Disabling services with MSConfig to work around setup failures

I was talking recently with a colleague who works on the .NET Framework setup and Windows Installer technical support team here at Microsoft.  He told me about a set of steps that his team typically has customers try when they call in to report failed installations.  I wanted to post these steps here in case they are helpful to anyone else struggling to get an application installed.

This set of steps allows you to easily find all services that are installed on your system and temporarily disable them so they cannot interfere with installation processes.  It also allows you to identify and temporarily disable programs that are scheduled to start every time the system reboots.  The System Configuration tool (also known as MSConfig) allows you to manage these and other settings.

I recommend trying the following steps in cases where a product fails to install on your system and you've already tried other workarounds posted on my blog and elsewhere to attempt to resolve the issue:

  1. Click on the Start menu, choose Run, type msconfig and click OK
  2. In the System Configuration tool, click on the Services tab
  3. Check the box labeled Hide all Microsoft services
  4. Click the Disable All button to disable all non-Microsoft services
  5. In the System Configuration tool, click on the General tab
  6. Click the Selective startup radio button
  7. Uncheck the box labeled Load startup items
  8. Click OK to accept all changes in the System Configuration tool
  9. Reboot for the changes to take effect
  10. Attempt to install the application that previously failed
  11. Re-run the System Configuration tool and re-enable the services that you disabled in step 4 above

In many cases, the above steps will allow a previously failing setup package to install successfully.  Hopefully they will be useful to you as well if you find yourself in this situation.