Windows 7 beta testers find critical Windows Installer Bug

Update: Microsoft is now sending the workaround message for this bug if you check for solutions to problem reports. Thanks to Saarineames for pointing it out.

Mary Jo reports that a number of Windows 7 Beta testers have come across a bug that crashes the system randomly whenever they try to start a Windows Update or install anything using Microsoft's MSI installer. Enthusiast Chris Holmes claims that many users have started experiencing random crashing of explorer and msiexec.exe when trying to start Windows Update or install anything that uses an MSI based installer. Some have gone to the extent of reinstalling the beta.

Rafael has discovered that the fault arises from the Software Quality Management (SQM) Client which is a part of the Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP). It seems that any process that calls WinSqmStartSession in ntdll.dll will start crashing when machine throttling is enabled in the registry and when CEIP is running.

The suggested workarounds are as follows:

1) Deleting the string values other than Default value in HKLM\Software\Microsoft\SQMClient\Windows\DisabledSessions in the Windows Registry [Or] renaming MachineThrottling to _MachineThrottling in the same node.

2) Turn Off Windows Customer Experience Improvement Program which can be done by traversing through the nodes - Computer Configuration->Administrative Templates->System->Internet Communication Management->Internet Communication settings in the Local Group Policy Editor.

If you are a Windows 7 Beta tester, please make sure that you report any bugs to Microsoft using the new Send Feedback tool

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The only bug I know of that hasn't been fixed in years is the WMP pause bug. :)

I can't pause hitting the space bar. Or by single clicking the mouse on the video.

I wouldn't need MediaPlayerClassic if that was fixed.

I dont understand why people are giving neowin a harsh time for putting this on the front page, heck this just saved me a lot of headaches while installing Office 07, installed crashed and tried to find a solution but couldnt, after seeing this fix on neowin i was able to get office to install.

is this the same as 'windows installer stop responding' problem?had it 2 days ago and i just use system restore to temporary solve it..

rizshinigami said,
is this the same as 'windows installer stop responding' problem?had it 2 days ago and i just use system restore to temporary solve it..

Yep, same issue.

Again, like i said in another post and some have said here.

Its a bug in BETA software. Report it to MS and STFU. No reason to make a huge big deal about it.

necrosis said,
Again, like i said in another post and some have said here.

Its a bug in BETA software. Report it to MS and STFU. No reason to make a huge big deal about it.


How about you and the other "its a beta" clowns STFU? We all know it's a beta. If it were not for people bringing these bugs to Microsoft's attention, the software would never get past the beta stage. No one is making a big deal over it, we are simply discussing a bug and how to fix it. Others are questioning why it only started showing up in the last day or two, which may in the end be important in a final fix for this error.

This is strange, I only got this yesterday and just after that a fix was all over the web. Did this only start occurring yesterday or something? Considering the Beta has been leaked since late December it's kinda odd it would take this long to appear

DrCheese said,
This is strange, I only got this yesterday and just after that a fix was all over the web. Did this only start occurring yesterday or something? Considering the Beta has been leaked since late December it's kinda odd it would take this long to appear

It started happening Saturday, and since then has been affecting more and more machines. So whatever it is, it wasn't around before then.

Wait, can't you just turn off the CEIP by starting to type Customer Experience Improv... into the start menu and selecting NO? That's what I did.

No. In the techie world, a workaround isn't considered a workaround unless it involves going into the registry or computer management. It would be too user friendly to do what you are suggesting.

rkirby said,
No. In the techie world, a workaround isn't considered a workaround unless it involves going into the registry or computer management. It would be too user friendly to do what you are suggesting.

No, Win7 seems to be overriding that setting, it stays on even though you tell it to turn off in there.

Glad this was flagged up, been racking my brains on how to get past this, Happened to me immediately after I installed installed live messenger, which in turn installed the Visual Studio Runtimes. Did a system restore to before I made the install and installer was working again fine. Pretty odd. Will delete the key and see how it goes.

Same. Installed Windows live and it started. It didn't effect anything for me other than trying to run windows updates (not install). Launching the windows update window = explorer.exe crash/restart.

Deleted the aforementioned reg key and it worked immediately.

The Chris Holmes mentioned in the article has posted an update.
It appears Microsoft has now acknowledged the bug and there is now a response in the Action Center when a crash occurs.
Microsoft is recommending deleting the entire key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\SQMClient\Windows\DisabledSessions

Yep.. It recommended a solution when my explorer crashed when chenking updates..

Hopefully MS is just as fast in the future with solutions and work arounds with the Action Center..

This started yesterday and I don't know how to get to the suggested nodes.? Also, sometimes it won't let me open my control panel! Thanks for any suggestions!!!

I can't seem to find it, either. I would think it would be under computer management, but I guess not. Regardless, the registry entry alone was enough to fix the problem for me, so give that a shot.

Edit: In the search box in the start menu type mmc, then in the management console manually add the snap-in through the file menu.

Thanks so much! I ended up doing what was suggested in the upper graphic and now it works fine, so again thank you for taking the time to help!!! A corona is in the mail!

mocax said,
so it's a time triggered thing?

or related to the worm/trojan thing that hit last week?

It must be time triggered... I only started having problems with it today.

Good to see that this fix has helped so many. It seems that it started happening sometime saturday and since then has been affecting more and more machines. It's definitely CEIP though as shutting it down stopped the issue from coming back in any form.

I had just started getting this today after I had most all my software installed already. The only thing I had left was Office and that is when it all went downhill. Every msi file installed fine up to that point and then none would work. I am glad I checked Neowin before I reinstalled as I thought I had installed something that Windows 7 did not like witch in a beta is very possible.

Yeah, I could have, except that I made done quite a few other system changes AFTER I noticed the issue. I didn't feel like redoing all of that. I thought the issue was a random thing. I was able to successfully INSTALL items, just not uninstall any MSI installed items, so I blissfully trudged ahead. I'm just glad there is a better solution now so I can stop the problem from returning.

weird, haven't had this problem yet. I've installed Office 2007, and many other programs, even ran Windows Update. No issues at all. Weird.

I have this problem with LogMeIn ignition... try to start the installer... and it errors out.

Wasn't sure if it was LogMeIn's problem or Windows.

Been running build 7000 since it was released for public downloads. i installed a copy on a secondary workstation i use to test things. works well. then decided to install it on my laptop. gotta say. i am impressed. widnows 7 is running a lot better on the laptop than XP would even after a fresh install.

haven;t had this bug yet. perhaps i don't meet the requirements. i have installed plenty of software and no issues.

keep it up microsoft. this is finally one OS that truly rocks out of the box. even as beta.

I was just able to open windows update, it said there were updated wating to be downloaded. It was crashing on me yesterday. I did not apply the stated fix.

I was wondering why the Windows Home Server connector software kept crashing when I tried to launch the install process on my Win 7 x64 tablet. After doing those two things and restarting, the installer worked perfect.

I had a similar issue that the Windows installer service crashed when trying to install and .msi and some .exe. Pain in the arse but a re-install fixed it. Nice to know theres a fix if it happens again

Better it's fixed now than later, right? Can't say I ran across this issue though. I've installed Office 2007 many times with success.

rm20010 said,
Better it's fixed now than later, right? Can't say I ran across this issue though. I've installed Office 2007 many times with success.


Yeah that's what i thought was weird as i've formatted and installed Office 2007 no problem.

Well since this bug involves MSI and is pretty ez to trigger (just run any installation that uses MSI), it'd be amazing if no one finds this bug before RTM (wonders what have we been doing ;-) )

I think everyone knows by now it's in beta, enough people have started the fact, we don't need reminding ever thread. So are we not allowed to descuss topics on the Win7 beta?

Well blow me down, I just started having issues with Windows Installer crashing and wondered what was going on. By pure chance I came to Neowin for a browse around and found this as the top story

+1 Thanks for this front page story!! It was about to drive me crazy ... especially when trying to install Java last night and it kept crashing.

Haven't had this issue. I am, however, having all kinds of problems with Nokia and their software suites for my N82. Firefox is rendered completely useless do to them (Nokia), and now Internet Explorer is starting to act up.

Actually, I did have Windows Update crash twice while installing the Nokia PC Suite. Damn. Also, what is the issue with card readers. Vista has some issues, and so does 7. Sometime the card just freezes the entire machine, and sometimes it will crash only Explorer but then the taskbar diappears and I can't do ****. I dunno..the more I use this, I realize there are still a **** load of problems (yes, I know it's a beta) but it still feels pretty solid.

^Exactly.

So, it is a beta. This is dumb. Lets report every bug that is found in this beta OS, and arbitrarily assign some critical non critical and annoying.

This is a very important bug as we testers try to use Win 7 as our primary OS and see how things are. This bug literally stops you from installing Office 2007, Visio 2007 etc.,

TCLN Ryster said,
Interestingly though, it only started happening yesterday. I've installed plenty of programs up to now.

Yea, some of my friends have installed plenty of programs and they seem to be not affected by this bug...weird..

Chaks said,
Yea, some of my friends have installed plenty of programs and they seem to be not affected by this bug...weird..

I'm the same, I've never even seen this bug, and I've installed most of the stuff I have installed in Vista, including Visio 2k7, Office 2k7 and Visual Studio 08

I just do not agree with these articles written about bugs. Some people take these things to heart, and I hear casual conversation about some "big bugs" which were blown out of proportion.

In anycase, I must be a bad beta tester, I have not ran into any serious bugs in 7. I have submited a few about audio glitches however....

Chaks said,
This is a very important bug as we testers try to use Win 7 as our primary OS and see how things are. This bug literally stops you from installing Office 2007, Visio 2007 etc.,


If you are an actuall "tester", you would know that those who actually *are* testers by job or vocation hardly ever use Beta software as their primary and/or production software. Those that do are virtually pointing a loaded gun at their feet.

ScottKin said,
If you are an actuall "tester", you would know that those who actually *are* testers by job or vocation hardly ever use Beta software as their primary and/or production software. Those that do are virtually pointing a loaded gun at their feet.

And if you were one, you'd know that Microsoft are very keen on the "Self-Host" approach, as they call it. Running Windows 7 as your day to day OS is the best way to find the kinds of bugs that could be missed by just playing around with it for a while. If they trust it enough to do it themselves within the company, many employees work on Windows 7 systems daily, then I think it's good enough for us to do the same. Obviously it's important to have a good backup system in place, but anyone with an ounce of common sense will have that.

TCLN Ryster said,
Interestingly though, it only started happening yesterday. I've installed plenty of programs up to now.


same here worked fine right up untill i tried to install PowerArchive 09 then it started to happen but untill then everything i installed worked fine

As VMWare Server 2.0 knackered my Media Center installation on Vista, as well as my IIS website I have running - so I ended up using MS Virtual PC 2007 to try the beta in...

The first thing I did after booting up was to install the two patches from Windows Update (were downloaded automatically!) and then installed the Virtual PC Additions (better mouse response etc.) Rebooted and it crashed to the point of no return. Had to do a system restore to fix it...!

That's because the Virtual PC Additions aren't designed for Windows 7, they're designed for Vista and although you may think the two OSs are similar enough to use, they're obviously not =P

Perfect timing. I had this problem for the first time a few minutes ago (Windows Update = explorer.exe crash.) Came here to check the forums for help, and here's the answer at the top of the front page.

#1 worked for me.

I can do one better, I caught this bug and Windows 7 itself told me how to fix it. I hope that wasn't a one off and the system is capable of diagnosing issues like that more often.

The size of the beta program will give MS tons of useful info.
Heh I want to see the OS market share at the end of January...