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
121 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. Thanks it was very simple , it worked for me

  3. ephesus says:

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

  4. Good article! .NET Framework 4.5 is installed by default in Windows Server 2012, it should not be removed! if you remove your NET Framework 4.5 for Windows Server 2012 you can excpect some problems, this is the solution.

  5. Worked for me! Many thanks indeed for a great article.

  6. Brian Whitaker says:

    Thanks very much for putting this together.

  7. behruz says:

    It was so good, thanks

  8. cheng says:

    thank u so much. =)

  9. SQLJarHead says:

    Awesome! Thankyou very much worked like a charm.

  10. mdsajid says:

    Thanks a TON.. it worked. Great help!!

  11. Luan Moreno says:

    Congratulations for the excellent post. Keep that way.

  12. NetoMeter says:

    It is important to understand why you get this message as this will help you choose what to do next.
    1. If your machine is connected to the Internet, you can continue with the installation and the “Add Roles and Features” wizard will download the required binaries from the Internet. There is a logic behind this, as you get an updated version of the binaries.
    2. We are talking about 200MB of data. If you have a slow connection and the latest .Net 3.5 SP downloaded, the method suggested by Daniel is a very good choice.
    3. The installation fails, and the only way to install .Net 3.5 is the Daniel’s method when:
    – There is no Internet connection
    – There is a Proxy which blocks the connection to the download site
    – The Download location is not available – down for maintenance or update

    And yes, if you wonder why the installation of .Net 3.5 takes so long – you are downloading the 200MB binaries before they are installed

  13. morteza says:

    hello when i run the command see this error

    Error: 0x800f081f

    The source files could not be found.
    Use the “Source” option to specify the location of the files th
    o restore the feature. For more information on specifying a sou

    The DISM log file can be found at C:\Windows\Logs\DISM\dism.log

  14. Pat Reffner says:

    I had best results referencing the server location where the SHARED .ISO/.WIM file resided via the FQDN of the server rather than NetBIOS as this may imply to others..

  15. Erik Larsen says:

    We tried everything and no go, but by some coincidence I found out that if the server is not in a domain (just a workgroup), the server installs the dotnet3.5 without any problem and fixes :)

  16. Did not work for me until I removed my windows update GPO

  17. Many thanks for the info.

  18. Quincy Toyo says:

    I tried it, the message I get is: ‘dism’ is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file.

  19. Matthew W. says:

    It’s worth noting that the two methods use different authentication to the source media files when accessed remotely. For a locally attached disk or SXS copied locally, the two methods are roughly equivalent.

    In the remote case:
    Using dism.exe will access the files under your user credentials.
    Using the wizard or install-windowsfeature cmdlet will access the source files under the machine$ account. This is similar to how hyper-V, for example, accesses VHDs on a remote shared storage.

    Thanks for a great article.

    — Microsoft Windows Server Deployment team.

  20. Mark Harby says:

    Nice one Daniel
    Worked a treat, thank you.

  21. Thanks it was very simple , it worked for me

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Daniel Classon