Workaround for a bug in the MATLAB 2012a installer

April 11th, 2012 | Categories: matlab, NAG Library | Tags:

I recently installed MATLAB 2012a on a Windows machine along with a certain set of standard Mathworks toolboxes.  In addition, I also installed the excellent NAG Toolbox for MATLAB which is standard practice at my University.

I later realised that I had not installed all of the Mathworks toolboxes I needed so I fired up the MATLAB installer again and asked it to add the missing toolboxes.  This extra installation never completed, however, and gave me the error message

The application encountered an unexpected error and needed to close. You may want to try
re-installing your product(s). More infomation can be found at C:\path_to_a_log_file

I took a look at the log file mentioned which revealed a huge java error that began with

 java.util.concurrent.ExecutionException: java.lang.StringIndexOutOfBoundsException:
    String index out of range: -2
 at java.util.concurrent.FutureTask$Sync.innerGet(Unknown Source)
 at java.util.concurrent.FutureTask.get(Unknown Source)
 at javax.swing.SwingWorker.get(Unknown Source)
 at com.mathworks.wizard.worker.WorkerImpl.done(
 at javax.swing.SwingWorker$ Source)

A little mucking around revealed that the installer was unhappy with the pathdef.m file at C:\Program Files\MATLAB\R2012a\toolbox\local\pathdef.m

The installer for the NAG Toolbox modifies this file by adding the line

'C:\Program Files\MATLAB\R2012a\toolbox\NAG\mex.w64;' ...

near the beginning and the lines

'C:\Program Files\MATLAB\R2012a\help\toolbox\NAG;' ...
'C:\Program Files\MATLAB\R2012a\help\toolbox\NAGToolboxDemos;' ...

Near the end and it seems that the MATLAB installer really doesn’t like this. So, what you do is create a copy of this pathdef.m file (pathdef.m.old for example) and then remove the non-mathworks lines in pathdef.m. Now you can install the extra Mathworks toolboxes you want.  Once the installer has finished its work you can re-add the non-mathworks lines back into pathdef.m using your copy as a guide.

I’ll be informing both NAG and The Mathworks about this particular issue but wanted to get this post out there as soon as possible to provide a workaround since at least one other person has hit this problem at my University and I doubt that he will be the last (It’s also going to make SCCM deployment of MATLAB a pain but that’s another story).


The Mathworks technical support have sent me a better workaround than the one detailed above. What you need to do is to change

'C:\Program Files\MATLAB\R2012a\toolbox\NAG\mex.w64;' ...


'C:\Program Files\MATLAB\R2012a\toolbox\NAG\mex.w64;', ...

The Mathworks installer is unhappy about the missing comma.

  1. Liam Gretton
    October 25th, 2013 at 13:58
    Reply | Quote | #1

    Thanks for this, I hit exactly the same problem recently in 2013a with version 22 of the NAG toolbox.