Friday, September 04, 2009

Tips & Tricks:: Fixing SPSS Mac v17 in Snow Leopard on a Macbook 3,1

If you just want to see the steps of how I got my SPSSv17 Mac to work on Snow Leopard, click here.
Notes:: My Macbook 3,1 is a 2.2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo {Santa Rosa} w/ 4 GB 667 MHz RAM & a 500 GB Seagate 7200 HD.  My SPSS was v. 17.0, installed in June of 2009.  
Addendum {29 Dec 2009}::  {1} a commentor noted that there is a free upgrade available for PASW {SPSS} vers. 18 until 31 December 2009.  I downloaded it, but still need my new license code, which is supposed to be e-mailed to me.  The Java issue still applies to v.18.  {2} I haven't had the need for SPSS/PASW until this week.  Lo and behold, I made the mistake of updating Java.  If this happens, you need to revert it back, using the steps outlined below.  Cheers.
Addendum {23 January 2010}:: Here's a new blog on getting PLS regression to work in SPSS/PASW 18.0.1. This is a regression procedure, not a path modelling one. I use SmartPLS with Crossover for path modelling using the PLS algorithm.

Last week, I was extolling the virtues of Snow Leopard, the new Mac OS X {10.6} operating system, practically giddy like an Apple fanboi.  Well, I knew something had to give, as I was maxed out on memory and the Macbook was running hot, so the rumours of OS X getting smaller and more efficient was music to my ears.  On Twitter, I did see that there might be problems with SPSS-Mac* and Snow Leopard, but I minimized this for some unknown reason last weekend.  {SPSS is a statistical software package I use in my quantitative research}.  Apple warned of problems with certain software titles, as well.  What me, worry?  I upgraded and it went without a hitch, except I had to reboot after my Macbook after it restarted itself after the install.  The Macbook seemed faster, seemed to run cooler, and have slightly better battery life, but I didn't do any pre-post testing.

I checked my Windows XP virtualization in VMWareFusion, as I was thinking that all my statistics packages I use are there.  It worked fine, but I suddenly realized my SPSS version 17 statistics package was actually on the Mac side of things.  Oops.  Snow Leopard "broke" SPSS.

I thought this wasn't a big deal.  I wouldn't need SPSS for a while and by that time there would be a software patch.  Well, as it turned out, it looks like I'll need SPSS this fall for a project and at least one proposal.  Panic.  Plus, SPSS was bought by IBM and the new package, PASW, was to be Snow Leopard compatible in the next version, v.18.  Scouring Twitter and the Internet, I came up with four options::
  1. Ask my vendor to allow me to switch my license to SPSS-Windows to run on my virtualized Windows XP Pro, knowing it would be slower than a Mac version {rather have it in the Mac OS}
  2. Try to install the old operating system {Leopard, OS X v 10.5}  as a virtual machine, so I could access it without booting {I don't think this can be done without a serious hack}
  3. Install Leopard on a new partition on my hard drive, having to reboot to access it and SPSS {would rather not do this}
  4. Upgrade to v18 when it comes out {would rather not spend the money to do this}

A few days pass and a thread shows up on InsanelyMac with a problem that didn't seem like the same issue I had::
  "Just upgraded my leopard to snow leopard (macbook pro) and have discovered that spss 16 now no longer opens files, the output now reads something about character encoding (windows 1252) incompatible with current LOCALE setting. Otherwise, it appears that the program works, i.e. I can type in a new dataset and analyse it (so far). "
My issue was the software wouldn't even open.  I looked at the thread and saw reference to a Java issue.  Snow Leopard replaces Java 1.5 with Java 1.6, the latter being incompatible with SPSS.  

I followed these steps carefully from this post::
  1. First I downloaded the java1.5.0 from this site::   That's a direct download link btw.  
  2. I then double clicked on it to unpack it, found the 'Java 5.0' folder it had unpacked in my downloads folder, and brought it over to my desktop.
  3. I then went to (in finder) Devices/ 'your harddrive'/ System / Library / Frameworks / JavaVM.framework /versions  I dragged the newly downloaded Java1.5.0 into the versions folder, at which point it asked me to 'authenticate' and then 'replace the older version of this file'.   
  4. I then found 'java preferences' {went back to spotlight and typed 'java preferences' in}, and on the bottom of the two list of Java versions {of which you should now have java1.6 32bit, java1.6 64bit, java15.5 32bit, java1.5 32bit}, the list entailing what your computer should use with programmes, I dragged 'java1.5 32bit' onto the top of the list.
Step #4 didn't take.  I looked at the Java Preferences application {do a search in Finder} on my Macbook and the new Java {1.6} was still the preferred version.  This was confirmed by Java Tester.  Luckily, I found a workaround.  I went into the command Terminal and typed in:: 
rm -f CurrentJDK && ln -s 1.5.0 CurrentJDK

This is where others were done, but I tried to run my SPSS v17., but it still wouldn't open.  As it turns out, I needed to have the 17.0.2 SPSS Mac patch, available here.  It runs, but I still can't use the graphing, but I can live with that.

*The full version, not the graduate pack.

Twitterversion:: #Tips&Tricks #SnowLeopard broke #SPSS v17 on #MacBook.Culprit: no Java1.5. Restord Java& instlld 17.0.2 patch.All is well. @Prof_K

Image:: Statistics cartoon by the late Howard S. Hoffman {1925-2006}, link to animatedsoftware site.

Song::  The Pet Shop Boys-"Left to My Own Devices" The Disco Mix


tovi said...

Followed all your steps and SPSS 17 still won't open :(

I get the message:

"You can't use this version of the application SPSSSTatistics 17.0 with this version of Mac OS X.

You Have SPSSStatistics 17.0 17.0.1"

The 17.0.2 update wouldn't install until I followed your steps, but even though I installed it, the message doesn't mention it. I wonder what's going on.

Kenneth M. Kambara said...

Sorry to hear this. Two things:: {1} Which version is the program itself stating when you get the information using {Command-I}? {2} Search for the application Java Preferences & run it. What's on the top of the list?

Does the {Command-I} report 17.0.1 or 17.0.2? Even though I installed in June, the version I had was 17.0.0. I couldn't get the 17.0.2 Mac patch to install until I fixed the Java issue.

In Java Preferences, the Java application on the top of my list is J2SE 5.0 32 bit. The fix I listed in the blog post finally got this to change. It sounds like your Java is OK if you can get to the install.

The only other thing I can think of is installing 17.0.0 & running the patch for 17.0.2.

Adam said...

Thanks for the help! I was able to get graphing working as well, running 17.0.2

drlnfil said...


Kenneth M. Kambara said...

@adam:: great! thanks for stopping by.

@drlnfil:: What error are you getting. Are you on v17.0.0? I'd monitor this Facebook link & the SPSS website, as a fix is in the works.

rcsapo said...

@ Adam:

I'm running PASW 17.0.2 on OS 10.6 as well. Could you please share how exactly you got the graph creater working again?

Casper said...

I have exactly the same problem as tovi. :(

I've ended the installation of 17.0.2, but without any luck at all. I get the same message as tovi :(

What can I do? I need this program so badly. :(

Casper said...

It works now!

I installed the patch at 727 mb, after many tries, I installed the 797 mb version, now it works! Direct link:

GL all!
And thx for the guide mate!!

Mike said...

Worked perfect for me!
Thanks for sharing with us!

Robin said...

Casper, sorry the link you gave us is the 722MB version. Even it says 797 MB i only download 722MB. I need help! Please can someone give me an alternative link to download the Patch 17.0.2 grad pack. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

This is from the facebook page:

SPSS Inc.Thank you all for your patience! We’re happy to announce a free upgrade to version 18 for any students or faculty in the U.S., Canada, or Australia that are using Mac OS 10.6 (Snow Leopard). This offer applies to those customers who purchased SPSS/...PASW Statistics GradPack, GradPack Base, Student Version, or Faculty Pack version 17 for Mac. Your license term must still be active. This offer is available until December 31, 2009. To download version 18 software and receive your authorization code, please go to:

So if you apply, certainly take them up on this deal!

Amy said...


Shitanshu Uppal said...


Change line:

to whatever your JRE 1.5.0 folder is, for instance:


Laura said...

Awesome, I got the grad pack to work by downloading this patch :


Daskapital said...

can your spss draw a chart? my spss told me it cannot draw a chart because java doesn't support.

Kenneth M. Kambara said...

@daskapital are you on v17 or v18 & which OS are you on? I'm assuming SPSS/PASW v.17 given your question. I recall getting that error too on charts. I switched to v.18 after getting Snow Leopard {Mac OSX 10.6}.

Anonymous said...

Try what I've seen on:

SPSS 17 works perfect on Leopard 10.5
On Snow Leopard, there are two ways to run SPSS 17.

Way 1
This is how I have installed it on my mac. You can check the versions 10.6.5 and 17.0.3 are working onand onand on On my mac -at least- SPSS 17.0.3 works flawlessly.

1) Make a partition of your hard disk and install Leopard 10.5.8 on it.
2) On Leopard, disable Internet access of your computer.
3) Install SPSS 17. You can activate the modules in any moment.
4) Install SPSS patch 17.0.1
5) Install SPSS patch 17.0.2
6) Install SPSS patch 17.0.3
7) Check SPSS is working properly.
8) Enable the Internet access.
9) Boot on Snow Leopard (I think it should also work on Lion).
10) Right clic any .sav file. Select "open with" and "other", select "All applications" (or whatever, my mac OS language is set in Spanish, sorry); select the SPSS app that is installed on Leopard "PASWStatistics17.0" and clic on the "Open" button.
That's all.

Way 2:
One of my classmates has tested this one. It also works fine on his computer.

1) Install Leopard 10.5.8 on your hard disk drive.
2) Disable Internet access of your computer.
3) Install SPSS 17. You can activate the modules in any moment.
4) Install SPSS patch 17.0.1
5) Install SPSS patch 17.0.2
6) Install SPSS patch 17.0.3
7) Check SPSS is working properly.
8) Enable the Internet access.
9) Upgrade from Leopard 10.5 to Snow Leopard 10.6 on the hard disk that also has SPSS 17.0.3 Important: just upgrade the OS, do not format the hard disk drive. Now your mac computer will have the Java versions 5 and 6, and will be able to open SPSS 17.0.3
10) Check SPSS is working properly.
That's all.