Many people have reported being unable to install or update iTunes on Microsoft platforms due to persistent error messages alerting to a conflict with an older iTunes version that can’t be removed. All attempts to reinstall iTunes inexplicably end in failure. Even after manually removing iTunes. Even after removing all mentions of Apple and iTunes from the computer registry. Sound familiar?
With apologies to Spielberg, call it the Phantom Msis.
Fortunately, there is a fix for the missing “itunes.msi” file that is causing all the fuss. First, make sure the problem isn’t a simple case of oversight. Many people will make the mistake, when trying to uninstall iTunes, of not removing other associated programs that can affect the success of the iTunes re-install.
Go to the Control Panel and use the Add/Remove function to uninstall iTunes. But also uninstall other software programs that are related or would have been used by iTunes. Uninstall in this order: iTunes>QuickTime>Apple Software Update> Apple Mobile Device Support> Bonjour>Apple Application Support (iTunes 9 or later). Once iTunes and the related programs are fully removed, install the latest iTunes version.
If the installation still doesn’t work, you’ll have to download a copy of the Windows Installer CleanUp utility to get at the root of the problem. However, Microsoft removed the program from its Download Center due to conflicts with Office 2007 and it has become difficult to find ever since. But copies are available – a simple Google search for msicuu2.exe should get you where you need to go. Once you’ve downloaded the CleanUp utility – version 3.0 – scan it for viruses to be sure it doesn’t contain malware or viruses and install.
When CleanUp is running, scan the top of the screen for entries that begin with (All Users) but that have no program name or simply a version number in brackets or that just say (All Users) or that are completely blank. If any of those options are visible, you’re most likely looking at the itunes.msi file that needs to be removed.
Now that you’ve identified the culprit, it’s time for swift justice. In CleanUp, select the (All Users) or blank entry line and select Remove. Restart your PC and re-install iTunes.
Windows Installer CleanUp Utility (Wikipedia)
Obsessed with tech since the early arrival of A/UX on Apple, Sudz (SK) is responsible for the editorial direction of AppleToolBox. He is based out of Los Angeles, CA.
Sudz specializes in covering all things macOS, having reviewed dozens of OS X and macOS developments over the years.
In a former life, Sudz worked helping Fortune 100 companies with their technology and business transformation aspirations.