Top 6 Ways to Fix Unable to Install Programs or Software on Windows 11

By | May 14, 2022

While Microsoft Store will give you a version of the most popular apps, it does not carry every program or software. You may have to download and install programs from the internet. While that shouldn’t be a problem, sometimes, Windows 11 may refuse to install your favorite piece of software.

If Windows 11 is not letting you install new programs or running into errors, you’ve landed on the right page. We’ll share a few troubleshooting tips to help fix the issue in no time.

1. Check Program Compatibility

Compatibility issues can often lead to such installation failures on Windows 11. Programs and games that worked perfectly on Windows 10, for instance, may not necessarily be compatible with Windows 11. In such cases, you won’t be able to install the program no matter what you do. Typically, you can find such information on the app provider’s website.

Check Program Compatibility

Hence, before trying out the solutions below, check whether the program that you’re trying to install is compatible with Windows 11.

2. Run Installer as Administrator

Most third-party app installations on Windows require administrative approval. Ideally, you should see a User Account Control (UAC) prompt when you run the installer. But if that isn’t happening, you can run the installer as administrator manually. Here’s how.

Right-click on the installer file and select Run as administrator. Then, follow the on-screen prompts to see if the program installs successfully.

Run Program as Administrator

3. Run Program Install and Uninstall Troubleshooter

If the issue remains, you can turn to one of the Windows troubleshooters for help. Microsoft offers a Program Install and Uninstall troubleshooter that can automatically detect and fix any corrupted registry keys that may be preventing program installations on Windows. Here’s how you can use it.

Step 1: Get the dedicated troubleshooter tool from Microsoft.

Step 2: Double click on the troubleshooter to run it.

Run Program Installer and Uninstaller Troubleshooter

Step 3: Click on Next.

Program Installer and Uninstaller Troubleshooter

Step 4: Select Installing on the following screen. The tool will automatically start looking for any issues with the Registry files.

Windows Troubleshooter

Step 5: Select the program that you’re trying to install. If you can’t find it, select Not listed. Then, hit Next.

List of Programs on Windows

From there, follow the on-screen instructions to finish the troubleshooting process. After that, try installing the program again.

4. Check Windows App Installation Settings

Windows 11 allows you to restrict app installation from sources other than the Microsoft Store to improve security. Windows will block all third-party app installations from unknown sources if you’ve previously enabled this setting. Here’s how you can change that.

Step 1: Right-click on the Start menu and select Settings from the list.

Open Settings Windows 11 3

Step 2: In the Apps tab, click on Advanced app settings on your right.

Advanced App Settings on Windows

Step 3: Use the drop-down menu next to ‘Choose where to get apps’ and select ‘Anywhere, but let me know if there’s a comparable app in the Microsoft Store’.

Install Apps from Microsoft Store Only

After making the change, try running the installer to see if it works.

5. Uninstall Previous Version of Program or Software

Another reason why Windows may fail to install a third-party program or software is if an older version of that program is already available on your PC. If that seems to be the case, you’ll have to remove the older version of the program before running the installer again.

Step 1: Press the Windows key + R to launch the Run dialog box, type in control, and press Enter.

Open Control Panel on Windows 11 3

Step 2: Switch the view type to large or small icons using the drop-down menu in the top right corner. Then, click on Programs and Features.

Control Panel on Windwos

Step 3: Select the program you wish to remove and click on Uninstall/Change at the top.

Uninstall Program on Windows 11

From there, follow the on-screen instructions to remove the program. Once removed, try running the installer again.

6. Enable Developer Mode

Enabling Developer Mode on Windows allows you to sideload apps from almost any source. As suggestive of its name, the setting is meant for developers to install and test their apps. However, if you’re certain about the software’s credibility you’re trying to install, you can enable Developer Mode on Windows to install that program. Here’s how.

Step 1: Press the Windows key + I to launch the Settings app. Navigate to Privacy & security tab on your left.

Privacy Security Settings on Windows 11

Step 2: Under Security, click on For developers.

Developer Settings on Windows 11

Step 3: Enable the switch next to Developer Mode.

Enable Developer Mode on Windows 11

Try running the installer one more time and see if it works. Don’t forget to turn off Developer mode after installing the program.

Installation In Progress

If the app or program you’re trying to install is available on Microsoft Store, you should always download it. However, employing the troubleshooting mentioned above tips should help fix the problem if that’s not an option.

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