I can’t believe .NET is still breaking things

OK. So I’ve had this article sitting for about two weeks as I finally publish it. A couple weeks ago I did something I do pretty much every week on my home computer. You probably do it too. I checked for updates. And, as often happens, one started loading and installing. About, oh, 15 minutes later my computer was done restarting. And that’s when the problems began.

Kablooey.

As soon as I logged in, I was confronted with a flood of error message popups. Microsoft Teams stopped working. So did many of the other apps I use. I was, to say the least, not amused. Luckily Chrome still worked, and I was able to do a quick search with some of the error codes I saw and the update I installed.

I discovered that the update I installed somehow breaks older versions of Microsoft’s .NET framework. The fix was simple; reinstalling that stuff took only about 5 minutes and I was back to business. But there was a part of this whole thing that just made me incredibly angry.

Never heard of .NET? You’re lucky.

I first blogged about Microsoft’s .NET software in 2013. You can read that article here. Almost ten years ago I was calling this software obsolete. Let that sink in for a second. It’s been around since 2002 and it shows no signs of going away.

.NET was intended to help developers create web-capable apps. In 2002 that wasn’t super easy, and Microsoft tried to help developers out in the days when things like AJAX and HTML5 didn’t exist. I give them credit for that. But, the frameworks they created weren’t good even at the time. Developers who used them often regretted it. But, .NET never went away because Microsoft still uses it for their own stuff.

The .NET issues tended to subside when Windows 10 came out, because along with Windows 10 came a unified version of .NET that supported most older applications in one package. And then they came out with a newer version of .NET, and that required a second package, but that’s down from the roughly 15 versions that were used before.

But seriously?

Microsoft apparently knew of this problem WITH THEIR OWN UPDATE KILLING THEIR OWN SOFTWARE and let it out into the wild. As I said it was easy to fix once I searched for it. But still, this is a sloppy way to do business and I’m both surprised and not surprised. Microsoft is generally pretty good and I think their track record is pretty good. But wow, when they bone it they really bone it.

From my point of view, this is sort of like finding out that a problem you had with a 2002 Hyundai Excel is still causing you problems now. You thought it was dealt with, you didn’t even think you still had the thing, and all of a sudden it’s back with a vengeance. I couldn’t be the only person who really gets torqued about this sort of thing.

For the most part, we’ve managed to move beyond so many of the early web standards that caused so many problems. Flash is history, Java (not Javascript, that’s something else) is rarely seen, and even the issue with Visual C++ libraries, another Microsoft boondoggle, have been largely tamed. That’s why it comes as such a surprise to have this .NET thing come up again in 2022.

I’ll get over it, but I just needed to vent.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.