Category: troubleshooting

Feb 01 2016

Fixing H&R Block Update failures.

This has happened to me two years in a row so I am posting this here to help me remember the fix for next year.

The issue is that while H&R Block software installs totally without a hitch, for two years running the first Update does not work.  It runs a silent InstallShield updater which extracts and sets up setup files and begins the setup progress meter and then, when it is nearly done, the update is rolled back by the installer (the progress meter goes backward) and the update is not installed.

The first year this happened I found an obscure online document that had a successful fix in it.  But I failed to document the fix or the document.  So this year I had to find the fix from scratch and that is why I am documenting this here for posterity.

To short-circuit troubleshooting you can download and install the update directly.  It is a file named like this… HRBlock_PremiumSE_<YEAR>_Update_B.exe.  It has been named like that two years in a row.  I downloaded it from the software which used the following ftp URL:  This is a public ftp that allows directory browsing.  Be sure to choose the update that matches your version of HRBlock.

Run that as an administrator (after downloading … right-click and choose run as administrator) and then check for logs in the %temp% folder.


The key thing to know is that InstallShield will dump a log file into your temp folder.  (START\RUN type %temp% and hit enter.).  So after a failed install attempt look there for clues.

For me I had errors like this one…

Error 1321.The Installer has insufficient privileges to modify the file C:\Program Files (x86)\HRBlock2015\Program\US\TaxFormDisplayLists\fw4.cxml.
=== Logging stopped: 02/01/16  21:40:05 ===

So the fix for me was to give Everyone modify NTFS permissions.  (Right-click the HRBlock<YEAR> folder like the one mentioned above…choose properties.  Click the Security tab.  Click Add.  Type Everyone and enter.  Click the modify checkbox.  Click Enter.  A dialog will show all permissions getting updated.)

Even after this it didn’t quite work.  I was then getting write permission errors for a file in C:\Config.msi (which is weird because it is a folder that is there but you cannot see in Windows Explorer.  I know it is there because if you try to create one with the same name using windows explorer it will tell you it already exists.  )  But after trying that…the update started automagically working.

Hope this helps someone…and maybe me in a years.

Mar 11 2012

To screen capture issues with your Windows 7 computer you can use…

Problem Steps Recorder…