PRB: Windows System Restore Does Not Monitor Windows Installer Patch (.msp) Files

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Article ID: 814833 - View products that this article applies to.
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SYMPTOMS

When you try to restore your computer running Windows XP to a restoration point before you applied a patch or service pack, the application that you applied the patch to may reach an unusable state. When you try to repair, install, reinstall, or remove the application, you may receive the following error message:
"This patch package could not be opened. Verify that the patch package exists and that you can access it, or contact the application vendor to verify that this is a valid Windows Installer patch package."

CAUSE

This problem occurs because Windows XP System Restore does not monitor the Windows Installer Patch (.msp) files. When you install the patch files, the cached patch is not restored in the Windows Folder\Installer folder. Also, Service Pack 2 (SP2) is cumulative. It contains the previous Quick Fix Engineering (QFE) files. After you install SP2, the individual QFEs that you installed become obsolete. Windows Installer removes the configuration data for the QFE patches including the registry keys.

Because the cached patch is missing when you use System Restore, Windows Installer tries to cache the patch again from the patch's registered source location. However, the registered source location for many application patches is the Temp folder. This folder is a transient source location. Typically, the files in the Temp folder are deleted after you use them. Therefore, the files that Windows Installer tries to locate in the transient source location may not be found. The error occurs because Windows Installer cannot locate the Windows Installer Patch (.msp) files.

RESOLUTION

To work around this problem, reapply the patches that are missing. If the patch location is a network or media share that is available, you may be able to locate and to apply the patch from there. You can also install the latest Service Pack patch for the application because the latest service pack contains the previous QFEs. The cumulative patch applies the missing patches to the application and makes the individual missing patches obsolete.

STATUS

This behavior is by design.

MORE INFORMATION

Steps to Reproduce the Behavior
  1. Install an application (for example, Office XP) on your computer. By default, a restoration point is created. This restoration point stores the state of your system before you install of the new application.

    Note When you install a new application, the operating system automatically creates a restoration point.
  2. Install a service pack for the application that you installed in step 1. For example, install Service Pack 1 for Office XP.
  3. Install some Quick Fix Engineering (QFE) patches for the application. For example, install two QFE for Office XP.
  4. Create a restore point.

    Steps to Create a Restore Point on Windows XP
    1. Click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click System Restore.
    2. Click to select Create a restore point, and then click Next.
    3. Type Before SP2 Restoration Point in the Restore point description textbox.
    4. Click Create.
  5. Install Service Pack 2 for the application. For example, install SP2 for Office XP.
    Note SP2 contains the previous QFEs. This step makes the individual QFEs that you installed in step 3 obsolete. Windows Installer removes the configuration data for the QFE patches including the registry keys and the cached files.
  6. Verify that the source files for the service packs and the QFEs are not accessible through your computer. For example, remove the network share for the QFE.
  7. Restore the system to the state that existed before you installed Service Pack 2.

    Steps to Restore the System on Windows XP
    1. Click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click System Restore.
    2. Click to select Restore my computer to an earlier time, and then click Next.
    3. Select the date that you performed step 4, and then select Before SP2 Restoration Point from the list of restoration points.
    4. Click Next.
  8. Try to repair or remove the application, or try to install the application again. You may receive the error message as mentioned in the "Symptoms" section.

REFERENCES

For additional information, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
302796 Troubleshooting System Restore in Windows XP
303354 Error Message: System Restore Was Unable to Create a Restore Point
310405 How to Turn On and Turn Off System Restore in Windows XP
306084 HOW TO: Restore the Operating System to a Previous State in Windows XP

Properties

Article ID: 814833 - Last Review: November 5, 2003 - Revision: 3.0
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
Keywords: 
kbupgrade kbappsetup kbsetup kbprb kbpreinstall KB814833

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