How to resolve 1308 or 1309 errors while installing Visual Studio

I was contacted by a customer this week who was trying to install Visual Studio .NET 2003 and was receiving 1308 or 1309 error messages during setup, which caused setup to rollback and fail. The errors appeared in the verbose MSI log file similar to the following (note that for Visual Studio 2002, 2003 and 2005 setup, the log file is %temp%\vsmsilog*.txt where * is a randomly generated ending):

  • MSI (s) (87:F3) [20:13::24:123]: Product: Visual Studio .NET Professional 2003 - English -- Error 1308.Source file not found: C:\Win\Microsoft.Net\Framework\URTInstallPath\ Verify that the file exists and that you can access it.
  • MSI (s) (84:E0) [22:17:29:968]: Product: Visual Studio .NET Professional 2003 - English -- Error 1309.Error reading from file: e:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2003\SDK\v1.1\Samples\Technologies\Serialization\vb\SerializationVB.vbproj. System error 1. Verify that the file exists and that you can access it.

There are many possible causes for 1308 or 1309 errors in an MSI-based setup. The most common cause of this that we've seen for Visual Studio 2002, 2003 and 2005 setup is an issue reading from the source media while installing from CD or DVD. This could be due to scratches, dust or other physical flaws on the disc itself. It could be a firmware or driver issue with the CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive (we see this a lot for some of the older generation DVD-ROM drives that have slower spin speeds in particular).

The most reliable workaround we've found for eliminating 1308/1309 errors and allow Visual Studio to install successfully is to copy the contents of the VS CDs or DVD to a local hard drive and then install from the local hard drive instead of from media. The instructions that can be used to copy the VS CDs or DVD locally are documented in the following locations:

Note that if you have VS 2005, there is not yet a readme posted that I could find since it just shipped. I will update this post with the official link when it is available, but in the meantime you can use steps similar to the VS 2003 steps (except you do not need to change the [Baseline] section of setup.ini anymore).

The instructions I linked to above refer to creating a network install point so that you can install VS in a corporate or academic network environment, but the same set of steps apply to copy VS to a local drive to install from directly in order to resolve 1308/1309 errors. I think the instructions on those pages are self-explanatory but I do want to call out a couple of key points:

  • When copying VS CDs to a local drive to install from, make sure to choose the Yes to All option if you are asked if you want to overwrite files with the same name
  • After copying the files locally, you need to update the relative paths listed in setup.ini so that the links on the main setup screen for the VS prerequisites and MSDN will work correctly. Note that you will not need to update the prerequisites path in VS 2005 because of changes in how setup works behind the scenes.
  • The information about the [Product Key] section is specific to network install scenarios, so you can skip this if you are only trying to eliminate 1308/1309 errors