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Windows Installer Appears Every Time I Start an Application

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Intended For
Windows XP
Windows 2000

The Windows Installer is a global application used to install many Microsoft products, including Office 2000 and Office XP, and is even available to third-party developers to include with their programs.
Unfortunately, it's fraught with bugs, one of which is its tendency to appear every time you start Office (or some other programs) and begin a reinstallation or reconfiguration process. All you'll see is the "Please Wait" screen, followed by a progress bar. The problem is related to the This feature will be installed when required option (sometimes called "Install on Demand"), used when installing some applications. In essense, Windows Installer starts to install a "feature" when it is needed, even though it may be already installed.

Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, Microsoft will not acknowledge that there is a serious flaw in thier installer software. Here are the solutions we've come up with so far:

Solution #1:

Reinstall the application in question, and don't choose the This feature will be installed when required for any of the optional components.
However, this may not solve the problem (which is the very bug we're talking about). We're currently looking for a way to fix the problem properly, but in the mean time, here's how to turn off the "feature:"

Solution #2

Open the Group Policy Editor by selecting Run from the Start Menu, and typing gpedit.msc. (If the file is missing, run mmc.exe instead. Then, select Add/Remove Snap-in from the Console menu, click Add, and double-click Group Policy. Click Finish, then Close, then Ok.)
Expand the following branches:
Local Computer Policy \ Computer Configuration \ Administrative Templates \ Windows Components \ Windows Installer
Double-click Disable Windows Installer to your right, click Enabled, and choose Always from the list. Click Ok when you're done.
The change will take effect immediately. If you added a snap in, as described above, you don't need to "save changes to the console."

Note: If you encounter an error about the Administrator Policy the next time you try to install an application, you'll have to re-enable the Windows Installer temporarily.
Solution #3 (for Office 2000 only):

Run the Registry Editor (REGEDIT.EXE).
Expand the branches to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\ Software\ Microsoft\ Office\ 9.0\ Common.
Delete the UserData value on your right, and close the Registry Editor.
The next time you start an Office application, it will ask for your username, but shouldn't bother you again.
More information:

Applications known to have Windows Installer-related problems include Microsoft Office 2000, Microsoft Office XP, Wordperfect Office 2002, Paint Shop Pro.
Information for Windows Installer developers
Latest downloadable version of the Installer package
Microsoft KB-Q265194: Windows Installer Appears Every Time a Program Is Started


Submitted By : Nayan Patel  (Member Since : 5/26/2004 12:23:06 PM)

Job Description : He is the moderator of this site and currently working as an independent consultant. He works with VB.net/ASP.net, SQL Server and other MS technologies. He is MCSD.net, MCDBA and MCSE. In his free time he likes to watch funny movies and doing oil painting.
View all (893) submissions by this author  (Birth Date : 7/14/1981 )


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