Straight from the Microsoft castle:
What is it:
The .NET Framework 4 Client Profile is a subset of the .NET Framework 4
that is optimized for client applications. It provides functionality for
most client applications, including Windows Presentation Foundation
(WPF), Windows Forms, Windows Communication Foundation (WCF), and
This enables faster deployment and a smaller install package for applications that target the .NET Framework 4 Client Profile.
When to use NET4 Client Profile and when to use NET4 Full Framework?
NET4 Client Profile:
Always target NET4 Client Profile for all your client desktop applications (including Windows Forms and WPF apps).
NET4 Full framework:
Target NET4 Full only if the features or assemblies that your app need are not included in the Client Profile. This includes:
- If you are building Server apps. Such as:
o ASP.Net apps
o Server-side ASMX based web services
- If you use legacy client scenarios. Such as:
o Use System.Data.OracleClient.dll which is deprecated in NET4 and not included in the Client Profile.
o Use legacy Windows Workflow Foundation 3.0 or 3.5 (WF3.0 , WF3.5)
- If you targeting developer scenarios and need tool such as MSBuild or need access to design assemblies such as System.Design.dll
.NET Framework Client Profile: