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WiX Projects vs. TFS 2010 Team Build

14 Nov , 2009  

As I mentioned before, I’m in the process of moving my life over to TFS 2010 Beta 2. I’m using the excellent WiX 3.5 Beta that plugs into Visual Studio 2010 to create my setup and I had a developer build working like a dream. Things got a little more exciting when I created my first build definition and let the build fly on the build server.

The build failed with errors like the following:

light.exe: Error executing ICE action ‘ICE01’. The most common cause of this kind of ICE failure is an incorrectly registered scripting engine. See for details and how to solve this problem. The following string format was not expected by the external UI message logger: “The Windows Installer Service could not be accessed. This can occur if you are running Windows in safe mode, or if the Windows Installer is not correctly installed. Contact your support personnel for assistance.”.

The first eight Internal Consistency Evaluators (ICE) failed and ICE8 was the most unhappy of all:

light.exe: An unexpected Win32 exception with error code 0x643 occurred: Action – ‘ICE08’ Fatal error during installation

I had installed TFS Build on my build server using the defaults, which uses NT AUTHORITY\NETWORK SERVICE as the account for running the build controller and agent. Switching the controller over to an interactive controller/agent combo using a domain account, everything worked great. However, if I used that same domain account and ran the controller/agent as a service, I got the ICE failures.

After a night’s sleep, I played around some more and stumbled into a work around. In order for the .WiXProj files to compile, the account running the build controller/agent must be in the local machine’s administrator group. I found that any domain or computer account works fine for the builds. You can also use NT AUTHORITY\NETWORK SERVICE, but you have to add it to local machine administrator group. Since you can’t do that through the computer manager, he’s the command line way to make the addition:

net localgroup “Administrators” “NT Authority\Network Service” /add

No amount of google-fu turned up anything about the permissions issues with ICEs so I hope this saves you some hassles when you set up your own TFS 2010 Build Servers.

  • Anonymous

    You said,

    “Since you can’t do that through the computer manager”

    But, it is possible to add “Network Service” including “Local Service” / “SYSTEM” account to local machine administrator groups with “compmgmt.msc” tool, isn’t it?

  • Interesting Finds: November 15, 2009

  • jrobbins


    On Server 2008 R2, the UI didn’t let me. It’s probably not a safe option to allow your service accounts to to have Administrator rights so Microsoft has tried to help protect us. 🙂

    – John Robbins

  • Anonymous

    In my case,
    The UI did let me on Server 2008 R2. 🙂
    (KST 09:00 ~ 23:00)

  • Anonymous

    In case this is still of interest, I’m running into these same issues when attempting to build Wix projects through TFBuild using TFS 2008 and Server 2008 R2. Also of interest, with regard to your comment on google-fu, was that I’ve been able to find nothing on the subject myself when searching for things having to do with ICE errors; I only found this article itself when I searched for “wix tfs 2010.”

    So far the only solution I have found is to disable ICE validation, but I would really rather not as it has already helped me discover quite a few things I would have done wrong otherwise.

  • jrobbins


    Do what I did and set the permissions on the build account to have local admin rights. That’ll get things working.

    – John Robbins

  • Anonymous


    Placing Network Service in the Administrators group basically opens a massive security hole on your server. The whole point of Network Service is that it’s a locked down account that *does not* have Administrator access!

    Running a build as Administrator is not a good idea, but at very least configure the build to run as a custom account with Administrator access – don’t put Network Service into Administrators. I think I’m going to have nightmares tonight!

  • jrobbins


    You’re right. 🙂 I should mention that I moved my build account to a local machine administrator. Because of crappiness on Microsoft’s part you need admin rights for these ICE validations to work. I hate it, but Windows Installer is such a bad API we need all the help we can get.

    – John Robbins.

  • Anonymous

    For me it started to work as soon I have added my account to local Admins group AND HAVE RESTARTED the Visual Studio Team Foundation Build Service Host (Windows service).

  • Anonymous

    Wow, this is in every respect what I nedeed to know.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for posting this. I am new to TFS (using 2012) and was struggling to get my WiX installer project to build with msbuild on the build agent. This command plus a restart of the build agent got me going!

  • Anonymous

    I gave the build service account full control of the C:\Program Files (x86)\WiX Toolset v3.7 directory and the issue was resolved.

  • Anonymous

    Had the same problem. I found that checkmarking “Run the Service Interactively” in the build service properties dialog resolves the problem. I also read you can disable UAC to correct it as well. I did not need to add our build account to the Administrators group. TFS 2013.