Urgent: Microsoft .NET errors from apps

Hi Experts -

Until 2 days ago I had a perfectly working XP Pro installation.  Then I installed RealPlayer (required for a work project) and everything went down hill from there.

One of the errors is a .NET error where it can't find the following file:

Thinking I would have to reinstall .net from the beginning, I tried re-installing .NET v2, but it complained I already had a later version of v2 installed.  Then I tried installed .net v2sp2 and it said it was already installed so I would have to uninstall it.

I have .net 3.0 sp2 and .net 3.5 installed.  Do I need to uninstall all of them down to v2.0 and then reinstall them all back up to 3.5 or maybe even 4.x?

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ee_reachAuthor Commented:
Thanks for your comment thinkpads_user.

Just so everyone knows the ultimate answer, uninstalling/reinstalling any part of .NET frameworks is a nasty piece of work.  Here are the most important points:

* You must uninstall them in reverse order.  

* .NET 1.0 and 1.1 are independent of 2-3.5.  Similiarly, 4.0 is independent of the others. So if you have a problem with 4.0, just uninstall and reinstall 4.0.  Likewise, if you have a problem with 2.0, uninstall down to 2.0 and then reinstall.  Don't bother uninstalling 1.0/1.1 unless there is actually a problem with either of them.

* Even if you uninstall them in reverse order, you are likely to encounter major issues in how to clean them up.  And they must be cleaned up before you can reinstall, or the installation will fail.

* There are clean up tools, and also Microsoft has a knowledgebase article on how to clean up after them manually; however, neither the tools nor the manually cleanup kb - separately or together - are sufficient to clean up the worst cases.  (I am considering writing an EE article on this so the collective wisdom I found across multiple websites will be brought together into one place.)

* Once you finish the reinstall, many other things are likely to be wrong with your system and you will probably require several more days of work to restore your system.  E.g., once you uninstall the 2.0 framework, your windows firewall will likely no longer be configurable.  Also, many of your apps (e.g, MS Word, Excel, PPT) will no longer work until you have successfully reinstalled .NET 2.0.

* If you have XP, then .net is not part of the operating system.  However, if you have Vista or Win 7, parts of the .NET Framework are built in.  (Hence thinkpads' comment above that he doesn't think he has V2 installed - it exists as part of his operating system and thus is not listed as an uninstallable program as it would be on an XP machine.)

If anyone ever needs to do this in the future, feel free to contact me for the details.

Kind regards

JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
To the extent that an application needs .NET Framework 1, 2, 3, or 4 then you need them all installed. I don't think I have .NET Framework V2 on my Windows 7 machine, so you can try living without it and adding V4 to what you have above.

If you want them all, then, yes, I would uninstall all and start again.  .... Thinkpads_User
ee_reachAuthor Commented:
It turned out that this seemingly simple question was actually the tip of an iceberg.  

The information required to do justice to this question would require an answer that is much longer than the allowed space, and is more suitable to an article which I will try to write up in the next week or so.
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