Fix: Microsoft Setup Bootstrapper Has Stopped Working

Some users are reportedly seeing the ‘Microsoft setup boots-trapper had stopped working’ error when trying to launch one, multiple, or all programs present inside the Microsoft Office suite. This issue is reported to occur on multiple Windows version (Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows 10) and it’s confirmed to appear in conjunction with multiple Microsoft Office versions (2013, 2016, 2019)

Microsoft Setup Bootstrapper has Stopped Working

What is the Microsoft Setup Bootstrapper?

On Microsoft Office 2013, 2016, and 2019, the BootStrapper is responsible for the initialization of an application built using the Composite Application Library. This relatively new technology was developed in order to simplify the dependencies needed during the installation process.

What is causing the ‘Microsoft setup boots-trapper had stopped working’ error?

We investigated this particular issue by looking at various user reports and the repair strategies that the most affected users have deployed in order to resolve the problem. Based on our investigations, there are several different culprits that are known to trigger this particular issue:

  • 3rd party antivirus is preventing the installer from communicating with MS servers – There are several antivirus suites (McAfee, Avast, and a few others) that are confirmed to be overprotective when it comes to letting the Office installer retrieve some necessary components over the Internet. If this scenario is applicable, you should be able to resolve the issue by either disabling the real-time protection or by uninstalling the security suite altogether.
  • Corrupted registry keys or installation files – Another possible scenario in which this particular error will occur is if some key registry keys or files needed during the installation process of Microsoft Office are tainted by corruption. In this case, you should consider a Microsoft toll capable of dealing with such scenarios.
  •  A conflict with an IObit software – A lot of users have reported that this particular issue appeared due to some incompatibilities produced by a few software products released by IObit.  The only way of identifying the culprit responsible for the issue is to systematically uninstall every IObit product until you see that the issue is no longer occurring.
  • Task Scheduler is disabled from Registry Editor – Microsoft Office needs Task Scheduler to program some tasks (usually having to do with the updating service). If Task Scheduler is disabled on your machine, you’ll receive this error whenever the Task Scheduler can’t be accessed by the Office service.  If this scenario is applicable, you will be able to resolve the issue by re-enabling the Task Scheduler via Registry Editor.
  • AppCompatFlags is breaking the updating process – As it turns out there is one particular registry key (AppCompatFlags) with a huge potential of breaking and rendering the whole Office suite inoperable when it does. In this case, you will be able to resolve the issue by uninstalling the Office installation and utilizing the Registry Editor to remove the faulty key.
  • The Office installation is not compatible with your Windows version – This can happen if you’re trying to install an older Office version on Windows 10. In this case, you can get around the issue by opening the main installation executable (setup.exe) in Compatibility Mode.

If you’re currently struggling to resolve the ‘Microsoft setup boots-trapper had stopped working’ error, this article will present you with several troubleshooting steps that affected users have used to resolve this particular error message.

Below you have several different repair methods ordered by efficiency and severity. Not every method will be applicable to your particular scenario, so please follow them in the order that they are presented and disregard those that can’t be replicated on your machine.

Let’s begin!

Method 1: Uninstalling 3rd party antivirus (if applicable)

Some users have reported that in their case, the issue was resolved after they uninstall their 3rd party antivirus suite. As it turns out, there are several overprotective AV suites (McAfee, Avast, potentially more) that will block the updating feature of the Microsoft Office suite, which will end up triggering the ‘Microsoft setup boots-trapper had stopped working’ error.

If this scenario is applicable to your situation, you might be able to resolve the issue by simply disabling the real-time protection of your security suite. Of course, the steps of doing this are specific to the AV suite that you’re using.

Disabling the real-time protection feature of Avast

But keep in mind that some users have reported that the issue was only resolved after they completely uninstalled their 3rd party antivirus from their system. If you’re prepared to go this far, follow this article (here) on uninstalling security programs and ensuring that any remnant files are also removed.

If you’re still encountering the ‘Microsoft setup boots-trapper had stopped working’ error after dealing with your 3rd party security suite or this method wasn’t applicable, move down to the next method below.

Method 2: Using a Microsoft Fix-It Tool

Fortunately, Microsoft developed an automated tool equipped to resolve this particular error message (and a few others). Several affected users have reported that they managed to resolve the issue by running a Microsoft Fix It tool.

This Fix-It will resolve various problems that end up blocking programs from being launched, installed or removed. You can use it on Windows 10, Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. If the issue is caused by corrupted registry keys or by files from uninstalled or existing programs, this tool might end up resolving the issue automatically.

Here’s a quick guide on how to deploy this fix:

  1. Visit this link (here) and download the .diagcab file by clicking the Download button.
  2. Once the tool has been downloaded, double-click on the .diagcab file to open it.
  3. At the first prompt, click on Advanced and make sure that the box associated with Apply repair automatically is checked. Then, click the Next button to proceed.
  4. Wait until the initial detection phase is complete, then click on Installing at the first prompt.
  5. At the next screen, select the program that you’re encountering issues with (most likely Microsoft Office) and click Next once again.
  6. At the next screen, click on Yes, try uninstall.
  7. Wait until the process is complete, then restart your computer and see if you’re still encountering the same error message.
Resolving the issue via Fix-it tool

If you’re still encountering the error even after using the Fix-it tool, jump down to the next method below.

Method 3: Uninstalling IoBit Software

Based on various user reports, there are multiple IoBit software products that are known to conflict with Microsoft Office and trigger the ‘Microsoft setup boots-trapper had stopped working’ error – IoBit Uninstaller and Advanced SystemCare are on top of this list.

Several affected users have reported that the issue was resolved after they uninstalled the conflicting IoBit software. If you have multiple products from IoBit, the only way of fishing out the culprit is to uninstall every product until you notice that the issue has stopped occurring.

Here’ a quick guide on doing this:

  1. Press Windows key + R to open up a Run dialog box. Then, type “appwiz.cpl” and press Enter to open up the Programs and Features window.
  2. Inside the Programs and Features window, start by clicking on the Publisher column at the top. This will order the applications via their publishers, which will make it easier to locate all IoBit products.
  3. Then, right-click on an IObit product, choose Uninstall, then follow the on-screen prompts to remove the software from your computer.
  4. Restart your computer and launch the application that was triggering the ‘Microsoft setup boots-trapper had stopped working’ error and see the previous uninstallation has been successful.
  5. If you’re still encountering the same error message, return to the Programs and Features screen and uninstall the rest of the IObit products until you manage to identify the culprit that is causing the conflict.
Uninstalling IOBit products

If you’re still encountering the same error message, move down to the next method below.

Method 4: Re-enabling Task Scheduler via Registry Editor

Several users that we’re struggling to resolve the ‘Microsoft setup boots-trapper had stopped working’ error has reported that the issue was finally resolved after re-enabling the Task Scheduler. As it turns out, this error message is known to get thrown in those instances where the Task Scheduler is prevented from running.

If this scenario is applicable, the quickest way to resolve the issue is to re-enable the Task Scheduler via Registry Editor. Here’s a quick guide on how to do this:

  1. Press Windows key + R to open up a Run dialog box. Then, type “regedit” and press Enter to open up the Registry Editor. When prompted by the UAC (User Account Control), click Yes to grant administrative privileges.
  2. Inside the Registry Editor, use the right pane to expand the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE key. Then, access the SYSTEM key.
  3. Navigate to the Schedule key folder by going to  CurrentControlSet > Services > Schedule.
  4. With the Schedule key selected, move over to the right-hand pane and double-click on the Start value.
  5. Change the Value data of Start to 2 and leave the Base to Hexadecimal.
  6. Click Ok to save the changes, then close the Registry Editor and restart your computer.
  7. Once the next startup is complete, open the application/installer that was previously producing the error and see if the issue has been resolved.
Enabling the Task Scheduler

If you’re still seeing the ‘Microsoft setup boots-trapper had stopped working’ error when trying to open a Microsoft Office application, move down to the next method below.

Method 5: Uninstalling Office Installation & deleting the AppCompatFlags key

Several affected users have reported that the issue was only resolved after they uninstalled their Office installation completely and used Registry Editor to delete a key called AppCompatFlags. After doing this and reinstalling the Microsoft Office suite, some users have reported that they were able to launch any Microsoft Office application without encountering the ‘Microsoft setup boots-trapper had stopped working’ error.

Here’s a quick guide on how to do this

  1. Press Windows key + R to open up a Run dialog box. Then, type “appwiz.cpl” and press Enter to open up the Programs and Features screen.
    Type appwiz.cpl and Press Enter to Open Installed Programs List
  2. Inside the Programs and Features screen, look through the list of applications, right-click on your Microsoft Office suite and choose Uninstall.
    Uninstalling Microsoft Office
  3. Follow the on-screen prompts to complete the uninstallation, then restart your computer.
  4. At the next startup, press Windows key + R to open up another Run dialog box. This time, type “regedit” and press Enter to open up the Registry Editor utility. When prompted by the UAC (User Account Control), click Yes to add administrative privileges.
    Running the Registry Editor
  5. Inside the Registry Editor utility, navigate to the following location:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\AppCompatFlags

    Note: You can either get there manually (by using the left-hand-pane) or you can paste the address directly into the navigation bar and press Enter.

  6. Once you get there, right-click on the AppCompatFlags key and choose Export. Then, save the file to a convenient location for easy access.
    Exporting the AppCompatFlags key

    Note: This step is done for backup purposes, just in case things go wrong and the registry changes create an unexpected consequence.

  7. Once the backup has been established, right-click on AppCompatFlags and choose Delete.

    Deleting the AppCompatFlags key
  8. Once the key has been deleted, close Registry Editor and reboot your machine once again. At the next startup, check if you’re able to open the Office application without encountering the ‘Microsoft setup boots-trapper had stopped working’ error.

Method 6: Opening the Setup.exe in Compatibility Mode

Some users that have been encountering the ‘Microsoft setup boots-trapper had stopped working’ error when trying to install an older Office version (Office 2010, Office 2013) have reported that they managed to get around the issue by opening the installation executable (setup.exe) in Compatibility mode.

Here’s a quick guide on how to do this:

  1. Use File Explorer to navigate to the location of the Office Installation.
  2. Open the Installation folder, right-click on Setup.exe and choose Troubleshoot Compatibility.
  3. At the first Program Compatibility Troubleshooter prompt, click on Try recommended settings.
  4. Click on Test the program button and see if the setup is opening without the error message.
  5. If all is in order, click Next, then choose Yes, save these settings for this program.
  6. Open the installer again and complete the installation process.
Installing the Office suite in compatibility mode
Kevin Arrows
Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.

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Fix: Microsoft Setup Bootstrapper Has Stopped Working

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