Install RSAT on Windows 7 SP1?

When you try to install RSAT (Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 7) on Windows 7 SP1, you will get this error message: 'This update is not applicable to your computer'.

Michael PietroforteMVP By Michael Pietroforte - Mon, February 21, 2011 - 15 comments google+ icon

Michael Pietroforte is the founder and editor of 4sysops. He is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) with more than 30 years of experience in system administration.

Update: I posted a workaround that allows you to install RSAT on Windows 7 SP1.

I suppose quite a few IT pros have waited for the Windows 7 service pack 1 before they upgraded from Windows XP or Vista. I am afraid that many will have their first negative experience with Windows 7 shortly thereafter. RSAT (Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 7) certainly belongs to the first tools every Windows admin installs. Unfortunately, RSAT can’t be installed on Windows 7 SP1.

RSAT Windows 7 SP1 -This update is not applicable to your computer

This problem is not new. When Vista was released, the RSAT precursor, the Adminpak tools, could only be installed by manually registering all of the DLLs. Some of the tools still didn’t work, but at least there was a workaround available. Sometimes a solution to the famous error message “This update is not applicable to your computer” was to change the Windows version in the registry.

Unfortunately, it appears that there is no such quick workaround this time. I played a little with the well-known registry entries, but to no avail. If you have already installed SP1 for Windows 7, you have no other option than to uninstall SP1, and then first install RSAT, and then reinstall SP1. If you installed Windows 7 SP1 from a DVD, then this “workaround” is not an option. You have to start from scratch and install Windows 7 RTM, then RSAT, and then SP1.

Honestly, I don’t understand why Microsoft neglects this important tool set. The damage to the reputation of Windows is immense. The articles I wrote about Vista and the Adminpak/RSAT problem were read about 300,000 times or so. These were mostly Windows admins coming from Google, looking for a solution for this odd problem. Many other popular sites discussed the problem as well. Therefore, this number represents only a small portion of the administrators seeking help.

Of course, IT pros are the ones who first install a new Windows version. These are also the guys who often decide whether the whole organization upgrades its Windows version or not. I bet countless Windows admins gave up on Vista right after they tried to install the Adminpak. If important programs from the Windows maker don’t even work, how much compatibility can I expect from this Windows version?

This time, the case is even more annoying. Obviously, RSAT works fine on Windows 7 SP1 if the service pack is installed after RSAT. The only problem seems to be that RSAT is an “update” for Windows 7 RTM that is “not applicable” for Windows 7 SP1.

Heck, can someone please tell me why tools that originally don’t belong to Windows come as an update? The problem probably has something to do with the fact that Service Pack 1 for Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 were released together. The corresponding management tools are already included in the server version and the service pack possibly changes some of the DLLs. Nevertheless, this certainly doesn’t justify this problem.

Of course, Microsoft will release a new version of RSAT that can be installed on Windows 7 SP1, sooner or perhaps later. We can only hope it won’t take as long as it did for the Vista version of RSAT. To annoy admins is not a wise strategy if you want an operating system to be adopted quickly by businesses.

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15 Comments- Leave a Reply

  1. I remember a similar thing happening with the Windows 7 beta > RC > RTM versions. You needed a different version of the RSAT tools for each one IIRC.

    I think it is really odd how they get installed, I understand why but it always seems odd that installing the update doesn’t actually install the tools, just enables the option to install them.
    I tend to just remote in to servers nowadays than bothering to install RSAT locally

  2. André says:

    Install RSAT before installing the Sp1. This works.

  3. chibisuke says:

    the simple way:
    on command line:

    expand -f:* g:\msu\amd64fre_FRMRSATX_MSU.msu rsat
    pkgmgr.exe /n:g:\msu\rsat\Windows6.1-KB958830-x64.xml

    replace path with any path you like, make sure “rsat” subdirectory exists (g:\msu\rsat\ in the example)

    after executing the pkgmgr command it will take a few minutes without anything – no progressbar or anything – just nothing.

    After a few minutes (10 – 15 minutes) you’re prompted to reboot.
    Do so.
    Then go so control panel -> windows functions and add install the remote admin stuff you want to use.

    Note: also works for windows 7 home premium.

  4. Thom, the problem comes up whenever Microsoft releases a new Windows version or service pack. In my view they should find a better solution than just releasing a new RSAT version a few months later.

    Andre, thanks for the confirmation. I didn’t really try it.

    chibisuke, great workaround! I will blog about this tomorrow. Thanks a lot!

    Andreas, thanks for the info. That means that quite a few admins will get annoyed in March.

  5. Christian Wimmer says:

    A simple /force switch on msiexec would be so useful on situations like these.

  6. Christian, that would indeed be a good solution. However, I am afraid that Microsoft will really do this. I guess it would increase the number of support incidents significantly.

  7. Dean says:

    You can do a /force on the .msu file. I just did it on my Windows 7 Pro SP1 machine and it installed with no problems!

  8. Ben says:

    Yeah, “amd64fre_GRMRSATX_MSU.msu /force” worked for me.

    Apparently SP1 performed an update to Remote Desktop that may have been overwritten by installing the pre-SP1 RSAT. So after installing RSAT, I ran “sfc /scannow” for good measure. I found corrupt files and replaced them. That said, I can’t verify the corrupt files are related to RSAT.

  9. Ben says:

    /force does not work for me. Have tried it via command prompt as well as through a shortcut in explorer. I did elevate the cmd prompt, no luck.

  10. Ben says:

    Also, the word wrap or something on every site that gives this advice does not help matters.

    The entire line
    expand -f:* g:\msu\amd64fre_FRMRSATX_MSU.msu rsat
    pkgmgr.exe /n:g:\msu\rsat\Windows6.1-KB958830-x64.xml

    does not execute, and I can’t make heads or tails of it. the /n switch is also unrecognized. Can someone please clean that up or give some advice on this? We just found this out after our testing all showed SP1 to be safe. Not happy about it

  11. WinOutreach2 says:

    5 days ahead of schedule RSAT for Windows 7 with SP1 has been released. You can download it here:
    http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=7d2f6ad7-656b-4313-a005-4e344e43997d

    This release should resolve any of the above compatibility issues.

    Brandon
    Windows Outreach Team- IT Pro

  12. kevin martin says:

    Yeah, this does NOT work on my Win 7 pro x64. Anyone else get this to work?

  13. download the Sp1 compatible version from Brandons links

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