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>


  • Hello,
    I'am using win xp sp2.I'am unable to install the .net framework 2.0.Getting err 25015:failed to install the assembly.so as per the advice i used the removal tool.but still i'am getting the same problem, is there any alternative way to repair the problem?.
  • Hi N.Gopalakrishnan - For the .NET Framework 2.0 can you please try the manual cleanup steps that I have listed at http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/archive/2005/04/16/408856.aspx and see if they help? I am in the process of updating the automatic removal tool to include .NET 2.0 also but I have not yet had time to finish it. I hope this helps in the meantime....

  • Great tool.....cleaned up a rather sloppy install of .NET Framework 1.1, Service Pack 1.
  • I recieved this error while trying to unstall v2.0 beta.
    Error 25015.Failed to install assembly
    'C:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50215\Microsoft.VisualBasic.Vsa.dll' because of system error: Data error (cyclic redundancy check).
  • Hi JW - if you are receiving an uninstall error for the .NET 2.0 beta, can you please try the steps listed at http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/archive/2005/10/30/487096.aspx to locate and manually remove it and see if that gets you past this error?
  • Thanks, worked for me!!!
  • I don't know if you got this submit:

    Dear Aaron,

    HUGE THANKS! I have to praise (big praise) you SO much for your gift of that cleanup tool!!! I went through all the steps to try to find out why the MS update failed in two new machines I was installing for husband/self. I had started getting errors like those noted in some of your blog pages, and that type of thing is a major warning to "cleanup."

    I tried walking through the long drawn out fix offered at the MS site (having drilled through many URLS until I got there) and THEN I got stuck on the fix because files/dirs they said to delete would not delete!

    Ultimately, I couldn't figure out why a security download would NOT install and I wanted that security. I was JUST about to give up after 3 hours into this, when I found YOUR page and downloaded this cleanup tool. Long story short, NOTHING worked until I used your cleanup tool.

    For those who might be stuck like I was... Here were my steps to overcoming this "painful" problem (many thanks to Aaron's help!):

    Went here for the dotnetfx.exe file:

    1. Downloaded/extracted the dotnetfx.exe files into a dotnet directory/folder on drive C like this (thanks to Aaron). Start\Run then typed in: dotnetfx.exe /t:c:\dotnet /c

    2. I used Aaron's "Cleanup tool" dotnetfx_cleanup_tool.zip by simply opening the zip and running cleanup_tool.exe This worked like a charm.

    3. Then ... to install .NET Framework 1.1 I went to my "dotnet" directory and double clicked: netfx.msi


    NOTE: I went to the following to download...

    Security Update file: NDP1.1sp1-KB886903-X86.exe

    Microsoft's notes:
    "ASP.NET Security Update for Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1 Service Pack 1"

    I attempted to install NDP1.1sp1-KB886903-X86.exe
    and got this message:

    "COULD NOT INSTALL NDP1.1sp1-KB886903-X86.exe with this error message:
    "Info 9006. This patch cannot be installed because it requires Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1 Service Pack 1(SP1). No Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1 SP can be detected on this computer. Please see http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=886903 for more details."

    SO...I went back to the MS Windows update site...

    4. I still had KB886903 update to install. I did so...and Bingo.


    Aaron, I wouldn't have gotten there without your help. This type of problem is COMPLETELY obnoxious and a time waster. Even so...I would not have been able to resolve this without your hard work and I thank you!

  • Hello Aaron! I'm on my last leg here. :(

    Just recently built a new computer. XP SP2 running an A64 chip. I
    installed Visual Studio 2003 and Visual Studio 2005 and as part of the
    prereqs, both v1.1 and v2.0 of the framework respectively. I was able
    to compile and run web applications, but after compiling and running a
    windows application from either Visual Studio I received a "Application
    failed to initialize properly." error everytime no matter what
    application I compiled. My web apps worked, but my windows forms
    didn't. Strange. This led me to believe it was a possible corrupted
    framework problem.

    So I uninstalled the v1.1 framework and tried reinstalling, but
    everytime I got this message:

    "NET Framework 1.1 Setup has ended prematurely"

    This happens right at the very last step when trying to setup

    I've tried renaming mscoree.dll, removing all the .NET components,
    running clean up tools, and everytime I run the 1.1 framework installation it won't install. It keeps failing at the very, very, very last step. :(

    PLEASE, PLEASE help me here. I need to have these development environments
    installed. They were installed before, but I had to uninstall them to
    fix this problem, and now I can't even install the .NET frameworks.

    I've never seen this issue before and I've been reading all over, and
    every thing I'm told to do doesn't work. I just need a clear cut
    solution to remove the .NET framework remnants and clean anew WITHOUT
    having to reformat.

    Thanks much Aaron, hopefully you can help me. :)
  • Hi, I have the same problem as Dave above, the installation hangs on the registration step. I ran the removal tool and it still hangs. Any other ideas. Thanks, Marcus
  • Hi, I have the same problem as Dave above, the installation hangs on the registration step. I ran the removal tool and it still hangs. Any other ideas. Thanks, Marcus
  • Update: I went into Services and disabled the Distributed Transaction Coordinator, rebooted and then installed after running your cleanup program. It is now working. Hope this helps.
  • Update:

    Here's the error log from my generated log file:

    MSI (s) (60:18) [16:33:35:203]: Executing op: ActionStart(Name=CA_ComregEnterpriseServicesRB.3643236F_FC70_11D3_A536_0090278A1BB8,,)
    Action 16:33:35: CA_ComregEnterpriseServicesRB.3643236F_FC70_11D3_A536_0090278A1BB8.
    MSI (s) (60:18) [16:33:35:234]: Executing op: CustomActionSchedule(Action=CA_ComregEnterpriseServicesRB.3643236F_FC70_11D3_A536_0090278A1BB8,ActionType=3393,Source=BinaryData,Target=_QuietExec@4,CustomActionData="C:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v1.1.4322\RegSvcs.exe" /bootstrapu)
    MSI (s) (60:18) [16:33:35:265]: Executing op: ActionStart(Name=CA_ComregEnterpriseServices.3643236F_FC70_11D3_A536_0090278A1BB8,Description=Registering System.EnterpriseServices.dll,Template=Executing: [1])
    Action 16:33:35: CA_ComregEnterpriseServices.3643236F_FC70_11D3_A536_0090278A1BB8. Registering System.EnterpriseServices.dll
    MSI (s) (60:18) [16:33:35:296]: Executing op: CustomActionSchedule(Action=CA_ComregEnterpriseServices.3643236F_FC70_11D3_A536_0090278A1BB8,ActionType=3073,Source=BinaryData,Target=_QuietExec@4,CustomActionData="C:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v1.1.4322\RegSvcs.exe" /bootstrapi)
    MSI (s) (60:0C) [16:33:35:359]: Invoking remote custom action. DLL: C:\WINDOWS\Installer\MSI15.tmp, Entrypoint: _QuietExec@4
    CA_ComregEnterpriseServices.3643236F_FC70_11D3_A536_0090278A1BB8: Executing: ERROR: Process returned non-0 value! CMDLINE: "C:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v1.1.4322\RegSvcs.exe" /bootstrapi
    CA_ComregEnterpriseServices.3643236F_FC70_11D3_A536_0090278A1BB8: Executing: Failed
    Action ended 16:33:36: InstallFinalize. Return value 3.
  • Hi Marcus - Thank you for posting the workaround that worked for you. I have seen this workaround solve other issues as well, so I created a new blog post to describe this workaround. It is located at http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/archive/2006/01/08/510677.aspx

    Hi Stephen - can you please try this workaround and see if it helps for you? If not, there are a couple of other suggestions listed in that blog post for other possible fixes for this error in .NET Framework 1.1 setup.

  • This worked perfectly! Thanks so much for the removal tool. Trying to run the command prompt fixes failed to many times to try. Again thanks for the help it worked wonders.

    Eric H.
  • Great, you're my rescue!
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