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


186 Responses

  1. Thanks a lot. It helped me to install the .net 3.5

  2. Tokyo Dude

    This is not working. – guy from Tokyo

  3. Hei!

    Thanks for this advice. It helped me a lot.

    Regards, Mika

  4. Fuller Ming

    Is there a way to simply get the 3.5 image and designate it as the source?

  5. Thank you for the instructions

  6. Great, its working and saved my lot of time.

    Zaheer Khan

  7. Abdul Walele This will give you a step by step process to resolve this issue.


  8. Awesome. Worked for me. New install of a Server 2012 R2 instance for a VM on Stratus everRun. Not sure why it didn’t take on this install as it has worked before on other builds but, this one was not taking it until this work-around. Thanks again.


  9. Jacques Lafalize

    Thanks for this Help.

    But, we had removed the server from the domain before that procedure running correctly

  10. Very relevant and to the point. I did not need to go back and specify the path after following these instructions as the feature was added. Thank you so much for this fix.

  11. This is information is the best … thank you ..

  12. the solution only work if connected to internet access

  13. Good article … Thanks it saved my time to troubleshoot…

  14. perfect. it is work corectly for me.
    Thank for your article.

  15. For 2 days , I tried every thing , even downloaded it from Microsoft , nothing had worked, your method worked so beautifully , thanks a lot , your are a champion

  16. Cumbrian Man

    Many thanks Daniel. I had similar experience as Sam (March 15th) where nothing worked, even an offline installer. Tried your command line version and this worked a treat. Many hours of head scratching saved !!
    Cheers, Alan.

  17. Important!!! during the net 3.5 Installation the Server try to connect to Windows update Server. But if u put Server already into WSUS/OU where WSUS is configured by GPO: Server can not connect to Windows update Server anymore. you will get error message anyway. Solution: put Server to an OU where WSUS is not configured. make gpupdate /force or reboot afterwards. Now Server is aible to get latest net 3.5 files from Internet and Features install will walk through properly

  18. @Jacques Lafalize – by the way. of course you will get same result if u remove Server from Domain. 😉 But it is not neccessary

  19. Worked for me.

  20. Brian Love

    Thank you soooo much!
    This saved not only my mind but truly made me look like a hero!!!

    This really made my day.

  21. Awesome, thanx! This is what I needed to get 3.5 installed.

  22. Hamish

    Brilliant – thanks!. We had an .iso of Server 2012 Open Licence which had worked before on many VM installs but failed on one machine. The tip to put d:\sources\sxs as an alternative source in the GUI resolved it.

  23. Muhammad Shahid

    Thanks a lot.This is what I needed to get 3.5 installed.

  24. Thanks a lot, it worked fine for me.

  25. Thank you, only solution that worked for me.

  26. rookie

    thank you very mush

  27. bradd

    Nice Find! Big help for me!

  28. Thanks alot it worked fine.

  29. Thanks so much. saved me a lot of time!

  30. Medinus

    I´m not able locate my Windows Installation Disc. Is there a workaround for this?

  31. Shubha

    Thanks a lot… this really works!!! :)

    Just want to add one thing:- if you are not connected to Windows update Server, mount OS installation DVD, and specify the same drive in the path mentioned.

  32. Kevin Frey

    Thanks very much for this – exactly right.

  33. Thanks! Really helpful. :-)

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

  35. thanks ,, Thanks a lot.This is what I needed to get 3.5 installed.

  36. Mike Ventham

    Rather than remove the server from the domain to get it to talk to Windows Update. just change the HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\AU\UseWUServer to 0, restart the Windows Update service and then try to install it. After installation, change the key back to 1 and restart Windows Update service again.

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