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0 down vote favorite I'm a little bit confused about .NET framework versions and its compatibility with operating system. Please help.

I plan to upgrade my application to .NET 4.x. My application must support a variety of operating systems: XP, Windows Server 2003, 2008 (and R2) , 2012 (and R2), Windows 7.x and Windows 8.x.

I'd prefer to release one kit only - which means build the application with one specific .NET framework. The big question is which one?

I know that .NET 4.0 supports from XP to Windows Server 2008 R2 but does not support WS 2012. I know that .NET 4.5.1 supports WS 2012 and R2.

I'm wondering if what happens if I use my application with FW 4.0 and then try to install it on Windows Server 2012 R2: will it work (backward compatibility?) or not?

Thank you

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.NET 4.5 is a drop in binary compatible replacement for .NET 4.0.

Higher sub-versions (4.5.1., 4.5.1) are not backward compatible because they add methods, but old programs continue to run.

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