.NET Framework 3.5 deployment guides have been published on MSDN

The official deployment guides for system administrators and application developers have been posted on MSDN, and I wanted to provide links here to help raise visibility for them.  Here they are along with some additional information about what is contained in each of them:

Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 Deployment Guide for Application Developers

You can find the deployment guide for application developers at the following location:


The deployment guide for application developers is targeted at developers creating applications that depend on the .NET Framework 3.5 and that will need to incorporate the .NET Framework 3.5 into their installation process.  It contains the following information:

  • System requirements
  • Where to download the redistributable package from
  • How to chain the redistributable package into an application setup
  • How to detect whether or not the .NET Framework 3.5 is installed on a system
  • Command line switches for .NET Framework 3.5 setup
  • Error codes that can be returned by .NET Framework 3.5 setup
  • Payload included with .NET Framework 3.5 setup
  • How to minimize payload in specific installation scenarios

Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 Administrator Deployment Guide

You can find the administrator deployment guide at the following location:


The administrator deployment guide is targeted at system administrators that manage software installation on corporate networks and who want to plan a deployment of the .NET Framework 3.5 to networks that they manage.  It contains the following information:

  • How to deploy the .NET Framework 3.5 in silent mode using the setup EXE
  • How to create an administrative install point (AIP) for the components of the .NET Framework 3.5
  • How to create Group Policy objects to deploy the components of the .NET Framework 3.5 using Active Directory
  • Names and locations of .NET Framework 3.5 setup log files
  • A sample script that can be used to create an administrator installation point for the .NET Framework 3.5

Links with additional information

I have previously posted a few items on my blog that are not covered (or are touched on but not covered in much detail) in the above deployment guides.  Here are links to those posts in case you need additional information about deploying the .NET Framework 3.5 or its prerequisites (such as the .NET Framework 2.0 SP1 and/or 3.0 SP1):

Comments (16)
  1. Christopher Painter says:

    Sorry, I have to ask.  I noticed the Deployment Guide for Application Developers makes no reference to redist/eula restrictions while repeatedly mentioning to use /Q for the deployment.

    Does this mean we can finally put to rest the whole point of are ISV’s allowed to deploy the framework silently or is this still not authorative and we are going to keep hearing that ISV’s are violating Microsofts rights from certain people?

  2. Hi Christopher – I’m sorry, but I don’t know the answer to this question.  This deployment documentation is consistent in format and content to the ones previously published for the .NET Framework 1.0, 1.1, 2.0 and 3.0.  The documentation in the deployment guides linked here is technical documentation, not legal/policy documentation.  That means it lists what is technically possible, not what is legally permissable.

    My understanding is that the terms of the license agreement displayed during full UI mode of .NET Framework 3.5 setup are applicable in any installation scenario, regardless of whether you suppress the license agreement with the /q switch.  I haven’t read through the full text of the license agreement though, so I don’t know if/how silent install is treated by those terms.

    I’m not sure who you are hearing from that silently installing the .NET Framework is violating any of the license terms (since I see many non-Microsoft products that depend on a version of the .NET Framework and run it in silent mode as a part of their setup if it is not yet installed on the user’s system).  Can you let me know if this information is coming from folks within Microsoft so I can try to follow up with them directly to figure out what the story is here?

  3. Christopher Painter says:

    I see many installs also, but there has been a lot of buzz in the blogosphere mostly pointing to this link.( See Distribution Principals section


    Note the part that says even if you obtain a redistribution license you are not granted the right to suppress the EULA by enabling silent install.

    Yet all of the how to documents reccomend the silent mode.

  4. Hi Christopher – Thanks for the link.  I’ve seen that ISV Redistribution Guide in the past but had forgotten about it because it has been a while.  I will try to follow up on this on my side with the author of that guide.

    As a side note – it has always been personally frustrating to me that Microsoft would consider placing restrictions on deploying runtime components in silent mode like this.  It just doesn’t make any sense to me because it acts to discourage ISVs from including the component in their installer, makes the ISV product install experience more jarring/confusing, etc.  I would think that anything that can be done to encourage getting this type of runtime components on as many systems as possible would be preferred, because then a wider range of applications will just work.  Maybe that’s why I’ve got an engineering degree instead of a law degree?  🙂

  5. Christopher Painter says:

    I don’t know if you follow my blog but I completely agree with you:


    I also tried to raise the issue last March:


  6. Saw this first on Aaron Stebner's blog : .NET Framework 3.5 deployment guides have been published

  7. Since the .NET Framework 2.0 SP1 and 3.0 SP1 shipped (as prerequisites for the .NET Framework 3.5 and

  8. Since the .NET Framework 2.0 SP1 and 3.0 SP1 shipped (as prerequisites for the .NET Framework 3.5 and

  9. The .NET Framework 3.5 setup package is a chainer that installs multiple packages behind the scenes. 

  10. A while back, I wrote a blog post about how to perform silent repairs and uninstalls for the .NET Framework

  11. Details about the .NET Framework 2.0 setup packaging Available command line switches for .NET Framework

  12. Sobia says:

    I don’t know the correct place for me to post this question. Using InstallShield, I am trying to upgrade the .NET framework from 4.0 to 4.5.2 in our installation project as a feature prerequisite. It errors out because 4.5.2 installation launches another msiexec.exe. We would ideally like to keep the framework install as a feature prerequisite so it installs after user accepts the EULA. Setup prerequisites get installed before the EULA displays. What are my options? I would appreciate any guidance on this. Thanks.

    1. Hi Sobia – I’m not familiar enough with InstallShield to be able to answer that question definitively, but my guess is that it will require you to treat components like the .NET Framework as setup prerequisites and not feature prerequisites. I’d recommend posting a question on the InstallShield forums at http://community.installshield.com/ to see if someone there can provide a more definitive answer.

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