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Windows Server 2012 Users Should Not Uninstall .NET Framework

Microsoft this week warned Windows Server 2012 users against uninstalling older .NET Framework versions.

For organizations upgrading their servers, removing the old .NET Framework might seem like the right thing to do. In some cases, removing it may be listed as a requirement by Microsoft in order to use Windows Server 2012 and Window Server 2012 R2. However, Microsoft's support team is saying that IT pros just shouldn't do it.

"It is not recommended to uninstall .NET Framework," a Windows Server Core team blog post states. "In some given circumstances, there may be a requirement to remove/re-install .Net Framework on Windows Server 2012/2012 R2."

That advice is conflicting, and it seems to have tripped up many an IT pro, per the blog post. However, when the .NET Framework is removed, it also deletes the graphical user interface for Windows Server 2012 users. When that happens, IT pros will just be left with a command prompt to manage the server.

There are some additional precautions for those who might use scripting, instead of the Windows Server Manager graphical user interface, to remove .NET Framework. They may not get alerted about the components that will get deleted.

For instance, IT pros that use DISM commands to remove the .NET Framework won't see that they are also deleting the Server Graphical Shell component, as well as the User Interfaces and Infrastructure component. That limitation also can be an issue for PowerShell users who remove the .NET Framework. PowerShell users will only get a glimpse of the components being removed if they include the "-Whatifswitch" with the Remove-WindowsFeature command.

In addition to the graphical user interface getting deleted, other components that get removed when .NET Framework is uninstalled include Hyper-V management tools and PowerShell itself.

It's not clear why Microsoft has requirements posted to remove .NET Framework from Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2 installations, but it appears to be a mistake. Windows Server 2012 ships with .NET Framework 4.5, while Windows Server 2012 R2 comes with .NET Framework 4.5.1. The needed components for the servers are all in the box.

In any case, Microsoft's support team is saying that older .NET Framework installations shouldn't be removed by Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2 users, despite what Microsoft's requirements may imply.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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