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Windows Advanced Installation Instructions


This document is primarily for IT administrators who may need to go beyond a simple, single end-user installation. For example, automating the installation of Balsamiq Wireframes for Desktop silently or installing the application on multiple machines.

Balsamiq Wireframes is a native app available for both Windows and macOS. The guide for Windows can be found below.


Installing Balsamiq Wireframes on Windows

Balsamiq Wireframes for Desktop comes as an installer (.exe) or an .msi file. Both file formats come with a version that matches your host architecture: 32 bit or 64 bit.

Our .exe installer will also install the necessary prerequisites: vc_redist (Visual C++ Redistributable); and .NET Framework 4.7). It can be used also for installation without administrative rights (if vc_redist and .NET have been already installed).

If you're using Windows GPO (for example) you can use the .msi for silent installation (make sure you also deploy the prerequisites).

With admin rights

Start by downloading "Balsamiq_Wireframes_4.0.XX_x64_Setup.exe" and running it, choosing the option to "Install for all users".

  • If vc_redist is not installed, our installer will install it
  • If .NET 4.7 is not present (Windows <10.1803), our installer will install it
Without admin rights

If they're not already installed, you'll need to make sure the prerequisites are installed (with admin rights):

You'll then be able to run our installer without admin rights.


Registering and Unregistering Balsamiq Wireframes on Windows

Before registering Balsamiq Wireframes, you will need to make sure you have your License Key (you would have received it by email when you purchased). If you can't find it, you can always request a copy here: Lost your License Key?

To register use the following command lines.

If you installed the app using "Install for all users":

"C:\Program Files\Balsamiq\Balsamiq Wireframes\BalsamiqWireframes.exe" --register "LICENSEKEY" --proxyuser user --proxypwd password

If you installed using "Install for me only...":

"%localappdata%\Programs\Balsamiq\Balsamiq Wireframes\BalsamiqWireframes.exe" --register "LICENSEKEY" --proxyuser user --proxypwd password

If you launch Balsamiq Wireframes via the command line, with the '--register' command we'll register the license then the app will close itself. This makes it easy if you're running the command via a script rather than opening the app for editing.

There are a couple of possible exit codes:

  • 0: Success (the app is licensed)
  • 12 or 13: Bad data (something in the License Key is wrong - double check you're using the exact correct License key)

To unregister, if you installed the app using "Install for all users":

"C:\Program Files\Balsamiq\Balsamiq Wireframes\BalsamiqWireframes.exe" --unregister

If you installed using "Install for me only..." use:

"%localappdata%\Programs\Balsamiq\Balsamiq Wireframes\BalsamiqWireframes.exe" --unregister

No parameters are required and, again, the app will unregister then just close in case you're running this via a script.


Installing Balsamiq Wireframes on Multiple Machines on Windows

Silent installation

Using the .exe, you'll need to open an elevated command prompt then run: "Balsamiq_Wireframes_4.0.XX_x64_Setup.exe" /VERYSILENT /ALLUSERS

Using the .msi, you can use the following for the current user and all users respectively: msiexec /i "Balsamiq_Wireframes_4.0.XX_x64_Setup.msi" /quiet WRAPPED_ARGUMENTS="/VERYSILENT /CURRENTUSER"

msiexec /i "Balsamiq_Wireframes_4.0.XX_x64_Setup.msi" /quiet WRAPPED_ARGUMENTS="/VERYSILENT /ALLUSERS"

And to uninstall for all users: msiexec /x "Balsamiq_Wireframes_4.0.XX_x64_Setup.msi" /quiet WRAPPED_ARGUMENTS="/VERYSILENT /ALLUSERS"

Installing to a different directory than the default

The installer supports Inno Setup standard parameters so you can open an elevated command prompt then run, for example: "Balsamiq_Wireframes_4.0.XX_x64_Setup.exe" /ALLUSERS /DIR="D:\myprograms\balsamiq"

GPO installation (through Active Directory GPO)

First, you'll need to save the .NET offline installer, vc_redist and the Balsamiq .msi installer in a public network shared folder.

Next, create a Powershell script (with extension .ps1) and add it to the Group Policy Object:

Start-Process -FilePath "\\sharedDir\dotnet472\NDP472-KB4054530-x86-x64-AllOS-ENU.exe" -ArgumentList "/q /norestart" -Wait -Verb RunAs
Start-Process -FilePath "\\sharedDir\vc_redist\vc_redist_x64.exe
Start-Process msiexec /package "\\sharedDir\Balsamiq\Balsamiq_Wireframes_4.0.XX_x64_Setup.msi" /qn
Command line arguments

Balsamiq Wireframes for Desktop can be run from the Windows Command Line with the following arguments:

  • filename: Opens the file on startup
  • --norestore: Launches the application without restoring previously open projects (unless they were unsaved, in which case they are loaded)
  • --register "LICENSE_KEY": Registers the license and quits the application
  • --unregister: Unregisters the license and quits the application
  • --proxyuser PROXY_USER_NAME: Explicitly specifies the proxy username to use for the license verification call
  • --proxypwd PROXY_PASSWORD: Explicitly specifies the proxy password to use for the license verification call
  • --check-for-updates enable|disable: Enables (or disables) the “Check for Updates” feature and quits the application

Troubleshooting Installation Issues on Windows

If you're unable to launch Balsamiq Wireframes for Desktop on Windows after the installation, this section is for you!

Our installer file automatically checks if Microsoft Visual C++ 2015-2019 Redistributable is already installed on your machine. If not, our installer adds it alongside Balsamiq Wireframes for Desktop.

However, in some cases, a registry key prevents the installation of Visual C++ Redistributable on your machine, resulting in our tool crashing on startup. This indicates that VC++ Redistributable needs to be repaired (or reinstalled).

Here are a few steps to fix this issue:

  1. Uninstall Balsamiq Wireframes for Desktop from Control Panel > Programs and Features
  2. In Control Panel > Programs and Features, select VC++ 2015-2019 Redistributable and click on the Modify button
  3. Chose Repair instead of Uninstall
  4. Reinstall Balsamiq Wireframes for Desktop

We hope that these steps will help to solve the issue but please don't hesitate to contact us if you need any further assistance with this.