A few months back I had a problem with a customers Terminal Server that was caused by the installation of a crappy HP Printer Driver. It actually totally killed the server but after we found the cause and apparently got rid of the suspect driver the server went almost back to normal. I don’t remember the exact details now, it has worked since, but never been quite the same.
A lingering problem with the server has been that installing any program that uses an msi installer would take many hours to make any progress at all, appearing to hang altogether – although task manager still showed the process as active and eventually it would finish (around 12 hours!). Quite a problem as most of the updates from Windows Updates are in MSI format.
I spent many hours trying all sorts of other solutions which made no difference at all. Eventually, by using Process Monitor I was able to figure out what was going on.
It turns out that the HP Print Driver put literally thousands of entries in the windows registry under the Key:
I decided to delete the registry key, but I exported it first. This resulted in the creation of a huge .reg file of 190Mb!
I was initially hopeful that this would solve the problem completely, but soon realised that because this machine is a terminal server that these registry entries also existed in other user profiles. So I went through each profile that also has these entries and deleted them from there also.
Once these horrible registry entries from the HP driver had been completely deleted, MSI installations went back to normal and I was able to install patches normally.
I really hope this helps someone else out there someday, I have pulled my hair out for you, keep yours. 🙂