MSI: Windows Installer Service Issues
Published Mar 15 2019 08:25 PM 1,648 Views
First published on TECHNET on Apr 10, 2009


Description: Microsoft Windows Installer Service is an installation and configuration service included in Windows.  It allows you to add, modify, and remove applications provided as Windows Installer (*.msi) packages. Note, this service is set to Manual by default, and only starts when needed (On-Demand).

Scoping the Issue: First, determine the exact symptoms you are experiencing. Is the service failing to start?  Does it start-up, and then stop?  Each of these requires different troubleshooting steps to be carried out.

For Windows Installer service start-up failures, check the Event logs for any Errors or Warnings.  You should note any events with the Source of MsiInstaller.  These will provide valuable clues as to why the service is failing to start.

If the Windows Installer service appears to start fine, but then stops a few seconds later, then we could be looking at a configuration problem or something crashing the MSIEXEC.EXE process.  Capturing a dump file of the process terminating may be required.

Data Gathering: In all instances, collecting either MPS Reports with the General, Internet and Networking, Business Networks and Server Components diagnostics, or a Performance-oriented MSDT manifest must be done.  Additional data required may include the following:

  • If the service fails to start, then use Process Monitor to gather a log while trying to start the Windows Installer service.

  • If the service starts, then stops soon after, we may need to capture a dump (or a number of dumps) of the service while it is running.  You can do this by running ADPLUS.VBS from the Windows Debugging Tools in crash mode or running DebugDiag to monitor the service.  Refer to our blog post on Capturing Application Crash Dumps for more information.

  • We’ll also need to identify what version of the Windows Installer running on your machine.  To capture this information, click on Start, Run and then run MSIEXEC.EXE.  This will bring up the Windows Installer information box (shown below).  The version number is on the first line:

Troubleshooting / Resolution: There are several steps that you can take:

  • Review the Event Logs for errors, and address where possible

  • Review the Process Monitor logs – if there are “Access Denied” errors, you may have an issue with permissions.  Before resetting or altering permissions, contact Microsoft Product Support for assistance as unintended consequences may occur if you alter permissions incorrectly

  • If you are comfortable with debugging, review the dump file(s) captured.  However, we strongly recommend opening a case with Microsoft Product Support for assistance.

Additional Resources:

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