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Windows Installer Logging



This article explains how to enable Windows Installer logging and email a log file for technical support purposes.



In order to troubleshoot an installation problem it is often helpful to evaluate the installation log file. The installers for the products which reference this page use Microsoft's Windows Installer (MSI) installer service, where logging can be enabled by setting a registry key.

To enable logging open the following archive and select "MsiLoggingPolicy-On.reg":

A system dialog should confirm that the data has been loaded, after which you can retry the installation.

At the end of the installation (even if failed) you will find a log file named msi*.log in %temp% (just enter %temp% in a Windows File Explorer address bar, and it will expand to the current Temp directory). It should be among the most recent files, if sorted by date.

If you do not find a log file, a reboot may be required before the MSI logging activation takes effect.

Please note that installation log files may contain private information, although they generally do not. For example, installation log files list the installation directories. Because Windows names data directories after user names, the Windows username of the current user may be included in the log. Any data entered in the installer dialogs may also be included. If you are concerned, or simply interested, you can open the log file with Notepad and view it.

Before emailing the log file for technical support purposes you may want to compress it to reduce the attachment size: right-click the file and select Send to/Compressed (zipped) folder.

After the submission, you can either disable installation logging by selecting "MsiLoggingPolicy-Off.reg" in the above archive, or leave it enabled so that future installations will continue to be logged in the system temporary directory.

 For your information, the registry key that is set to enable logging is:


("Logging" is set to "" to disable it again)

If the "Logging" value does not exist, it is created. To create it manually, use the menu to create a new string value under "Installer". If the "Installer" key does not exist, use the menu to create a new key under "Windows". This works on both x86 and x64 systems.

If you would like to manually edit the registry, and are not familiar with editing the registry please read the following article before proceeding:

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Article Information
Article ID: 14-135
Platform: Windows
Products: All
Additional Keywords: InstallShield
Last Update: 2022-12-17
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