Install SQL Server Management Studio with Web Installer without Internet Access

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One of the new features of SQL Server 2016 is the introduction of a Web Installer for the client tools. How can we install the client tools on computers with blocked internet access? In this tip I will go through the entire process of downloading and installing the client tools even on machines without internet access.


At first, the introduction of a Web Installer for SQL Server Client Tools may create some mixed feelings in the SQL Server community. Sometimes companies restrict internet access for employees, and considering that, a web installer might not always work. Microsoft has already thought about that and came up with a solution: they give us the ability to download all of the installer packages and install the client tools from a shared folder.

On previous versions of SQL Server, installing the client tools required a copy of the SQL Server installation disk. Furthermore, it required running the whole setup program and selecting the right options on the installer menu. It's easy for a DBA to do that, but DBAs doesn't usually install Management Tools, that is a task for the technical support team that might not know the required options to check for a SQL Server setup.

Obtaining the Installer

You can download a copy of the Web Installer from this link The downloaded file is named SSMS-Web-Setup.exe and is only 32 MB. Of course, this file doesn't contain the entire installation packages. The setup program connects to the internet and downloads the installation packages as needed. So if you run the installer without an internet connection the installation will fail and you will get an error like the next image.

Trying to Install SSMS without Internet Access.

As you can see on the previous image, the installation failed with an "Unspecified Error". It would be great if the error message was clearer. If we take a look at the installation log we can see that the error was because the installer can't download the required packages.

Installer Log.

Installing SQL Server Management Studio without Internet Access

As I have already mentioned, there is a way to install the new version of SQL Server Management Studio on computers with restricted internet access. Most companies use a shared resource to store the installation files for the most common applications which is available from every terminal on the internal network. It is exactly what we are going to do, with a slight difference that instead of copying the files from an ISO image we are going to get them from the internet. Of course, this procedure must be done from a machine with internet access.

After downloading the web installer (to your downloads folder) open your Downloads folder. Right click on the download folder while you press the Shift key. The dropdown menu will show us the option to Open a command window here which we will select (note your menu items may be different, but look for the Open command window here option). This will just open a command window from this folder.

Contextual Menu Pressing the Shift Key.

When the command window opens enter the following command.

SSMS-Web-Setup.exe /layout C:\Share\SSMS

What this command does is download the packages without installing them and puts the files in the folder specified by using the /layout parameter, in this case the C:\Share\SSMS directory.

Screen Capture of Command Window.

After executing the above command you have to go through the installer just like if you were to installing the program and when setup completes, instead of having installed Management Studio you will have all of the installer packages downloaded in the specified folder.

All the Installer Packages Were Downloaded to this Folder.

SQL Server Management Studio Installation

Now I will go through the installation process. Something to note is that the installation process is the same for online and offline installation.

The installer will show you a Start Screen with the license terms. You should mark the checkbox to accept the license terms and be able to start the installation.

SSMS Installer Start Screen.

As you can see on the previous image, the Start Screen also shows an Options button that allows you to change the installation path.

You Can Change the Installation Folder.

After pressing the Install button the installation process begins.

Installer Progress.

At this point the Installer looks for the installation packages in its folder or downloads them without any user intervention.

Finally, if everything goes as expected, the Installer shows a "Setup Successful" message with a Close button to exit the installer. In some circumstances this screen might tell you that you must restart your computer in order to finish setup. In that case a Restart button will be shown next to the Close button.

SSMS Successfully Installed!.
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About the author
MSSQLTips author Daniel Farina Daniel Farina was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Self-educated, since childhood he showed a passion for learning.

This author pledges the content of this article is based on professional experience and not AI generated.

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Comments For This Article

Thursday, October 8, 2015 - 12:07:09 AM - Gylee Back To Top (38842)


This is very helpful. Save me plenty of bandwidth.


Friday, September 18, 2015 - 3:34:25 AM - alzdba Back To Top (38703)

Nice article, Daniel.


If - after the download of the sofware has completed - you move the file SSMS-Web-Setup.exe to the used destination folder of the download, and you execute SSMS-Web-Setup.exe, it will detect the components an no longer ask for the location.


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