Aaron Stebner's WebLog

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

Visual Studio setup fails to launch when SAP GUI client is installed

Visual Studio setup fails to launch when SAP GUI client is installed

  • Comments 21

I have heard of a few cases where Visual Studio .NET 2002, 2003 or 2005 setup fails after launching the main setup.exe launcher screen and clicking on the first link to start the setup process.  The error dialog that appears has the title Setup Initialization Error and an error string that looks something like the following:

Setup cannot access the required initialization file 'C:\PROGRA~1\SAP\FRONTEND\SAPGUI\FILC\ODBC\AUNCHER="C:\DOCUME~1\USERNAME\LOCALS~1\TEMP\"'.

There is a compatibility issue that prevents Visual Studio setup from being able to copy itself to the %temp% directory and relaunch itself if the SAP GUI client application is installed on the computer.  The telltale indication that you've hit this problem is the \SAP\FRONTEND\SAPGUI\ information in the path listed in the error dialog during VS setup.

As a workaround, you can temporarily uninstall the SAP GUI client, install Visual Studio and then re-install the SAP GUI client if needed.


  • Over the last few years I have run into so many MSI setup issues that were caused by SAP Gui.

    One customer was unable to install many software products they had bought because of MSI issues caused by SAP Gui. I spent an entire day editing the registy to find and fix the issues caused by SAP Gui, the customer then had to deploy the fixes (they had over 3000 PC's at the time, a significant number were running the SAP Gui).

    Needless to say the customer was extremly happy that things worked after my fixes and we got the sale, but SAP was such a mission critical program to them that had I not fixed it then employees would not have benifited from the other software.

    Those SAP Gui setup guys and girls should get their act together.
  • I had the same problem error and found a workaround by renaming the registry entry HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths\<b>setup.exe</b> to something else e.g. <b>sapgui_filc_odbc_setup.exe</b>.

    After this I could update my Visual Studio 2003 setup without the need to reinstall the SAP GUI client.
  • Thanks Sander - worked for me
  • Worked for me too, does it matter if I leave the setup.exe entry that way permenently?
  • Thanks a lot, Sander! This information just saved me hours of work...
  • Also worked for me. Thanks !!
  • Really great... It works for me too... Great discovery dear :)
  • thanks thanks thanks thanks :-)
    problem solved
  • Problem solved Thanks a lot .Really very great .

  • Excellent!
  • Tanks a lot! Great!
  • Solved!


  • works for me too... thanks for the time saver
  • Brilliant, Sander.  Saved me hours.
  • All Hail Sander!!!

    Thanks a ton.
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