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How to Enable .NET Framework 2.0 And 3.5 in Windows 8.1 for Older Programs

Brian Burgess
Written by Brian Burgess

In Windows 8.1 the .NET Framework 4.5 is included, but some older programs require a specific version like 2.0 or 3.5. Installing it is easy, here’s how. — If you need to run or install an older program on Windows 8.1 you may experience a hiccup or two. That’s because the latest version of Windows requires previous versions of Microsoft’s .NET Framework. The .NET Framework is not enabled by default in 8.1, but it’s easy to install both versions so you can continue rocking your old software programs on the latest OS.

Windows 8.1 includes .NET Framework 4.5 development platform, but you’ll need to install 3.5 or 2.0 if an older program requires a specific version.

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Enable .Net Framework 2.0 And 3.5

From the Start screen type: windows features and select Turn Windows features on or off.

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The Windows Features screen will come up on the desktop. Tick the box next to .NET Framework 3.5 (includes .NET 2.0 and 3.0) and click OK.

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Wait while .NET Framework is installed on your system — it only takes a few seconds. Immediately afterward you’ll be prompted to download updates for it.

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That’s it! Now you’ll be able to install and run your older programs.

complete Image credit: Brian Burgess

For, I’m Brian Burgess.

Based in Pelican Rapids, MN, Brian Burgess led the relaunch of BYTE with Gina Smith, co-founded with Gina, John C. Dvorak and Jerry Pournelle in 2011, and serves as the editor-in-chief of He is the How To gallery captain here at Email him at or and find him on Google + and on Twitter as @mysticgeek.

About the author

Brian Burgess

Brian Burgess

Based in rural Minnesota, Brian Burgess was one of the founding editors at aNewDomain and at He is also the editor of GroovyPost. He specializes in gorgeous tech How To galleries, heavy metal, playing guitar, and watching Star Trek.

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  • Catatan Mamas

    how to install it without online

  • FVChurch Auburn WA

    Thanks worked great :)

  • Broccoli-Senpai

    @Catatan Mamas

    Method 3 should do the Trick

  • Khalid

    Windows has removed: Turn features on or off. in control panel and search. instead you need to install the .net framework 2.0

  • Marguli

    Thank you man!!, awesome post, simple and effective!!!

  • sam

    thank you!

  • Braheem Hazeem III

    Thanks, saved me a headache trying to use the windows 7 usb creation tool.