Visual Studio 2010 Service Pack 1 installing for over 2 hours could be a sign of a problem

Visual Studio 2010 Service Pack 1 installing for over 2 hours could be a sign of a problem

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On average customers are experience ~45 minute installs for Visual Studio 2010 SP1. Based on machine performance, even seeing install times of a little over an hour isn’t unexpected. But if VS2010 SP1 is taking more than a couple hours to install, there could be a problem and in the case described below requires user action.

Description of the issue

If Visual Studio 2010 SP1 is taking more than a couple of hours to install, it may be stuck in a loop waiting for the user to cancel the current operation. To determine if this is the case,

  1. Click on the Start menu and click Run.
  2. Type “cmd.exe” (without quotes) and click OK.
  3. In the command prompt, type “cd %TEMP%” and press Enter.
  4. Type “dir HFI*.tmp.html”  and press Enter.
  5. If a file was found, type “start filename” with the file name from step 4 and press Enter.
  6. Search the file for the text, “WM_ACTIVATEAPP: Focus stealer's windows WAS visible, NOT taking back focus”.

If you find that text in the temporary log file, please see the workaround below.

If the temporary log file was not found or you do not see this text, perhaps wait a while longer or reply below with the last few lines of the log file.

How to work around this issue

If you find the text in the steps above,

  1. Click the Cancel button. This may take a short time and then SP1 will rollback.
  2. After rollback completes, reboot your machine.
  3. After logging in, install Visual Studio 2010 SP1 again.

If the workaround does not work, please comment below or through various other support options described here.

Leave a Comment
  • Please add 3 and 3 and type the answer here:
  • Post
  • @John, do you have the symptom described in this blog post?

  • How long is rollback of SP1 supposed to take? The installation was stuck so I did a cancel and though the dialogue shows rolling back, the progress bar shows no change.

  • @Stuck, it can take almost as long as install since it's actually copying RTM bits back to where they were. It would be less if the patch were reapplied multiple times, which is something we do automatically to a limited point if the patch fails for certain transient errors (like hard locks in the GAC). Also make sure there isn't a prompt for source perhaps hidden behind another, blocking as it waits for input. If the patches succeeded but a package after the patches failed, the "rollback" actually uninstalls the patches which can prompt for source.

  • Hey,

    For those who've gotten the situation where the install just hangs and if you open the log file (HFI*.tmp.html in your %TEMP% folder) it's stuck on something like "Wait for Item (<random file>) to be available.

    I don't know if this helps anyone but I've found that if you open your process explorer and end your msiexec.exe processes. After a couple of second a new one (or in my case two) will pop up that starts actually using CPU and then when you check your log again, it should've continued. I had to do this a few times through my install.

    Hope that helps!

  • my first install took a little over an hour...but it ran amazing on my netbook....i recently upgraded to win 7 pro... install is coming up on 20 minutes ...a long wait is expected

  • When I find the file you are talking about and enter the "start" command, the cmd prompt tells me "The process cannot access the file because it is being used by another process."  How am I supposed to tell if I'm having the described problem?

  • @Zach, if the file is very large (say, 100MB or greater) it's likely you have the problem.

  • For me following step 5, that is to open the file "start filename" said the file is being used by another process, but it broke the loop in the installer. Thanks your blog post helped a lot... :)

  • A little late to the table, but this information may be helpful to you all.

    Visual Studio 2010 SP1's constantly frozen progress bar is unhelpful.  You can however get a much better understanding of what the installer is doing by launching the Resource Monitor in Windows 7 (launch Task Manager, click Performance tab, click Resource Monitor) and then select the Disk tab.  This will show you which files are being written when.  You will get a better understanding of how screwed up the installer is.

    Poor user interface design, Microsoft.  Don't leave progress meters stuck for minutes at a time.  You guys should know this already.

  • Anybody found a solution for this? I've now had it fail twice, once while running overnight. So I've got a multi GB log file of this:

    Warning 1946.Property 'System.AppUserModel.ExcludeFromShowInNewInstall' for shortcut 'Manage Help Settings - ENU.lnk' could not be set

    Quite possibly the worst setup experience ever put out by Microsoft.

  • I'm having this problem, and trying again doesn't fix it because it just breaks again. Here's the error:

    Warning 1946.Property 'System.AppUserModel.ExcludeFromShowInNewInstall' for shortcut 'Manage Help Settings - ENU.lnk' could not be set

    Pretty lame that this is still broken almost a year later.

  • @Tridus, do you have Visual Studio pinned to the taskbar? If so, please unpin it. Many users have had success with this workaround.

  • My previous post is now lapsed. While looking at other topics of your blog I once again tried to reinstall VS SP1 after I renamed the Config.Msi folder and created a new one with full access for all users. This worked perfectly! Thank you!

  • I had a different but similar problem.  The log file indicated it had trouble setting up the short cut for Visual Studio Command Prompt.  It turned out the COMSPEC environment variable was incorrect.  Not so much as incorrect, as different from what the installer expected.  It was modified to append a path for Ruby on the end -- I cancelled out of the install, and killed the roll back.  I set the comspec to simply c:\windows\system32\cmd.exe.  I then reinstalled the sp -- it let me re-apply the SP nicely, and succeeded.

  • I have two files when I run C:\Users\Bill\AppData\Local\Temp>dir HFI*.tmp.html

    995,007,234 HFI1A67.tmp.html

    255,480,710 HFI4CE3.tmp.html

    tried to run the latest one (on the bottom) and it says:  The process cannot access the file because it is being used by another process.

    How do I go about this?  Delete them both and wait for another hour of downloading?  Kill the over an hour process and run one of those?  the rollback is taking longer than the install....I have had to kill it several times in task manager.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.



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