The .NET Framework is Microsoft's comprehensive and consistent programming model for building applications that have visually stunning user experiences, seamless and secure communication, and the ability to model a range of business processes.
The Microsoft .NET Framework 4 redistributable package installs the .NET Framework runtime and associated files that are required to run and develop applications to target the .NET Framework 4.
The .NET Framework 4 works side by side with older Framework versions. Applications that are based on earlier versions of the Framework will continue to run on the version targeted by default.
.NET Framework 4 includes the following new features and improvements:
Improvements in CLR and BCL
Improvements in ADO.NET
Enhancements to ASP.NET
Improvements in Windows Presentation Foundation
Improvements to Windows Workflow Foundation and Windows Communication Foundation