Facing the error “The feature you are trying to use is on a network resource that is unavailable” can disrupt your workflow and leave you puzzled. This guide aims to swiftly resolve this common Windows hiccup, guiding you through essential fixes from activating the Windows Installer service to performing a clean boot. 

What Is “The Feature You Are Trying to Use Is on a Network Resource That Is Unavailable” Error?

The error message “The feature you are trying to use is on a network resource that is unavailable” typically appears when a Windows user attempts to install, update, or use a specific software feature.

This message indicates that the system cannot access the necessary files or resources on a network location, a prerequisite for the operation the user is trying to complete. It’s a common issue that can arise due to various reasons, ranging from a simple network disconnection to incorrect installation paths specified within the system’s registry.

What Causes the Error

The root causes of this error are varied, but they generally revolve around issues with how the system accesses or perceives network resources.

  • One of the primary causes is incomplete or faulty software installation or uninstallation processes. These can leave behind incorrect registry entries that point to a network resource that is no longer available or was never correctly set up.

Similarly, corrupted registry entries due to software conflicts or malware can mislead the system into looking for network resources that are inaccessible.

  • Another common cause is actual network connectivity issues. If the network resource is temporarily unavailable due to network failures, maintenance, or incorrect network settings on the user’s computer, the system will not be able to access the necessary files.
  • Additionally, problems with the Windows Installer service, which is responsible for managing the installation and uninstallation of software, can lead to this error. If the Windows Installer service is corrupted, improperly configured, or disabled, it can fail to access network resources correctly, even if those resources are available and the network connection is stable.

Understanding these causes is crucial for troubleshooting the error, as it helps narrow down the most effective solution paths, whether it’s fixing registry entries, ensuring stable network connectivity, or repairing the Windows Installer service.

Method 1: Repair the registry

Corrupted registry entries can lead to the “network resource unavailable” error. To fix these entries using Registry Editor:

  • Press Win + R, type “regedit,” and press Enter to open Registry Editor.
  • Before making any changes, it’s crucial to back up the registry. Click on File > Export, choose a location, and save.
  • Navigate to the paths associated with the problematic software. These are typically located under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE or HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software.
  • Carefully look for any entries related to the software and check if the paths are correct, especially those pointing to network resources.
  • If you find incorrect paths, right-click on the entry, select Modify, and correct the path. If unsure, it’s safer to delete the entry and reinstall the software.
Editing the registry can cause serious system issues if done incorrectly. Proceed with caution and back up the registry before making changes.

Also read: What Iis the Windows Registry and Why Do You Need a Registry Cleaner?

Method 2: Use the troubleshooter

Windows Troubleshooter can resolve issues related to installing or uninstalling programs:

  • Open Settings by pressing Win + I.
  • Navigate to Update & Security > Troubleshoot > Additional troubleshooters.
  • Select Programs and Features > Run the troubleshooter.
  • Follow the prompts to let the troubleshooter detect and fix issues related to program installation or uninstallation.

Method 3: Reinstall the problematic software

Sometimes, the simplest fix is to uninstall and then reinstall the software:

  • Open Control Panel and go to Programs > Programs and Features.
  • Find the software causing the error, right-click on it, and select Uninstall.
  • Once the uninstallation is complete, reinstall the software from the original source, ensuring you’re connected to the correct network resource if needed.

Method 4: Manually access the network resource

Try to access the network location directly through File Explorer – here are the steps to take: 

Access the network location through File Explorer

  • Open File Explorer by pressing Windows + E on your keyboard, or by clicking on the File Explorer icon on your taskbar.
  • Navigate to the address bar located at the top of the File Explorer window.
  • Type the network path you’re trying to access into the address bar. Network paths usually look like \\ServerName\ShareName or \\192.168.x.x\ShareName, where ServerName is the name of the server hosting the resource, and ShareName is the name of the shared folder or resource. Press Enter after typing the path.

Pro Tip
For easier access, you can map the network resource as a network drive.

  • In File Explorer, click on This PC in the left pane.
  • Click the Computer tab at the top, then select Map network drive.
  • Choose a drive letter, enter the folder path, and check Reconnect at sign-in if you want it to be available every time you log in. Click Finish and enter your credentials if prompted.

Method 5: Restart the Windows Installer service

Restarting the Windows Installer service can resolve many installation issues:

  • Press Win + R, type “services.msc,” and press Enter.
  • Scroll down to find Windows Installer.
  • Right-click on Windows Installer and select Restart. If it’s stopped, select Start.

Method 6: Perform a clean boot

A clean boot starts Windows with a minimal set of drivers and startup programs, helping identify conflicts:

  • Press Win + R, type “msconfig,” and press Enter to open System Configuration.
  • Go to the Services tab, check Hide all Microsoft services, and then click Disable all.
  • Switch to the Startup tab and click Open Task Manager. Disable all startup items.
  • Close Task Manager, click OK in the System Configuration window, and restart your computer.

After performing a clean boot, try accessing the feature again. If the issue is resolved, enable services and startup items one by one to identify the conflict source.


The error “The feature you are trying to use is on a network resource that is unavailable” can be resolved with patience and the right strategies. From checking the Windows Installer service to registry repairs and performing a clean boot, our guide offers a comprehensive toolkit for troubleshooting. 

Did you find the article helpful? Which method (if any) has been the most useful in fixing the error? We are happy to hear from you in the comments below.


Open the Run dialog (Windows + R), type “services.msc,” and press Enter. Scroll down to find the Windows Installer service and check if its status is set to Running. If not, right-click to start the service or set its Startup type to Automatic.
Yes, running the Program Install and Uninstall troubleshooter can help detect and automatically fix issues related to installing or uninstalling programs.
If the troubleshooter doesn’t resolve the issue, try manually repairing the registry, reinstalling the problematic software, ensuring network resources are accessible, or performing a clean boot to identify software conflicts.
Editing the registry can be risky and should be done with caution. Always back up the registry before making any changes. If unsure, seek assistance from someone experienced with Windows Registry.
Try accessing the network location directly through File Explorer by typing the network path in the address bar. Ensure you have the correct permissions and the network is functioning.
A clean boot starts Windows with a minimal set of drivers and startup programs, helping you identify if background applications are causing conflicts with your installation or update processes.