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1603 Installer Error: How to Repair a 1603 Installer Error


What Is Windows 1603 Installer Error?

When there’s a problem with any type of installation on your computer, the Microsoft Windows Installer engine will display the 1603 Installer error message. It’s a generic, computer specific error, and when the error occurs, it may read: “Error 1603. A fatal error occurred during installation”.


What Causes a Windows 1603 Installer Error?

There are several causes for this error. Some of the most common include when a Microsoft Windows Installer Service is incorrectly installed or a general program installation issue occurs. This error may also occur if a locked file can’t be overwritten, you’re trying to save to a drive accessed as a substitute drive, or you don’t have admin permission to the System account.


How to Fix Windows 1603 Installer Error (for Windows 2000 and Windows XP)

Depending on the root of the issue and what you’re trying to install, one of the following solutions should help correct the error.


Solution 1: Grant Full Control permissions to the SYSTEM account


  1. Double-click My Computer on the Windows desktop.
  2. Right-click on which drive you want to install to.
  3. Click Properties.
  4. Click the Security tab.
  5. If using Microsoft Windows 2000, confirm the Name is the SYSTEM user account. If using Windows XP, confirm the Group or User Names box has the SYSTEM user account.
    1. If the SYSTEM user account isn’t in the box, Click Add.
    2. In the Select Users or Groups dialog box that appears, click System in the Name filed.
    3. Click Add.
    4. Click OK.
  6. In the Permissions area, check Full Control under Allow.
  7. Click Advanced.
  8. If using Windows XP, select Replace Permission Entries on All Child Objects with Entries Shown Here That Apply to Child Objects for the System account in the dialogue box that appears and click OK. If you’re not using Windows XP, select Reset Permissions on All Child Objects and Enable Propagation of Inheritable Permissions for the System account in the dialog box that appears and click OK. (Click Yes if you receive a security message.)
  9. Wait for the operating system to apply permissions to all your child folders.
  10. Run the Windows Installer Package.


Solution 2: Install to folders that are not encrypted


  1. Confirm what folder you’re using for which to install a program.
  2. Ensure that it’s not encrypted.
  3. If the folder is encrypted, UN-encrypt it, or select a different folder that’s not encrypted for the install.


Solution 3: Make sure you’re not saving to a drive accessed as a substitute drive


  1. Confirm the drive you’re attempting to install to is not a substitute drive.
  2. If it is, save to a different drive that’s not a substitute drive.


I hope one of these solutions helps you to resolve the 1603 error. Good luck, and please let me know if you need further assistance!

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