MiKTeX 2.9 (from the proTeXt DVD) fails to install on a fully patched Windows 8.1 Pro (x64) with the following error:

MiKTeX Setup Wizard
The operation could not be completed for the following reason: 

Windows API error 2: The system cannot find the file specified.

Details: C:\Program Files\MiKTeX 2.9\tpm\packages\alg.tpm

The path of the "failing file" varies with every attempt. For example I captured the setup attempt using LICEcap:

The problem visualized

According to this question, however, no problems are to be expected (8.1 is essentially a service pack of Windows 8).

Does anyone know how to work around this and get it to install? I had no problems installing from the exact same setup (from the proTeXt DVD) on a fully patched Windows 7 (x64).

I tried both the DVD ProTeXt-3.1.5-031815.iso and ProTeXt-3.1.5-033015.iso. The hashes for these files matched the expected value.

  • Looks like a timing problem. Do you have some virus protection enabled? – Ulrike Fischer Jul 10 '15 at 11:15
  • @UlrikeFischer: this is a standard installation of Windows, but I disabled Defender, so there should not be anything interfering. – 0xC0000022L Jul 10 '15 at 11:38
  • Where did you get this version of MikTeX 2.9. You show a release of 2.9.5555; however, at the official release site the latest is 2.9.5101. miktex.org/download. – R. Schumacher Jul 10 '15 at 11:41
  • @R.Schumacher: as mentioned in the last paragraph, I got that from the proTeXt DVD. – 0xC0000022L Jul 10 '15 at 13:11
  • 1
    If you are using the latest version of proText (ProTeXt-3.1.5-033015.exe 2015-Apr-30 11:10:00 1.8G), then I suspect there may be a file corruption. Assuming you do not have MiKTeX currently installed than I suggest you do a clean install from miktex.org. Do the basic install which is quickest. Then using TeXworks (which installs with MiKTeX) verify a compile works. After that load any needed packages. Note: You will have to install TeXstudio or your favorite IDE after the MiKTeX installation to get the paths correct. – R. Schumacher Jul 10 '15 at 13:52

It turned out R.Schumacher was spot on. The issue was that I had been using what appears to be an unofficial (re-)build of the MikTeX setup. The setup file name on the DVD images was in both cases setup-2.9.4503-x64.exe, but the title bar of the setup showed MikTeX 2.9.5550 Installer (64-bit).

The suggested (and, as I just verified) working solution was to use the Basic Installer for MikTeX from miktex.org and install that.

However, obviously the basic installer does not attempt to install all available packages, so this might already explain part of the different outcome depending on the installer version.

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