Windows Installer Keeps Popping up...(windows xp)

Does anyone know a fix for windows installer that keeps popping up?  I've done a bit of research on this and been at it for a few hours now but to no avail.  Any help would be appreciated!
todd_nakasatoAsked:
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nobusCommented:
you can use the installer cleanup utility :  http://support.microsoft.com/kb/290301
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todd_nakasatoAuthor Commented:
that's the problem i've been wrestling with for the past 5 hours now.  i can't install the http://support.microsoft.com/kb/290301 windows installer clean up utility because the windows installer keeps popping up over and over and over again.  seems like once a second.  even when i was able to get the window to stop popping up, the installer utility gets stopped by the fact that 'another program is trying to install' message.   .....   for tushar's two links, i've been to both and have been unsuccsssful already
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Maximus1001Commented:
Does it seem to happen when you right click? If so there is an entry in the context menu directed to software that has been uninstalled.

If this is the case instal Glary Utilities and Run the context menu cleaner, remove what has been uninstalled and restart, this should fix the problem.
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todd_nakasatoAuthor Commented:
hi maximus, the problem happens whether or not i right click on anything.  in fact, as soon as i restart, the windows installer starts possing up.  right now its popping up (and then closing)  to the point where its even hard to type.

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todd_nakasatoAuthor Commented:
This is one strange problem.  I decided to reinstall windows xp figuring that this would be
the best choice to clear out any lingering register issues.  as it turns out, even DURING
the re-installation of windows xp, the windows installer window keeps popping up.  so now im at a complete loss.  .. any suggestions?
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davidlevans13Commented:
Was this a clean install from a CD? With a disc format in between?  Or a repair install?
I am wondering if you have an infection that is carrying over somehow.

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todd_nakasatoAuthor Commented:
hi, it was a repair install not a disc format  i cant say whether or not it is a virus, but i'm still holding out hope that theres a fix available.  seems this windows installer pop has happened to others before.  any other suggestions for fixing the windows installer pop up?
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davidlevans13Commented:
I would suggest that if Nobus doesn't know of a solution, you aren't likely to find one.
My feeling was that it is a bit of malware that is masquerading as an update thing, although I have never seen one quite like that.
If you can, you should retrieve any data ( by connecting to another machine and extracting it, or by using a Boot disc) and then do a complete install.

Or you could first try running a Bootable Anti Virus CD and see if you find anything..   http://www.avg.com/us-en/avg-rescue-cd


It won't do any harm but it does take quite a while
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nobusCommented:
does it do it in safe mode as well ?
if recent - a system restore can help
if that is nott possible, try  http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307545
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todd_nakasatoAuthor Commented:
hi, i would still like to see if i can get to the bottom of this.  the link to http://support.microsoft.com/kb/290301 and the resulting windows installler clean up program seem like a reasonable solution.  but i run into the issue of not being able to install that program, i get at 1500 error, that another program is being installed.  
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todd_nakasatoAuthor Commented:
i have not tried to install the installer clean up in safe mode...doing that now...
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todd_nakasatoAuthor Commented:
im in safe mode, however, i think i'm not allowed to install the program in safe mode.
"The Windows Installer Servicecould not be acced..This can occur if you are running Windows in safe mode, ...."   In safe mode, the windows installer windows does not pop up however.... that's progress
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todd_nakasatoAuthor Commented:
any other suggestions?  
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nobusCommented:
>>   that another program is being installed   <<  then look in task manager what program, or service is being installed, and kill it
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B HCommented:
does the popup say anything about what program thinks it's trying to get installed?

if not, surely your event logs will tell you with a big red X (start run eventvwr)

we need to find the exact name, or guid (like {00004ac3-00153242d-....)

once we find the product name (exactly) or the guid, we can search the registry for that exact string, and delete every instance of it

that is essentially what the windows installer clean up utility does - but if you can't install that, you gotta do it by hand.
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hoba40Commented:
uninstall your windows installer
reboot your computer
and download this new version

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=5a58b56f-60b6-4412-95b9-54d056d6f9f4#filelist

43.3MG*

after downloading install him
reboot again your computer.
 
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johnb6767Commented:
Start>run>eventvwr.msc

Look in the Application Log source Windows Installer....

Find out what it is trying to reinstall/repair, and that should make it very easy to go from there....
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todd_nakasatoAuthor Commented:
hello thanks for the comments.  the program that it is trying to reinstall is called pb smart mailer (its asking for the installation disk).  based on the recent set of suggestions to check the evntvwr, i've inspected
the eventvwr log and to no surprise have found lots of red x's - over 1000 of them.  the error started around 7pm and the first errors indicate that the windows installer shut down (then reopened) then shut down again etc. ...then the next errors relate to mccafe.  surprisingly there were more errors related to mccafe in the eventvwr than errors referencing the windows installer.  (not sure if this matters so i tried removing mccafe and still no fix)

as to hoba40's suggestion on reinstalling windows installer, i already did a complete reinstall of windows xp last night.  

so, unless there are any other suggestions, i guess it may be time to backup files, format disk and completely reinstall....?  any thoughts?
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B HCommented:
no you dont have to reinstall...   can you post one of the screenshots for what you say "pb smart mailer" ?

we need to see the exact string how it's called... or at least the exact default installation path it's trying to get to

we need something EXACT to search for in the registry, to delete the reference
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nobusCommented:
if it's started not long ago - try a system restore - quick fix
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todd_nakasatoAuthor Commented:
to byron: ok, i'm in safe mode right now.  to get that pb smart mailer installation msg to pop up, i need to restart regularly. once i do i'll post screen shot.

to nobus: will the system restore work event after i reinstalled xp ?

i'll be heading into office to look for the pb install cd as well (since it keeps asking for it) my guess is that will have no effect on the problem since the pb smart mailer program is already fully installed on my laptop.

for background here's how the problem started.  yesterday i was simply uninstalling old programs that i don't use anymore.  after about the 3rd or 4th uninstall, the windows installer prompt starting popping up.  and its been driving me nuts ever since
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B HCommented:
the windows installer database has a reference to the pb mailer thing, and the original installation doesnt exist anymore

anything that uses windows installer is being told it has to configure pb mailer first... so we're going to delete that reference, then things will be fine
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todd_nakasatoAuthor Commented:
ok, i'm heading into work now.  will try that and post in around an hour or so
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Maximus1001Commented:
Try to kill the windows installer process, Start task manager, go to the processes tab and find
"msiexec.exe"

Right Click, End process tree.

Then try the Windows installer Cleanup utility: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/290301

Hope this helps.
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nobusCommented:
the restore only works if you have restore points !
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todd_nakasatoAuthor Commented:
hello, i've tried maximus's solution already but got stopped because the widows installer clean up needs the windows installer to be installed.  next i've tried stopping the system process (windows installer), but this seems to make the windows installer 'angry', and it starts popping up and closing the windows installer so many times that the result is thousands of little msi error files in the documents and settings/username/temp . folder.  

no luck found in these links either.
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/555175
http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/vscrystalreports/thread/ac543411-df83-428a-a239-ab8117b13bf0

since the problem seems to be getting worse, i've decided to do a complete reinstall.   note that a reinstall of windows xp did not work.  funny thing about the reinstall, during the actual reinstall process, waiting for windows xp to reload, the windows installer box actually popped up over the windows install screen.  

anyway thanks for everyones efforst.
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nobusCommented:
did you try any malware scanners yet ?

     Spybot :        http://www.download.com/3000-8022-10122137.html
http://www.malwarebytes.org/mbam.php                         MBAM
http://download.bleepingcomputer.com/sUBs/ComboFix.exe            Combofix
http://www.spychecker.com/program/hijackthis.html                                       download
http://www.hijackthis.de/index.php?langselect=english              check the log
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B HCommented:
todd - you never showed us the exact installation prompt that's popping up, or from the logs, or the exact installation source requested...

it was easy to fix if you could find the EXACT name, or source, and search the registry, delete any references to that exact thing...

that would have been a lot easier than a complete reinstall
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