Install ArcGIS Desktop automatically from the CD

Last Published: April 25, 2020


The content in this article pertains to ArcGIS versions 8.x only. Later versions of ArcGIS may contain different functionality, as well as different names and locations for menus, commands and geoprocessing tools.

The instructions provided are for the automatic installation and configuration of ArcGIS Desktop on Windows. For more specific information on this type of install, see the Install Guide in the Documentation folder on the ArcGIS Desktop CD.

This installation requires the following:

  • Previous versions of ArcGIS and ArcInfo Workstation must be uninstalled prior to beginning the automatic install.
  • A License Manager must be installed as the AutoSetup will not provide the opportunity.
  • A user account that has administrator rights to the machine must already be created on the machine.
  • Prior to installation, the administrative account that will be specified in the AutoSetup configuration file must be created on all machines on which the AutoSetup will be run.
  • Internet Explorer 5.0 or higher must be installed prior to running the AutoSetup.
  • Setup the autosetup.cfg file:
  1. Find autosetup.cfg on the ArcGIS CD and copy it to C:\TEMP on the machine where the software will be installed
  2. Open autosetup.cfg with a text editor.
  3. Fill in the listed categories with the appropriate information:
ADMIN_USERNAME: The administrative account that will be used to install the software. It should be set to the logon name of the currently logged on user with administrator privilege, or another user such as the "administrator" user for this machine.

ADMIN_PASSWORD: The ADMIN_PASSWORD should be set to the password of the username specified in the ADMIN_USERNAME variable.

ADMIN_DOMAIN: This should be set to the domain name of the machine running the AutoSetup. If the machine is not joined to a domain, then the machine name should be specified.

LICENSE_SERVER: This should be set to the name of the license server machine.

INSTALL_DIR: This variable should be set to the drive and folder in which you want to install the software. It defaults to C:\ArcGIS.

INSTALL_TYPE: The INSTALL_TYPE variable can be set to one of two options, "Typical" or "Complete". The typical install does not include any extensions. The complete install includes all components. Typical is the default.

SOFTWARE_CLASS: The Software class variable specifies which installation type you want as the default. The values can be "Professional", which is ArcInfo, "Editor", for ArcEditor, and "Viewer" for ArcView. These values are case sensitive and must be entered as shown above.


  1. Insert the ArcGIS Desktop CD into the CD-ROM drive.
  2. Cancel the auto install when it starts.
  3. Select Start > Run.
  4. In the RunĀ text box type the following:
    <CD-ROM drive>:\autosetup.exe /M=C:\TEMP\autosetup.cfg
The /M usage is to indicate the location of the autosetup.cfg file. Adjust it accordingly.
The AutoSetup updates the Windows Installer and then reboots. It then updates and installs a group of system files and reboot. Last is the install of the ArcGIS software. When the process is complete, the administrator should be logged out, and the user can log in and begin using the software.

The AutoSetup does not prompt to install ArcInfo Workstation, Seagate Crystal Reports or Tutorial Data. Seagate Crystal Reports and Tutorial Data will have to be installed manually. ArcInfo Workstation cannot be installed from CD automatically. Please see Related Information for further details.

Article ID:000006170

  • ArcMap 8 x

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