Warning: What To Do When You See The Fatal Error 1603


During Installation, there are times when you encounter this fatal error 1603. The message is displayed by the Windows Installer Engine which indicates that something went wrong during installation.



There are 10 possible reasons due to which this error message could be seen. These are –

i.    Short file name creation on the target machine is disabled


ii.   The install script (isscript) custom action has been prototyped incorrectly


iii. If you are unable to overwrite, check if the file is locked


iv.  Microsoft installer service engine is not installed properly


v.   Check for the temp (temporary) folders & files. They might be full


vi.  The setup gets corrupted after installation and this error message pops up, failing uninstallation as well.


vii. Are you using an older version of install shield developer?


viii. Source is not available or there is invalid source path.


ix.   Supporting or cab files are missing to continue the installation or uninstallation


x.    File sharing and Print is not installed or enabled while installing MSDE 2000.


How to fix this error:

Follow the under-mentioned steps to resolve this error:


  • On the target machine, make sure you have enabled short file name creation. Using registry, you can disable or enable the short file name.




         On this registry hive “ntfsDisable8dot3NameCreation”, set the value as 0 to enable.

         In the same hive, set value as 1 to disable the short file name.

  • Before proceeding further, ensure that Microsoft windows installer is installed properly & configured. It is recommended that the users should install the Instmsi.exe on Windows 95/98/Me flatworms or else InstmsiW.exe on the NT systems. These particular recommended files are shipped with install shield application and are located at the following place –


                                      <Product Path>\Redist\Language Independent\i386


  • Delete all the temporary files & folders which are already there in your system. Open RUN command and type %TMP% or %TMP%. Under location, clear all the folders which will refresh the machine.  If the temporary folders exceed a limit, the particular space will not be able to extract the temporary files and folder on the location.


  • Make sure that no other application is running at the same time on the same machine including utilities (like virus scan and few more process running in the background). Try to kill those services and then try to re-install your application.


After installing the application, if you find that the program wasn’t installed properly and needs uninstallation, use Microsoft Windows Installer. Using this, you can easily uninstall the application.


Posted by-

Chiranjeevi M


Disclaimer: Developer’s Corner Section of ISHIR blog is contributed and maintained by independent developers. The content herein is not necessarily validated by ISHIR.

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