In some environments it is not possible to install Dashboard Designer using the normal process (i.e. allow it to install automatically when first opened from SharePoint). Some Citrix environments for example have permissions that prevent ClickOnce apps from being able to install.
In these cases people sometimes look for alternative methods (e.g. using an installer / MSI). Unfortunately, there is no MSI available for download for Dashboard Designer from Microsoft. However, it is possible to put together an alternative method for installation. The approach outlined below is one approach I have used in a couple of customer environments.
The process is in two parts:
- Gather the files to install Dashboard Designer
- Install Dashboard Designer
Note – This is not an officially supported way of installing Dashboard Designer, but it has worked where I have used it in the past. If thinking of using this, you should thoroughly test it in your environment as your environment may throw up issues I haven’t encountered. Also, when updates to Dashboard Designer are released (e.g. in SharePoint Service Packs) it will be necessary to repeat this alternative installation procedure to get the updated versions deployed.
This process does not install the pre-reqs for Dashboard Designer:
- .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1
- Microsoft® SQL Server® 2008 R2 Native Client – Download
- Microsoft® SQL Server® 2008 R2 ADOMD.NET – Download
You should ensure these are also deployed to the target environment prior to installing Dashboard Designer.
These pre-reqs apply irrespective of whether you are installing using the normal ClickOnce method or an alternative approach (the ClickOnce installation does not install these pre-reqs).
Gather the files to install Dashboard Designer
This approach requires a machine* that you can install Dashboard Designer on in the normal way (i.e. download the Click Once app from SharePoint). On this machine, we’ll grab a copy of the Dashboard Designer files, ready to install on another machine (i.e. where the Click Once apps don’t work).
(*This machine also needs Visual Studio or another .NET SDK on to be able to use mage.exe).
- On a machine with Visual Studio installed, run
This clears the click once cache. This means that after step 2, the only files in the Click Once cache are the Dashboard Designer files.
- Open Dashboard Designer from SharePoint (i.e. allow it to install using the normal Click Once install mechanism).
This downloads Dashboard Designer and installs it. The dashboard designer files are copied into the Click Once cache, where we can pick them up.
- Go to the Click Once cache – for my profile this is:
- Copy all of the dll, exe and config files out of this directory and subdirectories (ignore all the manifests, etc).
The easiest way to locate the files (since they are scattered across various subdirectories) is to search and specify the wildcard character *
A whole bunch of directories etc will be listed. Copy the dll / exe / config files. For those files in an En folder, copy these into an En subdirectory.
Some files appear to be present in multiple directories on some installations. These files have the same name, size and last modified date so are very likely just multiple copies of the same file.
- Check the file and folder structure against the file list below:
- Most of the files are in a single folder
- Inside this folder is a single subfolder named “En” which some of the files sit in.
Install Dashboard Designer
We are now in a position to test the install. Note – the files simply need to be copied to the target machine.
- Copy the files in this structure to the target machine. They can be placed anywhere (example install folder structure given below). No further activities are required – the install is as simple as copying the files.
- Run Dashboard Designer.
- Enter the SharePoint URL when prompted, e.g. http://MySharePointServer/
On one machine I tested this on, the Designer crashed after the SharePoint URL was first entered. Upon reopening however, the designer was fine (and the URL had been saved correctly). This crash appeared to only happen on the very first time Dashboard Designer was opened – subsequently it always opened without any problem.
Dashboard Designer can be installed to any folder.
For the purposes of this example, assuming that we are installing to
So, simply copy the above files to the following paths (no MSI is needed, no DLL registration is needed):
A Note About the User.Config File
This process does not create the user.config file. This will normally be created automatically the first time Dashboard Designer is run. Again, on some environments this may not be possible and creating it as part of the installation process may be desirable.
When Dashboard Designer is installed using this alternative approach, Dashboard Designer will create this file at the following location (where in my case [username] is xchrisbailiss):
If creating this file manually, you also probably want to set the following settings within this file:
- “MruSiteCollection” to the SharePoint URL, e.g. http://MySharePointServer/
- “Default Workspace Location” to the users default documents folder.