How to install Zune software on Windows 2008 R2.

Music makes the coding go better and I've come to like the way the Zune software organizes and plays music. So when I was setting up the machine for LLC (where I would undoubtedly be spending some hardcore coding time), I was disappointed to see that the Zune software refused to install on Windows 2008 R2.

In my experience, Microsoft products that target consumers often disable the ability to install on server operating systems to minimize their testing and support burden. Unfortunately, that means programmers who often use server operating systems as their “all in one” development machine are out of luck. Fortunately, programmers are usually good with software and can find other ways to make it work… even if that means the result isn’t supported.

So, if you really want the Zune software and are prepared to go unsupported, follow these few steps:

  1. Download Zune Software (no longer available 😟) - note that there is a 32-bit and 64-bit option. If you’re running Windows 2008 R2, you’re probably running 64-bit. Pick the right one. Note: I download all my software to “C:\Users\robmen\Downloads” so the rest of these instructions will use that directory. In future steps, be sure to change that part of the example.

  2. Start elevated command shell - to successfully install the Zune software, we will need full administrative privileges. The easiest way to do that is start cmd.exe elevated.

    • Start Button -> Type “cmd” -> Right click on “cmd.exe” -> Choose “Run as administrator”.
    • Note: You will be prompted to allow cmd.exe to run, click “Yes”.
  3. Extract the files from the Zune software package - it turns out the Windows 2008 R2 condition check is in the bootstrapper not the installation package. So we to extract the Zune software’s .msi file.

    • Type “C:\Users\robmen\Downloads\zunesetuppkg-x64.exe /x” (without the quotes).
    • Note: If you chose 32-bit option in step 1, change the “zunesetuppkg-x64.exe” to “zunesetuppkg-x86.exe”.
  4. Pick your extraction directory - the Zune software will prompt you for where you want the package extracted. I chose:

    • Type “C:\Users\robmen\Downloads\ZuneSetup” (again, without the quotes).
  5. Install Zune software elevated - elevated is the key word here. The Zune install expects to be elevated when running and will fail if not. Fortunately, in step 2 we made sure our command shell was elevated.

    • Type: “C:\Users\robmen\Downloads\ZuneSetup\packages\Zune-x64.msi”
    • Note: If you chose the 32-bit option in step 1, change the “Zune-x64.msi” to “Zune-x86.msi”.

If all goes well, you should see a progress bar and when it disappears the Zune software should be installed. Remember this isn’t a Microsoft supported configuration but I’ve been using it for a while now and everything works perfectly.