How to Include .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 with Your Installer (Mary Lee)

Recently in the Visual Studio Tools for Office forum, a Visual Studio 2008 SP1 developer asked how to include the .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1 in the same directory as the application.  For example, you can select Download prerequisites from the same location as my application in the Prerequisites Dialog Box if your application is going out on CD and being installed without a network connection. 

However, when you try to build your setup project or ClickOnce installer, you see the following error message: "The install location for prerequisites has not been set to ‘component vendor’s web site’ and the file ‘DotNetFX35SP1\dotNetFX20\netfx20a_x86.msi’ in item ‘.NET Framework 3.5 SP1’ can not be located on disk. "

What does it mean?  The installers for .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 were not included in the VS2008 SP1 installer due to size restrictions. The default deployment experience is to download the .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 from the Microsoft Download Center during installation. 

How do you include the .NET Framework 3.5 SP1? You can download the full .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 installer and extract the necessary files to the Visual Studio bootstrapper directory. After you modify the product.xml file and update the PublicKey value, the .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 will appear in the Prerequisites Dialog Box. You can find the full instructions in the Visual Studio 2008 Service Pack 1 Readme in section Enable Samesite for the .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 bootstrapper package.


While these steps may seem lengthy, you only have to complete the steps once on your development computer. Then, every project you develop and deploy can include .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 as a prerequisite.

If you have further questions about deployment, visit the ClickOnce and Setup & Deployment MSDN forum to search for answers or ask your questions.

Happy deployment!

Mary R Lee, programming writer.