Installing .NET 3.5 SP1: Please wait … Forever!

The very cool thing about Paint.NET v3.5 is that it installs quite fast on a fresh Windows XP SP2 machine. And that includes the installation of prerequisites like Windows Installer 3.1 and the Client Profile version of the .NET Framework 3.5 SP1. Even on my new little Atom 330 box* it is kind of pleasantly fast. I’d even say it’s fun. (The unfortunate thing is that Paint.NET v3.5 is not yet out of “pre-alpha” …)

Intel BOXD945GCLF2 Atom 330 Mini ITX Motherboard/CPU Combo

Intel BOXD945GCLF2 Atom 330 Mini ITX Motherboard/CPU Combo

Intel BOXD945GCLF2 Atom 330 Intel 945GC Mini ITX Motherboard/CPU Combo

Once you jump over to Windows Vista, the story becomes very very very very dire. It took a full hour to install .NET 3.5 SP1. The hard drive was thrashing and yelling the entire time, and CPU usage was quite high. In the middle of this, a Windows Update dialog popped up in the corner telling me I needed to restart. That sounds like a bad idea since I’m still in the middle of installing a new system component! This paints a very bleak picture for getting .NET 3.5 SP1 and Paint.NET v3.5 successfully deployed to the large userbase that I have currently sitting on .NET 2.0 and Paint.NET v3.36. I’m afraid that most users will see the .NET installer “hanging” at 40% and just restart their computer, or cancel it, or kill it using Task Manager. How fun will it be for users to click on “Install Update” only to have to wait an hour before they can use their computer again, let alone Paint.NET?

I honestly don’t think it’s worth 1 hour to install a 2 MB program. Even Adobe Photoshop and Mathematica 7.0 install in minutes, and they are hundreds of megabytes.

This isn’t a random or one-off occurrence — this is not the first time I’ve seen this. Almost every time I’ve installed .NET 3.5 SP1 on to any system, whether it’s mine or someone else’s, the same thing happens. It doesn’t matter if it’s an Atom or a brand new 3.0GHz Core 2 Duo, it still takes one full hour. Sometimes you can actually get the installation to complete quickly if you go and make sure that Windows Update is completely caught up. Even then, you can never be completely sure. Any system that isn’t used 8+ hours/day by a computer-industry professional like myself is likely to be at least 1 update behind. (I’ll bet a Core i7 965 could do it in 45 minutes though :))

This is very frustrating, to say the least. On the positive side I know some of the people who work on this stuff, and they’re all great people who want things to be awesome. You can be sure I’ll be e-mailing them soon πŸ™‚ And with any luck, the “GDR” update that’s coming (soon?) will have already fixed this. Cross your fingers.

Performance of the Atom 330 is actually surprisingly good. The results of 32-bit PdnBench are almost exactly the same as a Pentium 4 3.0 GHz “E” Prescott chip — about 180 seconds for completion — which is impressive to say the least. Back in the day (2004) that P4 chip consumed so much power that some reviewers melted their motherboards, whereas this Atom barely even needs a heatsink. In 64-bit mode, the Atom 330 pulls ahead to 155 seconds. Those results use 2 threads on the P4 (single core w/ HyperThreading), and 4 on the Atom (dual core w/ HyperThreading).

* Actually it’s not really a box. It’s small, and not inside of a case. Maybe “kit” would be a better term?

** Yes, I’m testing out some affiliate stuff. If you’re interested in the Atom 330 board listed above, then please click on the “Buy” button above. Just like Amazon affiliate links, if you buy it via that link then I get a tiny amount of the purchase price. It doesn’t cost you anything extra. It’s another way to support Paint.NET πŸ™‚


22 thoughts on “Installing .NET 3.5 SP1: Please wait … Forever!

  1. Mark Cassidy says:

    Have you tested if the long installation time is happening on systems that does not have Visual Studio installed (as I suspect you might have… ;)) ?

    SP1 might roll on in a jiffy on non development boxes.

  2. "Fleet Command" says:

    You can have your installer detect Windows Vista and ignore installing .NET Framework. Windows Vista comes with .NET Framework 3 and I think that should be more than enough to run Paint.NET.

  3. David Troidl says:

    I’ve been following your feeds for some time. Personally, I don’t think XP SP3 is as big a hurdle as .NET 3.5. I keep my service packs up to date. I installed .NET 3.5 on my laptop, to try out Visual Studio 2008, and had no particular problem. But on my desktop, I’m still using VS 2005, and have seen no reason to install .NET 3.5.

  4. Rick Brewster says:

    Mark — That’s the only type of system I’ve been testing on.

    “Fleet Command” — That wouldn’t work at all since the requirement is to have .NET 3.5 SP1 installed.

  5. imDark says:

    i have windows vista and installing .NET 3.5 sp1 didn’t take 1 hour, maybe like 20 min maximum

  6. Mark says:

    Just to mention, installing Vista SP2 CPP, borks Paint.Net 3.36… (2 seperate machines)

    I realise it’s beta, so don’t go off ranting, just thought I would mention it here..

  7. Kevin says:

    My wife has an older AMD Athlon XP (older, non-multi core) and under Windows XP it takes quite a while to install .NET 3.5 SP1 but not an hour… not even 30 minutes… but it does feel long… and it did require a reboot. I can’t remember ever having to reboot with the installation of any other version of .NET. Microsoft likes to give installers to the new guys… looks like the new guy screwed up the 3.5 SP1 install πŸ™‚

  8. GaHero says:


    its a known bug, because with the SP2 the installation of it the installation of SP1 for NET 3.5 will take less time. (Its a point in the official changelogs/information about the sp2)

  9. Andy Shellam says:

    I installed the preview of SP2 on my Vista Home Premium SP1 machine, and ever since then Paint .NET won’t run – it complains I don’t have .NET 3.5 SP1, even though it’s still Paint .NET 3.36.

  10. Filipe Freitas says:

    Man, i feel so relieved that it wasn’t happening only to me!
    I’ve been trying to install VS2008 all day, it always hangs up in the beggining, installing .net 3.5
    i’ve killed it each time because the thing just seems to sleep which makes me want to trash my laptop to pieces
    i’ve tried to install .net separately but even the fu***** installer hangs up trying to download, so i downloaded the offline install and even that hanged up
    it only worked by the 3rd time and it’s been 43minutes, so judging by your post i still have some 17 minutes to dispair

  11. "Fleet Command" says:

    Have you tried installing without having any active internet connection?

    I’m asking because I believe Client Profile needs to be downloaded from Internet; otherwise you have to add 28MB to your installation package, while I remember you telling us it is now very small (around 7MB if my memory isn’t wrong) I suspect instead of client profile, you are getting a complete .NET Framework 3.5. I remember one of the comments which mentioned that one cannot update only a subset of .NET Framework and leave the rest in their old versions.

  12. ted says:

    I was having the same troubles with installing .net 3.5. Unplugging the internets for a second worked like a charm though.

  13. quiz says:

    .NET 3.5 SP1 is not 2 MB program πŸ™‚
    It is about 200-300 MB! 2 MB is a web installer and you just download other 200 MB of installation through Internet πŸ™‚

  14. Dr_X says:

    You are right, Quiz. The Windows Update installer is 280MB big. I’ve installed in some servers (2003 SP2) and desktop computers (XP SP3) and once it’s downloaded it takes around 10 minutes to finish even on a high-end P4.
    Sure, it takes its time and it’s boring, but nothing close to an hour.

  15. Teamcameron says:

    Hey guys,

    I’m currently trying to install .NET 3.5 on my XP but it’s not working. At the moment it says:

    Total Download Progress: 0mb/60mb.

    and it’s been downloading for almost 40min now. Does anyone have any advice on what I could do to speed up the process or at least make it being to download?

    Some green bars appear but then disappear and it goes back to 0mb.

    Any ideas? 48484

  16. taco24 says:

    Had the same problem. The windows update didn’t finish and I could not install Visual Studio 2008. Did a fresh install of Vista (took less than an hour) and did a windows update which took longer than the vista install. Especially .net 3.5 took a long time (more than half an hour).

  17. Manav Sharma says:

    Even I was under and impression that it’s a 2 MB installer. Guys, have a relook on the download page. As you scroll down, you will notice an option to download the complete installer just to discover that the 2 MB installer was just a bootstrapper. So relax, it’s over 230 MB file. that’s why the delay!

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