Cannot Uninstall VMware Workstation – The MSI ” Failed

Recently, I wanted to update my VMware Workstation version from 8.0.2 to version 8.0.4.  In order to do this you must uninstall the older version of VMware workstation first.  This is where the problems start to arise.

After a bit of prodding and preening, I found this VMware article:
http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1031302

Note the following:

Cause
This issue occurs when the Microsoft installer detects a problem with the installation process. This is not a VMware issue. (My emphasis)

There’s only one problem.  I’m able to install and uninstall other programs with impunity.  The ONLY one I can’t uninstall is VMware’s.  More on this later.

So I end up following all of the instructions in the VMware article to NO AVAIL.  Essentially a big waste of time.

Ultimately, I ended up performing the following to get back in business (note, changes to your registry can be detrimental…please backup your registry before performing and adds/deletes/changes):

  1. Found this VMware article (1308) and followed it.  http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1308
  2. Following the article was NOT enough.  Here’s the money fix:
  3. I,then, went into regedit and manually performed a search for “VMware Workstation”.  Then I deleted any keys that referenced “VMware Workstation”.  (You do have a backup of your registry before you try this, right?) That is, when you find the value of VMware workstation, delete the entire key above it.

    1. It’s imperative that you delete ALL of these registry keys you find as there is something that the VMware installer is querying and “thinks” is wrong.  I suspect something to do with ProgramData as well as the Uninstaller paths, but have no proof.
  4. I HAD to reboot (I tried running the 8.0.4 installer and it didn’t work).
  5. Once rebooted, I ran the Workstation 8.0.4 installer (again) which proceeded to properly uninstall the 8.0.2 version.
  6. It worked!
  7. Upon the 8.0.4 installation I received some weird installer errors, clicked OK through them, and ultimately, the new version is running properly.

Now, back to Vmware’s comment that “This is not a VMware issue.”

This is poppycock in my estimation.  There is clearly something in their programming of the MSI package that is screwy.  There should be some better error handling as well as descriptives as to what is being interrogated at failure.  I parsed through all the VMware logs i could think of and received NO direction as to the issue.  I ran Process Monitor and Process Explorer as well to see if there was anything sneaky going on.

So if you find yourself in a bind, I hope these steps help you.  They’ve worked on my workstation as well as another friend’s laptop.  Please post here if you’ve had success or failure or have found the root cause of the issue.

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9 Responses to Cannot Uninstall VMware Workstation – The MSI ” Failed

  1. Ryan says:

    Hey man …. thanks for the fix. I got a prob with registry editor where i deleted all available vmware keys. And yet when try to uninstall vmware workstation i get the MSI failed. I haven’t found any other article in the internet addressing this problem.

    • Dustin Lema says:

      Do a search for “how to uninstall vmware workstation manually”. You won’t be able to use the uninstaller if the reg keys are gone….the uninstaller will just error out.

  2. Stefan_E says:

    Seems to have worked here, on VMPlayer… (after having unsuccessfully applied KB1308 and KB1032302 listed above – but they were probably required as a pre-requisite); Google for ‘MSI failed’ and you only find articles related to VMWare – ah, well, there is one other sophos.com in there… hence, I agree to the “poppycock” part :-)
    I got into this mess after having had to restore (for unrelated reasons) Windows to a restore point prior to an already successful VMWare upgrade. But still …

    Stefan

  3. Stefan_E says:

    … one more thing: VMWare Tools also didn’t want to install; with the same error “MSI ” failed” (well, that was not visible with the automatic update routine, but when downloading, un-taring and executing manually, the error window quickly popped up). Searching (and – at your own risk – deleting) ‘tools-windows’ and ‘tools-linux’ respectively helped solve the problem.
    Stefan

  4. Scott says:

    Thanks. Deleting every single registry key parent where the value contained vmware workstation resolved the install issue for me too. I agree with you about vmware passing the buck or blame to Microsoft is poppycock. The vmware support didn’t resolve it for me until I deleted everything in the registry with vmware workstation and parent keys. Then I could install after I rebooted.

  5. Steve says:

    None of the above worked for me. The problem in my instance was the AV software Avast. I tried disabling the software which didn’t help.

    In the end I uninstalling the software, installed VMware Workstation which then installed fine, and then reinstalled Avast.

  6. Joe says:

    uninstall.cmd
    ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

    echo off
    MsiExec.exe /qn /X{0D94F75A-0EA6-4951-B3AF-B145FA9E05C6} /norestart
    rd /s/q “C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware Workstation”
    REG DELETE HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\{0D94F75A-0EA6-4951-B3AF-B145FA9E05C6} /f
    exit

    ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

  7. nishmitha says:

    thank you so much…. you are awesome

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