Windows Enterprise Desktop

Apr 26 2019   11:42AM GMT

Web-based vs Offline DotNET 4.8 Installers

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel

Windows 10
Windows Updates

When I learned  that MS released a new version of the .NET Framework , I saw both web-based and offline installers. “Hmmm,” thought I to myself, “I’ve never used a Web-based installer for Win10 OS components. Let’s give it a try!” The difference between web-based vs offline DotNET 4.8 installers turned out to be both interesting and considerable. I’ll let Martin Brinkmann at explain the difference between these two approaches:

The .NET Framework is offered as a Web and Offline installer. The core difference is that the Web Installer requires an active Internet connection during installation as it needs to download components from Microsoft servers.

The .NET Framework 4.8 offline installer is larger in size but requires no Internet connection as it includes all the components:

Web-based vs Offline DotNET 4.8 Installers.web

The Web installer zips through the download process pretty quickly, but takes a LONG time to get through installation

It Makes a Difference: Web-based vs Offline DotNET 4.8 Installers

I’ve never tried a Web-based installer for Win10 OS components before. Thus, I wondered about the tradeoffs involved. My observation is that while it’s much quicker to download the web-based installer, it takes LOTS longer to install that way as compared to an offline/standalone installer. As Mr. Brinkmann explains in the preceding quote, that’s because the web-based installer includes only what it needs to get installation going and grabs everything else over the Internet. The offline installer, OTOH, grabs everything it needs in one swell foop. The Web-based installer is 1.46 MB in size, the offline version is around 70 MB. I guess we know what makes up the difference, eh?

But, my goodness, how that difference plays out in installation. On a relatively fast i7 (6700/Skylake) it took over 5 minutes (318 seconds) to handle the install from start to finish. On an older, slower mobile i7 (2640M/Haswell) laptop it took just under 3 minutes (178 seconds) to complete. That’s a pretty big difference!

My take is that for those with faster Internet access, the offline/standalone installer is definitely the right way to go. Note also, once the new .NET environment is installed a reboot must follow. Curiously Programs and Features still mentions only .NET Framework 4.7 Advanced Services after the update is installed. There’s no mention of .NET Framework 4.8 in Settings → Apps & Features → Manage optional features, either. The Registry tells you what’s installed:

Web-based vs Offline DotNET 4.8 Installers.regcheck

The key to check is shown in the address line just below the menu bar in regedit.exe. Note that “Version” takes the value “4.8.03761.”
[Click on image for full-sized view.]

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