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Mailbag: How to fix an error message that tells me to install the .NET Framework 2.0 when I restart my computer?

Mailbag: How to fix an error message that tells me to install the .NET Framework 2.0 when I restart my computer?

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Question:

I am running Windows 7, and every time I restart the computer, an error message appears that tells me that I need to install the .NET Framework 2.0.  When I try to download and install the .NET Framework 2.0 redistributable, setup fails and tells me that the .NET Framework 2.0 is already a part of my OS.  How can I make this error message stop appearing every time I restart my computer?

Answer:

Windows 7 comes with the .NET Framework 2.0 SP2, the .NET Framework 3.0 SP2, and the .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 installed as a part of the OS, and there is not a way to remove the .NET Framework 2.0 SP2 from Windows 7.  That is why running the .NET Framework 2.0 redistributable fails on Windows 7.

In the past, when I’ve seen this type of error message appear on Windows 7, it has been caused by one of the following:

A missing .NET Framework 2.0 registry key

There is a way to repair the files that are a part of Windows by using SFC.exe, but that does not repair registry keys, so it won’t help in this case.   In order to determine if any critical .NET Framework registry keys are missing from your computer, you can run the .NET Framework verification tool, choose to verify the .NET Framework 2.0, and see if it reports any errors during verification.  If it reports any errors, you can open the log file for the verification tool and search for the string ***error*** to find more details about what is missing.  If any registry keys are missing, you can manually add them using regedit.exe, or you can repair Windows to restore them.

An application that is using incorrect logic to detect whether or not the .NET Framework is installed.

In some cases, an application was created before Windows 7 shipped, and it contains incorrect logic for detecting the .NET Framework 2.0 if the .NET Framework 2.0 is installed as a part of the OS.  If this is the case, I recommend checking for an updated version of the software on the manufacturer’s web site or looking for an FAQ on their web site to see if this is a known issue.

If you are not sure which application is causing this error message to appear, you can use the following steps to figure it out:

  1. Run msconfig.exe.
  2. Click on the Startup tab.
  3. Look at the list and uncheck items one-by-one and reboot until you narrow down which one is causing that error.
  4. Once you narrow it down, look on the web site for the manufacturer of the application to see if they have any known Windows 7 compatibility problems and if so, see if they have an updated version that you can install.

Note - the most common cause of this issue that I've run into so far is Lexmark printer software.  If you don't find any applications by using the steps listed above, I suggest looking for any Lexmark software installed on your computer and see if uninstalling it helps eliminate this error message when you restart your computer.

<update date="3/29/2012"> Added a note about Lexmark printer software, which seems to be a common cause of this type of error based on my past experience. </update>

 

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