How to install Mass Effect 3 from PC discs (without downloading)

Tailor: "Is this a uniform?" #masseffect #proud

I just picked up my retail copy of Mass Effect 3 today, and was appalled at the flawed installation process. I placed Disc 1 in my DVD drive, clicked Install, and it proceeded to launch Origin and REQUIRE me to download 10GB of game files from the Internet. This is incredibly stupid and wasteful, as we in third-world countries don’t have the Internet speed or bandwidth for it. Not to mention, my 10GB of files are right here on the two DVDs I just purchased; why wouldn’t Origin use those discs instead of downloading 10GB of files I already had?

After some Google hunting, I found this forum post which fixed the problem. I’m reposting it here just in case someone else out there is looking for the fix.

How to Install Mass Effect 3 from DVD (without download)
1.) Install Origin
2.) Let Origin Update to the current Version
3.) Restart Origin
4.) Enter your Mass Effect 3 Code in Origin
5.) Don’t start the Download, but close Origin with a right click on the Origin Icon in the Systray -> Exit
6.) Restart setup.exe from Disc 1, it will start Origin and the Installation from the DVDs

ME3 is now installing
Big thanks to author of that post: botcherO

The only difference for me was that I’d already started downloading Mass Effect 3 through Origin, and so the fix wouldn’t work with a partial download started. Be sure to cancel your download completely before doing the steps above.

Defaulting to online downloads when physical copies are available is really idiotic and unfair to the rest of us with poor Internet, and I don’t know how this could possibly be acceptable. Thanks, EA.

P.S. You should hear how upset my bf is about the game refusing to import saved character faces from Mass Effect 1 and 2, but that’s another story.

UPDATE (3/27/12): I’ve been averaging ~160 hits a day on this post, which shows you how many people are having the same installation trouble. Unfortunately, I’m not tech support (I’m just a gamer like you) so I don’t really know more than the fix I’ve reposted above. If you’re still having problems with Mass Effect 3, please try talking to Origin directly at Thanks!


71 thoughts on “How to install Mass Effect 3 from PC discs (without downloading)

  1. Bah. Here’s where the game distributers ruin a game by using their own service (STEAM is perfectly fine) and having tons of DRMs, etc, to try and circumvent piracy and causing more pain than needed to people who actually buy the game. I think I had a similar problem with Starcraft 2 but it was downloading much less than 10 GB.

    Oh, I’m enjoying playing Mass Effect 3 on my XBOX 360, thank you very much. And barking orders at the Kinect. 😉

  2. XatMous says:

    Thanks for your help. I do hope this game is worth the hassle and the 2.5gb it cost me before I noticed my DVD wasn’t spinning.

      • Sylnsr says:

        I hated EA since they botched the SPORE installation for Mac to the point where the game I paid for was not install-able to EA’s installer error. I have hated them ever since then. I am going through this pain in the neck for my wife – she’s worth it 🙂

        I hate EA too.

  3. Grigs says:

    After 5hrs with support I find the answers exactly were I should have expected them from, the community. Underdeveloped tools and terrible support really leaves me feeling like EA really isnt equipped for all this, and I for one will never deal with origin again.

    Thanks for the help

  4. CazzT says:

    Sadly this did not work for me. I followed the steps (it would be hard not to hehe) but it still resorted to downloading instead of using the disc.

    Such a step backwards in terms of technology. *sigh*

  5. tez says:

    recently i decided not to buy any more 2k firaxis games after they screwed me on civ5 hotseat now as much as it saddens me i,m debating the same for bioware a company i didnt think i,d ever be offended by but if ea makes me do all this crap for a game then its not worth the effort imo

  6. Hey Moongirl,

    Thanks for your help! I downloaded the whole 10GB (took nearly 4 hours) but finally managed to get on and play the game. This morning I woke up booted the game only to find it wasn’t installed for some reason and origin wanted to re-download the entire 10GB.

    Currently I’m booting from disk so *fingers crossed*.

  7. Zenshino says:

    omg i love you ❤ jelly for your bf awesome person you are…. i have never smiled so hard in my life i give you so much thanks :DDDDD 9 hour digital download TO 25 MINUTES WADDUP!

  8. JD says:

    after following the steps and running setup origin asks me to enter the product code (again)…i do this but it says the code has already been used and wont let me proceed with the install…how do i get around this?

  9. The Hitch says:

    “Let Origin Update to the current Version”
    What is the current version? Coz after some time, Origin becomes a black window, and before that happens, a wild download at speed light happens, like 1068 kbs, which is weird as long as my internet connection is lower than a 56kbps modem.

    • moongirl says:

      Hi The Hitch,

      Maybe you can try contacting Origin directly? I found this in the EA forums:

      Please visit A live advisor will assist you to solve your problem.

  10. Dragonman1642 says:

    Uhg. So this worked for me as well so thank you for this!!! Sadly it was just the last straw in a LONG line of ME headaches… My story in just the last 3 weeks is as follows..

    It’s almost getting to the point where I feel EA doesn’t WANT us to play their games.. I did a upgrade from XP to Windows 7… skipped vista as I didn’t care for it. So when that happened of course my ME1 and ME2 copies both puked and activated the DRM for having to contact EA for an extension for installation…

    I was wanting to go thru one more final play thru of each to get all the content and story options just the way I wanted, and refresh my memory before playing 3. Also I figured this would give me time to allow them to fix the import appearance bug… I agree that’s just REALLY shoddy work to not catch that.. I mean here is a game series that PRIDES itself on it’s progressive imported character story line feature.. and in ME1, ME2, and ME3 they make SURE there is a option right from the get go to customize your personal character to your tastes… and they miss a detail like that? Really?

    So after bouncing a few e-mails off the corporate wall that is EA customer service I get my activation limit increased.. and they inform me to make this work I have to completely UNINSTALL the game I have and WAS working fine.. and completely REINSTALL it.. just to get it to re-activate with their DRM checking software… ugh. ok fine. I do this.. and it works.. then I can’t load my saved games cause guess what.. no activation code in the fresh install for the DLC bring down the sky.. now I admit this is my bad.. I didn’t ever write it down or save it when I downloaded it what.. 4 years ago? For a single piece of DLC one shot mission? No sorry I didn’t.. back to E-mailing and waiting for a response from “the wall”

    Finally get a new code as hey look it is a free add on for the game these days.. so I activate and am able to play.. I finish up with it… on to ME2.. should be easy right? Wrong… all in all about the same level of complexity having to uninstall and reinstall and re-download all my DLC content… this fortunately was a bit easier as I had registered all of it on my bioware profile. All it took was a full day of downloading and installing all the various pieces to a game of which again I bought.. installed and worked just fine prior to making a small, simple, and routine upgrade/change to my computer… Once this was done… play thru achieved..

    Then I pop in ME3 to at least install it and wait for the “mystery date patch” to fix the appearance bug which they say is all ready and good to go.. and will be in the patch once the rest of the patch is finished and tested… really? they can’t release a quick DL hotfix for this? Giving the previous notations of the emphasis on the continuity of story lines in ME? /sigh..

    Alas then I am met with all the trials of the ME3 install as outlined and am kinda soured, sickened and in general feel abused as a customer for wanting to enjoy a product they for all intents and purposes seem determined to make it difficult to enjoy.

    Am I alone in this sentiment?

  11. Simanta Dutta says:

    worked for me, thanks…….what the hell EA was thinking while making such bul***it decision………it shows EA’s casual attitude towards pc gamers, I’d rather prefer going for a pirated version rather then struggling with a original one at the very first step

  12. fonb says:

    This is the last EA product I ever buy. Seriously, why am I punished for paying for the game. When I put a disc in my PS3, 5 seconds later it’s installing and a minute later I’m playing. I don’t want to create stupid accounts so you can bootstrap your inferior service. And most certainly I don’t want to download 10GB when I have them on a disc next to me. No, you are not going to beat Steam with this appalling idiocy. At the moment I don’t even wanna play this game anymore.

  13. RinoKl says:

    This is what I posted in the original forum post that moongirl provided:

    “First I would like to say that this is only my opinion and it may be wrong……. I am posting this so all the people here who have the same problem as me can get it solved……

    I suspect that EA has made great mistake with activation codes in boxed DVD editions (for EU market and maybe even for oher markets too) I have talked with 5 or 6 guys on that live chat help thing before i solved the problem. This was my last chat:

    you: hello
    you: i have a problem installing mass effect 3 that i bought on discs in a computer store
    Ashish: Thanks for contacting EA Help! My name is Ashish how may I help you?
    you: i activated the installation with the provided code
    you: but my first instalation failed for some reason
    Ashish: Ok go ahead.
    Ashish: Rino, be assured I will try my best to fix this for you.
    Ashish: May I know your product key please?
    you: then i tried to reinstall but origin said that code is used
    you: i contacted this help line minutes ago
    you: and they gave me a new code
    you: but then it sad that it is not for the game i am trying to install
    you: then your colleague sent me link on how to manually uninstall ME3
    you: i tried that and installing it again
    you: but now i get the same message
    you: that the code is used
    Ashish: May I know the code please?
    you: so that is the second code i cant use to install from cd
    you: first one was ***************
    you: second code is ****************
    Ashish: Thank you Rino.
    Ashish: Do you mind holding for some time while I pull up the account details?
    you: i dont mind
    you: i forgot to tell you that origin allows me to download the game from internet but i dont want to download 10 gb when i have it on discs that i paid for
    you: i found this link on EA forum
    you: i checked IDs and they are the same as in that post
    you: so from what it says i have the right to get proper entitlements
    Ashish: ok, thank you for the detail information regarding your issue.
    Ashish: w3
    Ashish: Do you mind holding for some time while I pull up the account details?
    you: i dont mind
    you: take your time
    you: i just want to get what i paid for
    you: and not dowlnloading it from internet
    Ashish: Rino, I has checked your key and found that it is for digital download.
    you: first one or the second one?
    Ashish: second one.
    you: so the guy before gave me the wrong key
    you: can i get the right key for the 2 DVD box edition?
    Ashish: No, actually your both key are for digital download.
    Ashish: Yes Rino, please allow me some time to generate a new code for you.
    you: but the first one is from the sticker that is inside the box
    you: it is european version
    you: made in UK
    you: sorry
    you: it says manufactured in EU
    you: but its the same thing
    you: is it possible that all the boxes for EU market have the wrong codes for digital download
    you: because i saw manny people complaining about same problem on forums
    you: sorry for my english BTW
    Ashish: Thank you Rino for the detail information, I will definitely escalate this to higher team. Right now here is your code for disk version : *****************
    you: can you write the same code again please? i didnt get the first part of the code?
    you: sorry
    Ashish: *****************
    you: thanx
    you: ill try with this now
    you: it works now
    Ashish: Your most welcome Rino.
    you: thank you very much
    you: good bye
    Your chat session has

    So from this i concluded that all the codes in the boxes are actually for digital download and that is why origin goes to internet downloading instead for installing it from DVD……. I suggest that all you with the same problem go to live chat and ask for new DVD boxed edition code so you can install the game normally.

    Again….. I am not saying that this is actually the case with the wrong codes printed in boxes, it is just my suspition. I hope this will help you guys.

    Cheers from Croatia”

  14. What a f*-up… Never would have imagined that installing a CRACKED version (after paying 45.90 euros) would be the easiest way around… I haven’t even started installing the damn thing and I am already regretting that money… Argghhhhh!!!

  15. Nathan says:

    Can i just say that i bought mass effect 3 and installed origin and without any hassle at all origin offered to install my game for me rather than dowlnloading a single megabyte? Not defending the troubles you all had maybe you just clicked on the wrong section in origin by mistake?

  16. james says:

    thanks for the install info!

    i had the exact problems you described trying to install ME3 on my old dial up internet.system.

    when i installed it as described it went in without all the stupid ” download this 40mb then that 30 mb” and so on. it would have taken days of downloading their way and maybe longer cause of all the broken downloads!

    thanks for the install tips! ME is up and running!

  17. navin says:

    Thank you sooo much Moongirl. This worked perfectly! I was going comepletely nuts before this. Why do they always have to ruin good games?

    For those of you having trouble, remember to cancel the download.
    Also, in Windows 7, if Origin says “you’re not logged in as admin”, right-click setup.exe (Disc1) & set compatibility mode (for ALL users) to Vista SP2

  18. Francis says:

    I have one thing to ask , i installed mass effect 3 on the worst pc i have as the latest pc was not fuctioning . I realised that this was making my experience worse as the graphics were shady and not full of colour. I decided to install it on the other pc but origin wont let it install saying the code isnt valid , etc. Is there a way to install this on my 2nd pc.

  19. b says:

    O, thank you thank you thank you.
    Why do they do this to us?!
    We need the simple good ol’ days back when we could just pop in a CD and hit install.
    Thank you again!

  20. bright2002 says:

    when l launch the mass effect 3 the appear so pleasing and interesting, after pressing any key the game trys to connect with a DLC account, after that l cant create a new game nor do anything,its like my keyboard does not work at all and l cant find the mouse pointer. Please help me

    • green says:

      I have tried and tried these steps to install from dvd and it is not working it keeps trying to download. I can see the transfer times. The store knows about this and gave the ok to return it. I am not saying every store will. I bought this to try a new game and I am totally frustrated. This is a problem with all EA games.

  21. DC says:

    My download actually went straight to the disc, never prompted for download. However, I will agree to this post how troublesome this current direction is going. Ever since Steam it seems the success of online game buying is going to corporate heads… now they provide “fake discs” that actually install a product on your computer you never bought. If you refuse to install, they don’t give you your game… then of course, as it’s a disc opened you cannot return it.

    To me, this is a form of false advertising. For those that are serious gamers, I think it’s time we get MLAs/senators involved. It may look like a laughing matter, but seriously, when are we going to fight back? How far can these game companies go before they start breaking simple commercial laws?

  22. Ferraway says:

    Thank you darlin. I was souring at this stupid process too. EA has got a lot of work to do on this Origin program.

  23. Duke says:

    The Default process by EA is frustating, and after spending 3 hrs to download the game, when it didn’t asked for discs, it still says this is not a valid win 32 application..bla bla..still looking for solution.

  24. dawat601 says:

    origin just made this way more difficult then they should have a install should have been put in the main menu im in afghanistan deployed and it took me a day to figure this out.

  25. Nina K. says:

    Thank you so much for your valuable tip. Cursing in 3 languages and threatening to throw the keyboard out of the window were my only options so far…..Thank you thank you thank you!

  26. Ilie says:

    I just bought the game and can’t get past installing the Origin ‘Client’. It comes to something when a pirated version of a game will install and run easier and more efficiently than the legitimate version.
    Or so I’ve heard.
    What a waste of what little money I have to spend on games :/

  27. Aayush says:

    please moonlight girl help me as i played the earlier but when i uninstalled everything and again i wanted to install, i installed origin and when i wanted to login it says ” YOU MUST BE ONLINE FOR FIRST TIME LOGGING ” I WENT to origin site and got online. I don’t know why it is not letting me to login in origin software and thus preventing me to install the game “Mass effect 3”

  28. Dee says:

    So……I have purchased the mass effect trilogy set for my pc. I had a couple of troubles setting up mass effect, but i got there in the end. Now i’m trying to install mass effect 2 (it started to download the game, even though i had put the disk in :() which chewed up what little internet allowance i had. Then came accross this page which was very helpful, i decided to quit my download process which was at 60% to install it from the disc and now apparently my disc is damaged and it wont install past 38%. I am so frustrated, its not even funny. I dont even know if i’ll even want to install the third game if its this much hastle.

  29. Craig Robb says:

    I just got ME3 today and same problem. Tried your fix moongirl. Also called EA but they are blaming the BioWare department!

  30. Rochan Maheshwari says:

    Thank you so much. Much appreciated. But am I to understand that my ME2 profile will now not be uploaded onto ME3?

  31. Hey, I know this is an older article but thanks for posting it in the first place! You helped me get this installed with far less hassle. Have a good day.

  32. Mine started to install through origin. I was afraid it was downloading but it is actually just copying the data from the disc. Perhaps that is just a misunderstanding? Either that or the problem is fixed? I’m positive its not a download as it says its coming from the disc and it is going much faster than my internet download speed. Still taking its time though. It IS 10 gigs.

  33. Elspeth V. says:

    As I’m typing this reply, my retail copy of Mass Effect 3 is being installed from the discs rather than through an auto-download option… All thanks to you, moongirl!

    Back home in Washington state this wasn’t an issue. I remember installing it on my brother’s computer took about 45 minutes.
    My work required me to move to Belgium last march and lets just say that I didn’t expect that Origin’s estimated timeframe for the download would be over 5 hours! Luckily, I googled it…
    It’s surprising how big a difference this is. After this little incident, I’m convinced that it’s either a mistake by EA (as mentioned above) or – if it’s actually intended to work this way – an extremely bad case of judgement by EA. Taking things for granted is a short-sighted approach to distribution, considering how many people must’ve experienced this problem.

    It surely was an eye-opener for me and another lesson learned from experience. I can only hope EA (and other publishers for that matter) learned this lesson too.

    This information was very helpful; thank you, moongirl!


  34. This worked for me (from EA-support forums):

    I managed to make it install from disk. I would like to share the way i followed. Some steps may be unnecessary, but i dont have the patience to refine it.

    note that it was promting to active the game although it was activated successfully. And my “content ID”s are 71400 and 71404. i am using Windows 7 pro 64bit(genuine).

    (first two steps are normal steps. you re probably reading this because it just didnt want to install from disk.)
    01) run autorun.exe from DISK 1 as administrator.
    02) follow steps , activate your product code.

    normally it should directly jump to local installation process(download from DVD) but it did not. so you tried again and it said you should activate etc..

    03) exit origin if it is working.
    04) Copy everyhing from DISK-1 to a temp folder. copy “Mass Effect” from DISK-2 to the same folder.
    05) lunch origin.exe (as administrator).
    06) go to “settings -> general tab” and select “deletes all game installers”.(note that it supposedly delete all your previously downloaded installation files. so backup if nessesary.)
    07) start downloading Mass Effect 3 and download a little. (I downloaded 40MB)
    08) go to “game installation directory”(not game installers’ directory). (go to “settings -> general tab” and check the path under “Downloaded games” segment to learn the folder path)
    09) copy “installerdata.xml” from “\Mass Effect 3\__Installer\” to \Autorun\
    (press “copy and replace” when windows prompts)
    10) cancel your mass effect download. it should clear “\Mass Effect 3\” folder.
    11) run autorun.exe in your temp folder as administrator.(it asks language at the start, I selected english)

    it should directly jumpt to local installation process i.e download from DVD and install the game. it did for me, may or may not for you.

    I did not encounter any other problem. it patched the game afterwards.

    have a nice gameplay 😉

  35. Oguzhan says:

    Bergelo’s workaround worked for me, thanks mate! It doesn’t actually install from the disc, it installs from the location which I copied the disc contents, but who am I to complain, didn’t have to download in the end 🙂

  36. You’ll laugh at this, but the problem is STILL NOT FIXED as of July 2017. It stands to reason that it never will be. Origin has evolved a bit since 2012, and when I try to install my games from disk it keeps asking me for my game code… followed by the error message that this code has already been redeemed. Well of course it has, all three games are registered in my library. As such, the ONLY way to get them installed is by downloading them – even though I’ve got a perfectly fresh set of disks sitting here, bought for the very reason that I would NOT have to download the game. Had I wanted a download, I would have purchased the download. Which I did not.

    Four attempts to contact EA about this problem proved fruitless. Perhaps they’re thinking so far into the future that they’ve abolished supporting disks even five years ago.

    There is still a lively discussion over on the EA forum where someone has indeed found a solution to install this whole mess from disk. It involves starting then pausing the download, copying and extracting the files from disk manually into the Origin download folder, as a way to trick Origin into thinking it has downloaded the game. The whole process takes as long as just simply hitting “download” to begin with.

    Origin has got to be THE WORST piece of software engineering I have ever seen. If Mass Effect wasn’t such a good game, I would never go through such a rubbish user experience.

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