SPSS Uninstall/ Install documents that are guarded by a leopard

“But look, you found the notice didn’t you?”

“Yes,” said Arthur, “yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard’.”

It sounds as if Douglas Adams, author of the Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy, started his career out as a programmer. There are some very useful pieces of information that might as well be guarded by a leopard. As a public service, here they are in plain view, guarded only by a couple of  relatively harmless meerkats.

meerkats_smallSPSS uninstall, whether it wants to or not.

This tip from the MAC OS X Tips blog was written referring to SPSS 16 but people still have the same problem and this fix still works with SPSS 17 and SPSS 18 (going incognito as PASW 18) .

I am going to assume that either:

A. You tried to do the right thing and uninstalled using the uninstaller.  If you haven’t tried that yet, do.

For SPSS 17 look in

/Applications/SPSSInc/Statistics17 there is a folder ‘_uninst’, doubleclick ‘uninstall.jar’ to uninstall SPSS 17.

For PASW 18

/Applications/SPSSInc/PASW18 Statistics/Uninstall PASW 18 Statistics double-click on the file Uninstall PASW Statistics 18. It is the little icon that is inexplicably a red ball with a plane flying around it.

That should work. Things are not always as they should be. Let’s say you tried that and it did not work.   OR

b. You are now saying, “Oops” because you did not realize that there was an uninstall file and you just dragged some SPSS-related files to the trash.

In either event. It didn’t work. Don’t worry. Do this:

Delete the SPSSInc folder if you didn’t already. Usually it is found under applications.

Delete anything else you find with SPSS or PASW in the name. Then do the following:

In order to resolve this issue if SPSS  is not removed through the uninstall process please go into the ‘Users’ folder on the main operating systems hard drive. In here you should find a house with your login name on it and you should go into this item. In this house (folder), please trash the following:


~/InstallShield (directory, remove the whole thing)

~/Library/Preferences/com.spss.spss for mac.plist

Empty the trash.

Now, go ahead and install SPSS 18. When I did this with PASW/SPSS 18 it DID give me a message saying that a version of SPSS was installed and please uninstall it before continuing. I ignored that message and continued anyway and SPSS 18 installed fine.


Other useful bits of information:

SPSS 17 and later does NOT work on non-Intel-based Macs. If you have an older Mac, the Power-PC version, SPSS 16 is the latest version that will run on it. The good news is that it runs perfectly fine and there is no real noticeable difference between 16 and 17 anyway.

SPSS 17 works on Mac OS 10.4 and higher.

PASW 18/ SPSS 18 works on Mac OS 10.5 and higher.  If you have 10.4 either upgrade or use SPSS 17.

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  1. I have a problem i removed the SPSSinc folder from the applications now i tried to install spss 17.0 the same old one erorr message tell me that the installed version is newer or some thing like that i need help asap

  2. Did you go through all of the steps in the post above trying to completely install SPSS 17? If not, I would do that, make sure it is completely installed, then try re-installing it.

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