Upcoming availability of .NET Framework 4.8.1 on Windows Update and Catalog
We are excited to announce that in the coming weeks the .NET Framework 4.8.1 product will become available broadly on Windows Update (WU) and Microsoft Update Catalog for supported versions of Windows. The .NET Framework 4.8.1 product will first roll out to customers participating in the Windows Insider program through the Release Preview channel, then gradually to customers seeking the latest content on WU, and finally as Recommended to customers through Windows Update.
.NET Framework 4.8.1 will be available for the following versions of Windows and distribution channels:
- Windows Update: Windows 11 21H2, Windows 10 21H2 (LTSC), and Windows 10 22H2
- Microsoft Update Catalog: Windows 11 21H2, Windows 10 21H2 (LTSC), Windows 10 22H2 and Windows Server 2022 (Desktop, Azure Editions), Azure Stack 21H2 and Azure Stack 22H2.
Note: Customers using Windows Server Updates Services (WSUS) or any other update management tools will be able to import the .NET Framework 4.8.1 product from the Microsoft Update Catalog. Also note that .NET Framework 4.8.1 is already included by default in newer versions of Windows, starting with Windows 11 22H2.
What is new in .NET Framework 4.8.1?
For more information about what is new in the .NET Framework 4.8.1 product, you can read our previous announcement here: Announcing .NET Framework 4.8.1 – .NET Blog (microsoft.com). The NET Framework 4.8.1 product installers will also be updated to include all the latest security and quality fixes since the .NET Framework 4.8.1 initial release.
How can I get .NET Framework 4.8.1?
The .NET Framework 4.8.1 is available for download from: Download .NET Framework | Free official downloads (microsoft.com) for supported versions of Windows and is also included with Visual Studio 17.3 and Windows 11 22H2, and their corresponding newer versions.
Very soon, .NET Framework 4.8.1 will also be available on Windows Update and Microsoft Update Catalog as follows:
- Windows Insider program participants that have registered their device into the Release Preview channel will be the first to receive the latest .NET Framework 4.8.1 product release as Recommended.
- Shortly after, Windows Update Seekers will be able to install the .NET Framework 4.8.1 by checking for the latest updates (Start > Settings > Windows Update > Check for Updates). We will gradually throttle availability to devices connected to Windows Update.
- Finally, supported versions of Windows client will receive the .NET Framework 4.8.1 as a Recommended update on Windows Update.
- IT administrators will also be able to download the .NET Framework 4.8.1 directly or import into WSUS from the Microsoft Update Catalog.
The .NET Framework 4.8.1 Language Packs will also be available on Windows Update and Microsoft Update Catalog for customers using non-English localized versions of Windows or those that have one or more Multilingual User Interface (MUI) pack installed.
Blocking the automatic deployment of .NET Framework 4.8.1
Enterprise customers may have client machines that connect directly to the public Windows Update servers. In such cases, an administrator may want to prevent the .NET Framework 4.8.1 from being deployed to these client machines to allow testing of internal applications to be completed before deployment.
In such scenarios, administrators can deploy a registry key setting and prevent the .NET Framework 4.8.1 from being offered to those devices. More information about how to use this blocker registry key can be found in the following Microsoft Knowledge Base article KB5027101: How to temporarily block the installation of the .NET Framework 4.8.1.
I have already installed the .NET Framework 4.8.1. Do I still need the upcoming update?
If you have already downloaded and installed the .NET Framework 4.8.1 originally released, you do not need to install the upcoming product update for .NET Framework 4.8.1. However, you do want to keep your device up to date for the latest .NET Framework security and reliability updates through the Windows Update, Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) and Microsoft Update Catalog channels.
Will the updated .NET Framework 4.8.1 have the same KB numbers, title, and detection Release key values as the product originally released to Microsoft Download Center and Visual Studio 17.3+?
Do I need to import the .NET Framework 4.8.1 to my organization’s devices through WSUS?
No, unless your organization requires newer applications that target .NET Framework 4.8.1. For more information about what is new in .NET Framework 4.8.1, see: What’s new in .NET Framework – .NET Framework | Microsoft Learn.
Should my app target .NET Framework 4.8.1?
Each new .NET Framework product release introduces new features and capabilities. However, application developers do not necessarily need to target the highest version of .NET Framework unless they want to use specific new functionality (refer to What’s new in .NET Framework – .NET Framework | Microsoft Learn). When targeting .NET Framework 4.8.1, the application will not be able to run on Windows versions prior to Windows 10 version 21H2 and Server 2022. For more information on where 4.8.1 is supported, see the .NET Framework support lifecycle. For more information on patterns for developing and deploying native-arm64-capable applications see Tour of .NET Behavior on Windows 11 Arm64 · Issue #7709 · dotnet/core · GitHub. For information on patterns for developing accessible apps that take advantage of the latest .NET Framework support for accessible applications, see What’s new in accessibility in .NET Framework | Microsoft Learn.
What is the general .NET Framework targeting recommendation?
For existing apps, there is no need to make a change in targeting version. For new apps, in general, we currently recommend targeting .NET Framework 4.8, as noted here, unless your application must run on Windows Server 2008 SP2 or Windows version 1507 (where it is unsupported), or unless your application requires newer features only available in .NET 4.8.1 (see considerations in the question above). For more information about features and improvements across .NET Framework releases, refer to What’s new in .NET Framework – .NET Framework | Microsoft Learn.
This is very interesting because the vast majority of developers don’t want to migrate to .NET Core due to the little support it has, only 3 years for LTS versions. For example, .NET Core 8, which hasn’t been released yet, will be released in November this year 2023, it will end support in November 2026. If the developer doesn’t update the software before then, or has discontinued the software, you’re left with an outdated and unpatched version of .NET Core to keep that program running (which is a security risk). Software developed with .NET Core 8 needs .NET Core 8 to run. Not run on newer versions.
However, the .NET Framework from version 4.7 to 4.8.1 does not have an end-of-support date: “As long as it is installed on a supported version of Windows, the .NET Framework 4.8 will continue to also be supported.” We are sure that it will be supported beyond the year 2030. And it is also compatible with previous versions of the .NET Framework. Software developed in .NET Framework 4.6 runs without problems in .NET Framework 4.8. Thats not the case for .NET Core.
Thanks for sharing your feedback on the support lifecycle for .NET.
With the .NET Framework, upgrades from one major version to the next for large suites of apps could take months, while with modern .NET (.NET Core) customers tell us that their upgrades are much faster and pain free. That makes more frequent upgrades a lot easier, which also means you get access to valuable improvements a lot faster. Towards that end, we’re investing in tools like the .NET Upgrade Assistant to make the experience better supported and smoother.
It is our aspiration that upgrades from one major version of .NET to the next should take days to weeks rather than months. If your upgrade experience significantly differs from that we’d like to hear more about your specific scenario, feel free to file an issue in the appropriate GitHub repo.
We know that some percentage of customers have other constraints that make it difficult if not impossible to update their .NET once and have a need to stay on a single version of .NET for the lifetime of their product. So for these customers we would suggest staying on .NET Framework. As you know we continue to support the .NET Framework with the latest security and reliability fixes and we will continue to support this for as long as .NET Framework remains a part of Windows (effectively forever). Though the downside with the approach is they cannot take advantage of the latest features available in modern .NET but not in .NET Framework.