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Windows includes a registry-activated logging service to help diagnose Windows Installer issues. This article describes how to enable this logging service.

Applies to: Windows 10 - all editions, Windows Server 2012 R2
Original KB number: 223300

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Note

The registry entry in this article is valid for all Windows operating systems.

Windows Installer logging

Windows Installer can use logging to help assist in troubleshooting issues with installing software packages. This logging is enabled by adding keys and values to the registry. After the entries have been added and enabled, you can retry the problem installation and Windows Installer will track the progress and post it to the Temp folder. The new log's file name is random. However, the first letters are Msi and the file name has a .log extension. To locate the Temp folder, type the following line at a command prompt:

To enable Windows Installer logging manually, see the following section.

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Enable Windows Installer logging manually

Important

This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, see How to back up and restore the registry in Windows.

To enable Windows Installer logging yourself, open the registry by using Regedit.exe, and then create the following subkey and keys:

  • Path:HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESoftwarePoliciesMicrosoftWindowsInstaller
  • Type: Reg_SZ
  • Value: Logging
  • Data: voicewarmupx

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The letters in the value field can be in any order. Each letter turns on a different logging mode. Each letter's actual function is as follows for MSI version 1.1:

  • v - Verbose output
  • o - Out-of-disk-space messages
  • i - Status messages
  • c - Initial UI parameters
  • e - All error messages
  • w - Non-fatal warnings
  • a - Start up of actions
  • r - Action-specific records
  • m - Out-of-memory or fatal exit information
  • u - User requests
  • p - Terminal properties
  • + - Append to existing file
  • ! - Flush each line to the log
  • x - Extra debugging information. The x flag is available only in Windows Server 2003 and later operating systems, and on the MSI redistributable version 3.0, and on later versions of the MSI redistributable.
  • * - Wildcard. Log all information except the v and the x option. To include the v and the x option, specify /l*vx.

Note

This change should be used only for troubleshooting and should not be left on because it will have adverse effects on system performance and disk space. Each time that you use the Add or Remove Programs item in Control Panel, a new Msi*.log file is created. To disable the logging, remove the Logging registry value.

Enable Windows Installer logging with Group Policies

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You can enable logging with Group Policies by editing the appropriate OU or Directory Group Policy. Under Group Policy, expand Computer Configuration, expand Administrative Templates, expand Windows Components, and then select Windows Installer.

Double-click Logging, and then click Enabled. In the Logging box, enter the options you want to log. The log file, Msi.log, appears in the Temp folder of the system volume.

For more information about MSI logging, see Windows Help. To do this, search by using the phrase msi logging, and then select Managing options for computers through Group Policy.

Note

The addition of the x flag is available natively in Windows Server 2003 and later operating systems, on the MSI redistributable version 3.0, and on later versions of the MSI redistributable.

Windows Installer Editor's Review

Make the installation, maintenance and un-installation of your software easy with Windows Installer.

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So it’s still the good old program that provides a base on which software developers can make the installation, updating and un-installation of their products quick, easy and familiar for the user.
A nice addition for software developers is the ability to integrate a customer user interface handler in the installer package: personalise the product experience for your customers.
As for those customers, there’s some good news for you as well. No more installing each package individually and rebooting your computer for every single one! Imagine the time you’ll save. With Windows Installer 4.5 the process has integrated so the installation progress, rollback and reboot happens in one single action that makes the installation process simple and less time consuming.
Other updates of interest include the update supersedence resiliency, shared component patching resiliency during uninstall and custom action execution on update uninstall. As a result of these changes certain issues experienced whilst using earlier version of Windows Installer have been resolved, including a rather annoying glitch that even if a component of an update was shared by various products, that component would still be removed if the update was uninstalled.
Pro's: Integrated installation, rollback and reboot
Con's: None that we can see.. reliable and easy to use.
Conclusion: Windows provide some of the most reliable software out on the market and this is no different. We highly recommend updating if you're running on a Windows OS.