When you try to install a Microsoft Windows Installer package, you may receive the following error message: Error 1603: A serious error occurred during installation.
By clicking OK in the message box, the installation is reset.
You can receive this error message if one of the following conditions is met:
- Windows Installer attempts to install an application already installed on your PC.
- The folder where you want to install the Windows Installer package is encrypted.
- The drive containing the folder where you want to install the Windows Installer package is used as the replacement drive.
- The SYSTEM account does not have full access rights to the folder where you want to install the Windows Installer package. You notice the error message because the Windows Installer service uses the SYSTEM account to install the software.
As we have seen, error code 1603 is usually returned when an action fails during a Windows installation, and most often it indicates that one of the custom actions in the MSI has failed. If we encounter a failed configuration with the return value 1603, here are the steps we should follow:
Change installation location
A 1603 Windows error may occur because the installation location you have chosen is not available for various reasons, such as encryption. You can use another installation folder to install the program and see if the error has disappeared.
Empty all temporary files
Machine specific temporary folders can be defined by accessing the DOS prompt and input. Note the values for TEMP and TMP and delete all files at these locations.
Uninstall the same installed program completely.
If you have already installed the same program (or a previous version), the error may occur when you try to reinstall the application. If you want to install your program successfully, you must cleanly uninstall the installed program on your computer. This means that you must delete all temporary files and settings it leaves in addition to the main program.
Sometimes you can lose the desktop shortcut of a program for some reason and forget that you installed it. In this case, you can check in the Control Panel to see if it is still on your computer:
- Press Win + R and enter “control”;
- Search and open programs and functions ;
- You can then check if the application is listed here. If so, uninstall it.
Uninstalling and re-registering the Windows Installer installer
- Click Start, click Run, type MSIEXEC /UNREGISTER, then click OK. Even if you do this correctly, it may seem that nothing will happen.
- Click Start, click Run, type MSIEXEC /REGSERVER, then click OK. Even if you do it well, it may seem that nothing is going to happen, or you can see an hourglass. After executing this command, the process is completed.
- Try your Windows Installer application again.
If it does not fall into the latter, it could be any other error that occurred during installation, updated in the comments. Let’s fix this!