If an installer stores a log of the installation process, where would I find that log?

If there is an installer that does not log the installation process, how can I make it do so?

  • I don't think there is a central location or even a requirement that an installer logs what it does. Do you have a problem with a specific installer? If so what's that problem?
    – ChrisF
    Aug 24, 2010 at 22:55
  • I have a general problem software that I uninstall and leave remnants behind, so I thought that maybe if I could know all the folders the installer copies files to, I could erase these files if the uninstaller leaves them. Aug 24, 2010 at 23:52

2 Answers 2


Windows installer logs are usually kept in the temp folder, you can get to this by going to run or an explorer bar and type the location as %temp%.

The default folder for this is:


From This MS Support page:

To enable Windows Installer logging yourself, open the registry with Regedit.exe and create the following path and keys:


Reg_SZ: Logging

Value: voicewarmupx

The letters in the value field can be in any order. Each letter turns on a different logging mode. Each letter's actual function is as follows for MSI version 1.1:

v - Verbose output

o - Out-of-disk-space messages

i - Status messages

c - Initial UI parameters

e - All error messages

w - Non-fatal warnings

a - Start up of actions

r - Action-specific records

m - Out-of-memory or fatal exit information

u - User requests

p - Terminal properties

+ -Append to existing file

! - Flush each line to the log

x - Extra debugging information. The "x" flag is available only on Windows Server 2003 and later operating systems, and on the MSI redistributable version 3.0, and on later versions of the MSI redistributable.

"" - Wildcard, log all information except for the v and the x option. To include the v and the x option, specify "/lvx".

Note This should be used only for troubleshooting purposes and should not be left on because it will have adverse effects on system performance and disk space. Each time you use the Add/Remove Programs tool in Control Panel, a new Msi*.log file is created.

Please note that the above is just for MSI files or setups that take advantage of the Windows Installer. Some others will also create log files either in the temp folder, their application directory or the root of the hard drive. There is no one answer fits all.

  • What does / and l mean in case of using *? Why is *vx not sufficient? Jan 31, 2014 at 11:47
  • 1
    Good question. I wonder if the /l is referring to the msiexec command line parameter and not this reg key?
    – Jason
    Jun 5, 2014 at 17:16
  • 1
    yes, the /l is referring to the command line parameter, not the option in the reg key
    – JohnZaj
    Aug 9, 2015 at 0:58

You can also have the installer write an installation log wherever you like, as needed, without modifying the registry. Run the installer msiexec from the command line with the /L option. For example,

msiexec /i C:\Users\myusername\Downloads\somepackage.msi /L*v install.txt

This will run the install script and write all logging info (verbose) to the file install.txt

The options for the /L flag are:

i : Logs status messages.
w : Logs nonfatal warnings.
e : Logs all error messages.
a : Logs startup of actions.
r : Logs action-specific records.
u : Logs user requests.
c : Logs initial user interface parameters.
m : Logs out-of-memory.
p : Logs terminal properties.
v : Logs verbose output. To use v, specify /L*v.
+ : Appends to existing file.
! : Flushes each line to the log.
* : Logs all information except for the v option. This is a wildcard. 

Source: http://www.microsoft.com/resources/documentation/windows/xp/all/proddocs/en-us/msiexec.mspx

Although the Microsoft support page references Windows XP, I have confirmed that this works for Windows 7.

  • Works for Windows Server 2008 R2 as well. Nov 9, 2016 at 12:35
  • 2
    Also works on Windows 10
    – Wilka
    Mar 8, 2019 at 13:52

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