THROWBACK THURSDAY: Microsoft .NET

One of the biggest mistakes Microsoft made in the 2000s was called “.NET.” It was supposed to be an easy way to build apps that worked on your computer and on the web, and it was supposed to ease everyone into a future where your computer was nothing more than an internet portal. That future has come, but it came largely without .NET.

Why? .NET was, for most of its existence, a bloated, messy piece of trash that crashed all the time, required multiple versions to be installed which sometimes corrupted each other, and slowed down even the fastest PCs. Back in 2013, I wrote about my experiences trying to live without it. It wasn’t easy, but I managed to clean .NET off my Windows 8 PC and lived happily without it.

.NET isn’t the problem it used to be, because Microsoft smartened up and baked it into Windows 10. One version is all you need and while you can’t remove it, it isn’t a big deal since few apps use it and Microsoft has worked hard to make sure that its current .NET support is as robust as possible. Because there’s one version not ten or twelve, it doesn’t take up as much space, either.

In almost every sense, .NET is history… it’s there largely for support of older apps that haven’t moved to SQL and HTML5, but it’s fairly benign these days. Now I just have to hope Microsoft is working on its other long-term issue, called “Visual C++ Redistributable.” If you look at your list of programs (right-click Start, go to Programs and Features) you’ll probably find 15 or 20 versions of it there, and each one is needed for some program or another. Visual C++ Redistributable is a set of core functions that most apps need to function, and rather than bake them into the individual app, they’re supposed to be shared between apps. The only problem is that there are so many different incompatible versions, I doubt there’s any real improvement. I believe that this problem will eventually go away as developers migrate to more modern programming environments, but it’s still annoying to see all those things there eating up my drive space.