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How to Interpret Windows Installer Logs

If you have a problem with the Windows Installer or an MSI package you’re installing, it’s a sure bet that you will be told by some smart person to “enable logging”.

That’s great advice, except … what do you do with the log once you get it? A common technique is to open it in Notepad and scroll up and down aimlessly, hoping to spot the “cause of your problem” section. While this is a very popular approach, it rarely yields good results. In this post, I’ll walk you through the contents of a typical log so that next time you have an Installer problem you’ll be in a better position to troubleshoot it yourself.


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