Problem: Can't install EA games because of an invalid character.

Error:

The folder path 'Command _Conquer?RedAlert?3' contains an invalid character.

Cannot install to the specified path. Either you have specified an invalid or non-existent drive, or a directory name within the given path contains one or more of the following characters:
/ : * ? " < > | ;

Cause: Careless EA developers  AppLocale conflict with the Microsoft Installer (MSI).
Solution: Uninstall AppLocale by going to the Control Panel, open the Add or Remove Programs wizard, and scroll to Microsoft AppLocale and choose Remove. If you do not want to uninstall AppLocale, follow the instructions below.

Step 1: Download Unlocker (This is a very useful program for when you can't delete/move/rename a file because it's being used by another process. Unlocker will sever the link between the target file or folder from the process that's using it.)

Step 2: After thoroughly installing Unlocker, go to C:\WINDOWS and right click on the folder AppPatch, choose Unlocker from the context menu. Unlocker will then show a list of processes using AppLocale, click the button Unlock All.

Step 3: Install the EA game as usual. If the error shows up again, unlock the AppPatch folder again.

Unlock AppLocale for Red Alert 3 Installation

Command & Conquer(tm) Red Alert(tm) 3 Setup Wizard ended prematurely because of an error. Your system has not been modified. To install this program at a later time, run Setup Wizard again.

Note: If the EA installer immediately gives the error when it starts then follow these instructions:
Step 1: Start -> Run -> type in regedit
Step 2: Registry Editor should be opened, go to the folder tree:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Electronic Arts\Electronic Arts
and delete the folder Red Alert 3. The installer should behave like the first time it ever ran.

Sidenote: If you came to this page with the 19 characters CD key problem, go to EA's site or simply guess the 20th alphanumeric digit yourself.

Program Mirrors: AppLocale, Unlocker
Keywords: C&C, C&C3, C&C4, Tiberium Wars, Tiberian Twilight, NFS, Need for Speed, Spore, SimCity, Sims, download apploc.msi, 19 char, registration, serial, The folder path 'Command _Conquer?Red Alert?3 Uprising' contains an invalid character