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  • How should I install a .msi based application?

    Home Forums AskWoody support Windows Windows 10 Questions: Win10 How should I install a .msi based application?

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      • #2371465
        SteveP
        AskWoody Plus

        I have a .msi based application that I am unable to install. What is the best approach? I’m running Win10 Pro 2004.

        I searched Woody’s but didn’t find an answer.

        I found two approaches online.
        First approach:

        1. Right-click Start.
        2. Select Command Prompt (Admin).
        3. Type net user administrator /active:yes and press Enter. You should see the message The command completed successfully.
        4. Launch Start, click the user account tile on the top left of the screen and choose Administrator.
        5. Click Sign in.
        6. Locate the software or .exe file that you want to install.
        7. After you have installed the application, log out of the Admin account and log back in to your regular account.
        8. Disable the Administrator account to prevent malicious access to your system files. Open Command Prompt, type net user administrator /active:no and press Enter

        I set the net user administrator to active, but was not able to go any farther since there was not a user account tile on the start page.

        Approach 2 suggested making registry edits. This seemed pretty extreme so I didn’t try it.

        Any other suggestions?

        Thanks,
        Steve

        BTW, I’m able to install other programs without any problems using run as administrator.

      • #2371472
        Bob99
        AskWoody Plus

        For starters, exactly what kind of error message are you getting when you just double click on the .msi file?

        Also, what kind of software is the .msi installer trying to install? The type of software can help tell us if the solution you illustrate above is worth pursuing. As you’ve seen in your searches, enabling the Administrator account is not the best way to install software, as that can allow malicious programs that have been cleverly disguised as ordinary programs or files to run amok and literally (worst case scenario here) brick your computer.

        One other question: What are you using for your anti-crapware defense? It may be interfering with the installation because it thinks that an attack is underway when you launch the .msi installer for some reason. I had Windows Defender stop me from running a chkdsk command (chkdsk /F to find and fix disk problems) until I learned how to tell it to back off, for example.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2371480
        Rick Corbett
        AskWoody_MVP

        From your normal account, just double-click on the .MSI file. This will kick off Windows’ built-in Microsoft installer engine and a User Account Control (UAC) prompt.

        At some point you should be asked if you want to install the package for the current logged-on user or for ‘all users’. If you choose ‘all users’ then the installer engine will self-elevate without any need for ‘Run as administrator’.

        The only three reasons I can think of for this not working is if the .MSI package is damaged/corrupt, if it is not digitally signed or if it has been downloaded but not ‘unblocked’ (right-click on the file and check its properties)… although in the latter case it should just throw up an additional prompt warning you the package was downloaded.

        (There’s a possible fourth reason, i.e. if you are using a finicky third-party antimalware product that is blocking the install… but this would be unusual.)

        If this still fails then the reason should appear on screen and/or be written to an event log – either Application if the problem is with the .MSI file itself or – less likely but possibly –  System if the problem is with the OS (e.g. Windows’ built-in installer engine, filesystem or registry).

        Either use Windows’ Event Viewer or Nir Sofer’s FullEventLogView to check both Application and System logs for the last recorded events. I prefer the latter app as it’s easy to filter out ‘Information’ events to only show errors.

        Hope this helps…

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2371509
        SteveP
        AskWoody Plus

        Thanks very much for the responses and questions.

        The software is a Social Security calculator from SSA (Calculator.msi with a 11/24/2019 date) that takes yearly income  information then spits out SS payments based on when payments are started. I used the program before on a windows 7 machine I had. It’s not a major piece of software. It would just be nice to have to do what-if scenarios.

        I just ran InstallSheild to see what the error message is ….and …. NO ERROR. The only difference this time is I specified the program was for me and not everyone. Rick, this seems to be backwards from your comment that the installer will self-elevate if I chose ‘all users.’

        Ok, the oddness continues. InstallShield said it would install the program in Program Files(x86). Instead it installed the program in my AppData\Local\Programs folder. It runs from there. It just seems like an odd place for the program. Also, the program doesn’t show up in the list of programs because it’s in such an odd place. I’ll just create a shortcut and put it on the desktop.

        Again, thanks for the responses,
        Steve

      • #2371529
        Moonshine
        AskWoody Lounger

        Try downloading a newer version of the Social Security calculator from SSA (.msi) software:

        https://www.ssa.gov/oact/anypia/download.html

        If this is the same, but updated software, look at the section ‘Note on Installation’ regarding problematic Windows installs.

        I have downloaded and installed this to a non default location without obvious issues.
        It is not applicable to me so it will be removed just after this posting.
        Apologies if this has nothing to do with the software you are trying to use.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2371540
        EricB
        AskWoody Plus

        Ok, the oddness continues. InstallShield said it would install the program in Program Files(x86). Instead it installed the program in my AppData\Local\Programs folder. It runs from there. It just seems like an odd place for the program.

        An .msi file that is authored to be UAC aware will cause Windows Installer to install program files to the location noted above and also will not need elevation if the installation is for “Just me”

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2371640
        SteveP
        AskWoody Plus

        Moonshine, thanks for the link. I tried finding a new version of the software but all I found was the online calculator.

        EricB, thanks for the feedback. I had never run into this situation before.

        Steve

      • #2371642
        Moonshine
        AskWoody Lounger

        In the link:

      • #2371732
        SteveP
        AskWoody Plus

        Moonshine, sorry I wasn’t clear and caused you additional work. I actually meant I couldn’t find the new calculator before I started this topic. I saw the file when I followed your SSA link in your first thread. I imagine you did look like your avatar when you read my earlier response.

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