If you’ve ever wondered what version of .NET to target, this post will hopefully shed some light on the situation and let you make an informed decision.
Windows Vista includes the .NET Framework 3.0 by default.
Windows 7 includes the .NET Framework 3.5 SP1.
The .NET Framework 4.0 Client Profile is a recommended update in both Windows Vista and Windows 7.
What is the Client Profile?
The client profile is a subset of the full .NET framework. It doesn’t include server-side features such as debuggers, developer tools, code compilers, and legacy features such as oracle database support.
The biggest benefit you gain when using it, is the significantly smaller size. While the client profile requires a mere 30 MB download, the Full Framework is over 100 MB.
If your application targets the Client Profile and your end user has the full framework installed, it’ll still run without a hitch.
Client profile was created alongside .NET 3.5 SP1. However when it was released it still has a few bugs that prevented it from becoming the go-to standard. Now in .NET 4, Microsoft has fixed those quirks and it has become the standard choice when creating a .NET application in Visual Studio 2010.