I just had to replace my hard drive, and am reloading all applications. It's got XP with all current patches, and VS2005 already installed, including the MSDN that came with it.

VS2008 installed fine, but when I tried to install MSDN for it, I get an alert box with this error:

Unable to launch C:\usr\Microsoft\VS2008\msdn\Setup\setup.exe.

C:\usr\Microsoft\VS2008\msdn is the directory containing the setup.exe file; oddly despite the message there is no Setup directory under it. The entire VS2008 installer package was copied to C:\usr\Microsoft\VS2008 and everything else installed fine.

Using depends.exe, I see there is a complaint that DWMAPI.dll cannot be found, but according to what I can find, that should only be referenced for Vista.

Any ideas?

  • What happens when you add that Setup directory and copy the setup.exe to it? – John Smithers Jul 27 '09 at 18:57

I had exactly this problem, you do need the setup directory that you are missing. I believe that this directory was created by a self extracting executable. Look for another executable not named setup.exe. Unfortunately I don't have the files available to check for what the name was, it might be something silly like install.exe.

  • The setup directory was in fact missing some files. It looked like the file copy had been interrupted; I redid it and it worked. – lavinio Jul 27 '09 at 21:22
  • Here is what happens: setup.exe runs msdn/setup.exe which in turn runs setup/msdn/setup/setup.exe. No wonder it was so confusing. – lavinio Jul 27 '09 at 21:29

You can check the setup.ini to see what path it's looking for when doing the installation. It sounds like to me that it's looking for another path to do the install.


  • You are right; see the answer to the accepted answer above for details. – lavinio Jul 27 '09 at 21:30

Sometimes you can run these setup programs from the command line and use command line switches to bypass the simple errors and continue the install regardless of integrity checks.

install.exe /? 

the above command should tell you if there are any options to traverse an install error state like this.

  • There is no install.exe, but readme.htm does list command lines, none of which are useful. – lavinio Jul 27 '09 at 21:29

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