Access denied Installer 3.1

    General discussion

  • Found the answer to the problem

    It works


    chq out


     I had the same problem - I Repair-ed WinXP Pro using an intergrated SP2 CD, after which Windows Installer 3.1 wouldn't install, which means you can't get any updates.

    Here's how I solved the problem:
    Download the EXE installer for Windows Installer 3.1 v2 from here
    You can try running it, but most probably will get an "Access denied" error and it will roll back the changes. If it installs fine, then you are set and don't need to do anything more, if not, look below.

    Make sure Automatic Updates are turned off, or set them to "Notify me but don't automatically download or install them."
    Also make sure WinXP's CD isn't in your CD/DVD drive.

    Check in the Services app (services.msc) that Windows Installer service isn't running, stop it if needed.

    Open the X:\Windows\system32\dllcache\ folder (where X: is your system drive) and delete these three files (if they exist):

    After that, from this Symantec article
    do this:
    On the Windows desktop, click Start > Run.
    In the Open line, type cmd and then click OK.
    At the command prompt, type the following, depending on your version of Windows, and then press Enter after each line.

    cd \windows\system32
    ren msi.dll msi.old
    ren msihnd.dll msihnd.old
    ren msiexec.exe msiexec.old

    (Notice that after each rename you will get a prompt from Windows that system files have been replaced, and it asks for the WinXP CD in order to restore them. Do NOT put the WinXP CD into the drive, click Cancel, then choose Yes in the other dialog box that appears.)
    Restart the computer.

    Run the Windows Installer 3.1 EXE installer (downloaded in the beginning).
    Follow the prompts to complete the installation, it will install fine.
    Restart the computer.

    You might get dialog boxes with errors about msi.dll missing.
    I got such a dialog box from my anti-virus software.
    Start the Command prompt (cmd) again, and rename the three files back.
    Go to Windows Update. It will say it needs to install Windows Installer 3.1, and will say the installation failed, but it will actually succeed.
    Do not restart the computer, click the link to Windows Update Home on the left to go back to the main Windows Update screen with the "Express" & "Custom" buttons.
    Click the Express button, it should show you all post-SP2 updates (around 40-50 MBs). They should download quickly (if you are not on dial-up).
    After the updates install, restart your computer.

    You can now change the Auto Updates setting to the one you like.
    To check if Windows Installer has been properly updated, follow this link


    I cannot take the cred for this






    I Did do the first 4 method here



    now my outlook needs a repair

    rename  thoses msi.dll  files back and outlook will work again

    Thursday, April 20, 2006 6:22 PM

All replies

  • Thank you, thank you.

    You should take all the credit for this because you to the time to answer.

    One small change.  I basically tried these things before, but they did not work.  This time I found the reason why.  For some reason, on my computer the commands in "CMD" / "DOS"  mode did not work correctly OR something put the files back after the "ren" command. 

    For example  "ren msi.dll msi.old" resulted in TWO files, both msi.dll and msi.old, showing the same properties.  This is why the rest of the process failed, the files were still there. I noticed this when I did a  "dir msi*".  I even tried  "del msi.dll" after the "ren" command.  This appeared to work but "dir msi*" still showed both files.   Finally I had to reboot to safe mode with a command prompt to really delete the files mentioned, leaving the renamed version behind.  THIS WORKED.  And everything followed worked as you stated.

    I don't have time to research how this can happen but I'm sure someone knows.

    Thanks again, my friend, I'm up and running. 

    Sunday, February 11, 2007 6:50 PM
  • Thank you for your time, that solution really helps. I just reinstalled Windows XP and later I couldn't run Windows Update but now I'm downloading all the actualizations again and by the way, Outlook also is working now!

    Best from México,

    Urano: http://www.uranopublicidad.com

    Friday, March 09, 2007 4:20 AM
  • After trying these methods:

    I was unsuccessful.  After this it is FIXED!

    Friday, September 14, 2007 3:52 AM
  • Ok it seems this might work, but PLEASE tell me what can I do if I DON'T have the windows xp cd anymore??

    Monday, June 02, 2008 3:08 PM
  • I tried it but Installer will still not install. I have to "run as" an admin even though the only account on this computer is already admin. It goes as far as installing files and then fails and reverts back. This is at the point of the directions:

    Run the Windows Installer 3.1 EXE installer (downloaded in the beginning).
    Follow the prompts to complete the installation, it will install fine.
    Restart the computer.

    If anyone still watches this post and have more ideas, please do tell.

    Thank you.

    Christian / Warrior / Italian / BT-GSP major / Gamer / Borg... I am that hero!
    Thursday, March 12, 2009 3:52 PM

  • This trouble was caused  for me by doing an XP Pro repair off of an older XP Pro SP1 CD.

    The above method did not work for me., made no difference, couldn't delete the Msi files and the 3.1 v2 distributable would not install, either.

    Here is an MS article that has several different techniques and one may help you get back up and running:


    After spending a couple of hours trying to do it manually, with REGEDIT and the install log, I gave up and reset my security settings to their original state with the Command Line tool. It worked.

    Open the Start> Run> CMD dialog, type this in exactly, (note the spaces are critical, too):

    secedit /configure /cfg %windir%\repair\secsetup.inf /db secsetup.sdb /verbose

    hit enter. It will take awhile and you will see the CMD dialog update as the percentage complete moves along.

    Then I went back to the Windows Update website and instead of trying to give me SP3 (like it was before) it went to SP 2 and that installed OK.


    Went back to Win Update again and got SP 3, it installed OK.

    Here is an MS tool that says it will do this security reset for you. I haven't tried it:


    Good hunting, and don't give up!

    • Edited by DocBlase Saturday, December 19, 2009 4:59 PM clarity
    Saturday, December 19, 2009 2:02 PM
  • I tried it and it worked.  Here is the link again.


    It did the trick for me!!

    Friday, May 14, 2010 2:10 PM