Getting SPSS 17 to work with Softgrid/App-V | Rickard Andersson

Getting SPSS 17 to work with Softgrid/App-V

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, we use Softgrid (or Microsoft Application Virtualization as it’s called these days) at the university. Every now and then, I run into problems sequencing an application. My latest encounter with a troublesome application was SPSS Statistics 17.

The problem I encountered was that the installer would hang at the very end of the installation process. In some cases, the box would even blue screen at this stage. I scratched my head on this problem for some time, but today, I finally figured out how to solve it.

I had a look at the Windows Task Manager when the installation had hung and discovered that there were a couple of processes called spsslinit.exe that appeared to be doing nothing. So I fired up the installer once more with MSI logging enabled and when it had hung, I looked at the end of the log. There, I found mention of a script function called PostInstallCommands. From the log, I could tell that the script function started up 7 spsslinit.exe processes (with various different parameters). I don’t know for sure what the spsslinit.exe processes do, but I believe they are somehow related to SPSS licensing when running in standalone mode. We use a network license, so we don’t need the standalone stuff.

The next step was to somehow prevent the SPSS installer from running the PostInstallCommands script. So I fired up Orca (Microsoft’s MSI editor) and looked in the InstallExecuteSequence table sorted by sequence number. Sure enough, at the end of the sequence, there was PostInstallCommands. I then created a new transform and dropped the PostInstallCommands row together with another row called SPSSlinit. I’m not sure the latter is needed, but I thought it can’t hurt.

Modifications to SPSS 17 MSI via Orca

With my brand new MST file, I started the sequencer and fired up the installer with the following command line:

msiexec /i “SPSS Statistics 17.0.msi” TRANSFORMS=1033.mst;SPSS17_Softgrid_Fix.mst

It worked beautifully! After the install, I upgraded to 17.0.1 and even that went without a hitch. I’ve done some testing and the app is running just fine with our network license. If you’re trying to do this with a standalone or site license, I’m not sure this is the way to go, but then again, I don’t think SPSS can be sequenced using anything other than a network license.

I’ve uploaded the MST file if anyone needs it.


  1. Zahid Aziz
    Posted April 30, 2009 at 12:03 | Permalink

    Thanks for this. It enabled me to sequence SPSS v. 17.0.

    We then tried applying the enormous patch file(PASWStats17.0.2WindowsPatch.exe) which upgrades it to the new name PASW17.

    The first time we did both in the same monitoring (install SPSS v. 17 and apply patch to PASW). When the patch reached the end of the installation, the PC suddenly rebooted itself.

    I then tried another way. I sequenced v. 17 and saved it. Then I reopened it in the sequencer for a package upgrade and applied the patch. This time when the patch reached the end and I clicked the final OK button the PC just hung. It hung so badly that the mouse pointer wouldn’t move and ctrl-alt-delete wouldn’t work. I had to turn the PC off and on. This patch is an exe file rather than msi, so we can’t try to transform its behaviour.

  2. Posted April 30, 2009 at 19:01 | Permalink

    Even if the patch is a exe, it could be an msi “in disguise”. Have a look in the temp directory when you launch the patch.

  3. E. van Strij de Regt
    Posted May 4, 2009 at 12:34 | Permalink

    I also had this problem. Thank you for the MST!

    And for Zahid Aziz, I had also this problem but solved it. Try too install the patch and copy the unpacked MSI and other files from the temp directory where it is unpacked temporarily too your own directy before it is deleted. Then install this MSI the same way with the MST file and everything installs without any problems!! I have now a working sequence with 17.0.2, smartviewer 15.0, Python and the SPSS Data Access Pack

  4. Zahid Aziz
    Posted May 5, 2009 at 16:54 | Permalink

    Thanks very much. That worked!

  5. E. van Strij de Regt
    Posted May 11, 2009 at 09:22 | Permalink

    You are welcome!

  6. Posted June 26, 2009 at 09:38 | Permalink

    Dear Rickard

    Can I add my thanks too for this . It worked well for us – cheers

  7. Posted September 9, 2009 at 18:43 | Permalink


    Well, I have read your blog but didn’t think you were located in HBG, and thought that this might interest you.

    We have invited Tim Mangan to come to Sweden (and Malmö) and have a 5-day app-v training, check out my web-site – I would have sent you an e-mail or smthng, but couldn’t locate any contact-information.


  8. Posted September 9, 2009 at 18:52 | Permalink

    Hi Nicke,

    That sounds interesting. I will have to talk to my boss about that. Tim sure knows his stuff. I know him from his screencasts and from the forums.

    Thanks for the heads up.


  9. Posted September 16, 2009 at 22:22 | Permalink

    MST worked as intended, thank you !


  10. Zahid Aziz
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 16:49 | Permalink

    I have just sequenced PASW 18, and it too gave the same problem as v. 17. Your solution of editing the msi file in the same way has worked fine. Thanks a lot again.

    Within the same monitoring, after installing v. 18, I was able to run the patch to 18.0.1 without any problems.

  11. E. van Strij de Regt
    Posted November 1, 2010 at 12:58 | Permalink

    The newer version 19.x doesn’t seem to be giving any issues anymore. I have already the part that gave issues from version 16.

  12. E. van Strij de Regt
    Posted November 1, 2010 at 12:59 | Permalink

    The newer version 19.x doesn’t seem to be giving any issues anymore. I have alreay sequenced that part that gave issues from version 16 till 18 and I have not experienced this issue.

  13. Zahid Aziz
    Posted February 23, 2011 at 10:36 | Permalink

    My experience is that SPSS 19 gives the same problems in sequencing as the previous versions, and I had to apply your solution as above. Applying the patch to also gave problems during sequencing.

  14. Stian Johansen
    Posted August 15, 2011 at 08:57 | Permalink

    I have a problem with licensing version 19, but i can’t seem to find the PostInstallCommands or SPSSlinit row using Orca. Any suggestions?

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