and update the copy of the tool located at the link above.

I hope this tool will be helpful in resolving problems installing the .NET Framework.  Please let me know if you run into any issues while using the cleanup tool or if you are still unable to install the .NET Framework (or any service packs or hotfixes) after running it.

<update date="3/3/2009"> Added a link to the .NET Framework Cleanup Tool User's Guide, which contains the most up-to-date download location for this tool. <update>


  • Hi Aaron -

    Thanks for all your efforts on this blog, I found it extremely useful, and came close to solving my .NET Framework problems, but fell shy of the solution. I am guessing, given your new job, that you will know the answer handily.

    After much effort, I found I needed to use your clean-up tool to remove 1.0 and 1.1. The good news is I can easily re-install 1.1, but the program that asks for the original source CD to install 1.0 would not correctly recognize my MCE 2005 CD.

    How can I re-install .NET Framework 1.0 on an MCE 2005 machine?! Are there manual steps listed somewhere, or a way to force msiexec to recognize the original install CD/netfx.cab?

  • Hi Ron - .NET Framework 1.0 is installed as part of the operating system on Windows XP Media Center Edition (and Tablet PC edition). Therefore you cannot re-install it by simply running the dotnetfx.exe package or any msiexec command lines.

    The instructions for repairing the .NET Framework 1.0 that comes as part of the OS on MCE and Tablet are a little bit complicated, so I posted a separate blog item about this, you can find it at http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/archive/2005/09/01/459631.aspx.

    I know they are kinda convoluted, so if you have any issues please don't hesitate to contact me at aaronste (at) microsoft (dot) com and I will do my best to assist you....

  • Oh god ...
    i used your item as a last hope ...
    it's really ...
    giving me hope :) IT WORKS !!! It removed all of thoses annoying errors and just let me use all of these .NET stuff efficiently
    I give you a BIG and HUGE and WARM thank. I was desperate and you guide me on the right way ;)
  • Those with XP Home Edition (my dad) need to restart in safe mode if you want to see the security tab in windows explorer.
  • I can't download you'r removal tool. Link isn't working...
  • Hi Oleg - it looks like there was some kind of outage on the ISP that I'm using to host my tools downloads, but it appears to be up and working now. Can you please try the download again and see if it works for you? If it doesn't work, can you please contact me directly by using http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/contact.aspx and I will email you a copy of the tool directly instead?
  • Hi Aaron,
    Thank you for getting me out of a problem I suspect I caused! I am not as computer literate as, thank god, you are.

    Your utility recovered a clean computer for me, allowing re-install of .NET 1.0 which my WiFi media player demands. (I will soon proceed to getting 1.1 back online) I shall think twice about using MS add/remove progs for .NET in future as it left me unable to re-install....until your utility!

    Thanks again, your posting of this utility is a selfless and much appreciated act in picking up the pieces after microsoft abandons its customers.
  • I can't install Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1 or 2.0, it reports me an error

    "Error 25015.Failed to install assembly 'C:WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727\Microsoft.VisualBasic.Vsa.dll' Because of system error: The system cannot find the path specified."

    Did anyone have such problems or any idea how to solve this.
  • i´ve been in serious problems with my xp..
    gradually i´m recovering it back, day by day..
    i had this .NETFramework issue for days, and now thanfully to thee i´ve mannaged to resolve it :-)
    thx. and keep on going :-)
    thx. A!
  • 1.1 would not install on win98. Your tool resolved the problem immediately.

  • Hi there

    Where would I find the program for the NET FRAMEWORK INSTALLER on the windows CD. My reason is that I have two different versions of xp pro....one has problems installing but net framework programme is good and the other installs windows perfectly but not the net framework.....I wish to combine best of both onto one cd.

    hope this makes sense.

  • Hi Dan - If you have a CD with XP Pro with SP1 integrated, you can find the .NET Framework 1.0 in the dotnetfx folder in the root of the CD. If you have a CD with XP Pro with SP2 integrated, you can find the .NET Framework 1.1 and 1.1 SP1 in the dotnetfx folder in the root of the CD.

    Also, you can download the .NET Framework from the web as a standalone package. Check out the links at http://msdn.microsoft.com/netframework/downloads/updates/default.aspx.
  • ****ERROR**** Cleanup failed for product .NET Framework - Both Versions

    The above error was the last line in the cleanup_main.log file created when using your tool.

    I just bought two Wrox books on ASP.NET programming and will be installing the following on my Windows XP SP2 machine:

    1) Microsoft .NET Framework Version 2.0
    2) Visual Web Developer 2005 Express Edition
    3) Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express Edition

    My PC already had .NET Framework 1.0 and 1.1.

    I tried removing both via Add/Remove Programs but the process never completed.

    I thought I had to remove them before I installed 2.0 -- was I wrong?

    What should I do know? Thanks in advance.
  • Hi McKirahan - I'm sorry for the hassle here. The first important thing to mention is that the .NET Framework 1.0, 1.1 and 2.0 are designed to be side-by-side, so you can definitely have all 3 versions installed at the same time.

    I think the best route to go now that you have tried to remove 1.0 and 1.1 is to use the instructions that I posted at http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/archive/2005/10/11/479928.aspx to clean and reinstall both 1.0 and 1.1, and then install 2.0 and the WebDev and SQL 2005 Express editions.

    Please contact me at http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/contact.aspx if you run into any issues getting these steps to work...
  • What a wonderful tool is your removal tool for removing framework 1.1. I had a problem with this and I could not even re-install or even delete using the windows add/ removal process.

    I found your link and it removeit. I reinstalled the software. Thanks for your help
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