Install ArcGIS Desktop - Geographic Information Systems Software


Notes: ArcGIS Desktop runs only on Windows machines. In the steps below, the file version number may change as new software is released.

For Mac and Linux users, see below, there are a couple of options for geographic information systems analysis and processing.   

Windows Computers: 

  1. Download the appropriate zip file to a Windows machine by clicking the current version of "ArcGIS Desktop". The final installed disk space is approx. 975 MB. (
  2. When the download completes, double-click the executable file to start 
  3. Follow the standard installation steps
  4. When the installer is complete, click Finish and close the installer. 
  5. The software is now installed. To authorize the software for use, go to the Windows Start Menu and click All Programs then ArcGIS then right-click ArcGIS Administrator and choose Run as Administrator.
  6. In the ArcGIS Administrator window, click Desktop in the left-hand pane.  In the right hand pane, choose Advanced (ArcInfo) Concurrent Use.
  7. Click the Change button, and enter in the box and click OK.  This is an annually renewed site license available to machines on the Dartmouth network or over the College's VPN network (see this knowledge base article for VPN instructions:
  8. Your software is now licensed and ready to use. To launch ArcMap, from your Windows start menu, click Start then All Programs then ArcGIS then ArcMap

Macintosh Computers: 

A couple of options, including QGIS and using ArcGIS through a "virtual" windows machine. 

Option 1:  Install and run a local "virtual" Windows machine on the Mac

  1.  Determine if your Mac has the resources to run a Windows Virtual Machine and ArcMap:  It is recommended that you have a minimum 4GB Memory (RAM) (Apple Menu > About this Mac > Overview) and 40 to 50 GB free storage space (Apple Menu > About this Mac > Storage).  If either of these are not available, see "Option 2: Request access for your netID to use ArcGIS over the Remote App Portal" 
  2. Navigate to the VirtualBox download page, and click "Windows Hosts".  Download and install VirtualBox
  3. Launch VirtualBox
    1. In upper menu of VirtualBox, click Machines > new machine
       set up the machine, choose a name for the machine (e.g. Windows10_64bit)
    2. Choose the amount of memory(RAM), between 2048 MB to  4000 MB or above (4000 MB=4 GB minimum, 8GB if available).  Do not choose more than half of your Mac's RAM value. 
    3. Choose storage - Create VDI
      Storage / Disk space 30 to 50 GB (ArcMap requirements
    4. On the last step, click "Create" 
    5. Next, right-click the new machine (e.g. Windows10_64bit) and choose "Settings" 
    7. Next, download a Windows 10 installation disk (.iso).  See to obtain a free student copy.  
    8. Then, to install Windows on the new virtual machine, click the machine in VirtualBox and choose "Storage", highlight the "Empty" CD icon and then the CD symbol next to "Optical Drive. Navigate to your downloaded Windows ISO file.       ​​​                             
    10.  Click OK, and then highlight the machine in VirtualBox and click the green arrow at the top of VirtualBox  ("Start")  to turn it on and go through the Windows setup routine.  
  4. Once Windows is installed, use the instructions at the top of this page to install ArcMap on the Windows virtual machine. 
  5. For more instructions, see

Option 2: Request access for your netID to use ArcGIS over the Remote App Portal 

  1. Navigate to for the system overview and how to request access for ArcGIS over the Remote App portal ( )
  2. Fill out the form to get a "DartFS" account so that you can load and save files using this system.  To upload and download files with DartFS and ArcGIS, refer back to the "connect or mount your DartFS storage" section of


Please contact us at 

See also the following Dartmouth Libguides: and


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Article ID: 64608
Tue 10/9/18 12:17 PM
Mon 6/19/23 1:55 PM

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