How to Fix “The Windows Installer service could not be accessed” Error

Recently, a friend of mine tried to install a program on his Windows Vista machine and the computer gave the blue screen of death error. After he restarted his computer, he tried to run a different program and he got the following message:

The Windows Installer service could not be accessed. This can occur if the Windows Installer is not correctly installed.

windows installer error

If you are getting this error in Vista, here are a few things you can try to fix it!

Method 1 ““ Make sure the Windows Installer service is started

Sometimes, if the Installer service is disabled, you will get this error. You can turn it on by going to Start, then Run and typing in Services.msc.

services msc

Then scroll down to Windows Installer and double-click on it. Set the Startup Type to Manual and click Start to start the service.

windows installer

You can also start the service by going to Start, Run and type in net start MSIServer into the Run box.

Method 2 ““ Delete MSIEXEC with no extension

Another strange thing that can happen is the creation of a second msiexec file in your C:\Windows\system32 directory. By default, there should only be one msiexec.exe file in that directory, but sometimes another one gets created with no extension and a size of 0 KB.

If that is the case, then you should rename the extra msiexec file with a .OLD extension. Once you rename it, then you can restart the Windows Installer service. Again, just go to Services and right click on Windows Installer and choose Restart.

Method 3 ““ Modify Remote Procedure Call Service

Sometimes the issue can be caused by another service called Remote Procedure Call. Go to the Services section again like mentioned above (Start, Run, services.msc) and right-click on Remote Procedure Call (Not the one that says RPC Locator) and choose Properties.

Now click on the Log On tab and under Log on as:, choose Local System Account and tick the Allow this service to interact with the desktop checkbox. Then restart your computer and see if the problem goes away.

If that does not work, choose the This account: radio button and click Browse. Search for “Network Service” and click OK. The password will automatically be filled in for this account, so don’t change it.

remote procedure call

Again, restart your computer and see if the problem goes away. Note that if it goes away when you chose Local System Account, just leave it at that setting. Only change it to NT Authority\NetworkService if Local System Account does not work.

Method 4 ““ Reinstall Windows Installer Service

If that does not work, you can download the Windows Installer Service and re-install it! Kind of ironic eh!? Do this if you do not even see the service listed in the Services applet or if nothing else works.

You can download the MSIServer package from WinHelpOnline. Once you download it, unzip it and right-click on the .REG file and click Merge. Click Yes when asked to confirm. This basically adds the required registry keys for the Installer service to work fine.

Method 5 ““ Install the latest Windows Installer version

Finally, you can do a search on Google for “Windows Installer” and download the latest version from Microsoft. This will ensure that you are not running an older version that could be causing conflicts with other software, etc.

Hopefully one of these solutions will fix your problem! If you did it another way, please post a comment letting us know how! Thanks!

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  1. annapia says:

    Hi, after 4 days of sitting by my computer trying to fix the installer, I finally did it!! Thanks to you and the tip regarding Remote Procedure Call Service.

    Thanks again,

    Anna

  2. tommy99 says:

    I get a number or error messages when I am trying to install software. I tried methods 1 and 2 but when I type services.msc into run and gte up services. windows installer isn't there. i ma really confused and I tried to download windows installer 4.5 and it says that it isn't a win32 valid application. please I really need help!!!

  3. BbyAnna says:

    It worked! Thanks a lot!

  4. ninjamomm says:

    I have implemented all 5 methods except method 3, but I still get the message that the windows installer service couldn't be accessed. The only reason I didn't do method 3 was that the info on the Log On tab is disabled so I can't modify the information and I can't find a way to enable it. I am running Windows Vista Home Premium 64 bit. I am trying to install the WMDC driver update for 64 bit, which I need in order to sync my smartphone to WMDC, but I can't install it because the windows installer service can't be accessed. Any guidance would be very much appreciated!

  5. facadesteve says:

    I am in the same position as ninjamomm, my logon tab is also disabled. I can't download I can't run a program without the same old error message coming up. I have 3 important downloads stuck they download but I get the error message every time. This is so frustrating and of course nothing on the MS help pages works. I am running Windows Vista Home Premium and of course I can't use the DVD to fix it because MS didn't supply one!

  6. Nightwolf67 says:

    I tried method #3. It didn't work, and now I can't figure out how to change it back to the original setting!

  7. cminniect says:

    Had the same issues as ninjamomm and facdesteve. Running Vista Home Premium 64 bit and encountered this dreadful error.

    FINALLY found a fix that actually worked for me. Follow these steps:

    Accessories/RUN

    Type in: regedit

    Navigate the menu by clicking each of the following:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE

    SYSTEM

    CURRENTCONTROLSET

    SERVICES

    MSIServer

    Right click on WOW64 and select 'Modify'

    Change Value Data from 1 to 0

    then close this box

    Navigate to the Run dialog again (as we started with above)

    Type in: services.msc

    Scroll down to Windows Installer and STOP the service and then START it again.

    Then Reboot your machine.

    Hope this works for others. It finally did the trick for me! Good Luck.

  8. payaso_jay says:

    Same with ninjamomm. i tried all the methods and I still cant update! If anyone knows anything else that works, let me know!

  9. Mrarun says:

    After MANY HOURS OF SEARCHING AND SWEARING IT WORKS NOW!!! THANKS TO THE RPC CHANGE. I SWITCHED IT FROM THIS ACCOUNT TO LOCAL SYSTEM AND IT WORKED. THANK YOU SOO SOO MUCH. WE MUST SPREAD THIS ARTICLE BECAUSE SO MANY PEOPLE HAVE THIS PROBLEM!

    Thank you Aseem!

  10. RickCan says:

    Thank you to cminniect this worked! I have been struggling with this one for two days now.

  11. Carl says:

    Method 3 worked!! Brilliant thanks a million! Windows Installer is now working!

  12. Ramriez says:

    I can't change PRC to LOCAL SYSTEM. why?

  13. sanche60 says:

    cminniect THANK YOU!!!!! If you have vista premium 64 and all those other methods didnt work, try cminniect’s trick. I dont know how the hell you figured that out but I want to thank you so much. I was about to throw out this 1500 dollar laptop cuz i couldnt get itunes on it for months, so i couldnt update my iphone. Thanks again. You rock.

  14. MoeyTehr says:

    Thank you so much, cminniect! After weeks of trying to figure this problem out, I finally got it working.

  15. SaFy says:

    thanks so much

    Method 3

    finally worked with me

  16. Dirtynukes says:

    Method 3 worked! I love you!

  17. Magil says:

    Hi Aseem and all his blog followers,

    I read all the steps suggested by Aseem. In this blog many guys said that they followed step# 3 and issue got resolved. I WANT TO INFORM YOU THAT ITS NOT AT ALL RECOMMENDED. By doing this you are actually making your system vulnerable to threats and attacks (that is how the sasser and blaster worm came in the picture). The reason is local system account is most powerfull account (basically it superseeds any other service account in layman's term) and RPC service is the most important service on any operating System. If this happens then an hacker can write such a program that can easily gets the access of system. If Installer service or any other service starts after making RPC to run on local system then it confirms that there is a permission issue.

    To resolve this you need to reset the security database in most of the cases. Please refer to following article for it. We can do this easily on a home machine but if we have server in question than take some considerations.

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/313222

    Thanks

    Magil

  18. StanHill says:

    I'm getting the 1719 error when trying to install Nikon Transfer. I tried all the methods listed in the number of support.microsoft.com articles. They didn't help.

    I see here some new ideas – e.g. method #3 – but I'm afraid that it would make my computer vulnerable to security attacks, although I have Kaspersky Internet Security protection installed. Plus I'm using Windows XP, not Vista.

    I noticed one strange thing regarding msiexec file. I have 7 instances of it, not one! I understand that there is an .old one after using those fixing methods, but why do I have 5 more??? 3 of them are in uninstall folders, which may be OK as I had the windows re-installed about 2 months ago. One is in prefetch folder, one in servicepackfilesi386 and one in system32dllcache

    Is that OK to have so many msiexec? Can it be the reason I'm getting the 1719? I have the latest version of msi – 4.5.

    Thanks in advance for any help.

    Stan

  19. Wendy says:

    Thank you cminniect !!!! hours of trying other methods, yours worked!!!!! I could kiss you!!!

  20. AamLVI17 says:

    cminniect, how do you get to WOW64? i dont see it. when i click MSISserver, all it says is enum.

  21. Scylarr says:

    Same problem with AamLVI17

  22. Karen says:

    I tried method 3 and it didn't work. Now the log on page is all greyed out and I cannot change it back. How do I correct this?

  23. akhil says:

    Thanks a lot buddy!!! wonderfully fantastic tips. After 3 days fight, my issues went off with "Remote Procedure Call Service" method. Again,Thanks!!!

  24. simon says:

    cminniect, that worked! thank you for the solution!

  25. THANKS HEAPS says:

    THANKS SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  26. Hasan says:

    same problem like AamLVI17. Can't see WOW64 entry there…….what to do now??

  27. gabriels says:

    Method 5 worked for me. I could not install anything in Windows XP Mode inside Virtual PC running on a Win7x64 enterprise workstation.

  28. Sniper says:

    Thanks, I never thought of going and downloading the installer.

  29. eric59394 says:

    Thanks for the tip of RPC. It works!

    But is there any problem (or trade-off) to keep this setting?

  30. Ikram says:

    Thanks.

    All works.

    AamLVI17,

    Please right click – new – DWORD Value – then, rename with WOW64 and set value.

  31. Naitsirhc19 says:

    Thanks cminniect!!!!! The registry fix was AWSOME, I don't even need to reboot. I just restarted the Windows Installer service and it worked. I was having issues installing .NET Framework 4.5 and couldn't find any solution from Microsoft.

    Many Thanks!!!!

  32. thirdstrand says:

    YES!! Just trying to install a part of iTunes (don't need iTunes on this system) called Bonjour and was getting the same dreadful message. I have an HP Ultimate Vista 64 machine. cminniect's advice worked for me after many other failures. Thank God!!! – and cminniect of course. :)

  33. nevergiveup says:

    I'm running Vista Ultimate 64 with all the software updated. I tried to fix this problem and after exhausting all of the above recommendations and still experiencing the problem, I downloaded iTunes to a folder and installed it successfully from there.

    I've visited several websites with most of the recommendations here also found on the other websites. However, the presentation here is simple and easy to follow. Thanks "helpdeskgeek.com" for making this frustrating experience go down easy. I hope my info is of help to others.

  34. Vane says:

    Thank you . I was running Windows Server 2008 R2 (64bit) with Remote Desktop Services and the Installer Service would not start. I tried sfc /SCANNOW – did not find or fix the problem. I tried booting from the Windows 2008 CDROM and try a repair "X:sourcesRecoveryStartRep.exe" did not find any errors. The Reg fix – fixed my issue in step 4. Thanks again.

  35. loopea says:

    Thank you so much for this! Tried everything else suggested on all other sites but had not tried the RPC service. Worked like a dream! Thank you so much!!!

  36. Tom Mc Carrick says:

    I can’t edit the RPC service – all of the tabs relating to the service are greyed out. How can I enable them?

  37. Aman says:

    My problem has been solved with ur help…. Thanx alot……….

  38. Shelly says:

    Perfect!! Thank you!!!

  39. Ravindra says:

    I was trying to install nokia pc suite and skype on my PC for several times and was not able to do so. With your very very user-friendly solution it happened in few clicks..I have no words to express my gratitude. Thank you so much! God bless you!!

  40. Russ Saunders says:

    Hi there,

    For those that are having this issue and Windows Installer not being listed within the Services.msc I’ve managed to get mine working. The entry appeared to be missing or corrupt or something within the registry.

    Step One

    Download – winhelponline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/msiserver.zip

    If it asks you to merge, you must already have the msiserver entry in your registry. For me it didn’t ask if I wanted to merge so I’m assuming the entry wasn’t there.

    Step Two

    It’s important to restart your computer after doing the above as for me I didn’t notice a difference and installations still failed until I restarted. Once I’d restarted it was showing in Services.msc and allowed me to run my updates and install programs.

  41. russellp73 says:

    Method 4 edit. I fixed mine through this method but when doing merge, it just opened with notepad and did nothing. Do this. open regedit and click file> import> and then browse to the file you downloaded in method 4 and import it. No more failed program installs and no more failed windows updates. I works :)

  42. Jim says:

    oh my good ness,did a google research on this nasty erro and came upon your website and method 4 worked,just for people who dont know how to zip a file,make sure your window is fully open and then click extract first and then follow instructions if not it wont work,well anyhow after i did that my computer refreshed and found 20 window updates this nasty erro was preventing me from receiving any windwo updates,nice huh,thank you so much

  43. ROBERT CLARK RUTKOWSKI says:

    I don’t have an installer service in ‘services’ or in the registries; where did it go and how do I replace it? I’ve tried MS Fix it, and everything else including everything that you’ve written but I either run up against the failure to access or access denied, in my repair/replacement efforts. I even disabled Avast thinking that it somehow might be the problem; nothing.

  44. dmg56 says:

    Hi cminniect … I read your fix for the nasty Windows Installer error.. I am running Windows Vista Home Premium but 32 bit …I can get to everything except the last one since mine is NOT 64 bit.. Where do I go , what do I do now ?? Also… when I go to services.msc and scroll down… I have no Windows Installer all I have is Windows Module installer..is that the same thing ?? Help me please !!

  45. Mona says:

    Hi Aseem, your method 4 worked, but I had to modify it. The right click and Merge didn’t do the job. I found out on another site that I could import that file and merge it in Regedit and presto! it fixed the problem after I struggled with it for days, including manually changing the Registry entries.

    Robert, I had a similar problem. This is a nasty error, and it took me days to fix it, and I tried everything. You’ll probably have to go into Regedit and add it. Fix It didn’t work at all for me, and I also ran up against access denied errors for a lot of solutions. I’m going to assume you’re running Vista, although I don’t know that for certain.

    Here’s what I did that finally worked:

    1. Grab Asseem’s file from Method 4 above and unzip it.

    2. I renamed it to Reset.Reg, but I don’t think that’s necessary

    3. Go to Start, type in run, and then click the run icon

    4. In the small pop up Run windown, type in Regedit, then hit ok.

    5. In Regedit, click HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE to expand it

    6. Then click System, then CurrentControlSet, then Services

    7. I manually added the MSIServer key, but I don’t think you have to do this. The less painful way is just to

    File (on the top menu), then Import, then find your file you got from Aseem, whether its’

    called MSISERVER.REG, RESET.REG, or whatever it is.

    8. Click on the file

    9. You should get a message saying that the keys from that file have been successfully added to the registry.

    10.You must restart your machine

    11.Once you’ve restarted, go to Start, Search and search for Services

    12.Click on that file, once it comes up in Search

    13.You should now see Windows Installer in there and you should be able to start it

  46. pet says:

    Thank you russellp73, took your advice and 17 updates now successfully installed after 4 weeks of total exasperation. Brilliant!

  47. keith says:

    the last step, it wont let me choose to stop and start, it is greyed out, any ideas?

  48. brewster says:

    After suffering for over a year being unable to install new programs, program updates or Windows updates, I was successful in fixing this with Method 4. Reading the notes from others here was VERY helpful in being reminded to RESTART!!!
    After about 45 min of trying the different methods here, it was fixed, and the 16 missed Windows updates took longer to install than the actual troubleshooting and repairing. THANKS to everyone here who helped out, when the Microsoft “knowledge” base was worthless.

  49. mateus says:

    thanks a lot!!

  50. Katie says:

    This is what fixed my computer:

    To resolve the problem:

    Click on Start
    Select Run
    In the “Open:” field, type cmd
    Click OK
    An MS-DOS Prompt window will come up on the screen with a blinking cursor at the command line. In this window you will need to do the following:

    Type msiexec /unregister and press Enter
    Type msiexec /regserver and press Enter
    After you have run the second command, it will return you to a new line ending with > and a blinking cursor. When you see this, you may safely close the command prompt, and try installing the software again.

  51. Sowmya says:

    Great help!

  52. Sayan says:

    you can use iobit win fix. click on advanced fix and on the left side click on the system and there you will find the windows installer service cannot be accessed click on the fix button and it will fix

  53. r says:

    Hey all! Nothing of the above works for me! I tried it twice, from my User Account, and from the Administrator Account! It simply does not work! I’m on WIndows 7 Pro x64…Any ideas?

  54. Chad says:

    You are awesome!!!!!!!!!!

  55. Cary says:

    http://support.microsoft.com/mats/program_install_and_uninstall Tried everything else and since it was on a VM and I could roll it back I tried it and it fixed it for me.

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