What is cb9465.msi?
December 23, 2013 6:16 AM   Subscribe

This is a second-hand office computer, running Windows 7. Every time I turn it on, a box pops up asking to install C:\Windows\Installer\cb9465.msi. What is this file, what is it trying to do, and how do I make it stop? The folder C:\Windows\Installer must be hidden, because I can't see it, and Google turns up nothing for the name.
posted by Faint of Butt to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Insert your Windows DVD and point it to that.
posted by kindall at 6:17 AM on December 23, 2013

Response by poster: I have no idea where the DVD is or may be.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:18 AM on December 23, 2013

This is a wild, mostly unverified suggestion, but you can download recovery discs from the 'net, and such discs might contain the desired file. You can look up specific computer makers sites, as some companies offer downloadable images, but more often than not they'll try to charge you. If that's the case, there are (semi?)official recovery discs on torrent sites. I think they're not specifically illegal to obtain, but rather hosted on torrent sites to offset the cost of hosting ~200mb disc images. I've seen them referenced in other sites, but the folks who put together the recovery discs are now charging for those discs, where they seem to previously offer links to the torrents.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:03 AM on December 23, 2013

I'm assuming that a dialog with a greyed out desktop is asking you if you want to run the cb9465.msi file upon startup. If you try to install it, does it say what it is for? A half-installed or broken installation of a program might be causing this.

You're not seeing a Google result when you search for the filename because it is a random string of characters. The C:\Windows\Installer directory is used by the Windows Installer service to cache installer data files for various applications.

You can get to the directory C:\Windows\Installer by pressing WinKey+R to open the Run dialog box, and typing in "%WINDIR%\Installer" (without quotes). You should be able to find cb9465.msi there. Normally, you're not supposed to delete things from this folder, but move it to the Recycle Bin temporarily, restart your computer, and see if the message disappears.
posted by dobi at 7:45 AM on December 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

This is a wild, mostly unverified suggestion, but you can download recovery discs from the 'net, and such discs might contain the desired file.

You can download the original DVDs here, completely legitimately.

But first I would try dobi's suggestion.
posted by Sunburnt at 8:14 AM on December 23, 2013

I don't think deleting cb9465.msi or moving it to the recycle bin will help. What's happening is that some program installed on your computer is unable to find one of its components, and this is triggering a "self-healing" mechanism baked into Windows Installer. The Windows Installer wants the msi file to get the missing component - the original package was cached as cb9465.msi but has either been moved or is no longer on the machine (otherwise Windows Installer would find the msi file and wouldn't be asking for it.)

If you do find cb9465.msi then there are tools which can open the file and discover the original program's name, then you could reinstall and uninstall again, or use Windows Installer's 'repair' option manually. The details which Windows Installer is looking at are recorded in the registry, in garbled form so they're hard to find and I don't suggest you try to find them. There may not be an easy cure.

Making Windows Installer packages (MSI files) was my primary job a decade ago, and unfortunately I've forgotten a lot, but this might at least illuminate the problem. There may be tools available to clean up a broken install but I'm not in touch with things now so can't point to anything, sorry.
posted by anadem at 2:57 PM on December 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

One of the things that Windows Installer does when it installs things is save, inside C:\Windows\Installer, a copy of the .msi file the original installation came from. Those copies get random names made from hex digits (0-9, a-f). So the file you're being asked to install is almost certainly one of those "cached" installers, and the fact that the name is randomly generated is why Google doesn't know about it.

If you're getting prompted to do this every time you start up, the most likely thing is that it belongs to something downloaded by Automatic Updates. But do check before you let it do its thing.

The folder C:\Windows\Installer is indeed hidden. You can fartarse about with making Windows Explorer show hidden files, but if hidden files are not something you generally want to be bothered with, the fastest way to see what's in there is
  • navigate to C:\Windows with Windows Explorer
  • click the address bar to turn it into a text box containing C:\Windows
  • append \Installer to the end of that
  • hit Enter.
None of the files inside C:\Windows\Installer are themselves hidden, so you should be able to find cb9465.msi; floating the mouse pointer over it should pop up a tooltip telling you the name of the package it belongs to.

If you're getting prompted to install this thing but it doesn't ever actually happen, the most likely cause is that cb9465.msi has actually gone missing (failed uninstallation? Previous owner trying to save space? It's Windows; you'll never know). In that case, you will need to interrogate the Registry to find out whose beast it was.

Doing that by hand is a pain in the arse. Luckily for you, as a school netadmin with a frequent need to fix messes left behind by the vastly over-engineered yet strangely under-capable Windows Installer, I have been annoyed by it often enough to write msi-info.js which can make a partial listing of the relevant Registry entries in a scripting-friendly format.

If you download that, then download the short command script msi-info.cmd to the same folder and double-click it, you will see msi-info.txt appear in that folder as well. Open that with Notepad and you'll see a bunch of lines similar to
C:\WINDOWS\Installer\2e3de.msi	WebFldrs XP
c:\WINDOWS\Installer\13eac0.msi	Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0 Service Pack 2
C:\WINDOWS\Installer\1544c2.msi	Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 SP1
C:\WINDOWS\Installer\15450d.msi	Microsoft .NET Framework 4 Client Profile
c:\WINDOWS\Installer\1544eb.msi	Microsoft Silverlight
c:\WINDOWS\Installer\10cf13.msi	Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 Service Pack 2
C:\WINDOWS\Installer\bb659.msi	Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1
C:\WINDOWS\Installer\2619cf.msi	Microsoft .NET Framework 4 Extended
which should make it pretty clear what you need to uninstall or reinstall.

I'd be curious to see what you find out.
posted by flabdablet at 10:07 PM on December 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

If you find yourself in a place where it is, in fact, a muffed uninstall you can use the MS FixIt utility with a reasonable guarantee of success. I work in the land of MSIs myself and have found this tool to be useful when I accidentally crap up my own workstation.

yes, I normally do my testing on a VM but sometimes I get lazy.
posted by Fezboy! at 8:49 AM on December 24, 2013

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