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Trobleshooting and Windows Installer Logs

Created: 25 Sep 2007 • 3 comments
R-Vijay's picture
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When you need to troubleshoot a failing install, it is often useful to use the policy hive rather than the command line to catch things like repairs and multi-package installs.

The Windows Installer Log comes in very handy in this case. The log can be generated 2 ways (Other than the usual Msiexec <misname> /l*v c:\testlog.log).

1. Registry Key

Start Registry Editor (Regedt32.exe), and then create the following path and keys in the registry:


Create keys:

Logging : voicewarmupx

The letters in the value field are the options that are available to use with Windows Installer logging. You can use the options in any order. Each option turns on a specific logging mode. For MSI version 1.1, the function of each option is as follows:

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

* - Wildcard, to log all information except for the v option. To include the v option, specify *v.

It is recommended that you use this service only for troubleshooting. Leaving the service turned on creates a new Msi*.log file every time you use the Add/Remove Programs tool in Control Panel. This activity adversely affects system performance and disk space.

2. Modifying Group Policy

You can use Group Policy to enable logging by modifying the appropriate organizational unit (OU) or Active Directory Group Policy:

Click Start, and then click Run.

  1. In the Open box, type gpedit.msc to start the Group Policy Editor.
  2. Expand Computer Configuration, expand Administrative Templates, expand Windows Components, and then click Windows Installer.
  3. Double-click Logging, and then click Enabled.
  4. In the Logging box, specify the options for what you want to log.

After the installation\UnInstallation of the package check in %temp% for log files starting with MSI (eg.MSI8758d.LOG)

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Harsh Mokal's picture

Hi Vijay,
You explained about creating key

I understood the meaning of Logging key , but what exactly is the debug key for? whats its scope?

One more thing you had briefly explained about all logging options, but not about x?
what is "x" in logging. I try to find on internet but didnt help me. Could you help.

I think its typo error.

Harsh M.

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Richard Jeffrey's picture


If this per-machine system policy is set to "1", the installer writes common debugging messages to the debugger using the OutputDebugString function. If this value is set to "2", the installer writes all valid debugging messages to the debugger using the OutputDebugString function. This policy is for debugging purposes only and may not be supported in future versions of Windows Installer.

Windows Installer only writes command lines into the log file if the third (0x04) bit is set in the value of the Debug policy. Therefore, to display command lines in the log, set the Debug policy value to 7. This does not display properties associated with an Edit Control having the Password Control Attribute. This will make properties set on the command line visible in the log even if the property is included in the MsiHiddenProperties property. For more information, see Preventing Confidential Information from Being Written into the Log File.
Registry Key

Data Type


x - Extra debugging information.

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rbrucelee1978's picture

Check out this site for more info on how to read the WI logs

Understanding the Windows Installer Logs

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