I have the full installation Media for 10 (9.3/SQL05 already loaded). And two editor licenses (one loaded and a new license file). What manner of wizardry is involved in getting around the conflict detection where I can run 9.3/SQL05 and 10.0/SQL08 on the same machine?

I have a gdb that I sync with at a far remote local that can't be helped at this time. But I need some of the new functionality in 10 for other projects.

I found this post: http://blogs.esri.com/Dev/blogs/arcgis/archive/2009/10/23/Installing-ArcGIS-9.4-_2800_and-can-you-leave-9.3.1-on-the-machine_2900_.aspx

but there must be a way to get both working on the same machine.

I find no real help at all on the net. Most people just upgrade to 10.

  • "We realize that at the UC we had initially announced this side-by-side support, but unfortunately that announcement was premature, and we will not be able to support this configuration." -- AWESOME quote. I remember being at the UC and hearing that announcement. Mar 14, 2011 at 20:34

5 Answers 5


ESRI recommends a virtual machine and does not support side by side installation.

ArcGIS is built on the COM object model, which was not designed to allow two versions of the same COM component. While installing different versions of the same component can be done, it must be supported by the component developer (ESRI).

  • Is it license infringement or they just wont support me in the future? I have two licenses.. Mar 14, 2011 at 21:00
  • 2
    Can you say DLL hell? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DLL_hell
    – jvangeld
    Mar 14, 2011 at 21:01
  • 2
    @Zap, it isn't a licensing issue. Mar 14, 2011 at 21:25
  • 2
    We spent months and months trying to get SxS working for ArcGIS 9.3.1/10 (at that point it was still 9.4). It created a whole other set of bugs to deal with. Having SxS certainly would have made my life easier. B-/
    – mkennedy
    Mar 14, 2011 at 22:52

Solved: (using windows 7 +xp sp3 with dual boot)


You need to have 2 partitions - or more ideally 2 hard disks in the PC.

Have ArcGIS 10sp1 and ArcGIS 9.3.1 running without issue.

2 monitors also help.

  • I have one windoze License. And this being my work computer I can't do anything dodgy. The COA on this comp say "OA" not sure if thats 1 - 2 cpu. Mar 14, 2011 at 21:11
  • @Zap Dual booting the same OS on one machine shouldn't violate the EULA (read it to make sure). (Having a second copy of Windows installed is not a bad idea in general, because the second version of the OS gives you a backup if the first one gets clobbered. The main problem is that maintenance now takes twice as long, because all updates have to be applied twice.) Dual booting has nothing to do with the number of CPUs on the machine, either.
    – whuber
    Mar 14, 2011 at 21:26
  • Ahh I got yea. Duurr sorry. Mar 14, 2011 at 21:28
  • not dodgy - its at work - so can deal with clients on both ArcGIS Platforms.
    – Mapperz
    Mar 15, 2011 at 1:57

There are application virtualization technologies that will let you run both on the same machine without the need for running a virtual machine. The setup process is somewhat tedious (and actually needs a VM to generate the virtual application), but may be worth it if you don't have the resources to run a VM all the time.

You may want to take a look at VMWare ThinApp or Novell ZENWorks Application Virtualization. I've tried both with ArcGIS and had pretty good results.

However, for a 1-off installation, this may not be worth the headache.


While I (and I'm sure 100s of others) would love to find a solution to this problem, I'm afraid apart from running some form of a virtual machine, you'll more than likely have no luck running 9.3.1 and 10 on the same machine.

  • Not even with sql 05 and 08 installed py 2.6 and 2.7 installed in different directories and tonz of regedit and path alteration? Mar 14, 2011 at 20:24
  • What are the main walls that one would hit trying to pull this off? Mar 14, 2011 at 20:25
  • The main wall you'll hit is that you're dealing with a black box, and you'll likely get no support from ESRI. Is there a specific reason you are looking to spend a (likely) large amount of time trying to get the two running on one machine vs. using a virtual machine? Clearly, having them running on one machine will yield better performance, but the question I would ask myself is if it is worth the extra effort. Mar 14, 2011 at 20:31
  • I have a replicate I sync with thats 9.3 that will break if I upgrade it to 10 (why the hell esri didn't support 9.3 replication in 10 I'll never understand. Mar 14, 2011 at 20:58
  • I would consider a VM (or dual-boot, though I'm personally not a fan of dual-booting). VirtualBox is free (virtualbox.org). I know its not a solution to the problem, but it will help. Mar 14, 2011 at 21:00

Esri is calling this "side by side" (SxS) deployment. See discussion at 67:20 of Plenary 2 video from Dev Summit for what's coming at 10.1.

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