Desktop Experience fails installation with error 0x8000FFFF

When attempting to install the Desktop Experience component on Windows Server 2008, it may fail with the following error:

<Error>: Attempt to install Desktop Experience failed with error code 0x8000FFFF. Catastrophic failure (Exception from HRESULT: 0x8000FFFF (E_UNEXPECTED))
This issue can occur if the Desktop Experience component has previously been installed and uninstalled. Several Windows Updates which include Media Player components are installed if the Desktop Experience is installed, but they are not removed if it is later uninstalled. These updated components can cause the reinstallation of the Desktop Experience to fail due to being newer than expected. These updates are known to include:

974431 The October 2009 stability and reliability update for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 is available.;EN-US;974431

973540 MS09-037: Description of the security update for Windows Media Player: August 11, 2009;EN-US;973540

968816 MS09-047: Description of the security update for Windows Media Format Runtime, Windows Media Services, and Media Foundation: September 8, 2009;EN-US;968816

954155 MS09-051: Description of the security update for Windows Media Audio Voice Decoder: October 13, 2009;EN-US;954155

Uninstall any of these updates that are installed on the system, reinstall the Desktop Experience component and then reinstall these updates.
Microsoft has confirmed this to be a problem with the products listed above.
Note This is a "FAST PUBLISH" article created directly from within the Microsoft support organization. The information contained herein is provided as-is in response to emerging issues. As a result of the speed in making it available, the materials may include typographical errors and may be revised at any time without notice. See Terms of Use for other considerations.

Article ID: 2500700 - Last Review: 01/24/2011 19:26:00 - Revision: 1.0

Windows Server 2008 Datacenter, Windows Server 2008 Enterprise, Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems, Windows Server 2008 Foundation, Windows Server 2008 Standard

  • KB2500700