Aaron Stebner's WebLog

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

Automated cleanup tool to remove the .NET Framework 1.0, 1.1, 2.0, 3.0 and 3.5

Automated cleanup tool to remove the .NET Framework 1.0, 1.1, 2.0, 3.0 and 3.5

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I have posted an updated version of the .NET Framework cleanup tool that now contains support for automatically cleaning up the .NET Framework 1.0, the .NET Framework 1.1, the .NET Framework 2.0, the .NET Framework 3.0 and the .NET Framework 3.5.

This tool automates the manual cleanup steps for the .NET Framework 2.0 that I posted a while ago.  These steps have helped solve most of the known .NET Framework 2.0 beta uninstall issues that I know of.  In addition, the tool can be useful to return your system to a known (relatively clean) state in case you run into any .NET Framework 2.0 installation failures so that you can try to install again.

The updated version of the cleanup tool contains options to clean up the .NET Framework 1.0, 1.1, 2.0, 3.0 and 3.5 separately and all versions simultaneously in a single step.  The cleanup tool contains logic so that if it is run on an OS version that includes the .NET Framework as an OS component, it will not offer the option to clean it up.  This means that running the cleanup tool on Windows XP Media Center Edition or Tablet PC Edition will not offer the option to clean up the .NET Framework 1.0, running it on Windows Server 2003 will not offer the option to clean up the .NET Framework 1.1 and running it on Windows Vista will not offer the option to clean up the .NET Framework 2.0 or the .NET Framework 3.0.

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. This tool is designed as a last resort for cases where install, uninstall or repair did not succeed for unusual reasons.  It is not intended as a substitute for the standard uninstall procedure.  You should try to perform an uninstall from Add/Remove Programs before using this cleanup tool.
  2. This cleanup tool will delete shared files and registry keys used by other versions of the .NET Framework.  If you run the cleanup tool, you will need to perform a repair or reinstall for all other versions of the .NET Framework that are on your computer to get them to work correctly afterwards.

I have been using this tool for a while, and it has proven reliable, but there may still be bugs in it in certain scenarios.  Please contact me 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.

The tool has a command line switch that allows it to be run in silent mode if needed.  There is more information about how to run it in silent mode in the .NET Framework Cleanup Tool User's Guide.

<update date="8/22/2007"> Added information about removing the .NET Framework 3.0 because the tool now supports this version of the .NET Framework in addition to 1.0, 1.1 and 2.0. </update>

<update date="9/13/2007"> Added information about removing the .NET Framework 3.5 because the tool now supports this version of the .NET Framework in addition to 1.0, 1.1, 2.0 and 3.0. </update>

<update date="12/3/2007"> Added a link to the silent install instructions for the cleanup tool </update>

<update date="2/28/2009"> Added links to the .NET Framework Cleanup Tool User's Guide, which contains download locations and detailed information about how to use the cleanup tool. </update>


  • I'm trying to clean-up the unnecessary junk on my computer just to have the extra space. Sorry if this is a stupid question, but do I need all the different.NET Framework versions or do I just need the latest one? You can probably tell that I am not exactly tech savvy when it comes to computer maintenance but i'd really appreciate the help. Thanks :)

  • Hi Lana - I wrote a blog post about this question a little while ago.  Can you please take a look at blogs.msdn.com/.../10219046.aspx and see if it helps you figure out whether or not you want to uninstall some versions of the .NET Framework from your computer?

  • Great post indeed. I really like that you are providing information on .NET for freshers , Being enrolled  at www.wiziq.com/.../57-fresher-training-projects i found your information very helpful indeed. Thanks for it.

  • you saved me in Windows 7!

    Just a heads-up that you have to run the tool as Admin, otherwise it doesn't work.

  • trying to install VETPRO on Win7 PC and users are not able to bring down the scan documents, any help.

  • Hi Tony Johnson - I'm not familiar with the VETPRO product.  What is the exact error that you see when you try to install/use it?  

  • thanks for posting, you helped me much!

  • Hey, I'm having issues removing .net from a VM.

    The ultimate problem is that .net 3.5 won't install properly, and windows won't allow an update until .net 3.5 is installed. (Windows XP).

    When I run the cleaner, it hangs at this point:

    [04/14/14,12:47:26] Deleting registry key 'Software\Microsoft\.NETFramework\v2.0.50727'

    The timer will actually update, so it's obvious the cleaner is runnning, but it just continues at that point and does not proceed.

    At one time, I let it run for 1~2 hours, and it still did not move past that point.



  • Hi Sam - The cleanup tool has a problem where it can hang if it doesn't have proper permissions to delete one of the registry keys that it is trying to delete behind the scenes.  I typically recommend looking in the log file to see the exact registry key that it is getting stuck on, manually deleting that registry key using regedit.exe, then re-running the cleanup tool.  Please let me know if those steps don't resolve this problem for you.

  • Absolutely fantastic little 300k program!

    Using the Control Panel to remove all dotnet installs takes for ever and then some. And then, often, you don't even get to uninstall all the .net shite.

    This program of yours has saved me many hours of problems with a lot of computers I'm responsible for. Not only does it clean up the registry, but also the Windows Install data base. Absolutely amazing!

    A big kudos to you, Aaron! Your code should be incorporated in every Windows distribution IMHO. I've used it on XP as well as 7. Still haven't come to 8 though...

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