How to install .NET Framework 3.5 on Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2

If you have an application that you want to run on Windows Server 2012 that requires the .NET Framework 3.5, you will most likely run in to a problem when trying to install it. If you are trying to install .NET Framework 3.5 from the Server Manager GUI, you will see this when installing the feature:

“Do you want to specify an alternate source path? One or more installation selections are missing source files…”

Bug when adding .net framework 3.5 in Server 2012

To solve this, you can either:

1. Go to a command prompt and enter this:

dism /online /enable-feature /featurename:NetFX3 /all /Source:d:\sources\sxs /LimitAccess

Note: Source should be the Windows installation disc. In my case, this was located on D:

Bug when adding .net framework 3.5 in Server 2012

2. Go down to “Specify an alternate source path” and enter “d:\sources\sxs” as the path.

Specify alternate source path windows server 2012 .net framework 3.5

Specify alternate source path windows server 2012 .net framework 3.5

Now you should see this under your Features list:

.NET Framework 3.5 feature installed on Windows Server 2012


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Posted in Blog, Guides, SCCM 2012, SCCM 2012, Windows Server, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012
95 comments on “How to install .NET Framework 3.5 on Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2
  1. Thanks it was very simple , it worked for me

  2. Yeah, it’s enough! :) thanks for linking!

  3. Fareed says:

    Thanks its really very helpful link

  4. Elliot says:

    Thanks so much! You have just saved me a whole lot of pain.

  5. Suresh says:

    This is really helpful and solved the issue. Thank you.

  6. Rick says:

    Got a 0x800f081f error with D:\ mapped and all. What a cluster fuck of an install this is. On the RC I could live with it, not after paying 2000 euros for a license. This will not do. Not to mention no WSUS support unless that’s installed on Windows 2012 too, which you need .net 3.5 for. I don’t even.. Windows 2012 looks more and more like an open source project, what are they doing?

  7. Pål Elnan says:

    Thanks, it worked brilliantly.

    @Rick, are you sure your ISO mounted on D:\? With me, it mounted on E:\.

  8. Joseph says:

    Thanks!! :)

  9. mnordesigner says:

    very Thanks

  10. Temas BB says:

    Thanks,You have just saved me a whole lot of pain.

  11. Mostafa Khairy says:

    This is brilliant. Many thanks.
    You saved me from getting mad ;)

  12. Zura says:

    Thanks very powerful,

  13. Peter says:

    Is it possible that framework 3.5 cannot be installed on evaluation licence of WS2012 datacenter? I’ve tried this method after I’ve tried several times adding a feature. I even tried to run installer directly but result is the same….failed to install.
    Any thoughts would be appreciated.

  14. Maneesh Walia says:

    Excellent Buddy….. Thank u so much :) :) :)

  15. dfdffd says:

    Great. Works. Cheers.

  16. Marc Pennings says:

    Great stuff, thanks!

  17. Jim Sperry says:

    After downloading dotnetfx35, and trying every which way to get it to install (because this the way we did it in class)just using the 2012 windows install ISO was so easy. I guess since it will not install from add / remove features in Srv Mgr I just thought it was not in the 2012 windows package. Why include it but in the install medium, have a check box for it in add features and then not let it work. It’s Sooooooooooooooooo Microsoft.

  18. Sweeper says:

    Stupid Microsoft. Why can they not leave it as it was in server 2008 R2. There it was working fine. Now you need to go change the location of where to find the files. How dumb!!!

    Thank you Daniel for taking the time and posting on this problem and the solution.


  19. Omid Navid says:

    Thanks my man, i was a beginner at windows server, it really helped me alot

  20. prabhu says:

    hi.. admin thanks a lot man….

  21. Juan de Dios says:

    Thanks a lot, it worked for me Win 2012 R2.
    Many thanks from Honduras.

  22. kazem says:

    very very good

  23. kazem ganji says:

    it was very helpful.
    thank you for everything

  24. Ammar Ali says:

    Thanks Man, That’s so helpful.
    I can’t understand why Microsoft going on updating the .net framework and then ask you to install the old releases??
    as Jim Sperry says “It’s Sooooooooooooooooo Microsoft”.

  25. Jean-Pierre Fouche says:

    Agree with Peter (October 12, 2013 at 20:06). I cannot get it to install on the Evaluation Edition.

  26. melvyn says:

    many many thanks mr daniel classon for the tutorial you post.. it helps me a lot

  27. Mynet Sohbet says:

    Thanks Man, That’s so helpful.

  28. ElmoVanKielmo says:

    I have manually downloaded .NET Framework 3.5 installer from Microsoft website and on “Specify an alternate source path” form I’ve entered the path of my Downloads folder. Feature has been installed without error. It seems that it’s exactly the same installer as on Windows setup DVD. Your solution doesn’t require manual download but mine can be useful because sometimes the server is far away from your workstation and using DVD is not very handy.

  29. sohbet says:

    Great stuff, thanks!

  30. Shane says:

    This worked perfectly! Thanks for your Help.

  31. Shane says:

    This worked great! Thanks

  32. raj kumar says:

    its sioseeee o ni post nice sharing that’s great

  33. jasheek says:

    Bravoo……….. thanks its working


  34. Sarah says:

    Thanks It worked for me too. But I dont undyerstand why MS had to do this. its abit tiring

  35. Bravoo……….. thanks its working

  36. Lescajul says:

    Worked for me as well. Thanks!

  37. Sudhir Brahma says:

    Thanks this helped me!
    God Bless!

  38. Supremo says:

    There are about 100 tutorials exactly like this one describing what to do if you have the disk, but not a single one describing what to do if you dont have the disk! Installing .net 3.5 on windows 8 without disk is not possible?? No this is not a pirated version, it’s legit but on a remote machine and running a virtual image. I cannot “insert disk”!!!!
    Please a tutorial on how to do this _without_ the frigging disk.

  39. Daniel McD says:

    Thanks for the article Daniel, worked a treat, though in my environment once I actioned the “dism” command .net 3.5 was then installed. No need to “choose” source.

    I manage a virtual environment, you’ll probably want to find a way to Mount an ISO of the disk and perform the same operation as above.

  40. Worked for me as well. Thank You

  41. There’s no need to use UpperCase. In my (albeit limited) experience with powershell all commands can be entered as lowercase. But I realize that it makes the commands more readable.

  42. Some one says:

    Didn’t work for me. It failed and complained about non-matching verification information.

    However one in PowerShell DID WORK:
    Install-WindowsFeature NET-Framework-Core

    It was the only solution that worked on my 2012 R2 Standard evaluation.

  43. You are right, there is no need to use upper case, it will work with lower case as well. It’s just general best practice to use it, for easier readability :)

  44. Rama says:

    Great Article, Worked like a Charm. Thanks for posting it.

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