Several Windows users have been encountering a weird issue where they are suddenly unable to run any type of setup programs that are normally used to install or uninstall applications. The error code that comes up is 0xc0150004. As it turns out, the issue is not exclusive to a certain Windows version as it’s encountered on Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10.
What’s causing the 0xc0150004 Application Error?
We investigated this particular issue by looking into various user reports and by testing out the different repair strategies that affected users have been using to bypass this error code. As it turns out, several scenarios might lead to the apparition of the 0xc0150004. Here’s a shortlist of potential culprits that might be responsible for the annoying setup error:
- Overprotective AV suite – According to several affected users, this issue can very well occur due to an overprotective security suite that is limiting the installation components. If this scenario is applicable, you should be able to resolve the issue by temporarily disabling the real-time protection (while the software is installing) or by getting rid of the security suite altogether.
- 3rd party interference – Another potential culprit is a different 3rd party process (belonging to a file manager) that cannot be identified this easily. In this case, one surefire way of discovering the process/service response is to boot your computer in a clean state and systematically re-enable each disabled process to see which one is causing the problem.
- System file corruption – System file corruption is probably the most common cause that will trigger the 0xc0150004 error code. If the corruption is conventional, a scan with a couple of built-in utilities (SFC and DISM) should be enough. In most severe cases, you might need to reset every OS component with a procedure like a clean install or a repair install.
Method 1: Eliminating 3rd party AV interference (if applicable)
As several affected users have reported, this issue might very well be caused by an overprotective AV suite that is somehow interfering with the default os installation component. The specifics of this issue are not explained by any 3rd party developer (as much as we’re aware of), but it’s clear that the issue has ended up affecting a lot of Windows 10 users.
If you’re using a 3rd party security suite and this scenario seems applicable, you will be able to confirm or infirm your suspicions either by disabling the real-time protection of your AV suite or by uninstalling it altogether.
First, let’s start by seeing if disabling real-time protection is enough. But keep in mind that this procedure will be different depending on what type of 3rd party AV suite you’re using. In most cases, you should be able to do it directly from the taskbar icon of the antivirus.
Once the real-time protection is disabled, open up another setup and see if you can install the app without encountering the same 0xc0150004 error.
If the issue persists, you can eliminate your 3rd party AV from the culprit list by doing a complete uninstallation and ensure that you’re not leaving behind any leftover files that might still cause this behavior.
To do this, follow this article (here) for step-by-step instructions on uninstalling the 3rd party suite and removing every potential remnant file. If you do this and you discover that the problem is no longer occurring, you don’t necessarily need to opt for a different 3rd party suite – Windows Defender will kick in and automatically become the default security program.
But on the other hand, if the same problem is still occurring, you can safely reinstall the 3rd party security suite once again and move over to the next method below.
Method 2: Performing a Clean boot procedure
Before you dismiss the possibility of a 3rd party interference, you should ensure that no other installed program is triggering the 0xc0150004 error by effectively disabling any 3rd party service and process that might interfere with the OS installation component.
Some affected users have managed to do this by achieving a clean boot state. This will force your computer to start solely with Windows processes and services. If you boot your computer in a clean boot state and the issue no longer occurs while trying to open a setup executable, it’s clear that the issue was previously caused by some type of 3rd party interference. In this case, it becomes a matter of finding the process/service that’s causing the problem.
Here’s a quick guide on performing the clean boot procedure to identify the 3rd party program that’s causing the 0xc0150004 error:
- Open up a Run dialog box by pressing Windows key + R. Then, type “msconfig’ and press Enter to open up the System configuration menu. Once you’re inside the UAC (User Account Control) prompt, click Yes to grant administrative privileges.
- Once you’re inside the System Configuration window, click on the Services tab from the top of the menu, then ensure that the box associated with ‘Hide all Microsoft Services‘ is checked. After you do this, all Windows services will be removed from the list, so you won’t disable any critical system process by mistake.
- Once all critical services are excluded from the list, click the Disable all button to effectively prevent any 3rd party service from being called into action at the next machine startup.
- After you’re finished with this, select the Startup tab and click on Open Task Manager from the newly appeared menu.
- Once you’re inside the Startup tab of Task Manager, start to systematically select each startup service and then click on the Disable button at the bottom of the screen. This procedure ensures that no startup service will get called into action at the next startup sequence.
- After you’ve done this, the clean boot is effectively achieved. To take advantage of it, simply restart your computer.
- At the next system startup, your computer will boot directly in a clean boot state. Use this opportunity to repeat the action that was previously causing the 0xc0150004 error.
Note: If the same issue is still occurring, move directly to Method 3.
- If the error code no longer surfaces when you try to open up an application setup, systematically re-enable the previously disabled services and processes and do regular restarts. Eventually, you will be able to figure out which item is responsible for the crash. After you manage to discover it, leave it disabled to prevent the issue from ever occurring again (or uninstall the responsible application).
If this method wasn’t applicable or you’ve followed it without success, move down to the next method below.
Method 3: Performing DISM and SFC scans
In most cases, this particular issue will occur due to a serious case of system file corruption. If this is true, it’s possible that a critical process used during the installation of new apps has become corrupted and is stopping every attempt at installing new software.
As several affected users have confirmed, in this case, you should be able to resolve most conventional cases of system file corruption by running a couple of built-in utilities designed to deal with logical errors and system file corruption – SFC (System File Corruption) and DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management).
Although both utilities are useful in situations where system corruption is involved, the two have different approaches when it comes to the fixing part. DISM is better at fixing OS components while SFC is more efficient with logical drive errors.
Keep in mind that DISM requires a stable Internet connection cause it relies on WU to download healthy copies that will be used to replace corrupted instances, while SFC is a 100% local tool that only uses a locally cached copy to replace corrupted instances.
But because both utilities are efficient with system corruption, we encourage you to run both to ensure that you maximize your chances of resolving the 0xc0150004 error. Here’s what you need to do:
- Open up a Run dialog box by pressing Windows key + R. Next, type ‘cmd” inside the text box and press Ctrl + Shift + Enter to open up a command prompt with admin access. Once you see the UAC (User Account Control), click Yes to grant administrative privileges.
- Once you’re inside the elevated CMD window, type the following command in order and press Enter after each command to initiate a DISM scan:
Dism.exe /online /cleanup-image /scanhealth Dism.exe /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth
Note: Since DISM uses Windows Update to download healthy copies of the files that need to be replaced, you need to ensure that you are using a stable internet connection before initiating this procedure. The first command (scanhealth) will analyze your collection of system files while the second (restorehealth) will trigger the repairing process.
- After the DISM scan is finished, restart your computer and wait for the next startup to complete. Once the next startup sequence is complete, follow step 1 again to open up another elevated command prompt. When you’re inside once again, type the following command and press Enter once again to initiate another SFC scan:
Note: Keep in mind that interrupting the SFC scan after the procedure has been started is not recommended at all. If you do this, you’re essentially exposing your system to other instances of logical errors that might create additional problems.
- Restart your computer once again and see if the issue is resolved at the next system startup.
If the 0xc0150004 error is still occurring, move down to the next method below.
Method 4: Performing a repair install / clean install
If you’ve followed all the instructions above with no real success, there’s a high chance that you’re encountering the 0xc0150004 error is occurring due to an underlying problem that cannot be resolved with conventional end-user methods. If this scenario is applicable, the only viable fix is to reset every software component.
Several affected users that have found themselves in a similar situation have reported that they were finally able to resolve the issue either after doing a clean install or an in-place repair (repair install).
Both utilities will ultimately help you achieve the same thing, but they have different approaches:
A repair install is a longer and more tedious procedure, but the major advantage is that you get to keep all your data including games, applications, personal media, and even some user preferences.
A clean install, on the other hand, is simple and effective, but the major downside is that you will lose any personal data if you don’t back them up in advance.