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

Rate This
  • Comments 74

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>


  • I don't have a particular issue at the moment, but the most famous setup issue I have seen is the conflict between Acrobat Reader and Windows Journal Viewer such that launching Acrobat Reader triggers a reinstallation of Windows Journal Viewer. When the Journal Viewer was installed via Windows Update instead of separate download, this leads to a near infinite loop since the installation sources are unavailable. If you can shed detailed light on that issue, that'd be great.
  • This type of reinstallation is a Windows Installer feature known as resiliency. Basically it has detected that some part of Windows Journal Viewer is broken and triggers a repair to fix it.

    This is very similar to a situation I described in a post a while back regarding the .NET Framework - http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/archive/2004/08/24/219764.aspx.

    Just like Windows Journal Viewer, the .NET Framework is packaged as a self-extracting EXE that you install from the %temp% folder, and that the source location is deleted for after setup completes. So if a resiliency repair is triggered, the installation source is unavailable.

    I describe how to locate the installation source for the .NET Framework in my previous post. For other products such as Windows Journal Viewer, you would need to re-download the setup package and save it to your machine and then figure out what command line switches to use to extract it to a local folder. Then you should be able to browse to that folder if a resiliency repair happens, and hopefully the repair will fix the issue.

    I say "hopefully" because I have seen cases like this where the repair did not fix the underlying issue for one reason or another, and the machine was essentially stuck in this state. This happened to me recently - I have Windows Messenger since I am running Windows XP SP2, but then I also installed the MSN Messenger 7.0 beta. One of the recent critical updates tried to patch Windows Messenger but did not work correctly because I also had MSN Messenger installed. So I eventually found a Windows Messenger repair getting kicked off every time I tried to send an IM. I couldn't get it fixed by repairing Windows Messenger so I eventually had to uninstall both and then reinstall them.

  • I got a question from a customer who is trying to use the instructions in this blog post to perform a...
  • The link http://astebner.sts.winisp.net/Tools/msidebug.reg.txt is broken 8^(
  • The following log files are produced during Visual Studio .NET 2003, .NET Framework 1.1 and J# redistributable...
  • The following log files are produced during Visual Studio .NET 2002 and .NET Framework 1.0 setup
  • The Product Feedback web site can be used to report bugs in Visual Studio, the .NET Framework and other...
  • Microsoft has created what I think is a really cool mechanism for customers to report bugs and suggestions...
  • Hi,

    I am having problems trying to install Nokia PC Suite, I receive the following error:
    Error 1935
    An error occurred during the installation of assemly 'Microsoft.msxmL2, publickeytoken='6bd6b9abf345378f".version="4.20.9818.0" type="win32" processor architechture ="x86" Please refer to help and support for more information. HRESULT: 0x80070002

    Following this is get a nokia window pop up saying: Rolling back action

    Followed by:
    Error 1603 - fatal error during installation; Consult windows installer help msi.chm or MSDN.

    I have tried to follow your instructions above but I seem to fail on step one. I don't get an option to select YES to add the keys to the registry. Please help!!

  • Abi - can you please try the workarounds for this error that are listed at http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/archive/2005/02/01/364375.aspx and see if any of them resolve the issue that you are seeing?
  • I had the same problem. Everything went well after I turned off my spyware shield and firewall.
  • Hi,
    I am a student beginning my final year dissertation and i am having trouble trying to install Visual Studio .Net 2003 on my NEW pc at home. I have taken a picture of the setup failed screen and the problems it has trying to find log files etc. I have also followed your steps to create a log of the errors when i try to reinstall it. I am just wondering if there is anyy wayi can send the log files to you to have a look at.Thanks in advance
  • my email address is tadhg88@gmail.com by the way..... thanks again
  • Hi Tim - I will contact you via email so you can send me your log files. I'm sorry you're running into this problem....
  • I am caught in an infinite loop vortex of some sort, I have tried everything I can to fix my Adobe/Windows Journal Viewer problem and nothing works. I ALWAYS get the same error message even when I point the installer to the MSI file installed to a temp folder, can't fix, can't uninstall can't stand this any longer. Asside from scratching my whole HD, and dealing with Microsoft again about my keys, do you have any suggestions? BTW, your information has been, thus far, the BEST I have found on the entire internet. My compliments to you.
Page 1 of 5 (74 items) 12345
Leave a Comment
  • Please add 3 and 5 and type the answer here:
  • Post