R Commander installation in R on a WURclient computer

Image credit: Panos Sakalakis on Unsplash
Table of Contents

Motivation

A WURclient desktop or laptop at Wageningen University & Research is not a standard Windows 10 computer. WURclients use Windows 10 Enterprise, which has been modified by Facilities and Services Information Technology (FB-IT) among others with respect to installation rights for security reasons.

WURclient desktops and laptops at Wageningen University & Research can install R from the Software Center created by the IT department, which is launched by clicking on Start and selecting the “Software Center” tile. At the time this post was written the latest version of R in Software Center is R 4.0.2 Rcmdr.

This version of R was developed for educational purposes, where Rcmdr reflects that the installer includes R Commander. Only once per year a new version of R (including R Commander and additional packages for serveral courses) is released in Software Center. The consequence is, that core packages can not be updated by users.

Many users, however, need to be able to update core packages, because of dependencies with packages they would like to install or would just like to use a newer version of R than the one in Software Center. At the moment of writing this post the latest version of R released on r-project.org is R version 4.0.5 named: “Shake and Throw” (released on 2021-03-31). The post has been updated to R version 4.1.0 named: “Camp Pontanezen”.

Some users will also like to install the latest version of R Commander on their WURclient after having installed the latest version of R via a custom installation without using Software Center.

This post will show how to install R Commander within R on a WURclient desktop or laptop computer after a custom R installation.
The installation instructions in this post are not to be used on privately owned desktops or laptops! For a privately owned desktop or laptop see the post: R Commander installation in R on Windows 10.

R Commander Installation from the R GUI

Prior requirement:

To be able to install R Commander you will need to have R installed first. If you haven’t done so already, please first perform a custom installation of R on your WURclient computer (use the link above to go to that specific post).

Some Figures in this post are based on R version 3.6.3. For newer versions of R the steps described are the same, only some screens you will see during your installation will display a higher version number of R compared to the screenshots in the figures of this post.

  1. Start R x64 4.1.0 from the ‘R’ folder in the ‘Start Menu’ as displayed below in Figure 1.
Start Menu R x64
Start Menu R x64
  1. The R GUI (graphical user interface) will open and the cursor will be ready for input behind the prompt, as indicated by the > sign. Use the mouse pointer and navigate to the top menu and select ‘Packages’ > ‘Install Package(s)…’ as shown in Figure 2.
R GUI Install Packages
R GUI Install Packages
  1. Now a CRAN (Comprehensive R Archive Network) mirror needs to be selected, from which packages will be installed. Select, as shown below in Figure 3, the top one ‘0-Cloud [https]’. This to make sure, that always the nearest CRAN mirror will be used no matter where you will be on the globe 🌍. Click on the ‘OK’ button to confirm the selection.
R GUI Select CRAN Mirror
R GUI Select CRAN Mirror
  1. After the CRAN mirror selection a list of available packages will appear. Scroll down to find the Rcmdr package and click it to select. As shown below in Figure 4 the package will turn blue, when selected. Confirm the installation by clicking the ‘OK’ button. Now a lot will happen in your display while the Rcmdr pacakage and its dependencies are being installed.
R GUI Select the Rcmdr package to be installed.
R GUI Select the Rcmdr package to be installed.
  1. Repeat step 4. for installing the RcmdrPlugin.HH package or any other additional Plugin for R Commander you need. The HH plugin for example provides additional functionality for Simple Linear Regression.
Once the installation of the RcmdrPlugin.HH package, or any other additional Plugins you require, has finished, you are ready 😆 to start R v4.1.0 and use R Commander.
When using R Commander for the first time additional packages, required for R Commander to work correctly, will need to be installed. Allow the installation to be able to work smoothly without errors!

Starting and restarting R Commander

Start R Commander

To start R Commander type the library(Rcmdr) command behind the R Console prompt (indicated by a > sign) and press return (↩) to execute the command.

Restart R Commander

In case R Commander crashes while using it, you will need to resart it. However, in the R Console currently running R, the library(Rcmdr) command will not restart R Commander.

The reason is, that the R Commander package is still loaded and first needs to be detached. To detach the R Commander package you can copy (Ctrl+C) the following command:

detach("package:Rcmdr", unload = TRUE)

paste (Ctrl+V) it behind the prompt in the R Console (indicated by a > sign) and press return (↩) to execute the command.

Now R Commander can be restarted by using the library(Rcmdr) command as before.

Maikel Verouden, Ph.D.
Maikel Verouden, Ph.D.
Researcher | Lecturer | IT & Organization contact person

My research interests include Statistics, Teaching and programmable matter (statistical software).