Microsoft To Deliver .NET Framework 4.5.2 Next Week
Microsoft plans to deliver .NET Framework 4.5.2, along with Language Packs, on "patch Tuesday" next week.
The framework will come down through Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) on Jan. 13, 2015, according to Microsoft blog post on Monday. It includes improved debugging and tracing capabilities, among other enhancements. The framework is needed to support the .NET development environment and it runs on various client and server Windows operating systems. The list of supported OSes includes Windows 8/8.1, Windows 7 Service Pack 1, Windows Vista SP2, plus Windows Server 2012/2012 R2, Windows Server 2008 SP2/2008 R2 SP1.
Also supported are Windows RT and Windows 8.1 RT, but those OSes will get .NET Framework 4.5.2 via Microsoft's Automatic Update service instead of WSUS.
IT pros can block the delivery of .NET Framework 4.5.2 via WSUS by editing registry settings. That process is described in this Microsoft Knowledge Base article. Microsoft has admitted in an August blog post that the .NET Framework 4.5.2 release does include some changes that can break the functioning of some applications, although only if those applications get recompiled.
Microsoft's server products should be tested on this framework before getting turned on in a production environment, Microsoft warned in its August blog post. However, Microsoft also claimed that .NET Framework 4.5.2 should be compatible with past .NET Framework 4.x releases. It's considered to be an "in-place" upgrade to past .NET Framework 4.x releases, so IT pros don't need to uninstall the previous versions.
Those organizations wanting to postpone upgrading to .NET Framework 4.5.2 have about one year's time to wait it out. Microsoft announced back in August that it plans to drop support for .NET Framework versions 4.x through 4.5.1 after Jan. 12, 2016.
This Jan. 12, 2016 deadline appears to be another example of Microsoft drawing a line for its product support efforts. It seems similar to Microsoft's support deadline for Internet Explorer versions, which falls on the same date. Typically, the various .NET Framework 4.x releases would follow the product lifecycle of the associated operating system, rather than a single date. With the firm deadline in place, though, IT pros have less time to get production environments updated. Meeting the deadline is important because a product that exits Microsoft's lifecycle support won't get updates from Microsoft, posing potential security risks.
Oddly, Microsoft considers the .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1 to be an exception to the Jan. 12, 2016 deadline for .NET Framework 4.x. It's possible for .NET Framework 3.5 installations to coexist with .NET Framework 4.x installations and they support older Windows OSes. For instance, .NET Framework 3.5 follows the product lifecycle of Windows Server 2008, which exits "extended support" on Jan. 14, 2020.
Despite the Jan. 12, 2016 deadline to get .NET Framework 4.5.2 installed, organizations could have cause to be wary this coming patch Tuesday. Many of Microsoft's updates haven't been free of problems in recent years, as noted by Microsoft MVP Rod Trent in a recent WindowsITPro article.
On top of the current .NET Framework 4.5.2 release, Microsoft offers a preview version of .NET Framework 4.6, which was released back in November. The .NET Framework 4.6 preview is also considered to be an in-place upgrade to previous .NET Framework 4.x installations. A resource for sorting through the nuances of .NET Framework 4.5 capabilities, as well as those of the .NET Framework 4.6 preview, can be found at this MSDN library page.
Microsoft is wrapping the .NET Framework 4.6 preview as "a new era" for the platform in 2015. The preview version includes the open source .NET Core 5, for instance, which will extend the .NET Framework to other operating system platforms besides Windows, such as Linux and Mac. Microsoft has also announced a new free version of Visual Studio alongside the open source .NET Core 5.
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.