Error Code 1603


The shell command, “net helpmsg 1603” returns “Fatal error during installation”. In summary, you’re looking for problems with:

  1. SYSTEM account permissions on the target 
  2. Free disk space on the target 
  3. Bad file download (file length, proxy configuration)
  4.  Patch installation itself (bad/missing files, or signature issues)


  • First, check the SYSTEM account permissions for the %SYSTEMROOT% directory, ie., WINNT or WINDOWS, on the target system. Because the Installer Service runs using “LocalSystem” credentials, restrictive permissions on the SYSTEM account can prevent the installation from even getting started (see Note). Note: Patches are downloaded to Master Agent download directory, then pushed to %SYSTEMROOT%\ue_installs on the target machine, and installed (executed). Incorrect SYSTEM permissions disrupts this process.
  • Second, you may get this error if you don’t have enough space on the target system. For W2K SP4 for example, you can need hundreds of Megabytes of free space to support service-pack transfers, the uninstall folder for backing out the service pack, and temporary work space. Anecdotal evidence has shown the need for as much as 800MB of free space for large service packs.
  • Third, the service pack or patch download or deployment may have become corrupted (something happened during the installation phase). Please try re-downloading the Service Pack or patch and re-deploying. Check if the file size of the update in the download directory is correct, which may require some research on Microsoft’s web site. If you have a 3KB file (roughly), this may indicate a bad download due to proxy setting problems (maybe a password changed). If you have a larger file, make sure its the right size… a 47MB service-pack looks big, except when its supposed to be 127MB! Also, see the next (fourth) item for re-deploying in “non-quiet” mode to see what is failing.
  • Fourth, you could be having corrupted or missing file problems, or “Digital Signature” problems with a Service-Pack or update. You can UNcheck the “quiet install” option, logon to the problem system using the account specified in Prism Patch Manager to access that system, and answer the dialogs that are displayed. One of them will relate to the error that is causing the fatal installation (most typically a corrupted or missing file. If it’s a “digital signature” issue the following Microsoft TechNet articles may help resolve the issue.;en-us;206637;en-us;329228;en-us;816895;en-us;269651


For any questions, queries please do not hesitate to leave a comment in the queries page at the bottom of the page or contact us at

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