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Due to a problem with our domain policies, before we can run an MSI installer, we have to run msiexec /regserver. What seems to happen is that the msiexec service stops running randomly (Windows XP and 2003 only, 7 is fine) and it seems that Office and .NET updates use the installshield framework.

Is it possible to have wsus run msiexec /regserver before it installs updates?

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InstallShield is a third-party product, and it seems extremely unlikely that any MS updates use it. Are you perhaps confusing the Windows Installer and InstallShield? In any case, if the msiexec service isn't working properly you should be identifying and fixing that problem, not trying to muck about with WSUS. – Harry Johnston Jun 29 '12 at 2:33
You are right, Harry Johnston, installshield just uses the msiexec system MS provides. I have tried everything I can think of to fix this issue globally (I am almost positive that it is a group policy setting, but I can't see any that directly affects the installer system. I have updated the question. – senshikaze Jul 2 '12 at 16:21
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I think that Windows Update has some provision for third-party plugins, though I don't recall the details. If you have a programmer handy he or she might be able to do something in this area. I don't think there's anything you can do from the WSUS server itself.

Another approach would be to use Process Monitor or a similar tool to figure out what it is the the msiexec /regserver is fixing (perhaps a registry setting?) and then write a service to monitor that key (or whatever) and kick off the fix as soon as it goes wrong. This information might also help you solve the actual problem. If nothing else, you could try changing the ACLs on the registry key in question to prevent the system from changing it.

Another approach would be to reconfigure the clients to not install updates automatically, and use a script to do the update installs. That way, you could put the /regserver at the start of the script. You might find this script handy as a starting point.

If you want to try to troubleshoot the underlying issue, I'd start by putting a clean install on a test computer and adding it to the domain under a separate OU with no group policy. If there are group policy objects linked to the top of the domain you can use the "Block inheritance" option on the OU to prevent them from being applied. If the problem doesn't occur in this setup, you can then link in your group policy objects one by one to identify the one that's causing trouble. Reinstall the test machine and apply an empty group policy object, then add the settings from the other GPO one by one to identify the specific setting. This sort of approach is slow but effective.

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I fixed the underlying issue! – senshikaze Aug 16 '12 at 13:34

Yes certain OFFending OFFice installations (shall not say which) kill the msiserver service from auto starting. when an msi installer needs to run. just prior to that run> arrow up to previous entry or type "net start msiserver" this applies to most windows services and "net start service_shortname" then a command window pops up and says starting Windows Service..... and auto-closes if running. This can be done at any time the installer is attempting to execute but stalls because the msiserver service has stopped due to undisclosed MS reasons.

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Please provide more information. Why did you write "Offending Office" the way you did? Please leave your person opinion out of your answer. If you provide clarification on your solution I will remove the downvote. – Ramhound Jun 28 '12 at 14:03
I have seen many incidents of this occurring after certain windows updates where Office2002 or the cracked version of OXP was installed. It seemed more than coincident. in any case.. "net start msiserver" is your solution from run line – Tony Stewart Jun 28 '12 at 14:14
My problem is that this on something like 250 computers, and I need a way to tell WSUS (or wuauclt or whatever) to run this command before it starts installing updates. It has been a problem for as long as I work here and only happens after the computer is added to the domain. – senshikaze Jun 28 '12 at 15:05
just add the above command in a batch. It should complete before the installer needs it. run the .msi file 2nd in the batch will invoke the MSI association or self extracted from EXE file or whatever. I'm not sure what your WSUS service Group Policy is set to. Do you batch all updates or selective from local server? Is it a KB EXE update or an MSI installation? – Tony Stewart Jun 28 '12 at 15:50

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