Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Windows Installer can get into a state where it attempts to run on every reboot. There's a free tool that can help clean up Windows Installer.
On my 2004 HPa430n (Win XP SP2), "Windows Installer" launches at start up, trying to install a Fax. When it can find the installation file it wants, the next window requests you insert the Fax disk in the CD drive. The Source box has the numeral 1 in it. When you click Browse the filename box contains "fax.msi".
In Task Manager > Processes two instances of msiexec.exe are running. One belongs to SYSTEM, the other to Owner. When I try to "Cancel" out of the installer, msiexec chews up all my CPU time. When I use Task Manager > Applications > "End Task" the task named Fax, the installer is killed (msiexec.exe Owner) until the next time you boot or re-boot.
Neither HP nor MS offer a solution. Ad-aware, RegCure, Xoftspy and eTrust haven't helped. No other weirdness obvious to me.
It's deja vu all over again for me. I had a very similar problem - whenever I tried to scan something, upon completion, Windows Installer would run attempting to install some additional HP software component. Cancelling that worked ok, but it was an annoyance I had to face with every scan.
And it's an annoyance many people face with every reboot.
The good news is that there's a free tool that might help.
The Windows Installer CleanUp Utility is a free download from the Microsoft support web site. Its job is very, very simple.
Caution: its job is simple, but let's be clear about its job before we go any further. It is not an uninstaller. The correct way to uninstall software is to use the Add/Remove programs utility in Control Panel, or the uninstall program that accompanied the software. The Windows Installer CleanUp Utility is a last resort utility for cleaning up issues related to Windows Installer. It does not actually install, or uninstall, any software.
When you run the Windows Installer CleanUp Utility, it presents a list - typically a long list - of items known to the Microsoft Installer:
These are all various components that the Windows Installer service knows about.
Now, backup. First. We're about to make changes to your system, and if something gets screwed up, you'll want to be able to recover, right?
In your case, we'll scan the list looking for something that appears to be FAX related, and something that matches any additional clues you might be seeing from the Microsoft Installer messages on your reboot. For example if it's HP Fax software that the installer is looking for, then look for HP Fax related software in the cleanup utility.
Once you're certain you've found the right thing ... remove it.
Now reboot, and see if that didn't make the problem go away. In many cases if you've selected the correct item it will.
If you then actually do want to install or reinstall the software in question, you'll need to start from scratch with a clean install of that particular package.