Install .NET on Windows

In this article, you'll learn how to install .NET on Windows. .NET is made up of the runtime and the SDK. The runtime is used to run a .NET app and may or may not be included with the app. The SDK is used to create .NET apps and libraries. The .NET runtime is always installed with the SDK.

The latest version of .NET is 5.0.

Supported releases

The following table is a list of currently supported .NET releases and the versions of Windows they're supported on. These versions remain supported until either the version of .NET reaches end-of-support or the version of Windows reaches end-of-life.

Windows 10 versions end-of-service dates are segmented by edition. Only Home, Pro, Pro Education, and Pro for Workstations editions are considered in the following table. Check the Windows lifecycle fact sheet for specific details.

Tip

A + symbol represents the minimum version.

Operating System .NET Core 2.1 .NET Core 3.1 .NET 5
Windows 10, Version 2004 ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Windows 10, Version 1909 ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Windows 10, Version 1903 ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Windows 10, Version 1809 ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Windows 10, Version 1803 ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Windows 10, Version 1709 ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Windows 10, Version 1607 ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Windows 8.1 ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Windows 7 SP1 ESU ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Windows 10, Version 1607 ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Windows 10, Version 1607 ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Windows Server 2012 R2 ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Windows Server Core 2012 R2 ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Nano Server, Version 1809+ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Nano Server, Version 1803 ✔️ ✔️

Unsupported releases

The following versions of .NET are ❌ no longer supported. The downloads for these still remain published:

  • 3.0
  • 2.2
  • 2.0

Runtime information

The runtime is used to run apps created with .NET. When an app author publishes an app, they can include the runtime with their app. If they don't include the runtime, it's up to the user to install the runtime.

There are three different runtimes you can install on Windows:

ASP.NET Core runtime
Runs ASP.NET Core apps. Includes the .NET runtime.

Desktop runtime
Runs .NET WPF and Windows Forms desktop apps for Windows. Includes the .NET runtime.

.NET runtime
This runtime is the simplest runtime and doesn't include any other runtime. It's highly recommended that you install both ASP.NET Core runtime and Desktop runtime for the best compatibility with .NET apps.

SDK information

The SDK is used to build and publish .NET apps and libraries. Installing the SDK includes all three runtimes: ASP.NET Core, Desktop, and .NET.

Dependencies

The following Windows versions are supported with .NET 5.0:

Note

A + symbol represents the minimum version.

OS Version Architectures
Windows 10 Client Version 1607+ x64, x86, ARM64
Windows Client 7 SP1+, 8.1 x64, x86
Windows Server 2012 R2+ x64, x86
Windows Server Core 2012 R2+ x64, x86
Nano Server Version 1809+ x64

For more information about .NET 5.0 supported operating systems, distributions, and lifecycle policy, see .NET 5.0 Supported OS Versions.

Windows 7 / Vista / 8.1 / Server 2008 R2 / Server 2012 R2

Additional dependencies are required if you're installing the .NET SDK or runtime on the following Windows versions:

  • Windows 7 SP1 ESU
  • Windows Vista SP 2
  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Windows Server 2012 R2

Install the following:

The previous requirements are also required if you come across one of the following errors:

The program can't start because api-ms-win-crt-runtime-l1-1-0.dll is missing from your computer. Try reinstalling the program to fix this problem.

- or -

The program can't start because api-ms-win-cor-timezone-l1-1-0.dll is missing from your computer. Try reinstalling the program to fix this problem.

- or -

The library hostfxr.dll was found, but loading it from C:\<path_to_app>\hostfxr.dll failed.

Install with PowerShell automation

The dotnet-install scripts are used for CI automation and non-admin installs of the runtime. You can download the script from the dotnet-install script reference page.

The script defaults to installing the latest long term support (LTS) version, which is .NET Core 3.1. You can choose a specific release by specifying the Channel switch. Include the Runtime switch to install a runtime. Otherwise, the script installs the SDK.

dotnet-install.ps1 -Channel 5.0 -Runtime aspnetcore

Install the SDK by omitting the -Runtime switch. The -Channel switch is set in this example to Current, which installs the latest supported version.

dotnet-install.ps1 -Channel Current

Install with Visual Studio

If you're using Visual Studio to develop .NET apps, the following table describes the minimum required version of Visual Studio based on the target .NET SDK version.

.NET SDK version Visual Studio version
5.0 Visual Studio 2019 version 16.8 or higher.
3.1 Visual Studio 2019 version 16.4 or higher.
3.0 Visual Studio 2019 version 16.3 or higher.
2.2 Visual Studio 2017 version 15.9 or higher.
2.1 Visual Studio 2017 version 15.7 or higher.

If you already have Visual Studio installed, you can check your version with the following steps.

  1. Open Visual Studio.
  2. Select Help > About Microsoft Visual Studio.
  3. Read the version number from the About dialog.

Visual Studio can install the latest .NET SDK and runtime.

Select a workload

When installing or modifying Visual Studio, select one or more of the following workloads, depending on the kind of application you're building:

  • The .NET Core cross-platform development workload in the Other Toolsets section.
  • The ASP.NET and web development workload in the Web & Cloud section.
  • The Azure development workload in the Web & Cloud section.
  • The .NET desktop development workload in the Desktop & Mobile section.

Windows Visual Studio 2019 with .NET Core workload

Install alongside Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code is a powerful and lightweight source code editor that runs on your desktop. Visual Studio Code is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux.

While Visual Studio Code doesn't come with an automated .NET Core installer like Visual Studio does, adding .NET Core support is simple.

  1. Download and install Visual Studio Code.
  2. Download and install the .NET Core SDK.
  3. Install the C# extension from the Visual Studio Code marketplace.

Windows Installer

The download page for .NET provides Windows Installer executables.

When you use the MSI files to install .NET< you can customize the installation path by setting the DOTNETHOME_X64 and DOTNETHOME_X86 parameters:

dotnet-sdk-3.1.301-win-x64.exe DOTNETHOME_X64="F:\dotnet\x64" DOTNETHOME_X86="F:\dotnet\x86"

Download and manually install

As an alternative to the Windows installers for .NET, you can download and manually install the SDK or runtime. Manual install is usually performed as part of continuous integration testing. For a developer or user, it's generally better to use an installer.

Both .NET SDK and .NET Runtime can be manually installed after they've been downloaded. If you install .NET SDK, you don't need to install the corresponding runtime. First, download a binary release for either the SDK or the runtime from one of the following sites:

Create a directory to extract .NET to, for example %USERPROFILE%\dotnet. Then, extract the downloaded zip file into that directory.

By default, .NET CLI commands and apps won't use .NET installed in this way and you must explicitly choose to use it. To do so, change the environment variables with which an application is started:

set DOTNET_ROOT=%USERPROFILE%\dotnet
set PATH=%USERPROFILE%\dotnet;%PATH%
set DOTNET_MULTILEVEL_LOOKUP=0

This approach lets you install multiple versions into separate locations, then explicitly choose which install location an application should use by running the application with environment variables pointing at that location.

When DOTNET_MULTILEVEL_LOOKUP is set to 0, .NET ignores any globally installed .NET version. Remove that environment setting to let .NET consider the default global install location when selecting the best framework for running the application. The default is typically C:\Program Files\dotnet, which is where the installers install .NET.

Docker

Containers provide a lightweight way to isolate your application from the rest of the host system. Containers on the same machine share just the kernel and use resources given to your application.

.NET can run in a Docker container. Official .NET Docker images are published to the Microsoft Container Registry (MCR) and are discoverable at the Microsoft .NET Docker Hub repository. Each repository contains images for different combinations of the .NET (SDK or Runtime) and OS that you can use.

Microsoft provides images that are tailored for specific scenarios. For example, the ASP.NET Core repository provides images that are built for running ASP.NET Core apps in production.

For more information about using .NET in a Docker container, see Introduction to .NET and Docker and Samples.

Next steps