Microsoft small business knowledge base

Article ID: 315346 - Last Review: June 5, 2013 - Revision: 22.0

This article was previously published under Q315346
If you are a Small Business customer, find additional troubleshooting and learning resources at the Support for Small Business ( site.

To continue receiving security updates for Windows, make sure that you're running Windows XP with Service Pack 3 (SP3). For more information, refer to this Microsoft webpage: Support is ending for some versions of Windows (

For support for this issue on Windows 7 and Windows Vista, see Microsoft Knowledge Base article 2642495: Error “The Windows Installer Service Could Not Be Accessed” when installing or updating programs on Windows 7 or Windows Vista (
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Important This article is intended for advanced computer users. If you are not comfortable with advanced troubleshooting, you may want to ask someone for help. Or, to get help from Microsoft Customer Support, go to the Contact Us (  webpage. 

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When you try to install a software application on Windows XP or Windows Server 2003, you receive the following error message:
The Windows Installer Service could not be accessed. This can occur if you are running Windows in safe mode, or if the Windows Installer is not correctly installed. Contact your support personnel for assistance.
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Note This problem can also occur when you try to uninstall a software application.


 This problem can occur if one of the following conditions is true:  
  • The Windows Installer files that are on your computer are damaged or are missing.
  • You install or remove a program that uses the Windows Installer Microsoft Software Installation (MSI) package file (.msi). For example, this can occur when you try to install Microsoft Office on your computer. 


To resolve this problem, use the following methods.

Method 1: Reregister the Windows Installer

To reregister the Windows Installer, verify the location of the Msiexec.exe file on your computer and in the Windows Registry, and then reregister the Windows Installer. To do this, click here to expand this section.

Method 2: Reinstall the Windows Installer

To reinstall the Windows Installer, rename the damaged Windows Installer files, and then reinstall the Windows Installer. To do this, click here to expand this section.

More information

Click here to see more information about this issue.

Applies to
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard x64 Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise x64 Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Datacenter x64 Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition for Itanium-based Systems
kbresolve kberrmsg kbprb KB315346
Additional support options
Ask The Microsoft Small Business Support Community
Contact Microsoft Small Business Support
Find Microsoft Small Business Support Certified Partner
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