Microsoft KB Archive/103709

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PRB: Setup Cannot Access Required Initialization File


The information in this article applies to:

  • Microsoft Visual C++, version 1.0


Running Setup creates a message box titled

Setup Initialization Error

and the message:

Cannot access required initialization file

The message box contains a STOP icon and an OK button. When you choose OK, the program ends.


An incorrect version of LZEXPAND.DLL may cause the problem. The problem may also be caused by:

  • A bad SETUP.EXE program on the installation disks.
  • Being unable to create a temporary directory.
  • A problem copying files.


Check that the correct version of LZEXPAND.DLL is available and that other versions do not occur earlier on the dynamic-link library (DLL) search path.


The Setup program uses the LZEXPAND.DLL file from Windows 3.1 to decompress files from the installation disks. An incorrect (old) version of this DLL is the most common reason for Setup to give the "Cannot access required initialization file" error message. Several versions of LZEXPAND.DLL have been released, some of them with particular software packages. These may have installed the DLL in the Windows directory rather than the Windows SYSTEM directory. Windows 3.1 installs the DLL in the Windows SYSTEM directory (by default, C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM).

The Windows 3.1 version of LZEXPAND.DLL is 9,936 bytes and is dated 03/05/92 or later. It contains major changes from earlier versions shipped with Windows version 3.0 and some other software.

If multiple copies of LZEXPAND.DLL exist on your system, remove or rename all except the one in the Windows SYSTEM directory. If the size and date on that DLL do not seem correct, and the Setup error persists, expand a new copy of the DLL from either your Windows 3.1 installation disks or from the Visual C++ installation disks. Refer to the file PACKING.TXT on disk one to determine which disk and directory contains LZEXPAND.DLL. You can expand the file from the floppy disk by using the Windows 3.1 EXPAND utility. For example,

   EXPAND  a:\redist\lzexpand.dl  c:\windows\system\lzexpand.dll 

Other possible, but less common causes of this problem are:

  1. The installation disks have been damaged and SETUP.EXE is corrupt. In this case, Setup may run but accesses the files incorrectly. To obtain new installation disks, contact Microsoft Customer Service at (800) 426-9400. Outside the United States, contact the Microsoft subsidiary for your area. To locate your subsidiary, go to the Microsoft Web site or look in the Visual Workbench "User's Guide," pages xix-xxv.
  2. Setup cannot create a required temporary directory and copy files to that directory. SETUP.EXE is a bootstrap program that creates a \MS-SETUP.TMP directory and copies STFSETUP.EXE, STFSETUP.INF, and WSETUP.HLP to that directory. The temporary directory is created on the first disk with sufficient space (that is, it checks drive C, D, and so forth) until a disk with free space is located). If the directory cannot be created, then the root directory is either full or write protected. After the files are copied (expanded by the LZEXPAND.DLL functions), Setup runs STFSETUP.EXE.

An error in copying a file can also cause the "Cannot access required initialization file" error. If this problem is suspected, ensure that at least one available disk (preferably drive C) does not have the root directory write protected, has at least 1 megabyte (MB) of free disk space, and that a new directory can be created at the root.

  1. The Windows SYSTEM directory is not listed on the path. Check the path statement to make sure that C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM is listed.

Additional query words: 1.00

Keywords : kbsetup kb16bitonly kbprb
Issue type : kbprb
Technology : kbVCsearch kbAudDeveloper kbvc100

Last Reviewed: May 9, 2001
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