iTunes Install on Windows 2003

iTunes LogoFor some reason, Apple has stopped supporting iTunes on Windows 2003 and changed their MSI installer to fail. However if you still prefer to run iTunes on your Windows 2003 Server, you can still modify the iTunes installer by using installer tools such as Microsoft Orca (see Microsoft’s Tutorial on how to modify MSI files) or InstEd. Using InstEd, I was able to install iTunes 9 on my Windows 2003 machine.

  1. First download the iTunes installer from
  2. Next use WinZip or WinRar to extract the contents of iTunesSetup.exe to a folder.
  3. Now comes the difficult part, you will need to check each of the .MSI files with InstEd or Orca. Open each file one at a time and look for the LaunchCondition settings. You will need to remove this parameter and its value: ((VersionNT=501 And ServicePackLevel>=2) OR VersionNT>501). Once you do that just Save and Exit.
  4. With the modified MSI files, now start installing them one at at time. Leave the iTunes.msi for last though. The SetupAdmin.exe can be ignored. You do not need to run that one.

If this was a perfect world, you would now be able to launch iTunes 9 on your machine, but since it is far from perfect, you might be staring at this error message:

The iPod Service service failed to start due to the following error: The service did not respond to the start or control request in a timely fashion.

To complete the install, leave the error up on the screen and go launch Services.msc, find the iPod Service and open its properties. You will need to add an account with admin rights and then save the changes. Now click Retry on the error and see if it works.

Additional Resources:


The easy fix that works, is to right click on the iTunes installer and choose Properties. Then go to the Compatibility tab and check “Run this program in compatibility mode for” and choose Windows XP from the pulldown list.

Filed under: Apple, Windows


  1. Hiya,

    For what it’s worth, once InstEd is open, you can drag all the msi files onto the InstEd window at once and it will open them all in tabs. It saves a bit of clicking.


  2. At this area :

    The iPod Service service failed to start due to the following error: The service did not respond to the start or control request in a timely fashion.

    I couldn’t get it to work here and it keeps popping out my visual studio 2008 for debugging. Any ideas what is wrong?

  3. You probably need to try the administrator account to see if it works. As for Visual Studio, you probably have the debugger installed from that and that is why that is coming up.

  4. I also used InstEd to remove the Service IpodService.exe from being required to run. It was throwing a different memory access error. Maybe it’s because my profile has Administrator rights but is not called Administator.

  5. Thanks it worked fine for me after a lot of trouble

  6. Hey, u did it buddy…. it worked for me……. thanks alot…

  7. tryed starting “iPod Service” service with admin user (local & active directory) but did not managed to make it work
    EventLog – “Event Type: Error
    Event Source: MsiInstaller
    Event Category: None
    Event ID: 11920
    Date: 13/01/2010
    Time: 12:12:31
    User: xxx(I’ve changed this)
    Computer: xxx(I’ve changed this)
    Product: iTunes — Error 1920. Service ‘iPod Service’ (iPod Service) failed to start. Verify that you have sufficient privileges to start system services.

  8. Tried it all. Multiple times… Got all the way to the “iPod Service”screen of death. Don’t even use an iPod.
    This needs to be fixed. I don’t know what to try next. If it won’t work, I will have to switch phones, and if I switch phones, I switch carriers. If I do, twelve company phones go with me…

  9. Yeah, this doesnt work at all. Followed the directions without a hitch until it came to the part of enabling the service. I even went in and modified the permissions for the ipodservices.exe and gave everything under the sun the rights to run it. Still no go. There is a fundamental step missing that is not covered in this tutorial.. It will not start the service no matter who the user is(even Admin).. I see some other guys got it to work after claiming “a lot of trouble” Why not tell people what you did, instead of leaving some unhelpful vague comment like that you got it working… Great for you, but frustrating for others..

    If anyone has some siggestions it would be wonderful to know!

  10. I did add the user as specified, but iPod services keep getting back to “retry” error. Any suggestions?

  11. This worked like a charm. Ensured that I had the latest service pack on OS first. Thank you.

  12. I try this method from here. It is messy but finally get it working.

    I did just this part.
    find setupapi.dll in windows\system32, right clicked and selected “open with”, then I browsed to find iTunes.exe (under program files) and opened the dll with this executable.

    The itune will open and finished the installation. Leave it open. Now you can say cancel the installation, but the itune will be stuck and not uninstall. The ipod service is marked to be deleted. (I don’t own ipod, so it is OK)

  13. Hi Guys,

    for those that couldn’t get this to work…

    Create a new user, that you are not logged on as, add them to the administrators group, add them to the service. It will grant them logon as service right and click start… then complete the install…

    simples.. 😉

  14. install with the latest installer and wait until it complains that it cant start the ipod service. launch task manager and stop the ipod service, itunes, and all msiexecs until the installer disappears. set the ipod service to disabled. run itunes.exe directly from the c:\program files\itunes\ folder

  15. Hi there, Ive installed all the software with iTunes last, but I cannot get iTunes.msi to install, it says there is an error:
    “The installer encountered error before iTunes could be configured, Your system has not been modified, To retry these operations at later time, please run the installer again”

    Im running as admin and all other msi packages installed fine, iTunes is 32bit version 9.2.2


  16. Just to give this guy a bump, I was able to get the install by editing the files via InstEd, running iTunes after it was updated, and then allowing the MSI to ‘rollback’. This got me up-to-date w/ v9.2.0.61

  17. I know this an old post and everything but I just had to say … cool. Worked like a charm. Piece of cake.
    I did however create an alternate admin user and ran the ipod service as that user, mostly out of paranoia though.

  18. I followed the instruction and I had problem with Ipod service not starting. I used a combination of this solution and another solution found on another forum.

    1- Install and older version of iTune, I used 7.5
    2- Copy and save the ipod/bin directory in some other location
    3- Uninstall all apple production, remove all registeries, and delete the temp directory.
    4- Follow the instructions in the first post.
    5- When you get the error “iPod service failed to start”, leave this this little window open, then replace the ipod/bin directory with the bin directory you save earlier in step #2
    6- click retry.

    Worked for me.

    Thank you very much.

  19. This works for me:

    > Create a new user, that you are not logged on as, add them to the administrators > group, add them to the service. It will grant them logon as service right and
    > click start… then complete the install…

    Thank you all !!

    Greetings from Austria

  20. Got this same problem myself, had to add the Administrator account itself to get this to work. Tried doing it using another Admin account I created that was not logged in and added the account to the service. it would run, sit at CPU 49-50% for about 5 seconds in task manager and then quit. So if it doesn’t work one way, try the other. This worked with the latest 9.2.1.

  21. Works great, on server 2k3 on a domain… i just used the username and password for the domain with admin rights to everything and itunes.msi finished the installation…

  22. Just run the .exe in XP compatibility mode and add an administrator account for the ipod service.

  23. Finally with the release of iTunes 10 it is all good, installed fine, except iPod Service failed to start to which I did a “Ignore” and completed the install. From services.msc, selected iPod Service and used Administrator account in the Log On tab.

  24. Thank you! Worked like a champ! Easy!

  25. Thank you very much! I have been hacking at this for several weeks and then found your site today. Worked great. Sending you good karma.

  26. I installed iTunes 10.2.1 on my Windows Server 2003 R2, SP2 by editing the properties of iTunesSetup.exe so that it ran in compatibility mode. I got a message during the install stating “Apple Mobile Device Support requires that your computer is running Windows XP SP2 or newer.” I just clicked OK on this message and the install completed successfully. Thanks for that tip.

  27. Windows 2003 x64 (which is not officially supported by Apple) After editing the installer works with a few obstacles, however:

    After installing iTunes, browse to find usbaapl64.inf (usually in C: \ Program Files \ Common Files \ Apple \ Mobile Device Support \ Drivers folder), then right click -> context menu, install. Remove Apple Mobile Dev Support. Install ASUS Ai Charger ( install Apple Mobile Dev Support (you can extract from instalki iTunes) If there are 3 prompts ‘ found new hardware` – will work.

  28. If you want to autostart iTunes as a service then I recommend iHomeServer for iTunes. It will run iTunes in the background with no user logged in as well as scan media folders for new media and auto add them into your collection. Works like a treat on Windows Server 2008 and the product page says it works on 2003 as well as WHS…

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