Possible issue running Xbox 360 PC setup on a Window XP SP3 system with Media Center 2005 installed

Update: There is now a knowledge base article at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/954622 with more information and a workaround for the issue described in this blog post. I encourage you to take a look at that article before using the steps listed in this blog post.

Recently, I have heard from a few customers who have had an issue installing the Xbox 360 PC setup package in order to configure their Xbox 360 as a Windows Media Center Extender.  I want describe the issue, what is happening behind the scenes and how to work around it in case anyone else runs into it in the future.

Description of the issue

The customers I talked to had all previously upgraded to Windows XP SP3, and when they attempted to run Xbox 360 PC setup afterwards, they received an error message that looks like the following:

There is a problem with the installation of Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005. Uninstall the update to Media Center Edition 2005 and then re-install the update from the Windows Update website. Then run Media Center Extender setup again.

How to diagnose the issue

In this case, the last entries in the main log file created by Xbox 360 PC setup (%windir%\dvcsetup.log from the list in this blog post) look like this:

11:11:11 AM : Verifying MCE version.

11:11:11 AM : OS is Emerald : Verifying Sessions QFE is installed.

Start conditions NOT met.

11:11:21 AM : Checking for generic error during affiliation...

11:11:21 AM : Turning off the InOOBE flag.

WARNING: Error turning off the InOOBE flag.

11:11:21 AM : Exiting

Root cause of the issue

I looked in the source code for this installer, and at this stage of setup, it is trying to verify that Windows hotfix KB895961 (codenamed the "Sessions QFE" in the log file snippet above) is installed on the system by checking the following registry value:

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\HotFix\KB895961]
Installed=1 (REG_DWORD)

In Windows XP SP3, the code that is a part of this hotfix is a part of the service pack and no longer needs to be installed via a separate hotfix package.  As a result, that registry value ends up getting deleted by the XP SP3 installation process.  To complicate things, it is not possible to simply re-install the version of the KB895961 hotfix package that is available as a prerequisite during Update Rollup 2 for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 setup because that package only allows installing on Windows XP SP2.

How to work around the issue

The Media Center team is investigating options for posting an updated version of KB895961 that will allow installing on Windows XP SP3 in order to work around this Xbox 360 PC setup issue.  In the meantime, you can use the following steps to manually add the registry value that Xbox 360 PC setup is using to detect whether or not KB895961 is installed and unblock the installation on a Windows XP SP3 system:

  1. Click on the Start menu, choose Run, type cmd and click OK
  2. Type this command:  reg add "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\HotFix\KB895961" /v Installed /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f
  3. Press enter to add the value
  4. Try to run Xbox 360 PC setup again

It is safe to manually add this registry value because the fixes that are a part of KB895961 were rolled up and included in Windows XP SP3.  This registry value will simply prevent Xbox 360 PC setup from thinking that the system does not yet have KB895961.

Important note about non-Windows XP SP3 scenarios

Note - if you encounter this error on a Windows XP SP2 system (instead of a Windows XP SP3 system), then you should be able to use steps like the following to work around this error:

  1. Use steps 1-5 and 8 in the manual installation steps for Update Rollup 2 to re-install KB895961
  2. Try to run Xbox 360 PC setup again

<update date="2/15/2010"> Added a link to a knowledge base article that has been subsequently written about this issue - http://support.microsoft.com/kb/954622  </update>