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Lifecycle FAQ—.NET Framework
Applies to: .NET Framework

​Back to the Microsoft Lifecycle Policy home page

NOTE: This FAQ was updated on April 30, 2018.

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 What is the Microsoft Lifecycle Policy for the .NET Framework?


In March 2010, Microsoft announced that beginning with .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1
﴾SP1﴿, the .NET Framework is defined as a component instead of an independent product. As a
component, .NET Framework version 3.5 Service Pack 1 ﴾SP1﴿ or later versions assumes the
same Lifecycle Policy as its underlying Windows operating system on which it is installed. For a
list of supported operating systems for .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 refer to the .NET Framework
system requirements.

On August 7, 2014, Microsoft announced that support will end for .NET Framework 4, 4.5, and
4.5.1 on January 12, 2016. Customers and developers must have completed the in‐place
update to .NET Framework 4.5.2 by January 12, 2016 to continue receiving technical support
and security updates. Support for .NET Framework 4.5.2, as well as all other .NET Framework
versions such as 3.5 SP1, will continue to be supported during the operating system lifecycle.

 What is a component?
A component is defined as a set of files or features that are included with a Microsoft product.
Components may be shipped with the product included in a product service pack or update,
or released at a later date as a web download.

 Why did the support for .NET Framework 4, 4.5 and 4.5.1 end on January 12, 2016?
Microsoft is making it easier than ever for customers to stay current with the latest .NET
Framework 4.x family of products with highly compatible, in‐place updates for the .NET 4.x
family. Customers and developers who use .NET Framework 4, 4.5, or 4.5.1 must have
completed the in‐place update to .NET Framework 4.5.2 to continue receiving technical
support and security updates after January 12, 2016. The support change did not affect the
Lifecycle Policy for older versions before .NET Framework 4. Support for .NET Framework 4.5.2
and later versions, as well as older .NET versions such as 3.5 SP1, will continue to be supported
during the operating system lifecycle.

 Will I need to recompile/rebuild my applications to use .NET Framework 4.5.2 and


later versions?
.NET Framework 4.5.2 and later versions are compatible, in‐place updates on top of .NET
Framework 4, 4.5, or 4.5.1. This means we expect applications built on previous .NET 4.x
versions to continue running on .NET Framework 4.5.2 and later versions. Recompiling of apps
to target these versions is not necessary.

 Are there any breaking changes in .NET Framework 4.5.2? Why do you include
these changes?
There are a very small number of changes/fixes in .NET Framework 4.5.2 and later versions that
are not fully compatible with earlier .NET versions. Such fixes are included only when necessary
in the interests of security, comply with industry‐wide standards, or to correct a previous
incompatibility. A list of breaking changes in the runtime can be found here.

Additionally, there are several fixes included in these versions that will only be enabled if you
choose to recompile your application against them. These types of changes are called
retargeting changes. A list of retargeting changes for .NET Framework 4.5.2 and later versions
can be found here.

 The .NET Framework is also middleware in other Microsoft products such as


Exchange Server, SQL Server, Dynamics CRM, SharePoint, and Lync. Do I need to
make any updates to these products if they are using .NET 4, 4.5, or 4.5.1?
Newer versions of products such as Exchange, SQL Server, Dynamics CRM, SharePoint, and Lync
are based on the .NET Framework 4 or .NET Framework 4.5. The .NET Framework 4.5.2 and later
versions are compatible, in‐place updates on top of the .NET Framework 4, 4.5, and 4.5.1. This
means that an application, such as Exchange, built using the .NET Framework 4 or 4.5 will
continue to run without any changes when the .NET runtime is updated from .NET Framework
4, 4.5, or 4.5.1 to later versions. That said we recommend customers validate their deployments
by updating the .NET runtime to .NET 4.5.2 or later in a pre‐production environment first
before rolling out a newer version in the production environment.

 When I installed Visual Studio, it installed a version of the .NET Framework. Does
this mean the version of the .NET Framework that was included with Visual Studio
takes the Lifecycle Policy of Visual Studio?
No. Versions of the .NET Framework that shipped with host products other than Microsoft
Windows shipped with a Windows Supplemental Microsoft Software License Terms. This
means that the component is considered part of the Windows operating system.​

 ​ W hat is the Lifecycle Policy for the different versions of the .NET Framework?
​.NET Framework 1.1 SP1: The .NET Framework 1.0 was supported at the latest service pack
level ﴾SP1﴿ under a single product lifecycle policy until October 8, 2013. The .NET Framework
1.1 SP1 was supported on Windows Server 2003 ﴾32‐bit only, not 64‐bit﴿ at the latest service
pack level until July 14, 2015.

Site feedback
.NET Framework versions 2.0, 3.0, and 3.5: These versions are supported under a single
product lifecycle policy. For the respective end of support dates, see this site. Knowledge base
article 2696944 explains that where .NET Framework 3.5 relies on 2.0 or 3.0 to operate,
Microsoft will provide support for the .NET Framework 2.0 SP2 and .NET Framework 3.0 SP2
components for customers who install the .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 for as long as the .NET
Framework 3.5 SP1 remains in support.

.NET Framework 3.5 SP1: Beginning with .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1 ﴾SP1﴿ the .NET
Framework is defined as a component instead of an independent product. So, support for .NET
Framework 3.5 SP1 is driven by the Lifecycle Policy of the Windows operating system ﴾that is,
when Windows is in the Mainstream Support phase or Extended Support phase, so are its
components﴿. When a product such as Windows reaches the end of support, so do its related
components. .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 is supported on Windows Vista SP2, Windows 7 SP1,
Windows Server 2008 SP2, Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, Windows 8.1 Update, Windows
Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows 10, and Windows Server 2016 according to
the end of support date for each operating system.

.NET Framework 4: .NET Framework 4 did not ship in any operating system. Support for the
.NET Framework 4 on Windows Server 2003 SP2 ended on July 14, 2015, and support on all
other operating systems ended on January 12, 2016.

.NET Framework 4.5: .NET Framework 4.5 shipped both in Windows 8, Windows Server 2012
and as a stand‐alone redistributable package. Support for .NET Framework 4.5 on all
operating systems ended on January 12, 2016.

.NET Framework 4.5.1: Support for .NET Framework 4.5.1 on all operating systems ended on
January 12, 2016.

.NET Framework 4.5.2: Support for .NET 4.5.2 follows the lifecycle policy of the parent
operating system. It is supported as a Windows component on the latest required operating
system update for Windows Vista SP2, Windows 7 SP1, Windows Server 2008 SP2, Windows
Server 2008 R2 SP1, Windows 8.1 Update, Windows Server 2012, and Windows Server 2012 R2.

.NET Framework 4.6: Support for .NET 4.6 follows the Lifecycle Policy of the parent operating
system. It is supported as a Windows component on the latest required operating system
update for Windows Vista SP2, Windows 7 SP1, Windows Server 2008 SP2, Windows Server
2008 R2 SP1, Windows 8.1 Update, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2, and
Windows 10.

.NET Framework 4.6.1: Support for .NET 4.6.1 follows the Lifecycle Policy of the parent
operating system. It is supported as a Windows component on the latest required operating
system update for Windows 7 SP1, Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, Windows 8.1 Update,
Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2, and Windows 10.

.NET Framework 4.6.2: Support for .NET 4.6.2 follows the Lifecycle Policy of the parent
operating system. It is supported as a Windows component on the latest required operating
system update for Windows 7 SP1, Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, Windows 8.1 Update,
Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows 10 ﴾Version 1507﴿, and Windows 10
﴾Version 1511﴿. .NET 4.6.2 is also supported on Windows 10 Anniversary Update ﴾Version 1607﴿
and Windows Server 2016 operating systems.
.NET Framework 4.7: Support for .NET 4.7 follows the Lifecycle Policy of the parent operating
system. It is supported as a Windows component on the latest required operating system
update for Windows 7 SP1, Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, Windows 8.1 Update, Windows 10
Anniversary Update ﴾Version 1607﴿, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2 and
Windows Server 2016. .NET 4.7 is also supported on the Windows 10 Creators Update ﴾Version
1703﴿.

.NET Framework 4.7.1: Support for .NET 4.7.1 follows the Lifecycle Policy of the parent
operating system. It is supported as a Windows component on the latest required operating
system update for Windows 7 SP1, Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, Windows 8.1 Update,
Windows 10 Anniversary Update ﴾Version 1607﴿, Windows 10 Creators Update ﴾Version 1703﴿,
Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2016. .NET 4.7.1 is also
supported on the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update ﴾Version 1709﴿ and Windows Server
Version 1709.

.NET Framework 4.7.2: Support for .NET 4.7.2 follows the Lifecycle Policy of the parent
operating system. It is supported as a Windows component on the latest required operating
system update for Windows 7 SP1, Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, Windows 8.1 Update,
Windows 10 version 1607, Windows 10 version 1703, Windows 10 version 1709, Windows
Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2016 and Windows Server version
1709. .NET 4.7.2 is also supported on Windows 10 version 1803 and Windows Server version
1803. We recommend customers upgrade to .NET Framework 4.7.2 to receive the highest level
of performance, reliability, and security.

The information on this page is subject to the Microsoft Policy Disclaimer and Change Notice. Return
to this site periodically to review any such changes.

Last Updated: Aug 3, 2018

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