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Setup Initialization Error

StMeyer asked
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-29
Trying to install a demo software in Win95 I get the following "Setup Initialization Error":

<< Setup is unable to find a hard disk location to store temporary files. Make at least 831 kb free disk space available and try running Setup again.
Error 101 >>

This is ridiculous, of course, as there is over 300 MB free disk space available. The file install.exe is from Sterling Technologies and quite old (1995). It creates a subdirectory in C:\Windows\temp named _istmp0.dir (empty when I checked), shows setup progress to 70% and then displays the error message above.

Any ideas?
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Check to see you have a TMP and a TEMP environmental variable. Older software sometimes looks for the one that isn't normally defined. Also make sure the directories those env vars are pointing to are actually there. Also, try making a C:\TEMP and C:\TMP dir (yes, kinda absurd but run with me on this). Let me know if that does anything.


Hi bsimser and bertc!

I just tried installing while having a c:\temp, c:\tmp, c:\windows\temp and c:\windows\tmp folder - no success )-:
My config.sys was an empty file so far. I inserted "set temp=c:\windows\temp" and rebooted. Afterwards the installation failed again, unfortunately.

As the setup program makes the folder C:\Windows\temp\_istmp0.dir  I guess it knows where to store the temporary files to but maybe gets a wrong information about actually free disk space.
What probably could help me was to replace the old install.exe from Sterling Tech (size about 46 kb) with a newer version if newer versions are compatible (but might be difficult to get it as a single file/ with required dlls).

Many thanx for your efforts
The following line
set temp=c:\windows\temp
should go into AUTOEXEC.BAT

And perhaps defrag your drive before installation.  Hope it is not because the computer ran out swap file space.

This is an InstallShield problem. The answers everyone is givong you are all correct. Then trouble is with installshield.

Newexpert has the key. Make sure you swap file is big enough. Set a permanent swepfile size.
Last resort:
1. In Control Panel, double-click System.
2. On the Performance tab, click File System.
3. On the Troubleshooting tab, click the Disable All 32-Bit Protect- Mode Drivers check box to select it.
4. Click OK.
"WinExec failed:return=2"
"Error 101, 831K more of disk space needed, can't find a place for temporary files" (Occurring even if plenty of free space is
available on the hard drive)
Other Install Errors


Try, in this order:
Search the hard disc for uninst*.exe; if you find files that fit, make sure they are not Read-Only.
Create the directory C:\Temp and add to autoexec.bat the lines


and reboot. (Optional - also create c:\tmp and use SET TMP=C:\tmp)
Before and after, delete any files in C:\Temp and \Windows\Temp.

It has noting to do with RAM.  I have found out that if you change the location of the TEMP directory, it takes care of this error in
some cases.
Just edit your autoexec.bat file and change the line:
to point to another location.


1. Turn off CD-ROM caching.

2. Make approximately 45 MB of hard drive space available at minimum, as Installshield (depending on the parameters set by
the software writer) will look at the minimum set when the file(s) are compressed. This makes room for the program files
(38 MB base parameter) and extra working space for cleanup if that parameter has been chosen. Compressed drives only estimate
the amount of free space available and may need even more than the amount being reported as available (Installshield parameter
minimum as against acutal free space plus cleanup).
If this has been left at default values in Installshield, a program with 15MB of files could be calling for 40MB plus another 40MB for

3. Free up memory. Installshield requires 8 MB of physical RAM, with approximately 5,500k free.

NOTE: In addition to the foregoing, if QEMM or Stacker are running in the background, the probability of failure increases
progressively in a linear fashion, eg: the lower the amount of installed ram, the higher the probability of a failure.

If you are interested in getting the latest build of the EXEBuilder, it can be downloaded from the InstallShield3 support section of
InstallShield's web site http://www.installshield.com 
This covers Fixing "Windows95 seizing", "Lots of HD Activity" and Optimizing "General
Windows Performance" because of random, pointless disk activity. This is due to the way
that Windows95 is set to handle disk caching and virtual memory. Although Windows95
instructs you to "let Windows handle disk cache settings" for best results, this obviously
does not yield the best results. Here's how to eliminate the random disk activity and
improve system performance: Think of this a something you need to do like DEFREG AND
SCANDISK; Only you only have to do it once!

Part One: Virtual Memory
1. Right click on My Computer, and select Properties.
2. Click the Performance tab, and then click Virtual Memory
3. Choose Let me specify my own virtual memory settings.
4. If you want to choose a different drive for your swapfile, run Disk Defragmenter first.
5. Specify the same value for the Minimum size and the Maximum size, so Windows95
won't spend so much time re sizing the file. A good size is roughly 2 1/2 times the amount
of installed RAM (i.e. create a 40MB swapfile if you have 16MB of RAM).
NOTE: With todays much larger amounts of ram, the old standard; 2 1/2 X Ram is not
6. Press OK, and then OK again, and confirm that you want to restart your computer.
Note: if you have Norton Utilities, you'll be able to optimize the swapfile. If you want to
take the time, you can optimize it manually by exiting windows, deleting the swapfile,
defragmenting the drive, and restarting. Once you've set the swapfile size to be constant,
you won't have to worry about a defragmented (broken up) swapfile again.
"The advantage of this process is that Win95 doesn't waste CPU cycles downsizing the
swap file to its
auto-set-minimum. Downsize waste doesn't happen unless enough applications are loaded
and then closed which exceed that minimum. This will be a low-probability situation if you
set the minimum swap file properly."

Part Two: Virtual Cache
1. Open SYSTEM.INI for editing.
2. Add the following two lines to the [vcache] section (add the section if it's not there):

For 16mg
MinFileCache=4096 [Experiment with this setting]

For 32mg
MinFileCache=8192 [Experiment with this setting]

For 64mg
I have mine set like this

3. These values, in kilobytes, regulate the size of the VChache, so you can stop it from
filling up all available RAM and paging all loaded apps to disk.

Here are several little modifications you can make to improve Windows95 performance:

Speed up system restart:
1. Add BootDelay=0 to the [Options] section of C:\MSDOS.SYS Speed up the Start Menu:
2. In the Registry Editor, go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\ Control Panel\ desktop, and add
a string value named MenuShowDelay, with a value specifying the number of milliseconds
(400 is default, smaller numbers are faster).


                Set Your Computers Typical Role!

By making a few little tweaks to Windows 95's Control Panel settings, you can realize
some big performance gains.
Start by double-clicking on the Control Panel's System icon, then clicking on the
Performance tab. Next, click on the File System button. You'll see two settings in the
resulting Hard Disk dialog box: The setting labeled Typical Role of This Machine
determines how much space is set aside in main memory to handle path and filename
caching. The default Desktop Computer choice allocates space for a paltry 32 paths and
677 filenames, whereas the Network Server choice bumps those settings up to 64 paths
and 2,729 filenames.
Even if your computer is used strictly for desktop applications, change the Typical Role
box to Network Server. Unfortunately, if you're using the original release of Windows
95--not the recently updated version titled OEM Service Release 2 (OSR2)--you'll have to
take an additional step to correct a bug in the Windows 95 Registry. Use the Windows 95
Registry Editor (see "Rule the Windows Registry" for an introduction to the Registry
Editor) and change the value of
"NameCache"=hex:a9,0a,00,00 "PathCache"=hex:40,00,00,00
And Make that same change at:
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet \control\FileSystem]
"NameCache"=hex:a9,0a,00,00 "PathCache"=hex:40,00,00,00
The Read-Ahead Optimization slider establishes how much additional data Windows 95
should fetch every
time you retrieve data from your hard disk. Read-ahead buffering improves performance by
reducing the number of times your machine has to go out to the relatively slow hard disk to
get data. Set the slider all the way to the right, giving Windows 64K of read-ahead
buffering. Next, click on the CD-ROM tab in the File System Properties box. The
Supplemental Cache Size slider adjusts the room Windows 95 sets aside for read-ahead
buffering of your CD. The first three steps on the slider add 64K or 128K each to the
cache; the final three steps add 256K apiece. The box labeled Optimize Access Pattern For
doesn't control access speed to your CD; the setting's real function is to reserve even more
buffer space for caching CD reads. The Single-Speed Drives and No Read-Ahead settings
don't increase the buffer size. But the double-, triple-, and quad-speed settings add 50K,
100K, and 150K of cache, respectively.
If you use your CD drive frequently, move the Supplemental Cache Size slider to Large,
and specify that you have a Quad Speed or Higher CD, even if you don't. The combination
will set aside about 1.2MB for CD caching, and ensure that your CD will run as fast as



Hi smeebud,

"Search the hard disc for uninst*.exe; if you find files that fit, make sure they are not Read-Only"

This was the right hint - thanks a lot! I also appreciated your tuning tips. Fortunately I can say I already tried out most things so there wasn' t much work left to do.

If you send me something as an answer I'll give you the points.

Best regards!

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