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Libroffice won't install and pollutes my Windows registry

asked 2018-12-05 12:57:20 +0100

voxmagna gravatar image

This problem has been with Libroffice for a long time now without a solution as far as I can tell: For a few years I was happy with older versions of LO running on Windows PC's from XP up to Win 7. Then I made the big mistake of installing newer versions to see if they would fix a problem I had with MS Excel sheets containing cell hyperlinks to my local drive folders not working. The uninstall and re-install was fatal leaving tons of LibreOffice registy entries behind and Win7_64 unable to install any version of LO as error messages were given by the installer (previous version still existing). This was so bad I had to use a cleaner utility to remove what i thought were all the left over traces of LO. I was wrong because I still couldn't run any LO msi version, gave up and went back to re-installing MS Office.

After 3 years in the cold I decided to try again with the latest version of LO and got the same errors on install, plus another new issue related to MS visual C++ even though the correct version dependency was present after checking?

I persisted and now make a plea to LO developers: Please provide a cleanup utility that will detect ALL left over file and registry entries for all versions of LO. Look at how Adobe do it - their cleanup utility works for all their products and really works.

LO creates a huge list of windows registry entries and it isn't good practice for software to leave them behind. O.K the LO uninstall should take care of this, but if it doesn't you are left with a big headache and for some an OS re-install.

What do I do now? I don't trust LO to clean uninstall. I install it with an app like Revo Uninstaller. That isn't 100% perfect so I use CC cleaner or others, but once you use these there's a high risk of registry corruption and you still find LO won't install on that PC. Great for Microsoft!

When you get in this mess you have to activate msi installer logging if you haven't done so, find your Win system temp folder with %temp% and look at the install log at the date and time your LO install failed. Search the text file for 'error' (add the LO error code if you wish). Some logged entries further back you may find the reason or reference to a registry key which you delete. My problem was in the branding area. There was nothing in the registry key relevant to LO that would be found by a registry search or cleaner - really nasty left over only discoverable reading the msi install log:

The solution is cleaning out LO in the first place with an App and LO software writers know exactly what was created at install time! , but this post was really ... (more)

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FYI - the Adobe Cleanup utility does not remove all traces of their applications.
It only removes enough junk to enable their applications to install without conflicts.
For example it does not remove the hidden license files and some other deeply buried files.
Been a long time but I think I remember also manually removing a bunch of registry left-overs.
Pretty sure you have to also manually clean-out all the crap they leave in the Task Scheduler.
There are some hacker utilities available which do actually remove all the Adobe crud.
That is the only way to make your system Adobe-free.

LibreTraining gravatar imageLibreTraining ( 2018-12-07 00:43:16 +0100 )edit

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answered 2018-12-05 13:17:06 +0100

Mike Kaganski gravatar image

updated 2018-12-05 14:03:11 +0100

LibreOffice uses Windows Registry for very few things, namely for shell integration required to associate file extensions, provide document information in Windows Explorer, and add itself to application lists like "Open with". The mentioned registry entries, existing or not, don't prevent subsequent LibreOffice installations. But Windows Installer (the standard service built-in into Windows that is used to install applications) itself uses registry extensively to keep track of installed applications and updates, including each software component and feature. That service was developed by MS in 1990x to allow applications to not rely on some home-grown installation solutions, and (ironically) to guarantee clean install/upgrade/uninstall (and btw, it was required to use that service to get "Designed for Windows" logo - not relevant to LibreOffice, but just an illustration). And that service sometimes fails, leaving garbage behind - and it's that garbage that prevents following attempts to install (other versions of) the software. As you mentioned, different applications suffer from that, Adobe products among them. Interestingly, MS used to offer a similar cleaner for its own MS Office (see this archived MS article). Now MS still realizes the need to cleanup sometimes after its own service, and thus provides this troubleshooter program that works much alike that utility from Adobe you've mentioned, and that is recommended on this site multiple times for the problem that you experienced.

Yes, you shouldn't have used some third-party "registry cleaners" for that problem. Many of them are notorious for much worse problems than those they are expected to "fix". Also, you shouldn't have waited 3 years to come here and ask. And also, I believe, you are asking for the wrong thing. Instead of asking for some tool like that (which we won't create), you could simply ask what to do.

And no, we don't know which registry entries are created at install time by Windows Installer, or if they are platform-specific or specific to Windows Installer version. We use standard API and tools provided to fulfill declared installer functionality. The installation process itself is a black box for LibreOffice developers - and would be the same black box for any installer framework we could use, except we has a crazy idea of creating our own.

I hope my answer helps you to fix your problem, and also to understand the underlying problem.

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answered 2018-12-05 14:54:17 +0100

voxmagna gravatar image

Thanks, I can understand you are defensive about LibreOffice. But it's packaged as an msi not as an exe and its put out for users to install. I haven't found MSOffice causing the same problems when it installs and uninstalls or updates? I understand what you mean about the installer framework. I didn't mention it but I have this suspicion my LibreOffice problem started after MSOffice was installed and then removed, I had also done SFC system scans and no faults were found. But perhaps it's useful for you to appreciate that anybody faced with a similar install problem (which I don't think is a one off) is going to want access to their documents and will fall back on whatever application they are confident will install and work without errors. Otherwise from that day forwards without serious technical knowledge a machine is always blacked from ever installing and using Libreoffice. As programmers it may be difficult to understand what is really happening outside. But you have the expertise to solve that in software by at least producing a readable log or error report inside LibreOffice, without users having to find and bury into msi logs themselves. You could even get some useful feedback data on succeesful and unsuccessful installs from users?

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Hey! Didn't you read at all? It's not LibreOffice that works at the moment your error happened! It's Windows Installer that was working; it's it that does or does not logging; it's it that has its own problems, and its own maintainers. So we simply cannot give you any useful logs for the software that we don't create and maintain!

And we do as much as we can to provide you with free support for our free software, creating different resources like this. And there's nothing we can do if one decides to wait 3 years to ask.

If you come here and ask at that time, you would simply be pointed to the solution, and be done.

As for useful feedback - we do take them into account; and where possible, it goes to the updates. When it's possible, we even include ...(more)

Mike Kaganski gravatar imageMike Kaganski ( 2018-12-05 15:15:39 +0100 )edit

As for "users having to find and bury into msi logs themselves" - you are insulting me personally, because, as with all the other accusations you thrown here, this is based on you not trying to ask. Personally I have replied numerous times here to users, asking them (and instructing how) to collect the logs and give them to me, so that I would look through those and come with the suggestion.

Mike Kaganski gravatar imageMike Kaganski ( 2018-12-05 15:28:05 +0100 )edit

I haven't found MSOffice causing the same problems when it installs and uninstalls or updates?

Let me google that or you, then:

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=ms+office+i...

"office 2013 install failed now cant re-install or remove ..."

"Office 2016 PROPLUS failed installation"

"Office 2013 install error on Windows 10 Anniversary Update"

...

Well - not much to say here.

Mike Kaganski gravatar imageMike Kaganski ( 2018-12-05 15:35:23 +0100 )edit

But it's packaged as an msi not as an exe

Do you understand what you are talking about? I guess no.

Let's look at OpenOffice.org. It was packaged as an .exe (just as AOO now). So what is the difference here? The difference is that that installer is a bootstrapper application, that first unpacks an .msi from itself, and then launches that msi using the same service. Try to unpack it using tools like 7-zip. So to all the problems possible with the service, additional possible problems with bootstrapper are added. So what's your point here?

Mike Kaganski gravatar imageMike Kaganski ( 2018-12-05 15:40:27 +0100 )edit
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Asked: 2018-12-05 12:57:20 +0100

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Last updated: Dec 05