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Since a recent Windows update, I've been unable to run almost any program (including Firefox, Internet Explorer and Origin) due to the following error:

The application has failed to start because it's side-by-side configuration is incorrect. Please see the application event log or use the command-line sxstrace.exe tool for more detail.

A bunch of the control panel options don't open when clicked either, but leave no error message.

I started searching around the web and found it's usually a fault with Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable and found it was recommended that I re/install Visual Studio 2005, Visual Studio 2008 and Visual Studio 2010.

I already have them all installed with both 32 and 64-bit versions, and I've narrowed it down to the Visual C++ 2010 x86 redistributable. I downloaded it and tried installing it over the top of the old one, but the installer gave me the same side-by-side configuration error as all other programs.

Event Viewer information for the installer gives me:

Activation context generation failed for "System Default Context". Dependent Assembly Micosoft.Windows.Common-Controls.Resources.language="*",processorArchitecture="x86",publicKeyToken="6595b64144ccf1df",type="win32",version="5.82.0.0" could not be found. Please use sxtrace.exe for detailed diagnosis.

I could potentially uninstall the Visual C++ 2010 x64 redistributable (it gets further than x86 at least), but upon trying to uninstall the Visual C++ 2010 x86 version I get the error:

Error 1719.The Windows Installer Service could not be accessed. This can occur if you are running Windows in safe mode, or if the Windows Installer is not correctly installed. Contact your support personnel for assistance.

I've tried system restore, which didn't work, and I've been searching for a solution for over two hours now, and I'm pretty sure I just need to find some way of removing the faulty version of the C++ 2010 x86 redistributable, perhaps using a boot CD with an uninstaller.

Any ideas?

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I realize that this question is likely no longer relevant to OP but just wanted to post my answer here in case it is helpful to anyone else.

I had this error earlier today on my 64-bit Windows 7 Pro (after uninstalling an application called PinnacleMyDVD I was not longer able to launch Outlook, MS Access, and some other apps).

I my case Windows event viewer displayed the following error:

Activation context generation failed for "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14\OUTLOOK.EXE.Manifest". Dependent Assembly Microsoft.VC90.CRT,processorArchitecture="x86",publicKeyToken="1fc8b3b9a1e18e3b",type="win32",version="9.0.30729.1" could not be found. Please use sxstrace.exe for detailed diagnosis.

After reading through some of the other answers on this site, I decided to download and install the Microsoft Visual C++ 2008 SP1 Redistributable Package (x86) from here. This did not however resolve the issue.

One of the answers though pointed to this Microsoft article which is largely for Vista but also has a paragraph for Other versions of Windows (the instructions are practically the same for Vista and other versions, the only difference being the expected location of the registry keys).

According to the article the location of the registry key for non-Vista versions is: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\SideBySide\Winners

Anyway, I had already checked my Windows\winsxs directory after reinstalling the C++ redistributable, and found that it had a folder with a name that closest matched the parameters in the Windows event text: x86_microsoft.vc90.openmp_1fc8b3b9a1e18e3b_9.0.30729.1_none_118a7387f9d14a82

In this case it looked like the string 9.0.30729.1 in the folder name was the version of the file in that folder.

So I followed the instructions in the Microsoft article mentioned above, and changed my registry key to point to that version as shown in below screen shot.

After this the error was gone.

windows registry modification

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