How to Fix the Windows Installer Service

By | April 26, 2017
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It’s pretty common for issues to arise while attempting to install, uninstall or update a program in Microsoft Windows. The following errors are what the end user may encounter while doing so:

  • Windows Installer Service cannot be accessed.
  • Windows Installer Service could not be started.
  • Windows could not start Windows Installer Service on Local Computer: Error 5 – Access is denied.

This issue occurs so often that Microsoft went ahead and created a special troubleshooter for it, aimed specifically at rectifying this problem. The end user needs only download and run Fixit 2438651 to fix it.

That said if the Fixit is unable to repair the Windows Installer Service then you can attempt to fix it yourself. Before you can do that, you will first need to determine whether or not the service is functioning, disabled and registered.

Before you start the following steps, it’s recommended that you close all your programs, to prevent them from interfering with the process. Once you have carried out all of the steps below, you should then attempt to install the program you were initially having problems with.

The first thing you’ll need to do is determine whether the Windows Installer engine is functioning:

1. First, you will need to boot into your computer with a user profile that has administrative rights.

2. Then press Windows Key + R, to open the Run Command Box and type cmd into it and click on OK.

3. Once Command Prompt loads up, type MSIexec and press Enter.

If the Windows Installer engine is working as it should, then a Windows Installer applet should appear, displaying no error messages within it. If your Windows Installer version is lower than 3 then it’s recommended you download a more up-to-date one; For Windows 7/8/8.1/10 users, its version 5.

Next, you will need to ensure the Windows Installer engine has been enabled:

1. First, boot into your computer with that administrative user profile.

2. Then press Windows Key + R, to open the Run Command Box and type Services.msc into it and click on OK.

3. This will load up Services, from here, locate Windows Installer and double click on it.

4. This will load up the Windows Installer Properties page, from here, verify the Startup Type, if it’s set to Disabled, change it to Manual and click on OK.

5. Once you have done that, right click on Windows Installer and select Start.

Note: Windows Installer should start without any hiccups, however in the event that it does display an error, make sure you take note of it, for future references.

The last step is to register the Windows Installer engine. The instructions on how to do this, varies, depending on whether or not you have a 32-bit or 64-bit operating system.

Anyway, for 64-bit users, you should do the following:

1. First, you will need to boot into your computer (with administrative access).

2. Then press Windows Key + R (opening the Run Command Box), type cmd and click on OK.

3. The next step for 64-bit Windows users is to type each command line, followed by an Enter.

%windir%\system32\msiexec.exe /unregister
%windir%\system32\msiexec.exe /regserver
%windir%\syswow64\msiexec.exe /unregister
%windir%\syswow64\msiexec.exe /regserver

Once you have finished typing all of the following commands, type Exit and press Enter.

This will close Command Prompt; the last step will be for you to restart your computer. Once the computer finishes restarting; you can/should attempt to install the program again.

For 32-bit Windows Users

To repair the Windows Installer on a 32-bit operating system, the end user will need to open Command Prompt, using the instructions above. Then type the command lines below, followed by Enter.

msiexec /unregister
msiexec /regserver

Once you’ve done that, close Command Prompt, by typing Exit followed by Enter. Then reboot your computer and the problem should be resolved.

Reinstall Windows

If after attempting all of the instructions above, the operating system still fail to install the application in question, then you should consider a reinstallation of Windows.

In order to do this, you will need your original Windows CD, simply place it into your CD ROM Drive and follow the onscreen instructions specifically for a Repair Installation. That way, once the install has finished, it will retain all of your personal files.

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