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GIS (Geographic Information Systems)

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ArcGIS Desktop Installation Guides

Current students may obtain a fully functional evaluation copy of the ArcGIS Desktop software as follows:

1) Obtain an installation code by sending the following information to Bill Winston (

  • Your Name

  • Email Address

  • Department

  • Student Status (Undergrad/Graduate Student/University College)

  • Phone Number

  • Operating System

2) After obtaining the installation code, visit the ArcGIS for Desktop Student Trial page at


3) If you do not already have an Esri account, sign up for free with the contact information of your choice.  If you already have an Esri account, sign in with your credentials.

4) After signing in, enter the installation code in the space provided and click "Activate ArcGIS"


5) On the "Select A Version" page, choose the version that is specified in the email with your installation code.

6) Follow the instructions on the next page to download and install ArcGIS Desktop.  There are several other applications in the listing, please make sure to select "ArcGIS Desktop (ArcMap)".

7) Depending on your machine setup, you may be prompted to install additional components, such as Microsoft .NET Framework.  Follow the links provided on the instruction page to install the additional components, if necessary.


8) Download the installation files from the Download Manager by clicking the "Click to Download Your File Now" button


9) Click through the prompts and the installation will begin.  The installation process will take several minutes.

10) After successful installation, you will be prompted to activate your software.  In the Authorization Options window, select the first option "I have installed my software and need to authorize it." 

Note: If this window does not appear after installation, you can access it manually by going to Programs > ArcGIS > ArcGIS Administrator.  Click "Desktop" in the file tree and then click the "Authorize Now" button.


11) Follow the prompts and fill in your contact information and the installation code.

These steps will guide you through the process of installing ArcGIS software on a WU computer.  License authentication will depend upon whether you will be using the system while connected to the WU network.  Desktop systems and laptops that will not be used outside the WU network will access the WU License Server for authentication.  Laptops that will be 'offline', away from the WU network, will need to authenticate using a 'single-use' license.  Instructions in Step 8 guide you through the appropriate licensing process.

1) Map a network drive to the WashU spatial data library by following these instructions.

2) Browse to the mapped drive connection you just created > "gispublic" > Software > ArcGIS_Desktop

3) Locate the application (.exe) file with the name beginning with "ArcGIS_Desktop...".  The file name will often contain a version number and another code.  For example "ArcGIS_Desktop_106_xxxxxx.exe."  Do not choose the file that contains the phrase "BackgroundGP."

4) Copy this file to your local machine.

5) Double click the .exe file to begin the installation. (you must have Admin privileges)

Note: Depending on your machine set up, you may receive a notification that a Microsoft .NET framework must be installed before proceeding.  This framework is available via the Microsoft Download Center at or by running Windows Update on your computer.

6) Follow the prompts once the installation begins.  In most cases, the default values can be accepted.  Installation may take up to 30-45 minutes.

7) If a previous version of ArcGIS was installed on the machine, the licensing should persist.  If this was a fresh installation, the ArcGIS Administrator will open upon completion of the installation.  ArcGIS Administrator may also be accessed on:

Windows 10 systems by typing "ArcGIS" in the Search field 
Windows 7 systems by going to Start > All Programs > ArcGIS > ArcGIS Administrator.

8) To enable licensing using ArcGIS Administrator:

  • Click "Desktop" in the folder tree on the left
  • If you are licensing for on campus use:
    • Select Product > Advanced (ArcInfo) Concurrent Use
    • Type into the License Manager field "" (without quotation marks)
    • Click the "Authorize Now" button
    • Skip down to "Both licensing models require..." section below
  • If you are licensing for off campus use (even only occasionally):













  • Send an authorization request to Bill Winston including the following:
    • Windows operating system
    • Phone number
    • Department
    • Status (faculty/staff)
    • Your name
    • You will receive a 'provisioning file' within 2 business days.  Use that file to complete this process.
    • Select Product > Advanced (ArcInfo) Single Use
    • Click the "Authorize Now" button
    • In the Software Authorization Wizard, choose "I have received an authorization file from Esri and am now ready to finish the authorization process."

    • Browse to the location of the received .prvc file
    • Click "Next"
  • Both licensing models will require the following:
  • Enter contact and industry information on the next screen:
    • Your Organization = Education-Faculty/Staff
    • Your Industry = Higher Education
    • Yourself = Take your pick
  • Click through the remaining screens keeping the default values.
  • Exit the installation wizard

9) To ensure a successful installation, open the ArcMap application by going to Start > All Programs > ArcGIS > ArcMap.

10) If you experience any problems, please contact a member of the Data Services Team for assistance.

Some common errors encountered during installation include:



ArcGIS License Manager Error "Not_Set"

You've just downloaded and installed ArcGIS and now when you try to open the program you see this error...

ArcGIS License Manager Not Set

Could not connect to an ArcGIS license manager running on host "Not_Set"

This error will occur if ArcGIS Desktop is not able to connect to a valid authentication server.  If you are installing the ArcGIS Student Evaluation Edition, you may have selected the wrong product during setup.  Open the ArcGIS Administrator program (Start > ArcGIS > ArcGIS Administrator), the window below will appear...

ArcGIS Administrator

In the ArcGIS Administrator tool, follow these steps:

  • Click on "Desktop" in the left pane.
  • Click the Advanced (ArcInfo) Single Use radio button
  • Click "Authorize Now"
  • Fill in the required information
  • When prompted, enter the EVA code you received
  • Complete the process and do not specify any other products for evaluation, you will have access to the extensions.
  • Once this is complete, the software should function properly.

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ArcGIS Extension Error "Tool Not Licensed" / Enabling ArcGIS Extensions

You are attempting to use a tool that requires an extension such as 3D Analyst, Spatial Analyst or Network Analyst.  The window below appears:

Tool Not Licensed

Tool Not Licensed

If you have the ArcGIS Student Evaluation Edition, you have access to all of the extension, but they must be enabled.  To enable extensions in ArcMap, click the Customize > Extensions option in the main menu bar:

Check the checkbox next to the extension you wish to enable:

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ArcGIS software is not released in a version compatible with the MacOS.  However, many users successfully run ArcGIS on their Macs using either BootCamp or a virtual machine environment such as the open source application Virtual Box, or commercial VM systems such as Parallels, or VMware. In all of these cases, the user will need to obtain a copy of Windows 7 (or higher) to install on their Mac.  These pages include more details on this issue:

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