Google Picasa installation on Windows Server 2012 - "the current user is not allowed to install or update applications"

  • Posted on: 23 March 2013
  • By: Michał Turecki

My HTPC is running Windows Server 2012. It seems like an overkill but I am using it as a part of software development cycle which MSDN license allows and multiple desktops feature really helps.

There is one problem tough - many free versions of software are not happy about why someone would want to run something free while having (purposely) paid for, fully featured Windows Server. I am talking here about EaseUs Partition Master and other partitioning tools, free for home use.

Another issue is with Google Picasa installation on a server computer. Installation just fails with a message: "The current user is not allowed to install or update applications". It doesn't matter I am an administrator of the machine, running installer as an Administrator

It seems google is not doing much about it as people are complaining about the problem on every possible server edition of Windows. The solution which works is to enable "Desktop Experience" and reboot.

But I did not want to do neither - Windows Server 2012 is already too contaminated with Windows 8 tablet-on-the-desktop UI not to mention that enabling Desktop Experience is a one way operation: uninstalling it is only possible by installing Windows Server 2012 again, until of course somebody will create a tool which removes it without such a radical step.

Anyway, my solution is easy enough and requires only 7-zip or another archiver handling setup executables:

  1. Using 7-zip extract contents of the picasa installer (I tested on version 3.9) to a folder
  2. Copy contents of this folder to C:\Program Files\Picasa or C:\Program Files (x86)\Picasa if 32-bit Picasa is to be installed for some dubious reason.
  3. Create a shortcut to C:\Program Files\Picasa\Picasa3.exe on desktop

That's it. Have fun.

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Apparently, we only have to add the "desktop experience" feature on the 2012 server.

You found it in "user interface and infrastructure" features
The name is probably not exact, I do that on a french server.

Desktop experience feature adds Windows 8 start screen along with other possibly unwanted "extras", it also cannot be uninstalled. Windows 8-style startup screen can get in the way when administering servers, that's smart Microsoft made it optional.