How to work around a possible XNA Game Studio or Windows Phone SDK install failure on Windows 8

If you try to install the Windows Phone SDK 7.1 or XNA Game Studio on Windows 8, you may encounter an XNA Game Studio setup failure.

How to work around this issue

If you run into this issue, here are steps that you can use to work around it:

  1. Download and install the latest version of the Games for Windows – LIVE Redistributable from http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=5549 or http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=201134
  2. If you are installing the Windows Phone SDK 7.1, re-run setup and choose to repair it.  This will re-run the previously failing XNA Game Studio installers and they should install correctly this time.
  3. If you are install a standalone XNA Game Studio product, re-run setup and it should install correctly this time.
  4. If you are planning to do Windows Phone development, you should also install the Windows Phone SDK 7.1.1 Update after installing the Windows Phone SDK 7.1.  This update fixes an issue that prevents the emulator in the Windows Phone SDK 7.1 from working correctly on Windows 8.

What to do if the workaround doesn’t help

If you have tried the above steps and setup still fails, you are running into a different issue than the one described above, and you will have to look at the setup log files to determine the root cause.

If you are installing the Windows Phone SDK 7.1, you can use the log collection tool to gather your setup log files. This log collection tool will create a file named %temp%\vslogs.cab.

If you are installing XNA Game Studio, you can find log files at the following locations:

  • XNA Game Studio 4.0 Refresh - %temp%\XNA Game Studio 4.0 Setup\Logs
  • XNA Game Studio 4.0 - %temp%\XNA Game Studio 4.0 Setup\Logs
  • XNA Game Studio 3.1 - %temp%\XNA Game Studio 3.1 Setup\Logs
  • XNA Game Studio 3.0 - %temp%\XNA Game Studio 3.0 Setup\Logs
  • XNA Game Studio 2.0 - %ProgramFiles%\Microsoft XNA\XNA Game Studio\v2.0\Setup\Logs

Once you have gathered your setup log files, please upload them to a file server of your choice (such as http://skydrive.live.com), and post a link to the log files in the App Hub Forums or in a comment on my blog to get additional support.

What is causing this failure behind the scenes

XNA Game Studio installs a version of the Games for Windows – LIVE Redistributable behind the scenes.  Some older versions of the Games for Windows – LIVE Redistributable attempt to install and use a file that is being installed by Windows 8, and the older versions of the redistributable are not compatible with the newer version of the file that is installed by Windows 8.  Newer versions of the Games for Windows – LIVE Redistributable are compatible with Windows 8, and if you pre-install the new redistributable before installing XNA Game Studio, setup will recognize that it is already there and use the new version instead of trying to install the old version.

The reason this issue also impacts the Windows Phone SDK 7.1 is that this SDK installs XNA Game Studio behind the scenes, which in turn installs the Games for Windows – LIVE Redistributable behind the scenes.

<update date="7/12/2012"> Added a note about installing the Windows Phone SDK 7.1.1 Update after installing the Windows Phone SDK 7.1 to fix an emulator issue on Windows 8. </update>

<update date="7/22/2012"> Fixed broken link to the Windows Phone SDK 7.1.1 Update </update>

<update date="10/30/2012"> Removed outdated reference to the Windows 8 consumer preview. This post applies equally to the final release of Windows 8. </update>

<update date="12/21/2015">Fixed broken download link for Games for Windows - LIVE Redistributable. </update>