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Enable Windows Installer in Safe Mode To Remove Apps

As you may be aware, Windows Installer (MSI) doesn't work by default in Windows Safe Mode. This can be very frustrating because you may have installed an app in normal mode which later prevents the OS from starting. But it can't be removed from safe mode because the Windows Installer service doesn't start in Safe Mode. Here is a simple workaround which will allow you to start the Windows Installer service in Safe Mode.

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Yesterday, I was repairing a PC for a friend. After an improper shutdown, his antivirus software started to prevent the operating system from booting normally. Once the Desktop appeared, the OS was crashing with an error code that said BAD_POOL_HEADER (BSoD). It took me some time to figure out that it was his antivirus, but once I found it, I faced the issue that it was not removable in Safe mode!

If you try to uninstall an app which was installed from an MSI package in safe mode, you will get the following error:

The Windows Installer Service could not be accessed. This can occur if the Windows Installer is not correctly installed. Contact your support personnel for assistance.

Windows Installer Safe Mode Message

Here is how to avoid this issue.

To enable Windows Installer in Safe Mode, do the following.

    1. Open the Registry Editor app.
    2. Go to the following Registry key.
      HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\SafeBoot\Minimal

      See how to go to a Registry key with one click.Safe Mode Minimal Key

    3. Create a new subkey here named "MSIServer".Safe Mode Minimal Create SubkeySafe Mode Minimal Create Key MSIServer
    4. In the right pane, set the default value of the MSIServer key to "Service" as shown below.Safe Mode Set Default Value To ServiceThis will enable Windows Installer in the regular Safe Mode (without network support).
    5. Now, repeat the same under the key
      HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\SafeBoot\Network

      This will enable Windows Installer in Safe Mode with Network support. See the screenshot below.Enable Windows Installer In Safe Mode With Network

    6. Now, open the command prompt and type:
      net start msiserver

Start Windows Installer In Safe ModeThis will instantly activate the Windows Installer service.

Now, you can uninstall your MSI app also in Safe Mode!

UnInstall Windows Installer App In Safe Mode

This trick works in all modern Windows versions including Windows 10, Windows 8 and Windows 7.

To save your time, you can use Winaero Tweaker to enable Windows Installer in Safe mode. Turn on the option "Behavior\Windows Installer in Safe Mode".

Tweaker Msi Safe Mode

You can download Winaero Tweaker here:

Download Winaero Tweaker

Alternatively, you can download the following Registry files.

Download Registry Files

The undo tweak is included.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

7 thoughts on “Enable Windows Installer in Safe Mode To Remove Apps”

  1. Thanks a lot! I installed the program “WI Display Lite” on my Windows 10 and then the system didn’t start anymore. OHH MY GODDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD!. This “call” save me so so so much guys. Thanks

  2. “Enable Windows Installer in Safe Mode To Remove Apps”
    It would be nice if you could use the same naming for this tweak in Windows Tweaker too?
    WT does not say it clearly:
    “Enable Windows Installer in Safe mode”
    Description
    As you may be aware, Windows Installer (MSI) doesn’t work by default in Windows Safe Mode. This can be very frustrating because you may have installed an app in normal mode which later prevents the OS from starting. Enable this option to start the Windows Installer service in Safe Mode.

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