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Re: st: Stata stops recognizing basic commands

From   [email protected] (William Gould, StataCorp LP)
To   [email protected]
Subject   Re: st: Stata stops recognizing basic commands
Date   Wed, 12 Dec 2007 10:14:10 -0600

Jo La Frite <[email protected]> writes, 

> I am having a strange problem with Stata (Stata/SE 9.0 for Windows, I have
> WIndow XP). Suddenly, Stata stopped recognizing basic commands such as
> "clear". Programs that used to work are interrupted at various stages due to
> unrecognized basic commands.  For example, I get the message : "unrecognized
> command:  _gmin ". I don't understand what is going on and I am worried
> about my programs and system . Can anyone help please? Thanks!

Jo has already gotten lots of good advice from the list.  Some of that
advice, however, as been of the form of "do this and hope" and then 
gone on to mention how serious the problem might be.  Jo, I fear, may 
be more nervous than ever.

Here's my advice:

     1.  From what Jo says, it appears that somehow Stata's official 
         ado-files got erased or that Jo or some system administrator 
         made some change in Stata's parameters so that Stata can no 
         longer find its official ado-files.

     2.  It's an interesting question how that happened, and I can 
         concoct explanations with serious implications such as 
         viruses or a bad hard disk, to benign, such as Jo erased 
         Stata's official ado directory unintentionally.  The 
         explanations with serious implications are unlikely.

     3.  We can now try to figure out what happened, or just set 
         about fixing it.  I suggest we fix it.  If one of the 
         serious stories turns out to be the cause, we will discover 
         that soon enough.  

     4.  Before fixing, let's get a list of the user-written ado-files 
         Jo has installed.  Jo, bring up your broken Stata.  Type the 

                 . ado dir 

          That should list the packages.  -ado dir- is a built-in command 
          of Stata, so even if the ado-files are missing, -ado dir- will 
          work.  Assuming it does work, let's do the following:

                 . log using installed.log, replace 
                 . ado dir 
                 . log close 

          Exit Stata and store new file installed.log in a safe place.
          Print the file, too.  In the worst case, we can use the 
          information listed to reinstall the user-written files.

      5.  Take a deep breath and reinstall Stata.
          Before doing that, make sure you have both the original 
          CD and the paper license, because you are going to need the 
          license codes.  If you can't find everything, Jo, call 
          Stata Technical Services.

      6.  Launch the newly installed Stata.  Type -ado dir-.  That 
          will either (1) list the files you previously had installed, 
          or (2) it will list nothing.  99.9 percent of the time, the
          result will be (1).

      7.  Regardless, -update- your Stata:  Type -update query- and follow the

      8.  Now you are either done, or 0.01 percent of the time, you still
          need to reinstall all the user-written files.  In the 0.1 percent
          case, on your original -ado dir- listing, you might have a line that

          [1] package mf_invtokens from
              'MF_INVTOKENS': module (Mata) to convert ...


                 . net from
                 . net install mf_invtokens

          In the case where the package is from, 
          easier than the above is simply to type 

                 . ssc install mf_invtokens

          Both will do the same thing.  -ssc- can only be used to install 
          materials from  In other cases, type the 
          two commands.

          Anyway, work the list starting at the top. 

Good luck.  I've gone through this from start to finish just to prove to you,
Jo, that no matter what happens, we have a plan on how to deal with it.

I work for StataCorp so now I am required to add, since you are running Stata
9, that now might be a good time to consider upgrading to Stata 10, Jo.

-- Bill
[email protected]
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