All the tips/hints/fixes/other information posted here are at your own risk. Some of the steps here could result in damage to your computer. For example, using a Windows registry editor like RegEdit could result in unintended serious changes that may be difficult or impossible to reverse. Backups are always encouraged.

23 October 2008

Error 1310 Can't Write to Config.msi Directory During Repair or Uninstall

Error 1310. Error writing to file: C:\Config.Msi\59cb9b6.rbf. System error 5. Verify that you have access to that directory.

This problem seems to especially crop up under Windows Vista with UAC turned off. There is a lot of advice online about adjusting the permissions of the Config.msi folder, but I don't think they work.

The following workaround seems to do the trick, however:

1. First, try resetting Windows Installer by running the following (this might be all you need to do):
msiexec /unreg
msiexec /regserver

2. When installing a program, like from Adobe or Microsoft Office 2007, that demonstrates this problem, run the installer EXE in XP Compatibility mode.

3. Make sure the setup programs that are copied to your Program Files directory are set to run in XP Compatibility mode. Here are a couple examples:
Adobe Acrobat Pro 9: "C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat 9.0\Setup Files\{AC76BA86-1033-0000-7760-000000000004}\Setup.exe"

Microsoft Office 2007: "C:\Program Files\Common Files\microsoft shared\OFFICE12\Office Setup Controller\SETUP.EXE"

4. Make sure that no files are in use when doing a change/repair operation. For example, Copernic Desktop Search keeps Outlook files in use unless it is shut down, and changing the Office installation will fail. Other search programs or backup software might make for the same problem.