Versioning

You can easily install multiple versions of the same assembly in the global assembly cache and the global assembly cache will maintain these assemblies separately. These versions can have the same name and the same GUID (for exposure to COM) but have different versions. The .NET Framework will ensure that only the version of the assembly that your application was compiled against will be linked to it at run time. For you to change the version of a DLL that an application uses without reinstalling the application, you need to insert special directives into the configuration file for that application. This installs an incompatible version of a DLL, thereby effectively eliminating the problem of new applications interfering with applications that are already on your computer.

The global assembly cache also distinguishes assemblies that have the same version but were compiled for different architectures or different processors. For example, you can install the same .NET assembly for 32-bit and 64-bit platforms and the global assembly cache will automatically choose the most suitable assembly for your application. You can even optimize your assemblies for different models of 64-bit processor and the global assembly cache will automatically pick the one that is most appropriate.

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