How To: Install ArcGIS Desktop or ArcInfo Workstation automatically from a network install source


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 8.x Desktop and ArcInfo Workstation 8.x on Windows from a network install source. For more specific information on these install types visit the Install Guide in the Documentation folder on the ArcGIS CD.

This procedure is NOT for ArcGIS 9.0.  For ArcGIS 9.0 procedures, see the whitepaper "Deploying Managed ArcGIS Setups" linked in Related Information.

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 intstallation 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 will need to be installed prior to running the AutoSetup.
  • Setup the autosetup.cfg file
  1. Find autosetup.cfg on the ArcGIS CD and copy it to the machine where the network install of the software will be, in a directory that will be available across the network.
  2. Open autosetup.cfg with a text editor.
  3. Fill in the listed catagories with the appropriate information.
ADMIN_USERNAME: The administrative account 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 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: (ArcGIS Desktop Only) 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: (ArcGIS Desktop Only) The Software class variable specifies which installation type you want as the default. The values can be "Professional" for ArcInfo, "Editor" for ArcEditor, and "Viewer" for ArcView. (These values are case sensitive and must be entered as shown above.)


To perform the automatic installation of ArcGIS, first create the network install source. To utilize the automatic setup for client installations of both ArcGIS Desktop and ArcInfo Workstation the network server installations of ArcGIS Desktop and ArcInfo Workstation must reside in different locations.

  1. Insert the ArcGIS Desktop CD in the CD-ROM drive of the server and choose the 'Install ArcGIS on a network' install option; click Next.
  2. Select 'install' or 'point at an operational License Manager' and continue.
  3. At the Administrative Network Installation screen, select the path where you want to install the ArcGIS network install.
Remember this is is the source that other users will point at to run the actual software install so use an easily recognizable name. Also remember that Desktop and Workstation MUST go in seperate folders.
  1. When the ArcGIS Desktop installation completes insert the ArcInfo Workstation CD and use steps 1-3 again.
  2. Once the network install sources have been setup and the autosetup.cfg is created and stored in an accessable directory, go to a machine on which the software will be installed.
  3. On the new machine click Start > Run.
  4. In the Run menu type:
\\networked_machine_name\share_location\autosetup.exe /M=\\networked_machine_name\share_location\autosetup.cfg
The /M usage is to indicate the location of the autosetup.cfg file. Adjust it accordingly.
  • The AutoSetup may update the Windows Installer and then reboot. It will then update/install a group of system files and reboot. Last will be the install of the ArcGIS software; when it completes, the administrator should be logged out at which point the user can log in and begin using the software.
  • The AutoSetup will not prompt to install the rest of the software (be it ArcInfo Workstation or ArcGIS Desktop), Seagate Crystal Reports or Tutorial Data. Seagate Crystal Reports and Tutorial Data will have to be done manually.
  • To install the remaining software, ArcInfo Workstation or ArcGIS Desktop, rerun steps 6-7, making sure to point at the proper source and share. Use the same autosetup.cfg or create a new one with different parameters. If the same file is used, make sure to comment out (/*) the last two parameters.

Related Information