.NET 8 will replace .NET 6 in the Long Term Support (LTS) channel which is said to be supported for 3 years after its initial release. Currently, its preview version is available to download which is now Preview 4.
Most likely, .NET 8 will have additional 4 preview releases and 2 Release Candidates before its first stable release expected in November 2023.
.NET 8 Preview 4 has been tested with Visual Studio 2022 version 17.7 Preview 1. Therefore, it is recommended that you use the same VS version.
Let us now see what’s new in .NET 8 before moving on to downloading the Runtimes, SDKs, and the ASP.NET Cores.
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What’s New in .NET 8
There is a long list of features and improvements in .NET 8. We have highlighted the significant ones for you here:
Features and Improvements in .NET 8 Preview 4
There are a plethora of improvements and new features introduced with .NET 8 Preview 4. The sections below list a few.
New Terminal Build Output
Microsoft has introduced its first iteration of the default MSBuild output logging, and calling it the “Terminal Logger.”
Users previously complained that the default output logger is static, difficult to parse and often encounters errors. Therefore, Microsoft has now introduced a modern version of it. Here is a list of the goals accomplished by this update:
- Logically group errors with the project they belong with
- Present projects/builds in a way that users think of the build (especially multi-targeted projects)
- Better differentiate the TargetFrameworks a project builds for
- Continue to provide at-a-glance information about the outputs of a project
- Provide information about what the build is doing right now over the course of a build.
To learn more about the new terminal build output, refer to this Microsoft guide post.
Changes to Simplified Output Path
A few changes have been made to the simplified output path, that was released with Preview 3. Here are the changes:
- The default path for the new layout is changing from
- The ability to use the feature from Project files instead of Directory.Build.props is removed.
- It is now easier to get started with the feature by including the required properties as an option on the
To learn more about the new changes, refer to this Microsoft guide post.
Integration of Nuget Security Features into Template Engine
Microsoft is now integrating several of NuGet.org’s security-related features into the Template Engine. Here is a list of these improvements:
- Prevent downloading packages from
http:\\feeds, but allow overrides with the
- Notify a customer if a template package has any vulnerabilities on install/update/outdated checks, and require
--forceto install vulnerable versions
- Add data to the search and uninstall commands that shows if a template is installed from a package that has a prefix reserved in NuGet.org
- Add information about the template package owner. The ownership is verified by nuget portal and can be considered a trustworthy characteristic.
Other Features and Improvements
As we mentioned earlier, there is a huge list of improvements in .NET 8 Preview 4. Click on the given links below to learn more about them:
- NuGet: signed package verification on Linux
- NuGet: Auditing package dependencies for security vulnerabilities
- Enabling security auditing
- Libraries: UTF8 improvements
- Time abstraction
- Native AOT improvements
- System.Text.Json Improvements
Features and Improvements in .NET 8 Preview 3
Improvements to SDK
There are several improvements made to the SDK packages for .NET 8 Preview 3:
Simplified output path
Microsoft has now introduced an option that lets you create a more unified, simplified output path structure.
Previously, users had to use difficult and complex structures for creating output paths, that required them to engrave the many different permutations and arrangements of folders like “bin,” “obj,” and “publish” into their muscle memory.
Based on the user’s feedback, this approach was:
- Difficult to use because the layout can change drastically via relatively simple MSBuild changes.
- Difficult for tools to anticipate because the per-project layout makes it hard to be sure that you’ve gotten the outputs for every project.
For these reasons, Microsoft introduced a new output path that focuses on the following:
- Gathering all of the build outputs in a common location.
- Separating the build outputs by project under this common location.
- Flattening the overall build output layouts to a maximum of three levels deep
To learn how to use this new output path, refer to this guide by Microsoft.
Clean workload directories
You can now clean out the workload directories, instead of doing the job manually, by using the following command:
dotnet workload clean
Improvements to the Runtime Libraries
This new tool allows you to save time and effort by streamlining the validation process. The ValidateOptionsResultBuilder makes it easier to create of a
ValidateOptionsResultobject, which is required to implement
Configuration binding source generator
.NET 8 is now using a source generator that generates reflection-free and AOT-friendly binding implementations.
The approach currently being used uses reflection which causes issues for trimming and Native AOT, since the manual process is both rigorous and time-consuming.
The following improvements were made to the JIT compiler
Improvements to Containers
The following improvements were made to the .NET 8 containers:
Building multi-platform container images
Docker now supports using and building multi-platform images that work across multiple environments. Microsoft has developed a new pattern that enables you to mix and match architectures with the .NET images that you build.
To learn how to achieve multi-platform compatibility, refer to this Microsoft post.
Environment Variable for non-root user UID value
An environment variable is now added for the UID for the non-root user that was added in .NET 8 Preview 1.
runAsNonRoottest required that the container user be set via UID, not a name. At the same time, we wanted to avoid developers needing to apply a special number across (collectively) thousands of Dockerfiles. Instead, Microsoft is now exposing that value — 64198 — in an environment variable.
To learn more about what’s new in .NET 8 Preview 3, read this announcement by Microsoft.
Features and Improvements in .NET 8 Preview 2
Introduction of Extensions to Built-in Validation Attributes
Microsoft has introduced extensions to the built-in validation attributes in
system.ComponentModel.DataAnnotations. The following extensions have been announced:
RequiredAttribute.DisallowAllDefaultValues – Allows validating that structs do not equal their default values.
RangeAttribute exclusive bounds – Users can now specify exclusive bounds in their range validation.
LengthAttribute – Can be used to set both lower and upper bounds for strings or collections.
AllowedValuesAttribute and DeniedValuesAttribute – These attributes can be used to specify allow lists and deny lists for validating a property, respectively.
Base64StringAttribute – This attribute validates that a given string is a valid Base64 representation.
Introspection support for function pointers
System.Reflection has been added. This new feature adds the capability to obtain function pointer metadata via Reflection, including parameter types, return types, and calling conventions.
IntPtr type was used for a function pointer type such as with
typeof(delegate*<void>()) or when obtaining a function pointer type through reflection such as with
These are the only features introduced with .NET 8 Preview 2. To learn more about what’s new in this release, read this announcement by Microsoft.
Features and Improvements in .NET 8 Preview 1
Native Ahead-Of-Time (AOT) Compilation
The performance of.NET apps and programs can be significantly improved by using Ahead-of-Time (AOT) compilation. Since everything is included in a single file when publishing an app with Native AOT, the resulting version of your program is entirely self-contained and does not require a separate runtime.
This single file is now smaller than ever. Modern Linux builds can now be up to half their actual size.
Although this feature was previously included in .NET 7, it has now also been supported for macOS.
Improvements to .NET Container Images
Using container images, .NET developers can package and distribute their applications in a portable, lightweight format that runs in a variety of settings and is simple to upload to the cloud.
Microsoft has now updated the following container images:
The default Linux distro has been updated to Debian 12
The container images will now be using Debian 12 as the default distro. To give their users plenty of time for the transition, this change has been implemented with the first preview of .NET 8.
Run container images with non-root users
Previously, all container images had to be run with the “root” user, which could cause inconvenience. Now, all container images published by Microsoft will be non-root capable.
Other Improvements in .NET 8 Preview 1
Some other improvements have also been made in .NET 8 to different components. To learn more about each one, click on the item below:
To learn more about what’s new in .NET 8 Preview 1, read this announcement by Microsoft.
Download .NET 8 Preview 4
Use the direct download links below to download the .NET 8 Preview 4 Runtime, SDKs, and ASP.NET Core matching your operating system and architecture.
Download .NET SDK 8.0.100 Preview 4 Binaries for Linux Arm32
Download .NET SDK 8.0.100 Preview 4 Binaries for Linux Arm64
Download .NET SDK 8.0.100 Preview 4 Binaries for Linux Arm32 Alpine
Download .NET SDK 8.0.100 Preview 4 Binaries for Linux Arm64 Alpine
Download .NET SDK 8.0.100 Preview 4 Binaries for Linux x64
Download .NET SDK 8.0.100 Preview 4 Binaries for Linux x64 Alpine
More download and install options for .NET 8 here.
Install .NET 8
You can begin by downloading the right .NET version for you from the links above and then running it to begin the installation process. Here is how:
Once you have installed the newer .NET preview version, all your applications will run using the new build as the previous preview version will be replaced. However, if a stable version is installed and running, it will not be replaced.
Execute the downloaded installation package and click “Install.”
Run the installation package by double-clicking it (in the case of macOS and Windows), and then clicking Install on the installation wizard.
Close the wizard once the installation is complete.
The installation will now begin. It does not take much time nor does it require a restart. Click Close once it has been installed successfully.
You have now installed the .NET. You may check which .NET version is running by running the following command in Command Prompt:
wmic product get description | findstr /C:.NET
How to Remove/Uninstall .NET
If you wish to remove a .NET version from your computer, you can simply uninstall it like any other regular application. Here are the steps to following:
Open the Programs & Features applet by typing in “appwiz.cpl” in the Run Command box.
Right-click the .NET component that you want to remove, then click “Uninstall” from the context menu.
The uninstallation wizard will now launch.
Click “Uninstall” again.
When removed, click Close.
At the time of writing this post, .NET 7.0.5 was the latest Standard Support stable release for .NET, and .NET 6.0.16 was the stable LTS release. We recommend that you stay on these (or later stable releases) for your production environments.
However, for testing purposes, you can install .NET 8 Preview from the links shared above and try out what’s new today.
.NET 8 Release History
|Complete Version||Release Date||Significant Improvements||Announcement|
|.NET 8 RC 1||12-Sep-23||– Improvements to System.Text.Json||Microsoft announces .NET 8 RC 1|
|.NET 8 Preview 7||8-Aug-23||– Improvements to System.Text.Json|
– Keyed services support amongst many other changes
|Microsoft announces .NET 8 Preview 7|
|.NET 8 Preview 6||11-Jul-23||– Improvements to System.Text.Json|
– New overloads
– Addition of options validation source generator
|Microsoft announces .NET 8 Preview 6|
|.NET 8 Preview 5||13-Jun-23||– Improved Metrics APIs|
– Included .NET MAUI
– Improved IDE experience with source link integration
– Addition of .NET libraries analyzers
|Microsoft announces .NET 8 Preview 5|
|.NET 8 Preview 4||16-May-23||– Nuget security improvements to Template Engines|
– New terminal build output
– Updates to simplified output paths
|Microsoft announces .NET 8 Preview 4|
|.NET 8 Preview 3||11-Apr-23||– Updates to SDK and Runtime libraries|
– Optimizations to JIT compilers
– Improvements to containers
|Microsoft announces .NET 8 Preview 3|
|.NET 8 Preview 2||14-Mar-23||– Updates to libraries|
– Introspection support for function pointers
|Microsoft announces .NET 8 Preview 2|
|.NET 8 Preview 1||21-Feb-23||– Native AOT|
– Improvements to container images and Runtime Libraries
|Microsoft announces .NET 8 Preview 1|