Install Failure and Application Failure Automation for PCA


The Program Compatibility Assistant (PCA) is a new feature in Windows Vista that can makes older programs that have compatibility problems work better, in an automated manner. If PCA detects a known compatibility issue after the user has run an older program, it notifies the user of the problem and offers to apply solutions that will be effective before the user runs the program the next time.


PCA does not specifically look for the setup’s failing due to version problems. The logic used by PCA is to detect if a setup did not complete successfully. It monitors a program detected as setup by Windows Vista and checks if the program registers an entry in Add or Remove Programs (ARP). If no entries are created in ARP then PCA concludes that the setup did not complete successfully and will wait for the setup program to terminate before displaying the UI.  PCA depends on UAC feature in VISTA to know if a program is an installer. 


In real business scenario, sometimes it is required to automate the installation. In such cases, apply compatibility mode by setting up the registry key under ‘HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\AppCompatFlags\Layers’ with key name = ‘full path of the exe’ and string value = ‘WINXPSP2’ indicating the compatibility mode.


To fix an application failure, compatibility mode can be applied by setting a registry key under ‘HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\AppCompatFlags\Layers’ with key name = ‘full path of the exe’ and string value = ‘ElevateCreateProcess’ indicating the compatibility mode.

Comments (2)

  1. Ted Shaw says:

    I’m attempting to do an upgrade install with Vista Business.   The install passes the all the Hardware requirements and notes some Program compatability issues.   I’m ok with these program compatabilty issues and want to proceed with the Vista instllation anyway since the whole reason to do the install is to verify the issues and servarity of the problems on this test system so I can communicate them to my Clients.  But the Vista install procedures appears to complete until the very end when it gives me a vague error and then it fails and it unistalls.  I don’t seem to be able to get around this.   And yes I could do a Clean install on a formated partition but that defeats the reason for the test in the first place since, when the Client systems will be upgrades not clean installs.      Please get back to me at Ted996  at Comcast.net  

  2. jim says:

    I have identical behavior. On the faint hope that Vista didn’t like my ATI Catalyst Control Center that allows me to use my Samsung 204T rotating LCD screen, I uninstalled that, along with my McAfee Enterprise AV and Nero OEM CD burning software.

    Second pass went just the same as the first. It takes 97 minutes from the first click on INSTALL to the "Windows could not configure one or more system components".

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