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How to install Milestone XProtect Essential

Milestone XProtect Essential screenshot In this HOWTO, I’ll walk you through each step when installing Milestone XProtect Essential; from the initial email provided by our sales team which contains your Software Licence Code (SLC) and .lic license files, applying the license file, through to the point where you have your first camera installed, licensed, online and ready to go.

The process of installation is a bit long-winded (which I’m guessing is the reason you’re reading this in the first place), but you end up with a robust and feature-packed software installation. Put aside half an hour, grab a cuppa, settle in and let’s get started.

Let’s first clarify some of the terminology we have thrown at you already.

“What is an SLC?” and “What do I need a .lic file for?” We get asked this all the time. Simply, the SLC is your Software License Code, which validates your purchase via the Milestone website, and the .lic file is the file that you must import that licenses your installation. Both are required before installing XProtect Essential (or any of the other XProtect VMS variants such as Express, Professional, Enterprise or Corporate). Your SLC must be registered before you activate any devices.

Now that’s clear, let’s get on with the task in hand. You must first download the software and register online with Milestone to activate your SLC, which, if you purchased XProtect from our supply-only division Network Webcams, you will have received in an email shortly after placing your order.

To register your software, go here (opens in a new window/tab).

Once there select ‘New to the system?’ and create a new account by entering your email address. You will then be asked to input your password, name, address etc. Like so…

Milestone XProtect Essential installation 01

Once completed, hit submit. Your registration with the Milestone website is now complete – now it’s time to add your SLC. Your SLC must be registered with the Milestone website and linked to your account in order to continue installation. On the following page hit ‘main page’ and then log in with your details. Once logged in, you will see the following screen:

Milestone XProtect Essential installation 02

You will notice ‘Add SLC’ on the top right hand side – this is where we must add the SLC. Click this.

Milestone Xprotect registration

Input your SLC on the next page and hit Submit.

Your SLC is now tied to your online account and you should see all your licenses under ‘Current SLC’.

The next step then is to begin the actual software installation process. When you install the software make sure you have Administrator rights on the PC or server you’re working on. Users with standard rights can’t install XProtect. Other standard installation procedures apply such as making sure other software is shut down before install. We’ve all installed software when we’ve got lots of other programs running, but in this case we really do recommend starting the install procedure with a clean slate if possible – a freshly booted machine is good.

Head over to the Milestone downloads page (opens in new window/tab) and look for your version of the software (Milestone XProtect is for Microsoft Windows-only). The easiest way to do this is to select your version from the dropdown box under the heading ‘Product’ as shown.

Milestone XProtect downloads page

Once you have your version selected you will see the following list:

Milestone XProtect download page filtered screenshot

You will need the software file named ‘XProtect Essential’ – this is the software to be installed on your computer that is going to act as your Milestone server. You could also download the Smart Client software for viewing your footage and exporting archived footage (if you want to install this on a different machine – the main install includes the Smart Client) after the management application is installed and your cameras are running.

Another handy tip at this point is to grab the latest XProtect Device Pack. This contains all the latest supported cameras and hardware and also occasionally adds extra features to existing cameras. Navigate to the latest device pack by using the ‘Type’ drop down box next to ‘Product’ and select ‘Device Packs’ as shown.

XProtect Device Pack download screenshot

Now, if all has gone to plan you should have your online account, the Milestone XProtect software, Smart Client and the latest device pack – everything you need. The next step is to install the software.

Locate the file named ‘MilestoneXprotectEssentiallsInstaller.exe’ and double click this. The Installer will now begin. The first window you will be greeted with is the language selection screen. Select your desired language and hit continue.

Milestone XProtect installer screenshot

The next window lets you locate your .lic file (which was sent via email) and to import it (tip: If you are installing before having received your .lic file then you can install a trial and then later import your .lic file).

Milestone XProtect installer screenshot 2

If you haven’t already, go to your email and save your .lic file onto your computer. Now select browse and locate the file on your computer, once located, click the file and hit open.

Milestone XProtect installer screenshot 3

You will now see that the license file path is displayed.

Milestone xprotect installer screenshot 4

Once done hit ‘Continue’. Next you will see the Milestone license agreement which you must accept.

Milestone Xprotect installer screenshot 5

Once you have read through this, tick to agree to the terms and hit continue. You will notice that a second non-compulsory option is available. Select this if you are happy for Milestone to gather non-sensitive information relating to your system.

Continuing along, you are prompted with the ‘installation type’ screen. You can select Typical or Custom. Typical is fine for most installations and anything that is customisable is also available to edit later even if using the Typical installation option. For this demonstration we will use typical. Click this to continue.

Milestone - select installation type

Milestone checking installation screenshot

Milestone XProtect is installing - screenshot

The installer will now install all of the required components onto your machine. Once complete it will list them helpfully for you. As shown below.

Installed components

Hit ‘Close’ to finish the setup.


You now have your online account and the software installed. Take a quick loo break, roll up your sleeves and get stuck into adding a first camera to your newly installed software.

The installation should have copied two shortcuts onto your desktop – one for the management application and one for the Smart Client (not covered here).

Installed software icons

Locate those and double click the Milestone XProtect Management software icon. This will boot up the configuration hub of XProtect, where you will add cameras etc.

Milestone management application screenshot

The first thing you need to do then is add a camera to your system. The easiest way to do this is to select ‘Wizards’, then hit the first option ‘Add Hardware Devices…’.

Add hardware device screenshot

You will then see the window shown below.

Add hardware devices

The Express option fast-tracks things and makes life easier but I would recommend using either Advanced or Manual. Advanced allows you to select cameras within a certain IP address range for example – so it may be handy when adding several cameras at once. Manual, however, requires you to input the camera IP address information manually, so for small installations this is what I would recommend using and this is the method I will use.

Below you will find an example of a camera being added using the manual method. You need to specify the camera’s IP address, port number, username and password at this point, along with the hardware driver (tip: if you cannot find your camera on the hardware driver list, ensure you have the latest device pack). Also, if your camera’s username is present in the list please select it as opposed to typing it in (some camera models will require a very specific username be used).

Add hardware devices screehsot

Once you have input all the details tick the ‘Use’ box on the left side and hit ‘Next’. The following screen confirms what you have added and also allows you to give a friendly name to the camera by selecting the dropdown list and changing the format to [Custom text] – [Device type] + [Number] if desired.

Add hardware device screenshot 3

You can see below that I have named my camera ‘Office Camera’. When you have decided on your format hit finish to complete the setup of this first camera.

Add hardware devices screenshot 4

Now we’ve added a camera, go to ’Hardware Devices’ in the main menu tree and you will see it listed underneath. You’ll immediately notice that the license is displayed in red and shows 30 days grace – shown below. This is because you have not yet licensed this camera yet.

Add hardware device - 30 days grace

To activate your newly installed camera you need to authenticate it online. To do this, go to ‘File’ and select ‘Activate License Online’. There is also a process for activating licenses offline.

Activate license online

You will then be prompted with the following window showing the device name, MAC address, used licenses and Request [number of] Licenses fields. The only thing that you may need to change at this point is the amount of licenses you want to request for the device – as some devices have multiple live views and require multiple device licenses.

Specify device license counts

Once you have determined how many you require, hit ok. The following window requires a username and password. Input the account details for the online account you created earlier and hit ‘Activate’.

Activation start screen

Activation in progress

Your software will now contact the Milestone servers and deduct the amount of requested licenses from your SLC. Once this has been done you can check your camera under hardware devices and you will now find it has been marked ‘Licensed’.

Device is now licensed screenshot

That’s it! You have now added your first camera to Milestone XProtect Essential, and your camera and software are fully licensed. I hope this has demystified the process a little. Don’t forget though, if you’ve bought your software from Network Webcams and you run into trouble, just give our support team a call and we’ll talk you through the process if necessary. Just have your order ID ready…

Network Webcams / NW Systems Group is a Milestone Advanced Certified Partner. More info on Milestone XProtect VMS software.

Published on October 15th, 2012 by Kevin Bowyer

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