Steps to install XNA Game Studio 4.0 without using the setup bootstrapper

A while back, I wrote a blog post describing how to extract the contents of the XNA Game Studio 2.0, 3.0 and 3.1 setup packages and install the components manually in case the normal installation process fails.  I just went back and updated that blog post to also list the steps for extracting and manually installing XNA Game Studio 4.0.

I’ve gone back and forth about whether or not to update this type of older blog posts in place as new product versions are released or post new ones.  In this case, I decided to update the existing post since I can then have a single location to point people to for all versions of XNA Game Studio.  However, I also wanted to post a new item about this to help improve visibility since I’m not sure how often folks go back and look at older content.

Here is a copy of the steps I added for XNA Game Studio 4.0.  Note - for the instructions below, if you are running a 64-bit version of Windows, you will need to use %programfiles(x86)% instead of %programfiles% for the installation paths.

Please refer to the previous post for instructions for all versions of XNA Game Studio.

To manually install XNA Game Studio 4.0 

  1. Download xnags40_setup.exe and save it to your hard drive
  2. Run xnags40_setup.exe /x to extract the contents to a folder of your choosing
  3. Go to the folder you extracted to in step 2 and run the MSI named redists.msi

    Note: This MSI will only display a small progress bar while it is installing and will not tell you when it is done.  When the progress bar disappears, continue to the next step.

  4. Run the MSI at %ProgramFiles%\Microsoft XNA\XNA Game Studio\v4.0\Setup\XLiveRedist.msi
  5. Run the MSI at %ProgramFiles%\Microsoft XNA\XNA Game Studio\v4.0\Redist\XNA FX Redist\xnafx40_redist.msi
  6. Run the MSI at %ProgramFiles%\Microsoft XNA\XNA Game Studio\v4.0\Setup\xnaliveproxy.msi
  7. Run the MSI at %ProgramFiles%\Microsoft XNA\XNA Game Studio\v4.0\Setup\xnags_platform_tools.msi
  8. Run the MSI at %ProgramFiles%\Microsoft XNA\XNA Game Studio\v4.0\Setup\xnags_shared.msi
  9. Run the MSI at %ProgramFiles%\Microsoft XNA\XNA Game Studio\v4.0\Setup\xnags_visualstudio.msi
  10. Go to the folder you extracted to in step 2 and run the MSI named arpentry.msi

<update date="11/8/2010"> Added a note about the %programfiles(x86)% path on 64-bit versions of Windows. </update>

<update date="11/21/2011"> Removed an incorrect step from the list. </update>


Comments (35)
  1. Progamer says:

    This is stupid and a waste of time. The person that wrote this article is an idiot.

  2. Michael H. says:

    On the contrary, this is very helpful to those few  of us  for whom the installation failed. Thanks, Aaron.

  3. Juan says:

    That it is true, this is very helpful, information.  Progamer, is this is so stupit, why do take the time to read it?

  4. MrB at BHS says:

    I am trying to install XNA game studio 4.0 to use with Visual Studio 2010.  

    I am getting the foolowing error about compatibility.

    <Visual Studio setup cannot run in compatibility mode.  For more information see the 'Installing' section in the Visual Studio Readme at "

    I have a 4GB HP Pavilion dv7-1157cl running Win 7 premium 64 bit.

  5. Me.Name says:


  6. Hi MrB at BHS – I posted an item about how to work around that compatibility mode error at…/10064318.aspx.  Hopefully the steps there will help resolve that error for you.

  7. Stolyarov D. says:

    big THX!

  8. Steve B says:

    Helped me. Thanks 🙂

  9. LxL says:

    Thanks for your information.

    I wonder if there is anyway I can install xnags4 without installing VS 2010, because I want to test my networking game on the computer. And as in this post…/9924.aspx, he suggested installing XNA 4 full instead of redist ver to use GamerServicesComponent/use live networking.

    Thank again

  10. Hi LxL – There is not an officially supported way to install XNA Game Studio without Visual Studio.  If you are planning to do this only for game testing purposes and don't plan to use any of the Visual Studio components, then I think you could get it to work by using the steps above in this blog post except skip step 9.

  11. hungson175 says:

    I'm stucked at this step, tks a lot !

  12. Hi Hungson175 – Which exact step are you stuck on?  Can you describe your scenario and any error messages you are seeing in more detail?

  13. Nils says:

    I am fed up with issues like "cannot install in compatibility mode".

    It is really stupid.  

    Please, Microsoft, make things simple and easy for us developers!

    We hate setup and configuration issues.

    It is NOT smart to make things hard for others.

  14. The_Dragonn_29 says:

    What would I do if the installation succeeds, but I don't have any of the project options for XNA, and when I try to create a reference to the rmaework, it says it dosen't exist. What do i do?

  15. Hi The_Dragonn_29 – Are you sure that you're using the version of Visual Studio that is required by the version of XNA Game Studio that you're installing?  For example, XNA Game Studio 4.0 requires VS 2010, XNA Game Studio 3.1 requires VS 2008, etc?

    Can you post screenshots of what you see in the VS New Project dialog and what error you see when you try to add that type of reference so I can take a closer look?

  16. says:

    This really helps me to install XNA Game studio to Win 8

  17. Hi Andrei Danilchenko – I have another post that might help with issues specific to Windows 8.  I encourage you to check out the post at…/10274694.aspx too.

  18. Doug Barry says:

    Most useful information, I'd gotten to the stage of having the extracted files, but wasn't sure where to go next. Thanks very much.

  19. kemarat says:

    This really helps me to install XNA Game studio. Big thanks.

  20. Brandon says:

    I can't install XNALiveRedistribute nor XNALiveProxy. Are those essential to our installment? I can use XNA fine, but I just can't install those two MSIs

  21. Hi Brandon – Those components are needed if you plan to integrate Xbox LIVE multiplayer functionality in a Windows game.  In order to solve that problem, it might help to try to install the latest version of the Games for Windows LIVE Redistributable from…/DownloadClient, then try again to install the XnaLiveProxy component.

  22. Jeffrey says:

    I opened the redist.msi and i clicked run. but after that, it was getting info but then it disappears after its completed and nothing shows up.

  23. Hi Jeffrey – The redist.msi does not show any UI when it is done installing.  You should be able to continue on with step 4 in the above instructions to complete the manual install of XNA Game Studio after the redist.msi setup UI disappears.

  24. junaid says:

    this work for me.

  25. Chris says:

    Work great. thanks!

  26. Wissman says:

    This work for me. and now i can program c# xna.


  27. Reece says:

    This helped a lot thanks.

  28. Me says:

    Can't run .msi files! help D:

  29. Hi Me – What is the exact error message you see when you try to run the steps listed in this blog post?

  30. aaron i need your help .. says:

    xnafx40_redist.msi cant install it.. Please contact me asap.

  31. Hi aaron i need your help – Can you please do the following so I can investigate further?

    1.  Use the steps listed at…/help-me-help-you-if-you-have-setup-bugs.aspx to enable verbose logging

    2.  Re-run the failing setup and let it fail one more time

    3.  Go and find the log file in your %temp% directory and zip it up

    4.  Upload the zip file to a file server (such as

    5.  Post a new comment here and provide a link that I can use to download the zip file and take a closer look

  32. Dante says:

    Gracias!!! Funciona!!

    Thanks a lot!! Now it's working!

  33. Csaba says:

    Awesome! 1000x Thanks

  34. Dreadful man says:

    Works flawlessly! Thanks a lot! I had been searching for a workaround to install xna game studio without vs for days.

  35. Dani says:

    thank you very much , I followed this tutorial and it has worked !

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