Back in the day, I briefly worked for an Autodesk reseller. This particular reseller was classified as an “Education Reseller”. In short, this meant they were one of a few resellers that sold Autodesk products into the educational market (high schools, universities etc.).
As you can imagine, a school would likely have most of not all the products. Back then, Autodesk provided a complete list of all the products and their recommended install order. Fast forward to today, they’ve either gotten incredibly lazy or in all their massive layoffs over the years, the domain knowledge is gone. I suspect both.
Take a look at Autodesk’s current recommended install order from this link. which was last updated 6/6/2018 at the time of this writing. In the event the link changes, here’s what they say…
What’s wrong is that they tell you within the same product year, the install order doesn’t matter. This is outright false for many reasons. They try to note a couple “exceptions” stating that if there’s any add-ins, the base product should be installed first. But which products have add-ins to what other products?
CADmep is obviously running on top of AutoCAD so AutoCAD should be installed first. That seems obvious. But Navis also installs Exporters depending which products it finds and it doesn’t always show up in an Add-ins tab. So this is less obvious. Buy there’s also other dependencies that are even more obscure. Should you install Revit or Inventor? Should either go before or after 3ds Max? This is less obvious to most users.
This is really why someone would ask that question. It’s a real dis-service then to start out telling them it doesn’t matter. In fact, it matters most of the time, and it doesn’t matter as the “Special consideration”.
Determining The Real Install Order
There’s a few ways to handle this. If you’ve been around a while and had one of the old “Design Suites”, install in the same order as the Design Suite did. But note that this did change between product years and types of Suites. Plant Deign Suite 2013 for instance installed Autodesk before Revit where as Building Design Suite 2016 installed Revit before AutoCAD.
One of the other ways is to look at the install media folders to see if you can find any dependencies. Take for example 3ds Max. Look in the x86 or x64 folders and you’ll see references to Revit and Inventor.
This means we should install Revit and Inventor before installing 3ds Max. But what if we’re using both Inventor and Revit? Which of those goes first?
You’ll see the RXI folder in the install files. Hard to tell what it is. When you drill into the folder, there’s just a single MSI. If you right-click on it and select Properties and do to the Details tab, you can see it’s Revit Interoperability for Revit. Other folders deeper in the structure also confirm this by their naming,
Based on this findings, it suggests installing Revit first so Inventor can see it and install the Interoperability tools.
Here’s My Order
So, if you’re an Autodesk Fabrication user, here’s what I typically do (and why)….
- Revit (doesn’t seem to depend on anything else)
- AutoCAD (I can’t find a dependency for AutoCAD. But anything with an Object Enabler will want it here and it’s a core product so as a matter of safety, I install it early just in case)
- AutoCAD based Verticals like MEP, Arch, etc. (These use AutoCAD as its core. I’ve not checked dependencies between verticals but it’s likely safe to install them in any order. I usually do Arch first if I’m going to include it as MEP is built on top of Arch but it’s really not needed as MEP installs what it needs)
- Inventor (because of the Revit dependency covered earlier)
- 3ds Max (because of the Revit/Inventor dependencies)
- Navis – Freedom/Simulate/Manage (Navis exporters only install for products already installed so we install this toward the end)
- Fabrication CADmep (allows CADmep Object Enablers to install for Acad, Navis, etc.)
- Fabrication – EST/CAM/etc. (order doesn’t matter)
If there’s anything on the list you don’t use, just skip it. If you happen to install Navis before some of the dependent products, just use “Add/Remove Programs” in Windows Control Panel to modify the install to include new exporters or download the Exporter installs separately from Autodesk’s web site.