Installing NetFx3 on Windows Server 2012


Okay… I am installing SQL Server 2012 on a Windows Server 2012 box, there shouldn’t be any problems.  Everything is proceeding normally until I get this message:

Error while enabling Windows feature : NetFx3, Error Code : –2146498298 , Please try enabling Windows Feature : NetFx3 from Windows management tools and then run setup again.

No problem… I know how to install Windows Features; I start the Add roles and Features Wizard and go looking for NetFx3… it’s not there.


It turns out that Windows Server 2012 does not include NetFx3 when it is installing.  It doesn’t mean that it is gone, but it does have to be installed separately.  Here’s what you do:

1) Insert your Windows Server 2012 media.  As I was installing SQL Server in a Hyper-V VM I ejected the SQL media and attached my Windows Server 2012 ISO.  I then checked to see what drive letter it was (D:).

2) I opened a Command Prompt with administrative credentials.  From the Start Screen I typed CMD but instead of clicking on it or pressing ENTER I right-clicked, and at the bottom clicked on Run As Administrator.

3) From the Command Prompt I typed the following command:

dism /online /enable-feature /featurename:netfx3 /all /source:d:\sources\sxs


The Deployment Image Servicing and Management tool is one of the easiest ways to install features in Windows when the GUI fails you. 

Note: Unfortunately, if you encounter this error you will have to restart your installation of SQL Server.  That doesn’t mean you should cancel it out at this point… what I did was I left the error message on the screen while I resolved the NetFx3 issue, and then let it resume.  The SQL Server installation succeeded, with several failures.  I then went back and re-installed SQL on top of the old, with the features that I needed.  It worked just fine for me, and it should for you.

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50 thoughts on “Installing NetFx3 on Windows Server 2012

  1. Pingback: Brad Chen's SQL Server Blog

  2. Pingback: SQL Server 2012 Installing on Windows Server 2012, Error while enabling Windows feature : NetFx3, Error Code : –2146498298 | MSDN Blogs

  3. rahulbabarit

    Thanks for sharing the article.
    For me I did not get the above error but the setup was stuck for longer at stage Enabling OS Feature NetFx3. I guess I had to wait more to get the above error. I ran this command while the setup was stuck. The command went well and the setup was able to proceed further.

    Rahul Babar

  4. Dave

    got a message that the source files could not be downloaded with error code 0x800f0906 after 66.3% completed. Anyone experience this and get a resolution?

      1. Josh

        Thanks, Tried your suggestion – but no joy here. I have the cd mounted in drive E, tried it there, and also copied the /sources/sxs folder to D:\ (D:\sources\sxs\).
        Any Idea what I’m doing wrong here?

        C:\Windows\system32>dism /online /enable-feature /featurename:netfx3 /all /source:d:\sources\sxs /LimitAccess (also tried without limitaccess)

        Deployment Image Servicing and Management tool
        Version: 6.2.9200.16384

        Image Version: 6.2.9200.16384

        Enabling feature(s)
        [===========================66.6%====== ]

        Error: 0x800f0906

        The source files could not be downloaded.
        Use the “source” option to specify the location of the files that are required t
        o restore the feature. For more information on specifying a source location, see

        The DISM log file can be found at C:\Windows\Logs\DISM\dism.log

      2. Josh

        To fix it, what I ended up doing was sharing out the C:\Windows\WinSxS folder from another 2012 box on the same network. Then mapped that share in the local server.
        Then pointed the server giving me these errors to that share, and wallah!
        For some reason it would not accept the source as local files on the server. Even mouonting the iso on a virtual drive it wouldn’t accept them.

        I’m guessing the local binaries on that server were corrupt or something.

      3. Andries

        I had the same issue, at the end of the day we realised we had the wrong ISO version mounted.
        We have Server 2012 Standard and the mounted ISO version was Server 2012 Standard R2.

        After mounting the correct ISO all was good!

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  6. Pingback: Installing NetFx3 feature on Windows Server 2012 using DISM | HeelpBook Mobile

  7. Dan

    Simply installing the Application Server Role and choosing to include .NET 3.5 will resolve this issue as well.

  8. B- Mack

    I got same error as per above while installing SQL Server 2012. I tried numerous times executing the command and to no avail. I then connected the server to the internet and the error was gone. Still cant figure out what the internet connection resolved as the installation never showed its downloading anything !!!

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  11. Christopher C

    Thanks, worked great. I used software called Pismo to just mount the .iso file for Windows Server. No CD needed and you don’t have to unmount or take out your SQL CD.

  12. David Michael

    Many thanks… worked perfectly for me! Being that I’m a sys admin who has fallen into an occasional DBA role, I’m glad to see it wasn’t as convoluted as I had originally feared.

  13. dejan

    Actual, you just need to check if ***Windows Update service is running****. If stopped, then NetFx3 will not be enable.

  14. Michael

    Hi there,

    my .NET 3.5 install is just stuck here:
    C:\Users\administrator.DOMAIN> dism.exe /online /enable-feature /all /featurename:NetFX3 /Source:D:\sources\sxs /LimitAccess

    Tool zur Imageverwaltung für die Bereitstellung
    Version: 6.3.9600.16384

    Abbildversion: 6.3.9600.16384

    It just doesn’t get any further for about two hours now.

    Any Ideas what is wrong?

      1. Michael

        Hi Mitch,

        that is the output from the dism tool like in your last screenshot. But it is stopping with the
        “Image Version: 6.3.9600.16384″
        And not starting to enable the features. I’m stuck there.

        Currently I am rebooting after 2 Windows Updates Installations. But I don’t think that this was the solution. So I would appreciate any help.

        Best Regards,

      2. Michael

        Hi Mitch,
        after installing the Windows Updates on this server the feature installation worked via the GUI. I hope this information helps other users browsing your site.

  15. Pingback: Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Setup Error when enabling NetFx3 | Perfect Choice

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  17. Pingback: vCenter Server 5.5 on SQL Server 2012 installation - Part 1 | w o j c i e h . n e t

  18. Marian

    Thanks for the solution and additional comments!

    To avoid dism.exe errors I had to use instead:
    Add-WindowsFeature NET-Framework-Core -Source D:\sources\sxs

  19. Pingback: vCenter Server SQL Server 2012 installation | Nicholas Gerasimatos – Managing virtual environments with VMware, Cisco UCS, and OpenStack

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