Expression Web 3 Installation is taking a Really long time (Really!)

By now, you have most likely downloaded the trial version of Expression Web 3 and tried it out. Perhaps you’ve purchased version 3 of Expression Web and are now trying to install it. It’s exciting, installing a new piece of software, especially a new version of an established line that you’re familiar with. You can’t wait to get it on the machine and start working with it, exploring the user interface and finding the new and exciting features. In some ways it makes you feel like a kid all over again. And the install dialog comes up.


But hang on, the install of Expression Web 3 is taking a little while longer than normal. And … a little while drags onto a while longer … and longer … and longer … and finally you’re saying “what’s going on here?” A five minute install has now just passed the first hour mark and the progress bar has barely even moved. Or has it? Maybe that was just a trick of the eye. Whatever the case, something is definately off the mark, here, right? Right you are!

An issue has been identified that can cause the Expression Web 3 installation to take a very long time. How long is a very long time? It can vary from machine to machine based on your graphic card. “Wait, did you just say ‘my graphic card!?’” Yes, indeed. The problem is being caused by this thing right here. Do you recognize it from the pic above?


Yes, that’s the progress bar. This odd behavior typically happens on machines running Windows XP without or with limited hardware acceleration. However, this may affect other operating systems as well. The long setup time happens because of a lack of full hardware acceleration support on Windows XP by DirectX. This causes intensive software rendering of some graphical elements used by WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation). Because the machine spends most of its CPU time rendering the WPF version of the progress bar, which constantly updates during setup, it has fewer resources to spend performing the installation, which dramatically increases the install time.

The good news: There is a VERY EASY workaround for resolving this problem. You ready? When the install dialog comes up, minimize it. That’s it. No, I’m not kidding. Click the minimize button.


As you can see in the screenshot above, the minimize button that you are familiar with in applications is exactly what I’m talking about. Minimizing the window hides the dialog bog and the progress bar from the screen which means Windows doesn’t have to render it for you. So the installation will finish in a reasonable amount of time. What’s reasonable? That depends on how fast your machine runs and what kind of hardware it’s packing. Usually the Expression Web 3 standalone install (with Expression Design 3 and Expression Encoder 3) will take about 5 minutes. So you can maximize the dialog box from the taskbar to check the install progress to see if it’s done.

This problem will most likely be fixed in SP1 for Expression Web 3. No ETA on SP1 at this time.

Credit for filing this bug and identifying a workaround goes to Anna Ullrich.

- Will Buffington

Comments (4)

  1. Christopher says:

    Thats hilarious to see. Thank you so much. Great solution

  2. Cindy H says:

    I'm trying to reinstall WE3 on my computer.  I've tried minimizing the installation screen and the program just stops responding.  It won't let me "un-minimize" it just literally freezes.  I have Windows XP with SP3.  Now what?  If I pay to upgrade to WE4, since WE3 is currently not on my computer, then what?

  3. Cindy H says:

    I just tried to download the trial version of WE3 – it downloads ok, when I click to install it, it freezes up.

  4. steve p says:

    you the man, it works great, minimize it like you said.  Stupid MS anyway.

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