Fix MSI installer errors 2502 and 2503 in Windows 10, Windows 8.1 and Windows 7

Sometimes Windows Installer starts to behave unexpectedly in various versions of Windows, including Windows 10, Windows 8.1 and Windows 7. Every error message has an error code but there is no further information given to the user about what action he should take to fix the error. I suddenly started facing one such error out of nowhere. While uninstalling any app which is shipped as an MSI package, it showed errors 2502 and 2503 and then the installation or uninstallation failed. Here is what these errors mean and how you can fix them easily.

MSI installer errors 2502 and 2503 in Windows 10, Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 usually indicate that the folder C:\Windows\Temp has incorrect NTFS permissions.

To let Windows Installer operate normally, this folder need to have full write access permissions and ownership for your user account. In some cases (depending on how messed up your folder permissions are), this won't be enough. You need to give full access permissions to the Administrators group as well for the folder C:\Windows\Temp. Note that this is not the same folder as %tmp% which can be C:\Users\\AppData\Local\Temp\. Here is how you can fix these MSI errors.

Before you proceed, I recommend you to read the following article: How to take ownership and get full access to files and folders in Windows 10. It contains useful information about changing NTFS permissions.

  1. Open File Explorer, and then locate the file or folder you want to take ownership of. In our case, it is the folder
  2. Right-click the file or folder, click Properties, and then click the Security tab.
    Windows 10 take ownership 1
    Windows 10 take ownership 2
  3. Click the Advanced button. The "Advanced Security Settings" window will appear.
  4. Click the Add button. The "Permission Entry" window will appear on the screen: Windows 10 take ownership 7 permission for entry
  5. Click "Select a principal" and select your user account: Windows 10 take ownership 8 select principal
  6. Set permissions to "Full control":
    Windows 10 take ownership 9 full control
    Click OK.

Repeat the same for the built-in "Administrators" group.

Now, try to uninstall or install your MSI package. Everything should work properly now.

6 thoughts on “Fix MSI installer errors 2502 and 2503 in Windows 10, Windows 8.1 and Windows 7

  1. Shek

    Try this simple tool from Microsoft:

    1. Rohana McGarry

      Microsoft tool was great solved all uninstall issues

  2. hosjiu

    Thanks you so much.
    It’s work !

  3. pedoc

    It’s work !thanks

  4. cm

    That’s odd, because, since I remember, even in older versions of windows, I never had standard user access to that folder; it was always a system folder…
    Also, only recently I started to have this problem (can’t say since when, but at least since latest spring update, I do). Some apps I installed just months ago without a problem, and now I can’t install or remove any msi app…

    1. cm

      Oh yeah, and sure enough, temp is already owned by admin group, with full control of it…
      Also, one app that has this problem already brings up uac prompt on install, yet, still gives me those two errors and won’t install.


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