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Windows Installer 3.1 is available again (and why was it gone for a while?)

Windows Installer 3.1 is available again (and why was it gone for a while?)

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The redistributable package for installing Windows Installer 3.1 is available for download again on the Microsoft Download Center.  It was available briefly a few weeks ago and was included on Windows Update but then was removed, and finally got re-posted at the end of last week.  You can find documentation about Windows Installer 3.1 in this KB article.

Windows Installer 3.1 was removed from the Download Center and Windows Update in order to fix the issue described in this KB article.  When trying to install a product that tries to update files that are protected by Windows File Protection, Windows Installer will display an error dialog with error code 1931 and a message stating that Windows Installer cannot update the file because it is protected by Windows.  This dialog has an OK button and a Cancel button with Cancel being the default.  Pressing Cancel will roll back the installation and pressing OK will cause the installation to skip the file in question and continue without updating it.  In previous versions of Windows Installer, running setup in silent mode would cause the OK action to be taken on behalf of the user.  However, in the original Windows Installer 3.1 release, this behavior was changed to cause the Cancel action to be taken on behalf of the user, which caused products that used to install correctly to cancel and roll back instead.  The re-posted Windows Installer 3.1 reverted this behavior back to what was seen in previous versions so that silent installs will default to the OK action if 1931 errors are encountered.

In most cases, it should be possible to author an MSI to avoid 1931 errors from ever appearing when trying to install a product.  Components that contain files that are under Windows File Protection on certain operating systems can be authored with a condition that will prevent Windows Installer from trying to install them on those OS's.  This is described in the workarounds in the KB article describing the bug that caused Windows Installer 3.1 to be unposted.  Unfortunately, that workaround only works for a setup author who fully knows all of the supported OS's for their products - even into the future.  I have seen cases where products ship with no known issues with installing files under Windows File Protection but then a later version of Windows starts protecting new files and introduces 1931 errors for applications that shipped in the past.

 

  • So will the reposted package be also available on Windows Update and will it be automatically pushed to our systems through Auto-Update or do I have to go and find it on the Download Center and re-install it. I hope that I will not need to do that since many users would have already installed the previous package from Windows Update and unless they are reading the news and blogs carefully they would not have known about the release.
  • I believe that Windows Installer 3.1 v2 will be posted to Windows Update like it was before it was removed and rereleased. I verified that it will install correctly even if you have the version installed that was posted and then removed from the Microsoft Download Center and WU a couple of weeks ago.
  • I received confirmation from folks I know on the Windows Installer team that Windows Installer 3.1 v2 will be available as a high priority update on Windows Update very soon. It is in the process of being published but I'm not sure what the exact process and timeline required to propagate bits to Windows Update. I checked on one of my computers that does not yet have Windows Installer 3.1 v2 and it is not yet being offered via Windows Update on that machine, so I assume the propagation is not yet complete :-)
  • Hello:

    I have been trying to install an application and have obtained fatal installation error 1603. I contacted microsoft's helpline. After an hour of trials to fix the problem, the conclusion was that this is a third party problem associated with something called "installshield". I was advised to contact the company who constructed my computer, but still get back with the helpline to provide an upadate on what was recommended.

    I contacted the company who constructed my machine and was advised to download windows installer 3.1 I downloaded and installed what I hope was the most current version of windows 3.1. After the installation, and reboot, I am still obtaining the same fatal error 1603 when trying to install my software. I don't know what to do...Can someone offer a solution ?

    Thanks in advance...
    my email is davisjm@lahc.edu
  • Hi Jerry, I will contact you via email, but if you see this first, I would like to ask you to try the steps located at http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/archive/2005/03/29/403575.aspx to generate a verbose log file and then send it to me so I can debug this issue further. Unfortunately 1603 is a generic failure error that Windows Installer returns for a variety of different error cases, so we need the verbose log to try to narrow it down further.
  • I’ve encountered a problem installing an application(s) on a new Windows 2003 Server (Standard Addition). The server is a production server that has been running on a client’s network for almost a month. I wonder if the problem is caused by the latest version of Microsoft’s installer and/or WFP.

    I would like to mail you the detailed info as you asked for in the link above.

  • I’ve encountered a problem installing an application(s) on a new Windows 2003 Server (Standard Addition). The server is a production server that has been running on a client’s network for almost a month. I wonder if the problem is caused by the latest version of Microsoft’s installer and/or WFP.

    I have gathered, and would like to mail you the detailed info as you asked for in the link above.

    My E-Mail is kk@sourcecomputer.net
  • Ok everytime i install this windows installer 3.1 all my pc games go to 100% computer usage. does anyone know why that is?
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