.net – Differences between Microsoft .NET 4.0 full Framework and Client Profile


The Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0 full installer (32- and 64-bit) is 48.1 MB and the Client Profile installer is 41.0 MB. The extracted installation files are 237 MB and 194 MB respectively, and once installed, they are 537 MB and 427 MB.

This is a difference of 110 MB. What difference is there between the two packages?

When is it preferable to install the Client Profile instead of the full .NET Framework?

Best Solution

What's new in .NET Framework 4 Client Profile RTM explains many of the differences:

When to use NET4 Client Profile and when to use NET4 Full Framework?
NET4 Client Profile:
Always target NET4 Client Profile for all your client desktop applications (including Windows Forms and WPF apps).

NET4 Full framework:
Target NET4 Full only if the features or assemblies that your app need are not included in the Client Profile. This includes:

  • If you are building Server apps. Such as:
    o ASP.Net apps
    o Server-side ASMX based web services
  • If you use legacy client scenarios. Such as:
    o Use System.Data.OracleClient.dll which is deprecated in NET4 and not included in the Client Profile.
    o Use legacy Windows Workflow Foundation 3.0 or 3.5 (WF3.0 , WF3.5)
  • If you targeting developer scenarios and need tool such as MSBuild or need access to design assemblies such as System.Design.dll

However, as stated on MSDN, this is not relevant for >=4.5:

Starting with the .NET Framework 4.5, the Client Profile has been discontinued and only the full redistributable package is available. Optimizations provided by the .NET Framework 4.5, such as smaller download size and faster deployment, have eliminated the need for a separate deployment package. The single redistributable streamlines the installation process and simplifies your app's deployment options.