Windows Installer keeps popping up or starting

Does your Windows Installer process run every time you boot Windows device? Or maybe you are working, and it suddenly pops up randomly? Why does this happen? How do you stop it from running at random times in the background? This post takes a look at some scenarios & discusses your options.

The Windows Installer or msiexec.exe is a Windows OS component and an application programming interface, located in the System32 folder, that is used for the installation, maintenance, and removal of software. So when you see this process running, it definitely means that some software is being installed, changed or uninstalled. Many software use the Windows Installer to carry out the installation process.

Windows Installer keeps popping up

Windows Installer keeps popping up

If this is happening with your permission and knowledge, then it is fine – as you may be in the process of installing, uninstalling or repairing your installed software. But if it is not, then you need to investigate further.

This post will probably raise more questions than answers – that is something you will have to answer for yourself – and that may show you the direction to work.

1] Terminate the process manually and see if it appears again either in the current session or on restart. To do this, right-click on the Taskbar and select Task Manager. Under the Process tab, you may see the msiexec.exe process. Right-click on it and select End task. This will terminate the Windows Installer process.

2] Ensure that the latest version of Windows Installer is installed. Right-click on msiexec.exe, in the System32 folder, select Properties > Details. The latest version as of writing is 5.0.10586.0.

3] Maybe your Windows Installer file has been corrupted. Run System File Checker and reboot once the scan is completed. See this post if Windows Installer Service can not be accessed.

4] Now ask yourself, did you install any new software in the last day or two? If so maybe some background process or updating is still going on. Give the Windows Installer time to run and see if it shuts down after a while.

5] When you installed the software, did it install any third-party offers? Check the Control Panel. Maybe they are being installed. Check if any software which you installed or updated recently, bundled other software. If so it may be using this process. You may want to uninstall the unwanted applications.

6] Did you download or install anything of doubtful value? Maybe something is installing Malware or a PUP on your system. Run a full scan with your antivirus software along with AdwCleaner, which is a good tool to remove PUPs, Browser Hijackers & Adware. If msiexec.exe is located in the C:\Windows\System32 folder, then it is the legitimate Microsoft process. If it is located in any other folder, it could well be malware, as malware files can me named anything.

7] You may want also to consider re-registering the Windows Installer engine. To do so, open Command Prompt, type the following and hit Enter:

msiexec /unregister

Now to register it again, type the following and hit Enter.

msiexec /regserver

8] Download the Program Install and Uninstall Troubleshooter. This tool is the replacement forĀ Windows Installer Cleanup utility which was discontinued. This tool will help you fix potential issues with Windows Installer.

Specifically, it will fix the following problems:

  1. Problems that prevent new programs from being installed, uninstalled or updated
  2. Corrupted registry keys that are related to these issues.

This troubleshooter works on Windows 10/8.1/8/7.

Let us know if anything helped, or if you have other suggestions.

Want to know how to make Windows Installer work in Safe Mode?

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Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.

2 Comments

  1. najevi

    I tried some of the methods described above. The “problem” persisted.

    On a hunch I searched for and followed instructions to manually install the Windows 10 Creators update, which was repeatedly failing to install via the automated windows update process. Two and a half days later I see none of those Windows Installer processes in Task Manager.

    The two and a half days involved figuring out that Nvidia drivers needed updating before the Windows 10 Creators update would successfully render a desktop. I also uninstalled Adobe Reader (use Sumatra instead) and Adobe Flash player (just do without flash content) because I read that those are also notorious.

    I can’t be certain but I _suspect_ that the instances of Windows Installer (msiexec.exe) may have been triggered by windows update repeatedly trying to install the Creators update.

  2. Kenji Sousa

    I was having the same problem. I use Windows 10.

    At startup, the self acclaimed “Windows Installer” was running and asking for permission to change system settings. There was no identifier, it just said that the origin was the computer’s hard drive.
    Fortunatelly, by clicking on “show more information”, it showed me the location of the executable file: “C:WINDOWSInstaller”. You won’t find it naturally, since it’s a folder protected by the system, therefore hidden. I scanned the executable file with Windows Defender, and it was recognized as a threat, then it was deleted. After rebooting my computer, there was no “Windows Installer” software running, succes.

    It shouldn’t be believed that this software was really a Microsoft software. Windows updates are done silently, even more so on Windows 10. Everything points to the conclusion that this is a malware, a Trojan virus or similar.

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