Can’t install the .NET Framework 3.5 without a public Internet environment on an OEM Windows installation

Applies to: Windows 8Windows 8.1Windows Server 2012 Datacenter

Symptoms


Consider the following scenario:
  • You have an exclusive network environment that is not connected to the Internet.
  • You have a Windows operating system installed from a standard OEM image in this environment. This image may include a combination of languages and the latest updates relevant to the system and environment.
  • You try to install the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 or the .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1 (SP1) on this computer.

In this scenario, you receive an error message, and the .NET Framework installation fails.

Note The .NET Framework installation also fails in one of the following situations:
  • You use the stand-alone .NET Framework redistributable package.
  • The sources\sxs folder from the original installation media is used as an alternative source.

Cause


This issue occurs because Windows was designed with the intent that the operating system would have access to the Internet. 

If you cannot access the Internet, the .NET Framework 3.5 has to pull data from an alternative source. If that source does not explicitly match the installing OS (such as a hotfix, hotfix version, or a language pack-specific file that was installed), you will encounter this issue.

Workaround


To work around this issue, create an installation media that has the .NET Framework 3.5 preinstalled. To do this, follow the steps on the following webpage for each language that will be installed on this operating system:
Or, you can temporarily connect the computer that needs the .NET Framework 3.5 to the Internet in order to install the .NET Framework.

Note You have to perform these steps before you install the language packs. However, hotfixes typically must be installed after the language packs are installed.

Status


Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed in the "Applies to" section. Currently, an efficient and effective strategy has not been located for existing operating systems. However, this issue is under investigations for future operating systems.

More Information


If you were successful in building an alternative installation source by using an offline OS image, be aware that with this solution, you have to make sure that this alternative source has all updates (hotfixes) applied to it that might be on the target computers together with all language packs. This image has to be kept up-to-date as new updates are released. 

Note Some hotfixes can only be obtained by contacting Microsoft directly. These hotfixes should also be considered when you build the installation source if this route is selected. 

Our recommendation regarding the building of installation media (as mentioned in the "Workaround" section) is to build an alternative-source media and test it, as this process has proven very expensive considering the time that must be spent. This is compared to creating installation media by using known file versions.