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Mailbag: Why is the .NET Framework still listed in the Programs and Features control panel after running the cleanup tool?

Mailbag: Why is the .NET Framework still listed in the Programs and Features control panel after running the cleanup tool?

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Question:

I ran the .NET Framework cleanup tool and removed all versions of the .NET Framework from my computer.  Why do I still see the .NET Framework listed in the Programs and Features control panel after removing it with the cleanup tool?

Answer:

Just because an item is listed in the Programs and Features control panel (on Windows Vista and higher) or the Add/Remove Programs control panel (on Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and earlier), it does not mean that the product is actually installed.  The Programs and Features control panel lists all items that appear in a specific part of the registry.

On a 32-bit OS:

  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall

On a 64-bit OS:

  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall

The .NET Framework cleanup tool removes some of the .NET Framework-related registry keys at the above locations, but it does not have the ability to remove those registry keys for every previously shipped .NET Framework hotfix.  As a result, the .NET Framework might still appear in the list of installed programs in the Programs and Features control panel even after running the cleanup tool.

Please note that the .NET Framework cleanup tool is not designed to be a replacement for the standard .NET Framework uninstall process.  It is only designed as a last resort for cases where install, uninstall, repair or patch installation did not succeed for unusual reasons.  You should always try the uninstall steps listed in this blog post before resorting to using the .NET Framework cleanup tool.

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