Fix: “Error opening installation log file” in Windows 10

By: Elsie Otachi
5 minute read
Windows 10 error opening installation log file

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Sometimes, when you try to uninstall any product in the Windows Programs and Features tool, a new Windows Installer window appears and gives the Windows 10 error opening installation log file, accompanied by the message: verify that the specified location exists and is writable.

While it may not be obvious why the error appears, the issue usually occurs if the Windows Installer logging is enabled, but its engine can’t write the uninstallation log file properly. This happens if the Windows Installer’s application heap is freed so it loses the information on where the log file should be stored.

When this happens, Windows Installer tries to write to the location C:\Windows\System32 and addresses it as a file. The correct, or proper action should be to write it to the following location and file name: C:\Users\<username>\Appdata\Local\Temp\MSIxxxxxx.log.

This problem can also occur if the Windows Installer files are damaged, missing, or when you install or remove a program that uses Windows Installer Microsoft Software Installation (MSI) package file (.msi), like if you try to install Microsoft Office on your computer.

It is actually a known issue with the Microsoft Installer engine, so there are ways of solving the problem, as outlined below.

FIX: Windows 10 error opening installation log file

  1. Use Command Prompt
  2. Stop and restart Explorer.exe using Task Manager
  3. Reregister Windows Installer
  4. Reinstall the Windows Installer

Use Command Prompt

You can get Windows 10 error opening installation log file if the TMP and TEMP directories of the file are different, resulting in installer files being written to TMP, but when trying to read those files using the TEMP value, the error is displayed. In this case, confirm that both values refer to the same path using the Command Prompt:

  • Click Start
  • Type CMD in the search bar and right click on Command Prompt then choose Run as Administrator

SOLVED: Windows 10 error opening installation log file

  • In the Command Prompt (Admin) black screen, type set TEMP+%tmp% and press enter
  • Run the installation again

If this doesn’t help, try the next solution.

Stop and restart Explorer.exe using Task Manager

To fix Windows 10 error opening installation log file problem, do the following in Task Manager:

  • Press CTRL+ALT+DEL to launch Task Manager (or right click on your desktop task bar and select Task Manager
  • Click Processes tab

Windows 10 error opening installation log file

  • Locate and select explorer.exe
  • Click End Process
  • Select Show Processes from all users
  • Click End Process to close the prompt
  • Your desktop icons and desktop bar will disappear. Press CTRL+ALT+DEL to launch Task Manager again
  • Click File
  • Select Run New task

Windows 10 error opening installation log file

  • Type explorer.exe and press enter or click OK
  • Your desktop task bar and icons should appear again

Reregister Windows Installer

To reregister the Windows installer, verify the location of Msiexec.exe file on your computer and in Windows Registry, then reregister Windows Installer by doing the following:

  • Find Msiexec.exe file on your computer by right clicking Start and selecting Run

Windows 10 error opening installation log file

  • Type %windir%\system32, and then click OK, to open the folder where the Msiexec.exe file is located.
  • Note the location of the Msiexec.exe file, which is a combination of the value in the Addressbox and the Msiexec.exe file name itself. For example, if the Address box contains a value of C:\Windows\system32, the location of the Msiexec.exe file is C:\Windows\system32\Msiexec.exe.
  • Next, open the Registry Editor to make modifications. Note that 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.
  • Right click Start and select Run
  • Type regedit and click OK or press enter

Windows 10 error opening installation log file

  • Expand HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services, and then click MSIServer.

Windows 10 error opening installation log file

  • In the right-pane, right-click ImagePath, and then click Modify.

Windows 10 error opening installation log file

  • In the Value data box, type the location of the Msiexec.exe file that you determined in step 1, followed by the value of /V, and then click OK. For example, if the location of the Msiexec.exe file is C:\Windows\system32\Msiexec.exe, type the following text in the Value data text box: C:\WINDOWS\System32\msiexec.exe /V
  • Click OK to close the Edit String dialog box.
  • Go to the File menu and click Exit to close the Registry Editor.
  • Start your computer in safe mode, and then register the Msiexec.exe file by clicking Start, then click Power option
  • Click Restart option, then click OK
  • Press F8 before the Windows screen displays
  • On the Windows Advanced Option menu, use the arrow keys to select the Safe Mode option, and then press enter.
  • If you use a dual-boot or multiple-boot computer, select the appropriate operating system from the list that is displayed, and then press Enter.
  • Log on to the computer.
  • Click Start, click Run, type msiexec /regserver in the Open box, and then click OK.

Note: For 64-bit operating systems, you have to reregister the 64-bit MSI installer, using the steps below:

  • Right click Start and click Run
  • Type %windir%\Syswow64\Msiexec /regserver and click OK. On 64-bit editions of the Windows operating system, 32-bit binaries are located in %systemroot%\SysWow64 folder. The 64-bit binaries are located in the %systemroot%\System32 folder.
  • Click Start, and then click Turn off computer or Shut Down.
  • Select the Restart option, and then click OK, or click Restart.

If the issue still occurs, and you still receive the Windows 10 error opening installation log file message, try the next solution.

Reinstall the Windows Installer

To reinstall the Windows Installer, you first need to rename the damaged Windows Installer files, and then reinstall the Windows Installer. To do this, use the steps below:

  • Right click Start and click Run

Windows 10 error opening installation log file

  • Type cmd and press enter or click OK.
  • Type cd %windir%\system32, and then press Enter.
  • Type attrib -r -s -h dllcache, and then press Enter.
  • Type ren msi.dll msi.old, and then press Enter.
  • Type ren msiexec.exe msiexec.old, and then press Enter.
  • Type ren msihnd.dll msihnd.old, and then press Enter.
  • Type exit, and then press Enter.
  • At the command prompt, type exit, and then press Enter.
  • Click Start, and then click Turn off computer or Shut Down.
  • Select the Restart option, and then click OK, or click Restart.
  • Log on to the computer.
  • Download and install the latest version of the Windows Installer.
  • Click Start, and then click Turn off computer or Shut Down.
  • Select the Restart option, and then click OK, or click Restart.

Did any of these solutions help fix Windows 10 error opening installation log file problem? Let us know by leaving a comment in the section below.

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