Thoughts about setup and deployment issues, WiX, XNA, the .NET Framework and Visual Studio
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The .NET Framework 1.1 ships as an OS component on the 32-bit Windows Server 2003 family of operating systems. This .NET Framework component is a hidden, always-installed component with the exception of ASP.NET (which can be found as a selectable item underneath the Application Server item in the Add/Remove Windows Components control panel applet).
I have seen cases where the .NET Framework 1.1 stops working correctly on Windows Server 2003 (often due to bugs in daily builds of the .NET Framework 2.0). In those cases, it is useful to perform a repair to get the .NET Framework 1.1 back to a known good state. However, it can be difficult to figure out how to repair .NET 1.1 in these scenarios because the component is hidden and because there is some specific logic in the setup DLL that installs this component that prevents uninstall and reinstall after OS setup has completed.
In general, you can repair the .NET Framework 1.1 that ships with Windows Server 2003 by re-running OS setup and choosing to repair/reinstall, which will trigger the .NET Framework 1.1 component setup to rerun.
In addition, the following steps can be performed in order to repair the .NET Framework 1.1 on Windows Server 2003 while also avoiding the need to run a full OS reinstall:
<update date="11/1/2005"> There is a Knowledge Base article that also describes how to troubleshoot .NET Framework 1.1 installation issues on Windows Server 2003 that can be useful in this type of scenarios. You can find it at this location. </update>
<update date="9/29/2008"> Added a note about using source files with integrated service packs if the OS was originally installed with a service pack integrated. </update>