How to remove the .NET Runtime and SDK

Over time, as you install updated versions of the .NET runtime and SDK, you may want to remove outdated versions of .NET from your machine. Removing older versions of the runtime may change the runtime chosen to run shared framework applications, as detailed in the article on .NET version selection.

Should I remove a version?

The .NET version selection behaviors and the runtime compatibility of .NET across updates enables safe removal of previous versions. .NET runtime updates are compatible within a major version band such as 1.x and 2.x. Additionally, newer releases of the .NET SDK generally maintain the ability to build applications that target previous versions of the runtime in a compatible manner.

In general, you only need the latest SDK and latest patch version of the runtimes required for your application. Instances where you might want to keep older SDK or runtime versions include maintaining project.json-based applications. Unless your application has specific reasons for earlier SDKs or runtimes, you may safely remove older versions.

Determine what is installed

The .NET CLI has options you can use to list the versions of the SDK and runtime that are installed on your machine. Use dotnet --list-sdks to see the list of SDKs installed on your machine. Use dotnet --list-runtimes to see the list of runtimes installed on your machine. For more information, see How to check that .NET is already installed.

Uninstall .NET

.NET uses the Windows Apps & features dialog to remove versions of the .NET runtime and SDK. The following figure shows the Apps & features dialog. You can search for core sdk or .net sdk to filter and show installed versions of .NET.

Add / Remove programs to remove .NET

Select any versions you want to remove from your machine and click Uninstall.

There are more options to uninstall .NET (either SDK or runtime) on Linux. The best way for you to uninstall .NET is to mirror the action you used to install .NET. The specifics depend on your chosen distribution and the installation method.

Important

For Red Hat installations, consult the Red Hat Product Documentation for .NET.

There's no need to uninstall the .NET SDK when upgrading it using a package manager, unless you're upgrading from a preview version. The package manager update or refresh commands will automatically remove the older version upon the successful installation of a newer version. If you have a preview version installed, uninstall it.

If you installed .NET using a package manager, use that same package manager to uninstall the .NET SDK or runtime. .NET installations support most popular package managers. Consult the documentation for your distribution's package manager for the precise syntax in your environment:

  • apt-get(8) is used by Debian based systems, including Ubuntu.
  • yum(8) is used on Fedora, CentOS, and Oracle Linux.
  • zypper(8) is used on openSUSE and SUSE Linux Enterprise System (SLES).
  • dnf(8) is used on Fedora.

In almost all cases, the command to remove a package is remove.

The package name for the .NET SDK installation for most package managers is dotnet-sdk, followed by the version number. Starting with the version 2.1.300 of the .NET SDK and version 2.1 of the runtime, only the major and minor version numbers are necessary: for example, the .NET SDK version 2.1.300 can be referenced as the package dotnet-sdk-2.1. Prior versions require the entire version string: for example, dotnet-sdk-2.1.200 would be required for version 2.1.200 of the .NET SDK.

For machines that have installed only the runtime, and not the SDK, the package name is dotnet-runtime-<version> for the .NET runtime, and aspnetcore-runtime-<version> for the entire runtime stack.

Tip

.NET Core installations earlier than 2.0 didn't uninstall the host application when the SDK was uninstalled using the package manager. Using apt-get, the command is:

apt-get remove dotnet-host

There's no version attached to dotnet-host.

If you installed using a tarball, you must remove .NET using the manual method.

On Linux, you must remove the SDKs and runtimes separately, by removing the versioned directories. Removing them deletes the SDK and runtime from disk. For example, to remove the 1.0.1 SDK and runtime, you would use the following bash commands:

version="1.0.1"
sudo rm -rf /usr/local/share/dotnet/sdk/$version
sudo rm -rf /usr/local/share/dotnet/shared/Microsoft.NETCore.App/$version
sudo rm -rf /usr/local/share/dotnet/shared/Microsoft.AspNetCore.All/$version
sudo rm -rf /usr/local/share/dotnet/shared/Microsoft.AspNetCore.App/$version
sudo rm -rf /usr/local/share/dotnet/host/fxr/$version

The parent directories for the SDK and runtime are listed in the output from the dotnet --list-sdks and dotnet --list-runtimes command, as shown in the earlier table.

On Mac, you must remove the SDKs and runtimes separately, by removing the versioned directories. Removing them deletes the SDK and runtime from disk. For example, to remove the 1.0.1 SDK and runtime, you would use the following bash commands:

version="1.0.1"
sudo rm -rf /usr/local/share/dotnet/sdk/$version
sudo rm -rf /usr/local/share/dotnet/shared/Microsoft.NETCore.App/$version
sudo rm -rf /usr/local/share/dotnet/shared/Microsoft.AspNetCore.All/$version
sudo rm -rf /usr/local/share/dotnet/shared/Microsoft.AspNetCore.App/$version
sudo rm -rf /usr/local/share/dotnet/host/fxr/$version

The parent directories for the SDK and runtime are listed in the output from the dotnet --list-sdks and dotnet --list-runtimes command, as shown in the earlier table.

.NET Uninstall Tool

The .NET Uninstall Tool (dotnet-core-uninstall) lets you remove .NET SDKs and runtimes from a system. A collection of options is available to specify which versions should be uninstalled.

Visual Studio dependency on .NET Core SDK versions

Before Visual Studio 2019 version 16.3, Visual Studio installers called the standalone .NET Core SDK installer. As a result, the SDK versions appear in the Windows Apps & features dialog. Removing .NET Core SDKs that were installed by Visual Studio using the standalone installer may break Visual Studio. If Visual Studio has problems after you uninstall SDKs, run Repair on that specific version of Visual Studio. The following table shows some of the Visual Studio dependencies on .NET Core SDK versions:

Visual Studio version .NET Core SDK version
Visual Studio 2019 version 16.2 .NET Core SDK 2.2.4xx, 2.1.8xx
Visual Studio 2019 version 16.1 .NET Core SDK 2.2.3xx, 2.1.7xx
Visual Studio 2019 version 16.0 .NET Core SDK 2.2.2xx, 2.1.6xx
Visual Studio 2017 version 15.9 .NET Core SDK 2.2.1xx, 2.1.5xx
Visual Studio 2017 version 15.8 .NET Core SDK 2.1.4xx

Starting with Visual Studio 2019 version 16.3, Visual Studio is in charge of its own copy of the .NET SDK. For that reason, you no longer see those SDK versions in the Apps & features dialog.

Remove the NuGet fallback folder

Before .NET Core 3.0 SDK, the .NET Core SDK installers used a folder named NuGetFallbackFolder to store a cache of NuGet packages. This cache was used during operations such as dotnet restore or dotnet build /t:Restore. The NuGetFallbackFolder is located at C:\Program Files\dotnet\sdk on Windows and at /usr/local/share/dotnet/sdk on macOS.

You may want to remove this folder, if:

  • You're only developing using .NET Core 3.0 SDK or .NET 5.0 or later versions.
  • You're developing using .NET Core SDK versions earlier than 3.0, but you can work online.

If you want to remove the NuGet fallback folder, you can delete it, but you'll need admin privileges to do so.

It's not recommended to delete the dotnet folder. Doing so would remove any global tools you've previously installed. Also, on Windows:

  • You'll break Visual Studio 2019 version 16.3 and later versions. You can run Repair to recover.
  • If there are .NET Core SDK entries in the Apps & features dialog, they'll be orphaned.