Possible workaround for errors during installation of Document Explorer 2005 and 2008

Every once in a while, I hear from a customer who has encountered an error while trying to install Document Explorer 2005 or Document Explorer 2008 (which is a prerequisite component that is installed during Visual Studio 2005 or Visual Studio 2008 setup).

How to diagnose this issue

In those cases, I typically ask the customer to send me the verbose installation log file from Document Explorer setup, which is located at %temp%\dd_dexplore*msi*.txt in order to narrow down the cause of this error.  Then, I use the technique described in this blog post and search for the string "return value 3" to try to locate the action in the log file that indicates the root cause of the failure.

In many cases, Document Explorer setup failures end up with entries in the verbose MSI log file that look like the following:

12/01/07 11:11:11 DDSet_Status: BeginTransaction()->IHxRegisterSession::CreateTransaction() returned 8004036e.
12/01/07 11:11:11 DDSet_Error: BeginTransaction()->Attempt failed because another transaction was running.

More details about the cause of this issue

In most cases, this type of error means that a previous product installation was attempting to register a help collection, and something happened that caused that help collection registration to not complete correctly.

A customer recently posted a comment on one of my blog posts that describes this scenario in more detail.  To summarize that comment, if another help transaction is running, a file named C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Microsoft Help\Rgstrtn.lck (or C:\ProgramData\Microsoft Help\Rgstrtn.lck on Windows Vista) will likely exist.  If that file exists, it prevents other help collections from being registered on the system, and if a setup attempts to register a help collection during this time, it will fail with the type of error message listed above.

How to work around this issue

To work around this issue, you can reboot the computer (which will cause that file to be deleted in most cases), or you can manually delete the Rgstrtn.lck file to reset the state of the help collection installation system on your system.  After getting rid of that file, you can attempt to install Document Explorer again.

Note - this type of help collection installation error can occur in any product that includes help collections as part of their installation logic.  This error is not limited to Document Explorer setup.

Comments (9)

  1. v_2rath@hotmail.com says:

    Hi Aaron

    You might want to look at the following KB article,with describe’s the workaround provided




    Rahul Thomas

  2. Hi v_2rath – Thanks for posting this link.  The workaround listed there is essentially the same as listed in this blog post (deleting Rgstrtn.lck and re-running the installation).  That knowledge base article is specific to installing Microsoft Office, but the same error can occur in any MSI-based setup that contains help registration too and the same type of workaround should be valid for other products as well.

  3. GajaK says:

    I have been trying to install VS.NET 2008 Professional edition on my machine (XP SP2).  Originally had VS.NET 2003 (removed now).  

    I get the Document Explorer error.  I have been researching internet and reading blog sites and tried all the options mentioned in the workarounds (did not even find RgsTrtn.lck file).  Next step probably open a ticket with MS tech support.

  4. Hi GajaK – There are several possible root causes of a Document Explorer installation error, and the workaround listed in this blog post only helps in one specific case.  I’d suggest trying to look for the error in your verbose MSI log file.  To do that, you can find the verbose log file named %temp%dd_dexplore*msi*.txt, open it in a text editor like Notepad, then search for the text "return value 3" and scroll up a little bit to see the exact error message.  If you have any doubts about what the error is, you can zip and send me the log and I’ll try to take a look to see if I can figure anything out.  You can send the logs to Aaron.Stebner (at) microsoft (dot) com.

  5. death.reaper says:

    thanks a ton!!!

    >> delete the Rgstrtn.lck file to reset the state of the help collection installation system on your system.  After getting rid of that file, you can attempt to install Document Explorer again

    this worked! helped me fix the Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 install error.. thanks a lot again.. took me 7 hrs… with a lot of trials and error and finally stumbled upon this blog as my last shot..

    — reaper —

  6. gerry says:

    Hi astebner!I have run into the same problem as what you described when I tried to install document explorer.The error in the log is "Attempt failed because another transaction was running". However, I can not find the Rgstrtn.lck file anywhere…..please help me!

  7. Hi Gerry – I'd suggest trying to reboot your computer and running setup again to see if that clears up this error.  If that doesn't help, then please make sure that you search your entire drive for the rgstrtn.lck file, including hidden files and folders.  That file might not show up in a normal search.

  8. babydulok says:

    >> delete the Rgstrtn.lck file to reset the state of the help collection installation system on your system.  After getting rid of that file, you can attempt to install Document Explorer again

    — yeah this one worked for me… took me all night just searching for a workaround to this dexplorer installation error… thanks very much!

  9. C. L. Jones says:

    Thank you very much!

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