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If you get the "Window Installer, Preparing to install" each time you boot Windows, there are a couple of resources to check out.

Why do I get "Window Installer, Preparing to install" each time I boot Windows?

In a nutshell, it depends. Typically it's an artifact from a previous install that didn't complete. But there are a couple of resources that might help:

How do I stop Windows Installer from loading? is a thread out on the discussion board that covers the topic. Windows Installer Appears Every Time I Start an Application is a related article, also on

Article C2094 - July 3, 2004 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

August 26, 2004 9:42 AM

I do NOT recommend doing that, for two reasons: system restore will probably restore what you just deleted, and hence you'll just be back where you started, and more importantly, msiexec.exe is the windows installer ... if actually deleted you'll no longer be able to install many software packages.

September 11, 2004 7:38 AM


wht u can do is stop the "windows installer"service from the services.msc from the START>RUN>services.msc and whenever u want to install any software u can start the service to automatic of manual

David G Beale
November 9, 2004 12:09 AM

I tried temporarily rubbing out the msiexec.exe file; didn't make any difference --- every program started has two popups of "preparing to install...."

Happened after restoring to a previous point, after loosing access to accounts in Outlook2000 after uninstalling Outlook2003 ("trial") using it's CD then re-installing Outlook2000 (which never worked properly again).

Thanks Microsoft; at least they offered for $50 to have a go at fixing the problem.....No Thanks!

David G Beale
November 9, 2004 12:19 AM

Also tried the steps in the Microsoft Article; but the effort made no difference; nothing to do with access...and the registry keys were already there as recommended.

XPPro SP2.

Mike Manley
March 25, 2005 10:17 PM

I had the same problem. Finally fixed it by installing the new windows installer. Go to the Microsoft site and search for "Windows Installer". You have to go through some pages and let them know that you really have a valid version of Windows installed, but when you finally answer all the questions, and verify your version of Windows, you can get the download. When I installed it, the install program couldn't stop the windows installer service, so it took a re-boot, but Office XP came off fine, and the prompts for "Preparing to install" stopped.

Bob Gandy
April 27, 2005 7:36 PM

Just recently upgraded from Scan Soft's PaperPort 8 to PaperPort 10. Everytime I turn my computer on, I get the Windows Installer Preparing to Install message. Then the message "please wait while Windows configures Scan Soft PaperPort 10". After that, it seems like every 20-30 minutes if I try to launch the program, the Windows Installer etc message pops up. Have installed the current verison of Windows Installer. Have uninstalled, removed, reinstalled, repaired, etc., so many times I've stopped counting! Have been working with tech support, but so far no solution. Help!!!!! Thanks!

April 28, 2005 7:14 PM

Unfortunately you'll have to get in touch with Scansoft for assistance.

July 26, 2005 1:03 PM

Thanks, vasav, for the START>RUN>services.msc advice! I had the problem of Widows Installer popping up every time I started an application, and this really worked!!! (I know, I am a blonde an stupid not knowing such things :D, but anywayz, thanks a lot!!!)

September 1, 2005 2:21 PM

I'm going to run System File Checker tonight and see if that helps. I'll post results.

BTW, when I try to run msinfo32.exe I get an error message about not being able to load the data because of a network problem. Even in Safe Mode without networking. I have checked the network and can't find anything wrong. Everything works fine. I wonder if the two problems are related?

September 7, 2005 9:32 AM

OK, I ran SFC, built a i386 folder in the root drive, now msinfo32 runs, but I still have the problem. I have managed to get it to a point where it only flashes on the screen momentarily when I open Windows Explorer or IE. Hmm. Wonder if it is Active X app trying load. In the event viewer, it shows an error for an app that fails to load, but the detailed info did not turn up any help at MS or on the net from a gooogle search. I have spent about 18 hours trying to solve this, and I am getting frustrated, so at this time I am just learning to live with it. Every thing works OK, it is just annoying. I'll probably stumble across the fix accidentaly some day.

September 9, 2005 6:26 AM

Finally found it. Ran HijackThis and noticed the following two entries:

URLSearchHook: SrchHook Class - {44F9B173-041C-4825-A9B9-D914BD9DCBB3} - blank (file missing)

URLSearchHook: (no name) - ~CFBFAE00-17A6-11D0-99CB-00C04FD64497} - (no file)

I instructed HijackThis to fix these two, which it does by resetting the registry value to the default value.

No more problem.

I don't know what caused this, probably a spyware program that did not get completely cleaned by my other software, but it is now fixed.

Hope this helps someone.

September 10, 2005 6:12 AM

Did a little more research and I now think the problem was caused by an incomplete uninstall of the Earthlink Total Access software.

September 15, 2005 3:44 PM

Not sure why the installer keeps starting but I have tried every thing. finally I just killed installer itself. Go to "Start"->,"Run", type "services.msc" and press "enter" Double click "Windows Installer" Go to Startup Type and check Disabled then apply, ok . This has stopped the problem but you will have to enable installer again if you are adding new software etc

September 16, 2005 7:28 AM

If you disable installer, and have selected the "automatic update" for Windows, it won't update. Have you run "Hijack This"?

October 18, 2005 2:24 PM

While I'm not a techie, it was pretty easy to figure out this problem started after a recent Windows update. The update erased all my icons for Word 2000 and attempted to replace them with the new trial Office 2003 pack. Also, Winpatrol notified me that Word 2003 was attempting to associate itself with all my Word 2000 docs. I did not allow it to do so. The next day everything seemed to be OK. However, the next evening, out of nowhere, I began to get the "Preparing to Install" message on my screen. However, msie.exe is not listed in my startup programs but after boot is listed in active tasks.Somehow, I think Microsoft screwed everything up by trying to force me to update MY SOFTWARE that I PURCHASED. As you can tell, that gripes me a great deal. Running the services.msc works fine, but it's a shame that Microsoft has to mess with our systems when the pretext is they are supposedly providing "security updates." Since I don't use I.E. or Outlook, am tempted to stay completely away from their "fixes." Of course, the first thing I did when I bought my computer was to disable "Microsoft Snoop," otherwise known as "Automatic Updates." I wonder if we uninstalled the 60-day trial pack if that would make a difference or just make things worse?

October 30, 2005 9:04 PM

I had a very long battle with the 'Preparing to install...' message showing up 3-4 times at startup. I tried a lot of things and used a lot of time but in the end there was only one solution: HijackThis!

It fixed it and the program is very easy to use. Like Floyd said run the program and it will do a quick scan of your computer. Look for entries that seems to be missing their targets like: bla bla bla = (nothing) Fix those (it will make a backup) and restart your computer.

Hope it works for you too like it did for me ;o))

C F Yeung
July 8, 2006 7:15 PM

I think we may need to download the fix from the below Microsoft websit :-

December 31, 2006 8:12 AM

Ran into this problem after I reinstalled Windows XP on my computer after installing a new CPU and motherboard (Windows wouldn't run initially).

After I reinstalled Office I was getting those preparing to install messages every time I ran it. My solution was to uninstall office, then run regedit and delete any Office related registry entries that still lingered. After that was done I did a fresh install and all was good. Hope that helps someone.

February 28, 2007 5:44 PM

I also ran into this problem today. The problem was that i had tried to install an old version of RadLinker (software for ATI cards) and it obviously had some issues with its msi package. I Installed a newer version of it, which installed properly right away, and it worked!

May 10, 2007 8:24 AM

The application that is causing these errors will be mentioned in the eventlog. To fix go through your eventlog and read the msiinstaller errors and warnings. From there you will identify which application is causing the problem. Uninstall and reinstall to solve the problem.

May 28, 2007 11:53 PM

Open word and disable paperport add-in. Enjoy!

Dr. Praveen
September 24, 2007 12:06 PM

Hi dudes,

First of all thank u very much for helping me out of the situation. I tried to get rid of the problem "windows installer,preparing to install...." , which was started after RESTORING MY LAPTOP TO A PREVIOUS POINT, by many ways but all went in vain. Finally I got succeeded by downloading the "Windows Installer Cleanup Utility package" from microsoft. just run the package and remove MS Office from the list. It me.

Jose Manuel Castańeda
October 21, 2007 6:44 PM

easy, delete the following registry keys: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\Excel\add-ins
and all other Office apps keys: word excel power point outlook etc etc, if the problem is related to an unsuccessfull acrobat installation, just delete all the add-ins keys, these are the links created by acrobat, it links itself many applications as Patrick said, that make this pop-ups to constantly come up. if none of these things works, just execute services.msc, disable the "Windows Installer" service, and then, open a command prompt, and type: net stop "windows installer", this will disable and stop the service, the pop up will never come up again.
February 9, 2008 5:50 AM

Symantic Corporate 10 wasted my fill day by starting configuration everytime at right clicking any file. Disabling Windows installer service removed problem but it is not a real solution. Sick of deleting registry entries and running MSI configuration tools.
March 9, 2008 9:20 PM

Thanks God that this all such problems are resolved when I downloaded and installed a software from microsoft "Windows Install Clean Up". This software removes incomplete and corrupted installations. Goodluck!

Guy Carignan
March 30, 2008 12:38 PM

Every time I opened Outlook I was always getting the annoying message "Window Installer, Preparing to install". In the registry I removed the add-ins of Outlook at the following registry key: [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\Outlook\Addins]. They were 3 and I removed all of them and It works. Thank you very much for the recipe.

May 17, 2008 6:24 AM

Thanks so much for my help, now I have got rid of the problem "windows installer,preparing to install...." , which was started after installing Windows XP in my comptuer.I downloaded the "Windows Installer Cleanup Utility package" from microsoft. just run the package and remove from list. It me.

May 25, 2008 9:41 AM

I downloaded and installed a software from microsoft "Windows Install Clean Up". As others have written, this software removed in incomplete and corrupted installation I must have had. I removed all installers using the program and my "windows Installer" "Preparing to Install" error is gone. Finally!!! Thank you everyone for posting solutions.

Neil Shotton
June 20, 2008 1:33 PM

I fixed this with

click this for the default when you install.

it is great. fast load. works really, really good

August 1, 2008 4:34 AM

For all those having this issue with office 2007, despite the fact that you use Windows Install Clean Up and reinstall office several times, here is a clean solution.

Check this out:

Answer is given by kimwind... on 15 May 2007

Before finding this answer, I had solved Word & powerpoint issues by fixing manually the registry (permission rights on HKCR/.pip) but I was still struggling with Excel and the stdole32.tlb message.

I used Process Monitor without any success (great tool that I highly recommend anyway:

The script given by kimwind fixed it straight away (after 10 minutes execution, be patient, it is worthy and do not worry about the few registry entries that cannot be changed).

Good luck and thank you Kimwind!

January 7, 2009 2:12 AM

fixed the problem. open regedit goto HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.pip\ and change the permissions
SYSTEMS = Full COntrol
Everyone = Read

This one worked.

March 16, 2009 5:59 AM

To fix the problem;

"Windows Installer Preparing to Install" do the following;

Start - Run - type "services.msc"

Scroll down to Windows installer and double click on Windows installer.

This brings up "Windows installer properties" change from "Manual" to "Disable", for the "Path to executable:" and apply.

Restart computer.

No more annoying errors, finally!!!

April 15, 2009 4:13 AM

After windows repair, if you get the "Windows Installer Preparing to Install" window in every action you take, the following is really works!!!
[the thing that i couldn't get is: repairing is why so difficult? how can an end-user do these kind of things? this OS really sucks!]

Start - Run - type "services.msc"

Scroll down to Windows installer and double click on Windows installer.

This brings up "Windows installer properties" change from "Manual" to "Disable", for the "Path to executable:" and apply.

Restart computer.

No more annoying errors, finally!!! [again hate the windows whatever OS]

June 10, 2009 10:26 AM

I just finished downloading Maplestory, but now it has said "Preparing to install..." for 20 minuetes.

June 10, 2009 2:25 PM

The Windows Install Clean Up utility (search for that on the MS website under the knowledge base) did the trick for me.

July 4, 2009 8:07 AM

I had this issue with office enterprise 2007. Managed to fix it really easily by just manually making a new shortcut to the programs. Just right click on desktop, New shortcut then browse to the program you want to open. Path for office 07 is C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12. Might want to rename the icons after as Word is labeled WINWORD etc. Hope this helps

July 11, 2009 9:36 AM

This can also result due to the .doc "open" command. Open File Explorer, select the Tools tab, select Folder Options, select the File Types tab, scroll down to ".doc", click the Advanced button, select "Open" and edit, uncheck "Use DDE" and make sure the command line for "Application used to perform action" ends with "%1". This works whenever this problem with MS Word comes back!

unwitting soldier
October 29, 2009 4:06 PM

Broken MSI: if an unsolicited install pops up, look in event viewer, applications. It should tell you which {2345-453453-...} product was trying to install.
in the run box type:
MsiExec.exe /x{2345-453453-...product code from event viewer}
this will uninstall the broken file hopefully and not bother you again.

Dale Edens
December 1, 2009 9:49 AM

How do I get rid of windows Installer flashing everytime I go to the internet? I am using Windows Vista Home Premium.
I tried typing "services.msc into run, but nothing comes up with windows Installer.
Thank you for any help you can give me.

January 26, 2010 11:29 AM

thank you justin. I have tried everything to stop the windows installer from popping up. I hope I don't have other problems from doing this but no pop-up. thanks

January 31, 2010 2:01 PM

When the POP-UP appears - don't close/cancel, open the task manager>>processes then find the MSI.EXE; right click and choose END PROCESS TREE. i hope it'll work for you..

February 13, 2010 11:21 AM

This can also result due to the .doc "open" command. Open File Explorer, select the Tools tab, select Folder Options, select the File Types tab, scroll down to ".doc", click the Advanced button, select "Open" and edit, uncheck "Use DDE" and make sure the command line for "Application used to perform action" ends with "%1". This works whenever this problem with MS Word comes back!

February 13, 2010 11:22 AM

do this for .docx too

May 18, 2010 6:18 PM

Tried to remove flashing window with Task Manager and delete msi.exe (right clicking on Process Tree), but it did NOT work. HELP! Have tried Task Manager and it worked before but must have used a deleted a different name (not msi.exe). Do you know what other to try ?? Thanks.

zulfiqar ali
May 31, 2010 5:00 AM

i was suffering with the same since last 3 days, i look a few article, i do the same but no result same condition, than i try the following myself and troubleshoot the problem. this is only for the purpose may be someone get benefit by it through your good and helpful site.i try the following

Windows installer Pop up every time when I open file or folder:
(Windows XP 32 bit)
There are some simple steps you can perform and check which program is not installed properly or with corrupted installation:

1 Right click start menu, properties, classic menu, display administrative tools, Click ok and close the property box.
(Or if you are already using classic menu, click programs, administrative tools and then event viewer)
Now click start menu again than, programs, administrative tools and then event viewer.

(Or if you are already using classic menu, click programs, administrative tools and then event viewer)

Under the event viewer click application and than on the right side window check which program (installer) is showing errors once you trace the program. you got that. Only install or uninstall the program.

You are done—enjoy

April 13, 2011 5:57 PM

I get message , we can't access windows installer, refer to your local server .

June 1, 2011 11:29 PM

Click the Start button on the desktop and click the Search button. In the Search window click the box that allows you to searc for to all files and folders. In the search bar type in Msiexec.exe the click Search. The file should be in the C:\Windows\System32 folder or in another similar folder depending on your Windows installation. On the file menu click close to close the search box. Click Start and click Run.In the Open box type regedit then click OK. Search for HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\MSIServer at the right window you can search for the file ImagePath. Once you find it select it by double clicking on it. In the Edit String dialog box that appears compare the string in the Value data box and the value you got from the path for Msiexec.exe file that you got from before. Click OK and on the File Menu then select Exit to close the Registry Editor. Start your computer in safe mode and then register the Msiexec.exe file. This can be done in the boot menu by pressing f8 and selecting safe mode. After you get back on the desktop click start the button and then the Run button. Type msiexec/regserver in the Open box and click OK. Restart your computer normally and the problem of the “Windows Installer Service could not be accessed” should be gone.
There may be other ways to remove the “Windows Installer Service could not be accessed” message and it would be better if you don’t have to go through the registry as there could be more serious so take utmost care when doing it or try other methods before resorting to it.

Walter Miner
September 5, 2011 12:44 PM

Windows Installer for window office 2003 keeps popping up. It takes several clicks on cancel to get rid of it and after a while it comes back.

I went to MSCONFIG un-checked windows office in the services area. But, when you do that you cannot open an word document? HelP!

David Grieve
December 29, 2011 4:29 AM

Try this link- has worked for me

April 30, 2012 9:34 PM

i was receiving the same problem but after following the instructions .. problem has gone.. windows 7 is working now normal... thankx alot for sharing such valuable information.

January 27, 2013 6:01 PM

Anybody who has resolved the issues with the other office progs, but is still having it with Outlook then here's the solution I found....

Event ID 1004, event ID 1001, and event ID 1000...

{Copyrighted Material Removed}
Original is here: Windows Installer-related event IDs are logged in the Application log when you start an Office program

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