How to fix a broken installation of a Windows Program

Have you ever tried updating a Windows program that uses Windows Installer (MSI) technology and no matter what you do you fail to complete the task? You can’t uninstall, update or remove the program because some files are missing or the Windows Installer database is corrupt. No matter what you do you are stuck with a broken installation. That is where the Windows Installer CleanUp Utility comes to the rescue.

The issue looks something like this when you try to run the installer of your program:


Installing Windows Installer CleanUp Utility


Don’t think too much about the fact that the installer says Microsoft Office Update. It properly just means that the tools were developed by the Microsoft Office Team.

The installation is pretty straight forward and the tools are very easy to use. The installer is only 351 KB. My biggest issue was to find the program in the Start Menu after installing the tool 🙂


When you start up the tool you will see a list of programs all installed with the Windows Installer technology. It will look something like this:


Before you continue it might be a good time to think about a backup of your system. I have never had any problem with this tool myself, but the tool is making changes to your system so just in case, it might be a good idea to make backup first. When you are ready to move on you simply just find and Select the program you are having trouble with and click Remove. The tool will now remove all entries about the program from the Windows Installer database and the “Programs and Features” list.

When this is done your computer have no references to the program you are having trouble with and you can now install it from scratch without getting the error you saw in the top of this post 🙂
If you don’t need to remove other programs you can simply just uninstall the Windows Installer CleanUp Utility again.

Download Windows Installer CleanUp Utility

The tool has been discontinued from Microsoft TechNet, but it still works great and I often use it myself. You can download the tool here on my blog.

Download Windows CleanUp Utility (351 KB)

About the author:
I am an IT Professional that has this blog as a hobby project in my spare time. I have been in the IT business since 1996 and want to share some of the thing I have picked up over the years, with people who visit this blog.

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27 Responses to How to fix a broken installation of a Windows Program

  1. vicky says:

    Hi Thomas,

    I was also stuck once while installation and I wish I had known about this Cleanup utility. Its very helpful and I will remember to use it next time I face such issue.

  2. Frank Cern says:

    Thomas, thanks for this tool, I think it will come in very handy. One question though, any reason for this tool being discontinued? Seems a bit counter intuitive to me to discard such a great tool.

    • Thomas says:

      Hi Frank.
      The tool is pretty old and Microsoft says that they have seen some issues with the tool. I have used it a lot of times and have never had any issues with the tool. Microsoft has made a Fix it tool instead, but I prefer to repair the issues myself.

      You can see what Microsoft says to this matter here:

  3. Fatima says:

    This seems easy and helpful but have not yet tried anything of the sort at home. May be I will try this next time before going to an expert. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thomas says:

      Hi Fatima
      That you have not had this kind of issue is a good thing. This tool is something that is only needed if something has happened with the Windows Installer database that most Windows programs are using. Let’s hope you will never need to use this little tool 😉

  4. pravin says:

    This seems simple and beneficial but have not yet tried anything of the type at house. May be I will try this when before going to an professional. Thanks for discussing.

  5. Hey Thomas,

    I still hope you remember me. Anyway, nice post! It’s very informative and helpful as usual. I did encounter some broken installations on my Windows. It’s a pain in the neck because it sometimes affects my work. I am really glad I ran into your post. Very helpful and very entertaining as well. The screenshots made it easy to understand. Expect me to try this one out. Thanks for sharing this Thomas.

  6. Simona says:

    Oh, I have encountered this particular error so many times and I really wish I had known about Windows Installer CleanUp Utility a long time ago. I blame it on myself for being such a noob with installing and uninstalling programs because I have always ended up giving up on it and asking someone else for help.

  7. Thanks, it worked for me. I did without backup !

  8. Scott says:

    Cheers Thomas, good to hear that the Windows Installer CleanUp Utility still works well despite it being 5 years since it was first released. Definitely wise to always backup data though.

  9. shalin says:

    Hello Thomas,

    This tool is a life saver. I downloaded a game of 15GB recently and the installation file was corrupted and it was giving me the error, until I use this tool clean the mess up. It saved lots of disappointment for sure. I don’t know why they discontinued it. It is superb thanks for sharing.

  10. Calra says:

    Oh, okay. SO that is how we’re supposed to fix a broken installation of a window program. Nice one! Thanks for such a helpful post! 🙂

  11. Kelly says:

    I experienced the same thing before, but since I haven’t read this yet, I had someone to fix it for me. Now I know what to do. And all thanks to you! 🙂

  12. pravin says:

    I think it will come in very useful. One query though, any purpose for this device being discontinued? Seems a bit reverse user-friendly to me to eliminate such a useful gizmo.

  13. Hi Thomas,

    This is very informative. Thanks you for this very helpful tutorial. I already used this and it is really effective. BTW, I can’t turn on my Windows Security Service Center. It says that it can’t be started. Do you know how to troubleshoot this problem?

  14. Chetu says:

    Hi Thomas,

    I am also in IT field. I have never tried window installer cleanup utility before. I also read news that Microsoft discontinued this utility. But the sound good that utility still working well without any issue. Now I want to try it.

  15. merlin says:

    this is the best way to fix the broken installation, Thanks for solving my problem

  16. Hi Thoma,

    You give the nice information for fix a broken installation of a Windows Program. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Di Maria says:

    Wow, I was not aware about it. A software was not working on my PC. But now I’m going to try this and hope this time, it will work.

  18. farhan says:

    yes very goods tips how to fix this issue i have now i am going to try this thanks

  19. Edwardo says:

    Great tips on how to fix a broken installation on windows. I’ve used this application a few times. Very useful.

  20. jack says:

    Sometimes its just better to re install windows and start again
    i’v had the same laptop for 3 years and sadly due to missuse and lazyness i have had to fix so many issues and this blog, & others like it have helped alot

    thanks for the content dude
    will ofc +1 you on my social networks x

    • Thomas says:

      Hi Jack
      Sometime we need to reinstall, but it can be very time consuming to reinstall all the programs again. With this little tool we can easily fix the issue.

  21. Mcrae Brandy says:

    Hey there!
    Thank-you so much for sharing this!
    I have been facing problems with windows installation from last some days, I was just thinking to take it to some specialist but now I think I’ll get it done by myself 😀
    Thank-you for saving my money 😀

  22. Upsurge Marketing Group says:

    This is a good tip. I have used this application before and it solved my problem when I used it. When I want to bring out the “big guns” I use Revo Uninstaller.

  23. Gulsheer says:

    Very nice and informative post. I have faced this issue about two times but I was not able to solve this but now when I will see this I think I will solve thanks for this.

  24. fakhar says:

    thanks for sharing this article . my problem is now solve thanks again

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