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XP cannot update or install new software

Posted on 2011-02-17
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
My friend's XP computer is sick. I don't think it's malware (have run full scan with malwarebytes).

Windows updates fail with "msiexec has encountered a problem and needs to close". Other app updates also fail. As does installation of new software with "such and such has encountered a problem and needs to close".

At present my friend can't find his original Windows disk (perhaps a "repair" could work?).

I have tried rolling back to his earliest system restore - but that didn't do it (he only goes back about 3 months with restore).

Any ideas?
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Question by:PaliTree
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7 Comments
 
LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:XLITS
ID: 34914554
I would agree with you with regards to a repair install.  Sounds like some system file corruption to me.

good luck.
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LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:andreizz
ID: 34914613
Hello!

This is for troubleshooting http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2438651

or

Run msconfig and select the "Services" tab. Check "Hide Microsoft Services" and then disable the rest. Also uncheck "load startup group" on the general page.

See this link for detailed information:

http://support.microsoft.com/default...b;EN-US;310353
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929135 << for Vista, but applies equally to XP, and better written.

Now restart and test the issue at hand

If no problems, run msconfig and recheck half the disabled items on the Services tab. Test again. If the problem recurs, UNcheck half the items you just checked to narrow down the culprit.

If the problem didn't occur, check the other half, so all the Services are enabled -- proceed to do this on the startup tab as well.

Get the idea? You want to isolate the problem to a specific startup if possible.

Note: if you already have items unchecked under msconfig > startups and are in “selective” startup mode – you should note what these are before beginning. They will need to be de-selected again.

>> If it doesn't work in a clean boot -- try running chkdsk on the drive and have it repair any errors.

>> you can also try enabling the Installer Logging and check for details on any errors there >>

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/223300

The last part of the log will be the most important.
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LVL 35

Expert Comment

by:torimar
ID: 34914622
You will need the original Windows disk in order to run a "repair installation"; you will also need it for a system file repair via:
sfc /scannow

But this issue sounds like it may be caused by the MS Installer, which is known to 'freak out' from time to time.
See if this helps: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2438651/en-us#reso1
(Use all listed methods in chronological order)
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LVL 7

Accepted Solution

by:
_Tyrant earned 500 total points
ID: 34914635

Hi PaliTree,

What you're describing sounds simply to be corruption with the Windows Installer (msiexec) files. You can attempt the following steps from the command prompt, which should allow you to recover from the issue:

# cd c:\windows\system32\
# ren msi.dll msi.dll.bak
# ren msiexec.exe msiexec.exe.bak
# ren msihnd.dll msihnd.dll.bak
# shutdown -r -f -t 00

Please note that the last line will FORCE the system to reboot immediately.

When the system finishes the reboot, it should automatically attempt to re-install the Windows Installer for you.

I hope this helps!
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LVL 9

Expert Comment

by:_3mp3ror_
ID: 34914663
1. Go to Start > Run "msiexec /unregister" hit OK, repeat for  "msiexec /regserver"
2. If it does not work try also in Start > Run > cmd > OK > sfc /scannow (this may ask for your windows cd as it checks for corrupted system files
3. Try updateing to the latest version of MSI (4.5)
Windows Installer 4.5 Redistributable
4. Try "CCleaner" to clean up your computer of temp files and also to see if you have some app at startup that you do not need.
5. Post a log file from hijackthis

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LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:santoshgb24
ID: 34914807
Just create one more user with admin access and loging to system with new user and check the update
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Author Comment

by:PaliTree
ID: 34914899
Thanks andreizz - I tried all that, but that didn't do it.

Tyrant - that worked!

Thanks.
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