Possible workaround for MSI uninstall failures caused by an error opening the installation log file

Recently, I was investigating a strange uninstall issue on a co-worker’s computer.  They tried to uninstall a build of an MSI-based product we are working on by using the entry in the Programs and Features control panel.  When doing so, an error dialog with the following text appeared almost immediately:

Error opening installation log file. Verify that the specified location exists and is writable.

Further investigation showed the following additional data:

  • Manually uninstalling the MSI manually by using msiexec.exe succeeded
  • Attempting to use the Programs and Features control panel to uninstall any other MSI that was installed on the computer failed with the same error message, so we knew that the problem was not specific to our installer.

After a bit of investigation, I found the knowledge base article at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2564571.  That article lists a simple workaround for this error – stop and restart the process named explorer.exe using Task Manager.  We tried it out, and it ended up working.  Hopefully this will be useful in case others run into this error message in the future.