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I was happily updating packages when the following error appeared:

Error: Windows API error 87: The parameter is incorrect.

The full update report with this error at the very end is as follows:

MiKTeX Update Wizard Report

Version: 2.8.3553
Date: Friday, May 13, 2011
Time: 20:22:14
downloading http://ctan.unsw.edu.au/systems/win32/miktex/tm/packages/miktex-zzdb2-2.8.tar.lzma...
538036 bytes, 1199.60 KB/Sec
updating package definition directory ("C:\Program Files\MiKTeX 2.8\tpm\packages")...
installed 602 package definition files
visiting repository http://ctan.unsw.edu.au/systems/win32/miktex/tm/packages/...
repository type: remote package repository
loading lightweight database...
downloading http://ctan.unsw.edu.au/systems/win32/miktex/tm/packages/miktex-zzdb1-2.8.tar.lzma...
106964 bytes, 392.70 KB/Sec
starting package maintenance...
installation directory: "C:\Program Files\MiKTeX 2.8"
package repository: http://ctan.unsw.edu.au/systems/win32/miktex/tm/packages/
lightweight database digest: eb1794ec380d1dad82ca309893aaa958
going to download 29222566 bytes
going to install 1046 file(s) (60 package(s))
unregistering C:\Program Files\MiKTeX 2.8\miktex\bin\MiKTeX208-core-PS.dll
unregistering C:\Program Files\MiKTeX 2.8\miktex\bin\MiKTeX208-core.dll
unregistering C:\Program Files\MiKTeX 2.8\miktex\bin\MiKTeX208-packagemanager-PS.dll
unregistering C:\Program Files\MiKTeX 2.8\miktex\bin\MiKTeX208-packagemanager.dll
downloading http://ctan.unsw.edu.au/systems/win32/miktex/tm/packages/expl3.tar.lzma...
3702662 bytes, 1322.56 KB/Sec
extracting files from expl3.tar.lzma...
downloading http://ctan.unsw.edu.au/systems/win32/miktex/tm/packages/latexmk.tar.lzma...
214019 bytes, 477.18 KB/Sec
extracting files from latexmk.tar.lzma...
downloading http://ctan.unsw.edu.au/systems/win32/miktex/tm/packages/mhchem.tar.lzma...
256063 bytes, 841.96 KB/Sec
extracting files from mhchem.tar.lzma...
downloading http://ctan.unsw.edu.au/systems/win32/miktex/tm/packages/miktex-arctrl-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
15294 bytes, 317.78 KB/Sec
extracting files from miktex-arctrl-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
downloading http://ctan.unsw.edu.au/systems/win32/miktex/tm/packages/miktex-bibtex-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
50296 bytes, 314.85 KB/Sec
extracting files from miktex-bibtex-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
downloading http://ctan.unsw.edu.au/systems/win32/miktex/tm/packages/miktex-bibtex8bit-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
42207 bytes, 438.49 KB/Sec
extracting files from miktex-bibtex8bit-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
downloading http://ctan.unsw.edu.au/systems/win32/miktex/tm/packages/miktex-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
1421335 bytes, 879.61 KB/Sec
extracting files from miktex-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
downloading http://ctan.unsw.edu.au/systems/win32/miktex/tm/packages/miktex-cjkutils-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
32140 bytes, 154.61 KB/Sec
extracting files from miktex-cjkutils-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
downloading http://ctan.unsw.edu.au/systems/win32/miktex/tm/packages/miktex-config-2.8.tar.lzma...
2807 bytes, 88.43 KB/Sec
extracting files from miktex-config-2.8.tar.lzma...
downloading http://ctan.unsw.edu.au/systems/win32/miktex/tm/packages/miktex-cweb-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
35078 bytes, 218.19 KB/Sec
extracting files from miktex-cweb-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
downloading http://ctan.unsw.edu.au/systems/win32/miktex/tm/packages/miktex-doc-2.8.tar.lzma...
2311080 bytes, 976.17 KB/Sec
extracting files from miktex-doc-2.8.tar.lzma...
downloading http://ctan.unsw.edu.au/systems/win32/miktex/tm/packages/miktex-dvicopy-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
34386 bytes, 308.07 KB/Sec
extracting files from miktex-dvicopy-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
downloading http://ctan.unsw.edu.au/systems/win32/miktex/tm/packages/miktex-dvipdfmx-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
221944 bytes, 462.14 KB/Sec
extracting files from miktex-dvipdfmx-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
downloading http://ctan.unsw.edu.au/systems/win32/miktex/tm/packages/miktex-dvipng-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
33054 bytes, 187.67 KB/Sec
extracting files from miktex-dvipng-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
downloading http://ctan.unsw.edu.au/systems/win32/miktex/tm/packages/miktex-dvips-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
77697 bytes, 538.13 KB/Sec
extracting files from miktex-dvips-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
downloading http://ctan.unsw.edu.au/systems/win32/miktex/tm/packages/miktex-findtexmf-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
13762 bytes, 213.32 KB/Sec
extracting files from miktex-findtexmf-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
downloading http://ctan.unsw.edu.au/systems/win32/miktex/tm/packages/miktex-fontconfig-base.tar.lzma...
8819 bytes, 110.41 KB/Sec
extracting files from miktex-fontconfig-base.tar.lzma...
downloading http://ctan.unsw.edu.au/systems/win32/miktex/tm/packages/miktex-fontconfig-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
92834 bytes, 413.96 KB/Sec
extracting files from miktex-fontconfig-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
downloading http://ctan.unsw.edu.au/systems/win32/miktex/tm/packages/miktex-fonts-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
86402 bytes, 490.56 KB/Sec
extracting files from miktex-fonts-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
downloading http://ctan.unsw.edu.au/systems/win32/miktex/tm/packages/miktex-freetype-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
100798 bytes, 572.30 KB/Sec
extracting files from miktex-freetype-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
downloading http://ctan.unsw.edu.au/systems/win32/miktex/tm/packages/miktex-freetype2-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
195306 bytes, 642.18 KB/Sec
extracting files from miktex-freetype2-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
downloading http://ctan.unsw.edu.au/systems/win32/miktex/tm/packages/miktex-ghostscript-base.tar.lzma...
515717 bytes, 920.71 KB/Sec
extracting files from miktex-ghostscript-base.tar.lzma...
downloading http://ctan.unsw.edu.au/systems/win32/miktex/tm/packages/miktex-ghostscript-bin.tar.lzma...
1143434 bytes, 1231.13 KB/Sec
extracting files from miktex-ghostscript-bin.tar.lzma...
downloading http://ctan.unsw.edu.au/systems/win32/miktex/tm/packages/miktex-graphics-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
279937 bytes, 876.21 KB/Sec
extracting files from miktex-graphics-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
downloading http://ctan.unsw.edu.au/systems/win32/miktex/tm/packages/miktex-gsf2pk-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
18298 bytes, 283.64 KB/Sec
extracting files from miktex-gsf2pk-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
downloading http://ctan.unsw.edu.au/systems/win32/miktex/tm/packages/miktex-hunspell-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
67100 bytes, 524.22 KB/Sec
extracting files from miktex-hunspell-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
downloading http://ctan.unsw.edu.au/systems/win32/miktex/tm/packages/miktex-icu-bin.tar.lzma...
1488401 bytes, 1477.15 KB/Sec
extracting files from miktex-icu-bin.tar.lzma...
downloading http://ctan.unsw.edu.au/systems/win32/miktex/tm/packages/miktex-makeindex-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
20121 bytes, 316.93 KB/Sec
extracting files from miktex-makeindex-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
downloading http://ctan.unsw.edu.au/systems/win32/miktex/tm/packages/miktex-metafont-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
122028 bytes, 692.84 KB/Sec
extracting files from miktex-metafont-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
downloading http://ctan.unsw.edu.au/systems/win32/miktex/tm/packages/miktex-metapost-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
175368 bytes, 910.95 KB/Sec
extracting files from miktex-metapost-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
downloading http://ctan.unsw.edu.au/systems/win32/miktex/tm/packages/miktex-mfware-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
65965 bytes, 515.35 KB/Sec
extracting files from miktex-mfware-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
downloading http://ctan.unsw.edu.au/systems/win32/miktex/tm/packages/miktex-mkfntmap-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
37433 bytes, 388.89 KB/Sec
extracting files from miktex-mkfntmap-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
downloading http://ctan.unsw.edu.au/systems/win32/miktex/tm/packages/miktex-mktex-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
35387 bytes, 317.04 KB/Sec
extracting files from miktex-mktex-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
downloading http://ctan.unsw.edu.au/systems/win32/miktex/tm/packages/miktex-mo-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
78178 bytes, 610.77 KB/Sec
extracting files from miktex-mo-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
downloading http://ctan.unsw.edu.au/systems/win32/miktex/tm/packages/miktex-mpm-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
53472 bytes, 474.72 KB/Sec
extracting files from miktex-mpm-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
downloading http://ctan.unsw.edu.au/systems/win32/miktex/tm/packages/miktex-mthelp-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
25179 bytes, 264.40 KB/Sec
extracting files from miktex-mthelp-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
downloading http://ctan.unsw.edu.au/systems/win32/miktex/tm/packages/miktex-mtprint-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
17507 bytes, 275.75 KB/Sec
extracting files from miktex-mtprint-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
downloading http://ctan.unsw.edu.au/systems/win32/miktex/tm/packages/miktex-omega-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
312784 bytes, 1028.46 KB/Sec
extracting files from miktex-omega-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
downloading http://ctan.unsw.edu.au/systems/win32/miktex/tm/packages/miktex-pdftex-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
410282 bytes, 1168.12 KB/Sec
extracting files from miktex-pdftex-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
downloading http://ctan.unsw.edu.au/systems/win32/miktex/tm/packages/miktex-poppler-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
435648 bytes, 973.54 KB/Sec
extracting files from miktex-poppler-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
downloading http://ctan.unsw.edu.au/systems/win32/miktex/tm/packages/miktex-ps2pk-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
58451 bytes, 607.25 KB/Sec
extracting files from miktex-ps2pk-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
downloading http://ctan.unsw.edu.au/systems/win32/miktex/tm/packages/miktex-psutils-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
20291 bytes, 319.60 KB/Sec
extracting files from miktex-psutils-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
downloading http://ctan.unsw.edu.au/systems/win32/miktex/tm/packages/miktex-qt4-bin.tar.lzma...
3602404 bytes, 1230.49 KB/Sec
extracting files from miktex-qt4-bin.tar.lzma...
downloading http://ctan.unsw.edu.au/systems/win32/miktex/tm/packages/miktex-runtime-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
795821 bytes, 1602.41 KB/Sec
extracting files from miktex-runtime-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
downloading http://ctan.unsw.edu.au/systems/win32/miktex/tm/packages/miktex-teckit-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
23914 bytes, 248.44 KB/Sec
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downloading http://ctan.unsw.edu.au/systems/win32/miktex/tm/packages/miktex-tex-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
137217 bytes, 1072.01 KB/Sec
extracting files from miktex-tex-bin-2.8.tar.lzma...
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55626 bytes, 434.58 KB/Sec
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56469 bytes, 501.32 KB/Sec
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80119 bytes, 717.81 KB/Sec
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65985 bytes, 460.27 KB/Sec
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Error: Windows API error 87: The parameter is incorrect.

What happened and how do I fix it? Thanks.

share|improve this question
    
Does MikTeX still work? Did you try to reboot and restart the update? –  Martin Scharrer May 13 '11 at 10:37
    
It worked fine when I tried to compile a simple chemistry document. All I know is the update failed at some point during the progress meter while my packages were being updated... No, I haven't rebooted my computer yet. Maybe it was the fault of the last package being updated before it errored. –  ptrcao May 13 '11 at 10:45
add comment

2 Answers

up vote 21 down vote accepted

This issue got once reported to the miktex-users mailing-list (Nabble archive: http://old.nabble.com/Problem-Updating-%28Windows-API-error-87%29-td24971196.html)

The final solution there was:

It turns out the problem was, I had an instance of MikTex open which was blocking the files needed for the install. After I closed the MikTex instance the install worked fine.

In general it is a good idea to close all application for updates under Windows. On failure reboot the machine and retry it again.

share|improve this answer
    
I see, thanks for finding that report, Martin. When I reopened update to try again, there was apparently nothing on the list to update. I guess when new package updates become available, I will try to run the update again and let you know if I have any problems. –  ptrcao May 13 '11 at 11:12
2  
I am sure that this is a feature of Windows. Somehow. –  vanden May 14 '11 at 14:25
add comment

I had the same problem - the sollution above didn't work for me, but what worked can be found at http://comments.gmane.org/gmane.editors.lyx.general/69152. The sollution is:

Problem solved. PDFLatex doesn't die after a problematic run due to an uninstalled package. It was blocking some files which, I guess, needed to be modified by the Package Manager. After killing PDFLatex installation run smoothly.

Hope it helps!

share|improve this answer
    
Note what is written on the MiKTeX 2.8 Status Page: “This version has reached the ‘end-of-life’ status. It will not be possible to install packages from the remote package repository. The current release is 2.9.” –  Speravir Apr 26 '13 at 13:13
    
I actually had a similar problem just now with 2.9. A hanging luatex process was blocking some files. After I killed it, it worked. Still, a nicer error message would be nice... –  neo May 5 '13 at 13:27
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