XPS Essentials Pack on Windows XP SP3

The XPS Essentials Pack installer (available via www.microsoft.com/xps) does not currently support Service Pack 3 (SP3) of Windows XP. 

To enable XPS support on Windows XP SP3, you can install the .Net Framework (link). An alternative workaround is to install the XPS Essentials Pack prior to upgrading to SP3.


We'll provide an update when a fix is available.


Comments (23)

  1. any hope for EP (stand-alone viewer) on Windows Server 2008 (x64)?

  2. casimir says:

    I have the XP SP3 with the Framework 3.5 SP1 and still can’t install the XPS Essential Pack.

  3. adrian ford says:

    @casimir: XPS EP isn’t supported on XP SP3. You have two options. 1. install XPS EP prior to upgrading to SP3 or 2. install .Net 3x which will give you XPS viewing and creation (there is no need to install XPS EP and .Net)

  4. cwij says:

    Like many other users, I attempted to install "XPSEP XP and Server 2003 32 bit.msi" and received a diagnostic.

    Searching the Internet led to this page – and the revelations that XPS Essentials Pack is not currently compatible with my Windows XP SP3 and, in any case, is not required if Microsoft .NET Framework is already installed.

    I now want to know whether my system has been left in an inconsistent state – especially because I answered "yes" to a prompt about replacing an existing file association.

    Unfortunately, System Restore shows that no restore points were automatically created at the time – even though the "XpsEPSC.log" file contains "12.860: System Restore Point set" – and I did not manually create one beforehand.  Also, that log file contains nothing about the installation being rolled back.

    A "WIC.log" file was created at the same time as the failed install, and it contains

    0.203: In Function GetBuildType, line 1170, RegOpenKeyEx failed with error 0x2

    0.203:  C:WINDOWSsystem32WindowsCodecs.dll is Present

    0.234: FileVersion of C:WINDOWSsystem32WindowsCodecs.dll is Greater Than 6.0.5840.16388

    0.234: Condition Check for Line 1 of PreRequisite returned FALSE

    0.266: WIC Setup encountered an error:  Newer version of update is already on the system.

    0.297: Newer version of update is already on the system.

    0.297: Update.exe extended error code = 0xf0f4

    0.297: Update.exe return code was masked to 0x643 for MSI custom action compliance.

    Perhaps this is the underlying error that caused the whole install to fail (although it is not mentioed in "XpsEPSC.log").

    For any .xps file, Explorer’s "Open With" menu now includes "XPS Viewer" and "WinFX Runtime Components".

    If a limited account user chooses the former (or "Open") then Internet Explorer is invoked but choosing the latter produces a diagnostic –

     "The content you are trying to access requires the Microsoft .NET Framework.  

      You must log on as an administrator to install WinFX Runtime Components"

    even though I have versions 1,1. 2.0SP1, 3.0, 3.0SP1 and 3.5 of the .NET Framework installed.

    I discovered in the Registry that

    (a) HKCR.xps has a default value of "XPSViewer.Document" – which leads to "C:WINDOWSsystem32XPSViewerXPSViewer.exe"; and

    (b) "WinFX Runtime Components" is linked to "winfxdocobj.exe" – which is a "System File Association" for .xps files and also included in "HKCUSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerFileExts.xpsOpenWithList" (along with "XPSViewer.exe").

    Fortunately, as noted above, I can open .xps files.  Also, I have been able to create a test .xps page from the printer driver.

    Q1  What can I do to check whether my system is in a consistent state?

    Q2  What actions should I take to ensure that my system is in a consistent state?

    For example, should I repair any of the installed Framework versions?

    Q3  Do I really need to install "WinFX Runtime Components"?

    If so, where can I find them?  If not, how can I delete the non-functioning "Open With" menu item?

    Yours in good health,

    Peter Jones

  5. JasonG says:

    Just a comment to note that on a 32-bit XP SP3 machine with all the various .NETs installed and up to date (with the exception of 3.5 SP1) I am unable to view/print xps documents.  I can see that the viewer is installed in C:windowssystem32XPSviewer

    I believe the issue is that IE is not the default browser on the system. When I attempt to open an XPS document, Opera is activated and asks if I want to download or view.  Obviously the xpsviewer plugin from .NET is only compatible with IE.  I have also tried right-clicking and doing an Open with… (choosing either the iexplore.exe or xpsviewer.exe) and neither will open the XPS file.  Looks like I will be re-installing SP3…

    I don’t deal much with XPS documents and was previously unaware and now shocked to find out that the XPS viewer is a browser plugin unless the EP pack is installed.  Like the visio viewer, this is a needless and annoying dependency (Yay let me fire up a gigantic ram hogging browser and wonder about security issues just to view/print a non-web related document).  Please focus development on stand-alone viewers. 🙂

  6. Droog says:

    ANOTHER screwup BY MS.

    Vista-Based attempt to supplant PDF.

    Believe me, VISTA will die. Count on it, invest with that in mind.

    These Bloatmongers can’t even get a simple install right.

    Screw Apple too, UBUNTU lives.

  7. TadGhostal says:

    If you have XP SP3, and have Firefox as your default browser, you’re screwed.  Since the apparent "plugin" that XPS requires (if not using EP) just makes hundreds and hundreds of tabs open up in Firefox.

    Just to be clear – If you keep windows updated, you MUST USE IE if you want to view XPS documents.

    If you don’t like that statement, well, now you know why it’s being made by a user in a blog rather than by Microsoft themselves – forcing people to use IE in order to use other technologies is like building a campfire on dangerously thin ice.

  8. fcv98 says:

    There are compatibility between Windows Server 2008 and XPS EP?

  9. Karl Snooks says:

    XP Pro SP3 installed, FireFox 3 user.

    Are there any registry entries which I can edit so that XPSViewer uses Firefox instead of IE?

  10. Karl Snooks says:

    Here is a reg export showing the change I made to be able to view xps files.

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


    @="XPS document"















    @=""c:\Program files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe" "%1""






    Notice the change is only in "document.1" . I had no corresponding entry in "Document" which incidentally points to xpsviewer.document.1

    In reality, the only change is to the default value for HKCRXPSViewer.Document.1shellopencommand

    If you perform a standard brute-force edit of the registry using RegEdit, then

    just change the value data for







    "c:Program filesInternet Exploreriexplore.exe" "%1"


  11. Syltro says:

    Installing .Net Framework 3.5 Sp1 does not work. The included XPS seems to be the same version. The setup failes and leaves the temporary folder. The WIC.log shows some version mismatches. WORKAROUND: rename following files:  C:Windowssystem32WindowsCodecs.dll C:Windowssystem32WindowsCodecsExt.dll C:Windowssystem32WMPhoto.dll C:Windowssystem32PhotoMetadataHandler.dll. Run Setup (from .Net Framework or the standalone XPS EP it doesn’t matter) – Setup will succeed. You will get old versions of the files mentioned above. Delete them and restore the previously renamed.

    XPSViewer will work with the newer files.

  12. Consumers can read the following blog post to understand the trivial issue at hand and how to fix it.


  13. Linda says:

    When will the version for SP3 be available?

  14. Ivan says:

    A big thank you to Syltro for the workaround (it worked perfectly). Actually, without the separate XPS EP, if you’re not using IE as default browser you can’t see the content of .XPS files at all.

    After reading Rafael Rivera post, it seems ridicules for MS not to fix it or at least officially provide a workaround as Syltro’s. Come on guys, it’s MS and they can’t match one person doing some digging into MS products?

  15. Dave reise says:

    This worked for me to view xps files.

    Right click an xps file:

    Select ‘Open With’

    Select ‘Choose Program’

    Select ‘Internet Explorer’

    Tick the ‘Always use the selected program to open this kind of file’

    Select ‘OK’

    The xps file should open in IE.

  16. anony.muos says:

    Download the XPS Essentials Pack installer which installs correctly on Windows XP SP3 here: (www.rapidshare.com/files/148550523/XPS_SP1_EP_XPSP3.zip.html) Until MS posts an official workaround. Then this can be uninstalled. Extract and run Update.exe.

  17. mbs says:

    As a regular computer user, why would I even need an XPS reader?  Is this supposed to be a competitor to Adobe Reader? thanks.

  18. John says:

    XPS is nice for printing webpages to file for future reference (we all know not all websites today will be around tomorrow)

  19. João Paulo Vinha Bittar says:

    I won’t revert my Windows XP SP3 to a Windows XP SP2 just to install XPS EP Pack, and I will definitely not install .Net Framework 3+ just to have the capability to print and view XPS files. I’ll wait for the update so the EP Pack will install on XP SP3. In the meanwhile I’ll still print and view PDF files instead. Same functionality, smaller file size.

  20. bob says:

    what the hell is the xps team doing ?

    lazy people !!!

    a good thing at last : i have the feeling that xps format is already dead thanks to them 😉

  21. anony.muos says:

    The installer at http://www.rapidshare.com/files/148550523/XPS_SP1_EP_XPSP3.zip.html installs the XPS Viewer but not the XPS Printer driver. For that, you’ll have to update for the lazy XPS team to update their package.

  22. Anonymuos says:

    Forget everything..just download a transform from http://www.withinwindows.com/2008/09/15/microsoft-i-fixed-the-xps-essentials-pack-for-you-it-took-10-minutes/ to make the original installer work on XP SP3.

  23. adrian ford says:

    In addition to the installer issue (noted in post linked to by <a href="http://blogs.msdn.com/xps/archive/2008/08/20/xps-essentials-pack-on-windows-xp-sp3.aspx#8953393">Rafael</a&gt;) there are servicing issues [*] with the print pipeline if the current payload in the XPS Essentials Pack is deployed on Windows XP SP3.

    We appreciate everyone’s patience while we publish an update to the Essentials Pack that fully supports XP SP3, in the meantime we *strongly* encourage installing XPS support via the workarounds mentioned in the initial post.


    [*] for example, any future updates may not install and you may have problems with print drivers  that have dependencies on the print path.

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