MSI installation Fails while installing a Custom Action with “Error 1001. Exception occurred while initializing the installation”



An MSI file built on Visual Studio fails during an installation with an error message

Error 1001. Exception occurred while initializing the installation:

System.IO.FileNotFoundException: Could not load file or assembly 'file:///C:\WINDOWS\system32\<file name>' or one of its dependencies. The system cannot find the file specified.


This would happen when the syntax of a ‘CustomActionData property’ for a Custom Action is incorrectly defined in the MSI.

Example: /target=”[TARGETDIR]”; /source= “[SOURCEDIR]”


When you are installing a Custom Action as an installation component or the project installer classes the CustomActionData Property should be in the format of /name=value. If the value is a Windows installer property it should be passed as /name=[PROPERTYNAME] and if the property returns a directory the syntax should be /name=”[PROPERTYNAME]\” .

Follow the below steps to resolve the issue.

1. We have to find out in which Custom Action the syntax has been defined incorrectly and for this we should generate a log file of the MSI installation. Follow the article to generate a MSI log file.

2. Search for text ‘value 3’ in the log file. This is the return value for a failed action in an MSI.

3. Copy the custom action name which returned value 3.

4. Edit the MSI file using a MSI editor like Orca and search for the “%Custom Action%.SetProperty” in the Custom Action table. (%Custom Action% is the failed custom action name copied from the log file)

5. Choose the Target column in the row of “%Custom Action%.SetProperty” and see if there are any windows installer properties which return directories are given as values of a CustomActionData Property as mentioned above.

6. Make sure that all such values are following the syntax as /name=”[PROPERTYNAME]\” .

Example: /target=”[TARGETDIR]\” , /source=”[SOURCEDIR]\”.

After correcting the syntax CustomActionData Property the MSI shouldn’t throw the above error message anymore.

Content by : Sarat Chandra

Comments (0)

Skip to main content