What is Msiexec.exe – Is it a Virus, Errors & Uses

  • Amar 
  • OS

MSIEXEC is a program that’s a part of the Windows Installer package. It’s only when the user double-clicks on an MSI file that it comes up. It can also run automatically during the installation of any program. Let’s see what it is and the purpose of this process.

 What is msiexec.exe?

MSIEXEC.exe is used in the installation of new programs using the .msi format. This is a secure process that is crucial for the computer to run safely and steadily. Therefore, to avoid messing up the installation in progress, this process should not be stopped. It basically, provides you the way to install, alter, and execute the functioning of a program on the Microsoft Windows Installer from the command line.

Quick Overview

File description:Windows® installer
File version:5.0.7601.17514
File Size:72.0 KB
Product name:Microsoft® Windows® Operating System
File type:Application
Copyright:Microsoft Corporation

 What are the features of msiexec.exe?

The MSIEXEC.exe file lets you control the installation process completely that helps you set:

  • installation choices like install, remove, administrative install, and promote a product
  • Display choices are like Full UI, Reduced UI, Basic UI with or without modal dialog box, and no UI lastly.
  • reboot choices like whether you want to restart the computer after the installation is complete
  • lodging choices
  • updates could be like installing the patch, updating a product(multiple updates), or remove any update.
  • repair choices which are only for an installed package
  • public properties used by the installation

The standard msiexec format is: msiexec.exe <installation type> <path_to_package>

Is msiexec.exe safe?

Yes, as stated previously, MSEXEC.exe is a safe process

However, there is some malware that spread a virus into your system using the process name “msiexec.exe”. That’s nothing but just the name used as a shield for the virus. The common virus that infects the systems is Msiexec.exe Trojan Horse.

The process name is used to deceive Windows users. The virus file is located in the C:\Usernames\[DirectoryName]\msiexec.exe

or C:\Amar\[DirectoryName]\AppData\Local\Tmp

 Is my computer affected?

There’s a quick way to check if your computer is infected with the msiexec.exe virus.

  • Simply press CTRL + ALT + DEL on your computer keyboard and open the Task Manager.
  • Now find the process “msiexec.exe” under the Windows Processes tab that is running in the background.
  • Right-click on the “msiexec.exe” process and click on “Open File Location”.

The real location of the authentic “msiexec.exe” of Microsoft should be in the C:\Windows\System32 folder. If the msiexec file is not under the System32 directory then the chance is a virus.

How to recognize if msiexec.exe virus?

The virus, MSIEXEC.exe opens up a pop-up box that asks you if you want to run the file. The User Account Control pop-up usually asks:

Do you want to allow the following program from an unknown publisher to make changes to this computer?

Along with it, there are also additional details like:

Program name: msiexec.exe

Publisher: Unknown

File origin: Any other location apart from C:\Windows\System32

A msiexec.exe malware usually adds tons of advertising banners on the web pages you visit. More often you will notice that the browser default homepage and default search engines are changed. It can also happen that you enter a query on your browser search engine, it gets redirected or tracked. Besides, you can also find random web page texts converting to hyperlinks, or you notice pop-ups on your browser that suggest different types of spurious software or updates.

All you must remember is that the authentic file is located in the C:\Windows\System32 folder and not anywhere else.

 If Virus, how do I remove it?

Once you have identified the virus or even if you are suspicious of an attack, it’s better to get it cleaned using a reputable anti-virus software like Bitdefender Antivirus.

What are the common Errors?

Yes, there are many errors reported although the process is safe. Most of the errors occur either during the installation process of a program or due to any user-initiated action. Some error code examples are like – ERROR_INSTALL_SERVICE_FAILURE, ERROR_UNKNOWN_FEATURE, ERROR_UNKNOWN_PRODUCT, or ERROR_INSTALL_USEREXIT.

However, common error codes of msiexe.exe like the below one:

  • ERROR_SUCCESS_REBOOT_REQUIRED means the action was successful.
  • For ERROR_SUCCESS_REBOOT_REQUIRED, if the error code is returned, while the installation is successful, you would need to restart your computer to complete the installation process.

But, if you encounter any challenges with your system while the installation is on or after that, or while uninstalling a program, it’s recommended to contact the customer support of the software you have been trying to install or uninstall. You can also seek help from Microsoft.


msiexec.exe is a completely safe Windows own process that is not a cause of worry unless you suspect a virus attack.


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