Aaron Stebner's WebLog

Thoughts about setup and deployment issues, WiX, XNA, the .NET Framework and Visual Studio

Help me help you if you have setup bugs

Help me help you if you have setup bugs

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I've gotten some email questions from customers about setup failures that they've seen on their computers.  Some of them are 1935 errors that match some of the previous blog posts I've written, some are .NET Framework errors, and some are general problems getting some program installed.

I cannot guarantee that I will be able to help solve all setup-related problems you may encounter, but I can guarantee that I will take a look and try to help if I can.  In order to do so I would like to ask that you try to gather some detailed information and send it to me if you contact me via email to aid in troubleshooting and debugging:

  1. As much detail about the error message as possible, including the full text of any error messages.
  2. Any troubleshooting steps that you have already tried, including links to any of my other blog posts that you've already tried.
  3. Most importantly - log files from the setup if at all possible.  You can zip and upload log files to a file server of your choice and include a link to the log files when you contact me.  My preference is http://skydrive.live.com because it is free, gives you a lot of storage space, and doesn't contain annoying ads to try to get you to pay for "premium" services like faster download speeds.

Most setups are Windows Installer MSIs.  For those products, you can enable verbose logging by setting a couple of registry values and then reproducing the problem.  Here are a set of steps you can use to gather a Windows Installer verbose log file:

Important note - some MSI-based setups, including the .NET Framework 2.0, 3.0, 3.5 and higher, will not create log files named %temp%\msi*.log even if using the instructions listed below.  Please see this blog post for more details about why that is the case and also for a list of some products that I know of that use different log file creation logic and the locations of the log files that they create.

  1. If you are running Windows XP or older:  Click on the Start menu, choose Run, type cmd and click OK
  2. If you are running Windows Vista or newer:  Click on the Start menu, choose All Programs, then Accessories, then right-click on the item named Command prompt and choose Run as administrator
  3. Copy this command into the cmd prompt and press enter to run it:  reg add "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Installer" /v Debug /t REG_DWORD /d 7 /f 
  4. Copy this command into the cmd prompt and press enter to run it:  reg add "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Installer" /v Logging /t REG_SZ /d voicewarmupx! /f
  5. Re-run the setup and let it fail one more time
  6. Go to your temporary folder (go to the Start menu, choose Run, and type %temp%)
  7. Locate a file named msi*.log (where * is a randomly generated set of letters and numbers)
  8. Zip the msi*.log file (because it tends to be very large but since it is text it compresses nicely)
  9. Run this command in the cmd prompt:  reg delete "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Installer" /v Debug /f
  10. Run this command in the cmd prompt:  reg delete "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Installer" /v Logging /f
  11. Upload the zipped log files to a file server such as http://skydrive.live.com

<update date="3/27/2007"> Changed steps to enable/disable verbose logging to not require downloading .reg files from my file server </update>

<update date="2/27/2008"> Added a link to a new blog post with information about some products that create their own verbose log files and therefore do not create %temp%\msi*.log, even when the verbose logging policy is enabled on the system. </update>

<update date="12/2/2010"> Added information about uploading log files to http://skydrive.live.com. </update>

<update date="11/17/2011"> Added clarifications to steps 2 and 3 to indicate that the commands need to be run separately, not as a single command. Also added a note about running as administrator on Windows Vista or later. </update>


  • Hi William - I would suggest trying to use the MSI Cleanup Utility to forcibly uninstall the program that is popping up tihs error message asking for the original MSI file in the temp directory (I can't tell from your description whether the broken program is Adobe or Windows Journal Viewer from your description above).

    You can find the MSI Cleanup Utility at http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;290301.

    After using this tool to uninstall, you should be able to install the product again and hopefully this infinite repair loop will be broken and things will work correctly.

    Let me know how it goes for you please. Also, thanks for your feedback on my blog, it is comments like this that keep me going :-)
  • sorry.mine is error 1603 also.but when i was checking my PC,the error also was said that cannot access the net work error 1603.what can i do???
  • After saving msidebug.reg it is saved as a note pad file and there is no option to add it to the reg - I have not worked with regedit in a long time and do not want to make a mistake editing what to do
  • Hi Jody - I have to save the files as text files because my file server will not allow me to save files with the .reg extension. You will need to save the file to your desktop and then rename it from msidebug.reg.txt to msidebug.reg. After you rename it, you will be able to double-click on it and add it to your registry.
  • The Debug logfile on the XP SP2 workstation I was troubleshooting was WIXTEXT.log instead of MSIxxxx.log. Turned out to be some issue with a German Office XP language pack causing issues with other MSI installed software after the German Office 2003 language pack was installed.
  • j# redistributlable install error just installing Vs net 2003
  • Hi Alma - Can you please gather the J# log files listed at http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/articles/447004.aspx and send them to me at Aaron.Stebner (at) microsoft (dot) com so I can try to take a look and see if I can figure out how to fix this issue on your system?
  • Hi

    Setup hangs about 80% through "Loading installation files"

    You can retrieve my log file here:

  • Hi Johnywhy - I took a look at the log file and I can't find anything in there to indicate why setup is hanging like that.  You are entited to a free technical support case for setup-related issues such as this, so I would suggest contacting Microsoft technical support for further troubleshooting assistance.  I'm sorry I'm not able to be more helpful here.
  • hi
    i checked microsoft online support, and only the full paid versions are listed as eligible for support.

  • I received a mail from a customer this week regarding an installation failure that proved to be fairly...
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  • To collect the logs please follow the steps found on aaronste’s blog: http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/archive/2005/03/29/help-me-help-you-if-you-have-setup-bugs.asp

  • To collect the logs please follow the steps found on aaronste’s blog: http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/archive/2005/03/29/help-me-help-you-if-you-have-setup-bugs.asp

  • Recently I started rebuilding my personal laptop and made the decision to see whether I could get away

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