ArcGIS Desktop (ArcMap) Installation Instructions

Please follow these instructions to install ArcGIS desktop and your ArcGIS Desktop (ArcMap) license provisioning file to complete your software authorization. A reminder that ArcGIS, unfortunately, only runs on Windows computers. You can run it on a Mac or Linux computer using Bootcamp, Parallels, VirtualBox, or via IT's Windows Virtual Desktop. Resources to do that, and for alternative GIS software that runs on Mac and Linux, are at the UMass GIS Hub. Be sure to ask your instructor if it's OK to use GIS software other than ArcGIS for class.

  1. Visit the ArcGIS downloads page, navigating to the ArcGIS Desktop (ArcMap) 10.8.2 folder, and download all of the files there.  Files in subfolders are for older versions of ArcGIS, or contain specific add-ons if you need them for a particular class or project.
  2. Once downloaded to your computer, click on the *.exe files to install ArcGIS Desktop / ArcMap, starting with ArcGIS_Desktop_10-8-2_Installer.exe. It's also a good idea to install the Data Interoperability and Background Geoprocessing extensions (the other two *.exe files you downloaded), though ArcGIS will run without them. If you specifically need Workflow Manager, Full Motion Video, or Desktop Server for a particular project they're in the Add-Ons subfolder, but you don't need them to run ArcGIS Desktop.
  3. The installation programs were written in the late 1990s and take forever to install the software, unfortunately: sometimes up to 20 minutes or more depending on your computer.
  4. You're not quite done yet!  The next step is to install the license file: ArcGIS desktop won't work without it.  From the Windows Start Menu launch ArcGIS Administrator.
  5. If ArcGIS Administrator does not appear in the start menu, do not worry (this is a random and common occurrence)! You can find it by searching for ArcGIS Administrator using Search / Cortana to the right of the start menu icon. (Ignore License Administrator: it's for something different entirely).
  6. If you are renewing your license you should deauthorize last year's license if you want to stop getting warnings that your license is about to expire. If you're getting a license for the first time, skip to step 9.
  7. To deauthorize your license select Support Operations in the left-hand menu and press the Deauthorize button.
  8. On the next window, make sure Deauthorize with Esri now using the Internet is selected, click on Next, and keep clicking Next until you are done.
  9. To install the new license file, on the left side of the ArcGIS Administrator window, navigate to the "Desktop" folder and in the right-hand pane, make sure Advanced (ArcInfo) is selected.
  10. Click the Authorize Now button at the bottom of the right-hand pane.
  11. In the next window, select the option "I have received an authorization file from Esri and am now ready to finish the authorization process." and browse to License_File_for_ArcGIS_Desktop-ArcMap_Expires_5-1-22.prvc that you downloaed in Step 1.
  12. In th next window, select "Authorize with Esri now over the Internet." If your machine does not have an Internet connection, select the "Authorize at Esri’s website or by email to receive your authorization file".
  13. Click Next.
  14. Review the pre-populated personal information and enter any additional required information. On the next panels, you will see the authorization numbers entered for the core product and any extensions, if applicable. Ignore adding Full Motion Video unless it's something you know you specifically need.  If that's the case, contact for a license.
  15. Click Next through the next few screens, filling in information as necessary.
  16. Click Finish to complete the authorization process.  The window should show your licenses and their expiration dates (see image below). If you are renewing your licenses, you may still see licenses that expire in the current year you are in.  Check to see if additional licenses are installed that expire on April 30th of the following year (i.e., 2023).  If that's the case, you're good to go.  You may still receive warnings that your license will be expiring, but they will disappear on April 30th.  If, for some reason, you find that you can't use ArcGIS Desktop (ArcMap) even though you've updated your license, please contact immediately.

If you have any questions or run into any obstacles installing the software or license, please don't hesitate to contact If you can, please include a screenshot of any error ArcGIS or your computer is giving you: it helps a bunch! ArcGIS regularly frustrates even the most experienced users, so if it isn't working for you, reach out and know you are not alone.