Disabling services with MSConfig to work around setup failures

I was talking recently with a colleague who works on the .NET Framework setup and Windows Installer technical support team here at Microsoft.  He told me about a set of steps that his team typically has customers try when they call in to report failed installations.  I wanted to post these steps here in case they are helpful to anyone else struggling to get an application installed.

This set of steps allows you to easily find all services that are installed on your system and temporarily disable them so they cannot interfere with installation processes.  It also allows you to identify and temporarily disable programs that are scheduled to start every time the system reboots.  The System Configuration tool (also known as MSConfig) allows you to manage these and other settings.

I recommend trying the following steps in cases where a product fails to install on your system and you've already tried other workarounds posted on my blog and elsewhere to attempt to resolve the issue:

  1. Click on the Start menu, choose Run, type msconfig and click OK
  2. In the System Configuration tool, click on the Services tab
  3. Check the box labeled Hide all Microsoft services
  4. Click the Disable All button to disable all non-Microsoft services
  5. In the System Configuration tool, click on the General tab
  6. Click the Selective startup radio button
  7. Uncheck the box labeled Load startup items
  8. Click OK to accept all changes in the System Configuration tool
  9. Reboot for the changes to take effect
  10. Attempt to install the application that previously failed
  11. Re-run the System Configuration tool and re-enable the services that you disabled in step 4 above

In many cases, the above steps will allow a previously failing setup package to install successfully.  Hopefully they will be useful to you as well if you find yourself in this situation.

Comments (12)
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  4. AdityaC says:

    A client of ours was getting an installation error when attempting to install Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 on his Windows XP SP2 platform. The error he would get was:

    "application failted to initialize properly (0xc0000142)"

    Just recently, his IT person was successful in installing .NET Framework 2.0 by setting the compatibility flag for "dotnetfx.exe" to "Windows 2000".

    How can this step work for him? Isn’t the program compatibility for programs that are known to work on older systems but may not work on new platforms. Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 was designed for Windows Vista and our client is on Windows XP. Setting its compatibility to Windows 2000 doesn’t make sense.

    Any ideas?

  5. Hi AdityaC – It doesn’t make much sense to me that marking dotnetfx.exe with the Windows 2000 compatibility flag would allow it to install on Windows XP when it was previously failing like this.  There are a few components in the .NET Framework MSI that are conditioned differently based on what OS it is run on, and this compatibility flag makes the MSI think it is running on the other OS, so that would potentially change setup behavior, but not enough to make a failing setup start succeeding based on my past experience.

    It would probably be useful to look at a verbose MSI log from a failing instance of .NET Framework setup on this system to try to narrow down the cause of the failure.  The .NET Framework 2.0 setup creates verbose log files at %temp%dd_netfx* on the system.

  6. AdityaC says:

    Hi Aaron – I thought as much. Actually, I left a bit of information out which is that our client has created his Windows XP (sp2) platform based on an image of another computer. Maybe this causes the subtleties in the .NET 2 installation to which he was subjected.

    Unfortunately, due to the nature of the error, the log files do not get created.

    Thanks for your prompt reply.

  7. NON ENGLISH says:

    Plzz Help I Install VB 2008 BUT Net Frame WOrk Is Not Installing So This Is Not Forward TO Another FIle

  8. Hi Non English – Can you please use the tool described at blogs.msdn.com/…/6458047.aspx to gather your .NET Framework setup log files, upload the file %temp%vslogs.cab that this tool produces to a file server (such as http://skydrive.live.com) and then reply back here with a link I can use to download the log files and take a further look?

    In the meantime, it might also help to use the steps listed at blogs.msdn.com/…/8108332.aspx to manually remove and then try to re-install the .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 on your computer.

  9. Kim in TN says:

    Thanks for your info. It really helped me out.

  10. o. nate says:

    This post helped resolve a .NET framework install problem today.  I blogged about it here:



  11. Daniel Lidstrom says:

    I know this is an old post, but it still helped me. Thanks a lot!

  12. william says:

    excellent post,i did helped me as well. 🙂 a .NET framework 3.5 is working now… yeah!!!

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