This is for WinXP and Server 2003, although it may well work with other versions of Windows as well.
While trying to remove a piece of software I was informed that the Windows Installer service wasn’t running. When I checked on the service, sure enough, it wasn’t. So I tried to start it manually and got the following error message:
“Windows Installer Service on local computer started and then stopped”
A reboot did not resolve the issue, so after some Google searching on the error I came across this resolution that worked for me:
You may try to reregister Windows Installer and check if the issue reappears. To do this, follow these steps:
a. On the Start > Run box, type “msiexec /unreg”, and then press ENTER.
b. Then type “msiexec /regserver”, and then press ENTER.