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

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.


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.