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Installing the System Center 2012 R2 Authoring Tool

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As with any other System Center product, the installation for the Authoring Tool can be quite a pain sometimes. This article serves to help you avoid making these mistakes and hopefully save you a ton of time on troubleshooting :)
 

Step 1: Make sure you meet the requirements!


Operating System Requirements

  • Windows Vista (any edition) with the latest service pack
  • Windows 7
  • Windows Server 2008 with the latest service pack
  • Windows Server 2008 R2
(Taken from http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh519788.aspx as of 12/9/2014)

Note: I have tested the installation on Windows 8.1 and can confirm it is working here too, leading me to conclude it should also work on Windows Server 2012 R2 as well (although I have not tested this personally).
 

Additional Requirements


  • Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5, which you can download from the Microsoft Download Center.
  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 Shell, which must be in the same language as the display language of the operating system. You can install Visual Studio 2008 Shell from the Prerequisites page in the Service Manager Authoring Tool Setup Wizard.
     
Note: During Authoring Tool Setup, if an error appears stating that Microsoft Visual Studio Shell 2008 is not installed and you’ve verified that it is installed, then the Visual Studio 2008 Shell Isolated Mode Redistributable Package might not be installed completely. To install it, navigate to \VS 2008 Shell Redist\Isolated Mode\ and run VS_Shell_isolated.enu.exe as administrator.
 

Step 2: Download the latest and greatest version!


First of all, you should be using the latest system center update rollup (UR4 as of writing), so people who tell me “Yea but we’re using SCSM 2012 SP1 so we should get the SP1 version of the authoring tool, right?” Wrong. Always keep your system center deployment and tools updated to the latest version!

Second, the authoring tool can already be a pain to work with, why choose an older and even buggier version?
Now that we got that out of the way, head over to this link to download the latest version as of writing: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=40896

Note: The download is named incorrectly, but rest assured you are downloading the authoring tool and not a service reporting app!
 

Step 3: Extract the installer
 

Although the download comes in .exe format, it is a self-extracting archive. The easiest way is to just run the .exe as it will unpack to the default location (usually “C:\SC2012 R2 SCSM AUTHORING TOOL\”). Extracting to a custom folder is not recommended as the setup can be easily broken and could require reconfiguration to point to your modified location.
 

Step 4: Run Windows Update

I decided to include this as a step because not everyone remembers to keep their system up to date and this is very important when working with Microsoft and .Net products. You can avoid a plethora of problems and issues by just making sure your system is updated before proceeding with the installation (especially all those .Net updates). Once you are sure your system is completely up to date, proceed to the next step.
 

Step 5: Install the Pre-requisites
 

You’ll need Visual Studio 2008 Shell (Isolated Mode). The latest version comes with SP1, and you can get it here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=19670

Note: During the Authoring Tool setup, if an error appears stating that Microsoft Visual Studio Shell 2008 is not installed and you’ve verified that it is installed, then the Visual Studio 2008 Shell Isolated Mode Redistributable Package might not be installed completely. To install it, navigate to \VS 2008 Shell Redist\Isolated Mode\ and run VS_Shell_isolated.enu.exe manually as an administrator.

If you haven’t already, install the .NET 3.5 framework linked above. Again, this is a reminder to run Windows Update AGAIN after installing these prerequisites. Even after you update and restart, run windows update again to ensure there isn’t yet another round of updates to install that required your last updates as a prerequisite to even show up.
 

Step 6: Install the Authoring Tool
 

Great! Now you’re ready to perform the installation. The best method to do this is to navigate to the main setup launcher, right-click and “Run as Administrator”. This step is important, otherwise you will get a “This action requires elevation” error or something of that nature. If you followed the steps above, the pre-requisite checker should not fail. Run through the setup and everything should go smoothly, have fun authoring!
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