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Enabling Advanced Windows Installer Logging


Throughout my tenure while working in support, I would occasionally come across issues where the issue I was troubleshooting with a particular product was the actual installation. Too often the error would be some generic error (with an error code of 1603 or something similar) or one of those “unexpected errors.”

One way to get to more detailed information was to enable advanced debug logging of the Windows Installer service. You can enable advanced logging for a particular package by using the following synatx when attempting to run the installation:

Msiexec /i <path to your .msi package> /L*V C:\Setup.log

where the “L*V” is what enables the Windows Installer to create a verbose log file.

But what if you want to turn on debug logging for not just the packages being installed, but also for the Windows Installer service itself? This was used to isolate the strict name checking issue with App-V 5 MSI wrappers. You will need to do what we call the “Voice Warmup” trick. It gets its name from the fact that enabling all options spells out “voicewarmup.” To do so, do the following

1. From an elevated command prompt, stop the Windows Installer Service if started:

net stop msiserver

2. Open up the Registry Editor.

3. Navigate to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Installer.

4. Create a new string value (REG_SZ) called “logging.” (No Quotes)

5. In the data field, type “voicewarmup!” (No Quotes)

6. In the same key, you will also need to create a new DWORD value called “debug.”

7. In the data field, type “7.”

8. Exit the Registry Editor.

9. Restart the Windows Installer Service.

net start msiserver

After you install (or attempt to install) the application, the log files will be located in %TEMP%.

I would advise not keeping these values in place on a production server.

  1. March 18, 2014 at 5:47 am

    Please elaborate on “This was used to isolate the strict name checking issue with App-V 5 MSI wrappers.” and/or provide another example need for logging the installer service. Thanks Steve.

  1. September 9, 2014 at 5:24 pm
  2. September 20, 2014 at 8:58 am

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