How to Repair Windows XP Installer for Free

By Lucosi Fuller

The most common way to repair the Windows Installer in Windows XP is to re-register it. This requires editing the Windows registry, which can damage your computer's operating system. Before beginning the repair, download and install Microsoft's Guided Help from the Microsoft Support site (see Resources). Follow its prompts to back up the Windows XP registry.

Step 1

Click"Start" and then click "Run."

Step 2

Type "%windir%\system32" without quotation marks in the box. Click "OK." Note the location of the Msiexec.exe file, including its path and the file name, for example "C:\Windows\system32\Msiexec.exe."

Step 3

Close all windows.

Step 4

Click "Start" and "Run."

Step 5

Type "Regedit" in the box and click "OK."

Step 6

Click "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE," "System," "CurrentControlSet," "Services," and "MSIServer" to expand the headings.

Step 7

Right-click "ImagePath" in the right side-pane. Click "Modify."

Step 8

Type the location of the Msiexec.exe file that you noted in Step 2 in the "Value Data" box. Click "OK."

Step 9

Click "OK" to exit the "Edit String" dialog. Click "Exit" to close the Registry Editor.

Step 10

Click "Start," "Shut Down" and "Restart." Press "F8" on the keyboard when Windows is starting up.

Step 11

Select "Safe Mode" using the arrow keys on the keyboard and press "Enter."

Step 12

Log in to Windows. Click "Start" and "Run."

Step 13

Type "msiexec /regserver" without quotation marks in the box and click "OK."

Step 14

Close all windows and restart your computer.

Tips & Warnings

  • Sometimes the Windows Installer cannot be repaired. If Windows Installer still isn't installing programs correctly after re-registering it, reinstall Windows Installer using the instructions on Microsoft's support site.
  • Create a System Restore point before you work on your computer.
  • Make sure that your computer isn't in Safe Mode by restarting the computer in Normal Mode. Safe Mode can block Windows Installer.