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Using Windows Installer for Windows 7 and Fixing Problems

written by: Donna Buenaventura•edited by: Bill Fulks•updated: 2/8/2011

Learn how to fix Windows installer related problems in Windows 7.

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    Windows Installer in Windows 7

    Windows Installer is the built-in installation software in Windows. Many software developers use the Windows installer to provide installation and an uninstaller of their programs. They can also customize the installer package to stop, start and delete services that are associated with their software. This is why we can see some programs will immediately start the service when installing software or stopping the service during the uninstall or upgrade process of a software.

    To determine the version of Windows installer in Windows, browse to the C:\Windows\System32 folder. Locate msiexec.exe and then hover the mouse over the filename to display the version number. Windows 7 has Windows Installer version 5.0 but it is causing problems for some customers. Below are some of the error messages with possible fixes.

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    Windows Installer Error Messages

    When you install or uninstall a software, you may see one of the following error messages regarding Windows installer:

    • Windows Installer has stopped working.
    • The Windows Installer Service could not be accessed.
    • Windows Installer Service couldn’t be started.
    • Could not start the Windows Installer service on Local Computer. Error 5: Access is denied.

    When you received one of the above error messages, you may also see a dialogue box to report the problem to Microsoft.

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    Fixing Windows Installer for Windows 7

    If any of the above error messages are displayed in Windows 7 when installing, removing or upgrading a program that uses Windows installer, you can try fixing the problem yourself. Use any of the methods below to fix Windows Installer problems.

    Method I: Modify the DisabledSessions registry key.

    Note that this method requires using the registry editor in Windows. Modifying the registry can cause problems to Windows. Backup the registry before making any changes.

    • Click Start > Run and then type regedit.exe. Hit the OK button to open the registry editor.
    • In registry editor, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SoftwareMicrosoft\SQMClient\Windows\DisabledSessions
    • In the right pane, delete all registry string data except the default string. The image below displays what you should see after deleting the registry strings for the DisabledSessions key. Note: Do not delete anything at the left pane and do not delete the DisabledSessions key.Fix for Windows Installer for Windows 7 
    • Close the registry editor. The Windows installer error message should be fixed.

    Method II: Turn-off Windows Customer Experience Improvement Program

    Note that this method requires access to Group Policy editor. Not all editions of Windows 7 have access to this console. Use the above method if you are using Windows 7 Home edition.

    • Click Start > Run and then type gpedit.msc. Hit the OK button to open Local Group Policy editor.
    • Navigate to the following branch: Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System > Internet Communication Management > Internet Communication settings.
    • In the right pane, double-click Turn off Windows Customer Experience Improvement Program. By default, this particular group policy object is not configured which means it is not enabled or disabled.
    • Click Enable to turn off the Windows Customer Experience Improvement Program.Turn off CEIP to Fix Problems in Windows Installer for Windows 7 
    • Click Apply and OK and then close the group policy editor. The issue of Windows Installer for Windows 7 should be fixed.

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    Windows Installer Logs

    If the above solution will not help, locate the installation log of the software that you are trying to install. If you cannot locate the log file or the installer did not create a log, simply enable MSI logging. To enable Windows Installer logging, download and run Microsoft Fix it 50380.