Since time immemorial (at least 12 years) installing a new version of iTunes on Windows has been a ritual to get around the installer's seeming inability to replace the iPod service.

To successfully upgrade iTunes on Windows 7 (and previously on Win2K and XP) one has to manually terminate all Apple services (iPod Service, AppleMobileDeviceService, iTunes Helper, mDNSResponder) and then be sure to run the installer using the "Run as Administrator" option, even if your login is a member of the local Admin group. Failure to do any of these steps results in "iPod service cannot be installed" late in the installation, at which point the only solution is to cancel, reboot and reinstall.

Lately (12.4) even following all these steps still results in failure to install the iPod Service.

Does anyone have any insight as to why this problem has gone uncorrected essentially since the initial release of iTunes for Windows, and if there is a foolproof way to upgrade iTunes?

  • 1
    I am in charge of multiple Windows 7 computers of varying vintages and I have NEVER has a problem upgrading. Do you use the Apple Software Upater or download a fresh installer? Yeah iTunes is a big bag of hurt but installing is not a problem I have ever had, just using it. Commented May 23, 2016 at 18:54
  • I'm with @SteveChambers on this. yes, I've seen it happen, but no it's not common & is usually a Windows mis-config somewhere. It being Windows, unfortunately that's never easy to find. Unless you are MCSE, I'd seriously consider running Windows all-in-one Repair & see if it finds anything out of true. (It's not a 'go faster' tool, it's a 'put everything back how it should be' tool) Free version is sufficient, btw.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented May 23, 2016 at 19:04
  • Curious. My experience has been 100% consistent across Win2000 and 3 separate installations of Win7 (as I upgraded hardware). Also it's never made a difference whether I use the updater or download a new install. I guess I'll resign myself to just uninstalling iTunes completely before upgrading. Commented May 23, 2016 at 19:41

2 Answers 2


The most common source of this error is that Sysinternals Process Explorer is running. Check systray / taskmanager and close it if its running.



I usually just close everything and it works afterwards.

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