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Licensing and Installation

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VX releases (for example: PADS VX.1.1) set very few environment variables as compared to pre-VX releases (PADS 9.5 and earlier). The only environment variables that get set are the MGLS_LICENSE_FILE and WDIR_<release>. For more details refer to Tip of the Week: Setting the WDIR in VX releases.

As a result of this change, any script that depends on the SDD_HOME (or similar) environment variable should use the 'mglaunch.exe' wrapper program to launch under the new Mentor command shell (SDD_HOME is available in this environment). Another alternative is to alter the paths in the script to no longer depend on the variable (i.e. use full paths).

Sample command using 'mglaunch.exe' (%SDD_HOME% path will resolve):

mglaunch.exe "C:\scripts\myMentorScript.bat"

I've spent much of my week answering questions about what functionality PADS license feature names authorize. While this can become a complex subject, much of this information is documented in the manuals under "License File Options". Search the PADS Layout or Router User manuals for this information and you may just find exactly what you're looking for.……

It is sometimes helpful to find out which processes are running with elevated permissions. Follow these steps to determine the UAC Virtualization status:


Open the Task Manager (Ctrl+Shift+Esc).
Click on the Processes tab, and click on the 'Show processes from all users' button.
If prompted by UAC, click Yes.
Click View on the menu bar and click Select Columns.
Check the User Account Control (UAC) Virtualization box, and click OK to add that column to the Task Manager.
You can now look in the UAC Virtualization column to see if a process in the Image Name column is running elevated or not.
If the column entry shows Not Allowed, then the process is running as administrator (elevated).

Now that VX releases can run side-by-side, it can be tricky to determine the active/current release. For example, if you double-click a .pcb which version of Xpedition or PADS Layout will it launch in?


Further below are a couple of different scripts that can be used to report the currently configured SDD release (see sample screenshot below).



Script Option #1:


This script determines the current release based on the "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths\<executable>\eProductDesigner" registry string.


Instructions: Copy the lines further below into a file that end with ".bat", and double-click to run.


BEGIN script contents (copy content BELOW this line):


echo off


set DXKEY="HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths\viewdraw.exe" /v eProductDesigner

set EXPKEY="HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths\ExpeditionPCB.exe" /v eProductDesigner

set PADSKEY="HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths\powerpcb.exe" /v eProductDesigner

set PADSPROKEY="HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths\ExpeditionPE.exe" /v eProductDesigner




  for /f "skip=2 tokens=1,2,3" %%A in ('reg query %DXKEY%') do msg * "Currently configured release is %%C"

  goto end





  for /f "skip=2 tokens=1,2,3" %%A in ('reg query %EXPKEY%') do msg * "Currently configured release is %%C"

  goto end





  for /f "skip=2 tokens=1,2,3" %%A in ('reg query %PADSKEY%') do msg * "Currently configured release is %%C"

  goto end






  for /f "skip=2 tokens=1,2,3" %%A in ('reg query %PADSPROKEY%') do msg * "Currently configured release is %%C"

  goto end


msg * "No current SDD configuration found!"




END script contents (copy content ABOVE this line)



Script Option #2:


This script determines the current release based on the file association for .pcb (can be configured for other file extensions on the "set extension=" line in the script).


Note: This script assumes the target install folder is one level deep, for example: 'C:\MentorGraphics'. If you've installed 2 or more levels deep, for example: 'C:\Program Files\MentorGraphics', simply increment the "E" in "%%E" near the end of the last line in the script, one letter for each additional level. For example: %%E for one-level deep (C:\MentorGraphics), %%F for 2 levels deep (C:\Program Files\MentorGraphics), and so on...


Instructions: Copy the lines further below into a file that end with ".bat", and double-click to run.


BEGIN script contents (copy content BELOW this line):


echo off

:### set the extension type to check for. Some examples:

:  .pcb for Xpedition or PADS Layout.

:  .prj for xDX Designer.

:  .sch for PADS Logic


set extension=.pcb


for /f "tokens=1,2 delims==" %%A in ('assoc %extension%') do for /f "tokens=1-6 delims=\" %%C in ('ftype %%B') do msg * "Currently configured release is %%E"


END script contents (copy content ABOVE this line)

There may be cases where a driver update can have unintended consequences. On occasion you may back rev the driver to restore functionality, but then later find that Windows Update has dutifully updated the driver for you again the next time it detects an update is available.

Turning off automatic updates would prevent the problem, but your IT policies may require Windows Update be set to automatic. Fortunately, there is a distinction made between device driver and OS updates so you can leave automatic updates enabled for the OS updates and disable them for device driver updates..

To disable device driver updates, do the following (procedure applies to Windows 7):

  1. Open the Devices and Printers folder by pressing the Start button, right clicking on Devices and Printers, and selecting Open.
  2. In the top row of the window you should see a computer icon that has your systems name on it. Right click on it, and select Device Installation Settings.
  3. Select No; Let me choose what to do, then select Never install driver software from Windows Update.
  4. Select Save Changes, and close the window.


OS updates will continue to install automatically, but device driver updates will not. You still have the option of installing these by running Windows Update manually and selecting the drivers you want to update, just be careful not to pick the one that breaks your system.

This setting applies to all device drivers. There does not appear to be a way to target a specific device driver and prevent it from updating while allowing others.

Now that Xpedition flow is supported on Windows Server 2012 you may be considering that platform for your Remote Server Configuration Manager and/or xPCB Team Server host. If so, be aware of a new system default setting in Server 2012 that prevents the system from responding to a ‘ping’ from a remote computer. Not being able to ping the server it makes troubleshooting a bit more difficult if you have problems connecting to it.


You should verify your IT policy first, and then if you determine that the default setting is more security than you need and your IT policy allows you to enable a ping response, you could use one of the methods below to enable it.


The first thing you need to know is that this policy is enforced through a firewall rule, and to change the behavior you’ll need to modify the rule. Of course if you plan on completely disabling the Windows firewall anyway, then you’re already done.  Once you turn the firewall off there is no need to do any of the steps below.


Method 1: Windows Power Shell


If you have Windows Power Shell installed you can enable the rule from the shell window with the following commands:


PS C:\> Import-Module NetSecurity

PS C:\> Set-NetFirewallRule -DisplayName “File and Printer Sharing (Echo Request – ICMPv4-In)” -enabled True


Note: To use this method the rule must already exist. If you need IPv6 ping, then you must also enable the rule called ‘Echo Request – ICMPv6-In’.


Method 2: Graphical Interface


To use the graphical interface to change the rules follow these steps:

  1. Open the Control Panel and select System and Security
  2. Select Windows Firewall
  3. Select Advanced Settings
  4. Under Windows Firewall with Advanced Security, select Inbound Rules
  5. Locate the rule called File and Printer Sharing (Echo Request – ICMPv4-In)
  6. Right click on the rule and select Enable Rule
  7. Verify that a green check mark appears next to it when you look at the Inbound Rules


Done! There is no need to reboot the system. It should respond to a ping from a remote system now.  This works for Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012R2.

Note: If you need IPv6 ping, you can use the same procedure to enable that rule.

These two features are available in Windows 8.1:


Quiet Hours to Disable Notifications
A new feature of Windows 8.1 is the option to turn the notifications off or set a period of time for which the notifications may appear. During the Quiet Hours you will not receive alerts from IMs, texts or basic apps. To do this, go to Change PC settings, click on Search and Apps, select Notifications, and configure the relevant options.


Configure Automatic App Updates
Unlike Windows 8, app updates in Windows 8.1 will be automatically installed by default without the user’s consent. To stop this from happening, open Windows Store and access the Settings Charm menu – the charm must only be activated once in the Windows Store or else it will not display the required menus. In the Settings Charm menu, select Settings and navigate to App Updates. Enable or disable the option to automatically update apps.

One of the benefits of "VX" releases is they can run side-by-side. This means there is no longer a requirement to "switch" releases like there was with PADS 9.5 and earlier. Both PADS VX.0 and PADS VX.1 releases can co-exist in the Start Menu*, and you can even run programs from both versions at the same time!


The only time you might want to run the Release Switcher is to:

  • Set the "active" release for the purpose of file associations (for Ex: when you double-click a .pcb which release of PADS Layout does it open), and
  • Do what the Configurator used to do at pre-VX releases - reregister DLLs, define WDIR, recreate Start Menu shortcuts, and run other similar tasks in the event of an application crash or other unexpected behavior.

For more details on the 'Release Switcher' refer to TechNote MG586150 on SupportNet.


* Start Menu locations for PADS VX.0 and PADS VX.1:



     Start Menu > Mentor Graphics PCB > PADS VX.0 (32-bit)



     Start Menu > PADS VX.1 (32-bit)

If you write batch scripts to install, update or remove Mentor Graphics software, then you might find this Tip of the Week useful.


It’s very important, particularly for our PCB flow software that has iCDB architecture, to make sure that programs are not running before you make any change to the system that affects them. Here are a few simple commands you could use in your batch scripts to avoid problems while installing, updating, or removing.


Many programs will gracefully close down a running instance if you run it again with a –close argument. This one will exit iCDB Server Manager. This is nice because you won’t get an error if the program is not currently running.


%SDD_HOME%\iCDB\win32\bin\iCDBServerManager.exe -close



Another way of doing it is to use the taskkill command. Unlike the command above, this will complain if the program isn’t running, and if it is running you’ll get confirmation that the process has been terminated. That’s useful if you really want to be sure one way or the other about the programs current status.


          start "Window name" /w /min cmd /c taskkill /f /im "iCDBServerMonitor.exe"


If the program is a service, then it supports the start, stop, and remove arguments in all likelihood. In this example, I’m stopping the RSCM service and then removing it. The call statements are there to ensure that the operation completes before the next command executes.


           echo Stopping and removing the RSCM service, if it is running...
           call "%SDD_HOME%\iCDB\win32\bin\iCDBNetLauncher.exe" –stop
           call "%SDD_HOME%\iCDB\win32\bin\iCDBNetLauncher.exe" –remove


I hope you find these commands useful!


Ken Foster

Mentor  Graphics Global Support and Services


There are a number of licensing and install changes in the PADS VX.1 release that you should review before you download and attempt to install.

A common question arises when managing a license server. Should I use lmreread to pick up changes in the license file or options file or should use lmdown and then restart the license server?


Over the years, I've found that lmreread generally works well for adding new licenses or for picking up simple changes to the options file such as defining a new LM_PROJECT.


However, for swapping complete license files or for changes to the options file that involve restricting access to licenses (e.g.: RESERVE), you must be careful with lmreread and should probably opt for a restart. In the case of controlling access with keywords, it's one thing to add a new license and define who can check it out with INCLUDE. It's another thing to remove access for a user or host that already has that license checked out. Scheduling a restart can help mitigate problems.


What are your experiences? Please feel free to share your best practices.

In most Mentor Graphics PCB releases, the MSVC++ Redistributable software is installed every time you install software. It's useful in the cases where you install new releases, but its not always necessary when re-installing the same release or applying updates.


Setting the environment variable SDD_SKIPCORECOMP=1 before installation prevents the installation of these packages, and can save you a bit of time during installation. It's especially useful when you are installing a source tree for client/server installation on Windows. If the server is not used to run the applications, there is no need for the SDD core components.


Use this with caution! It will prevent the packages from being installed in if set, and you do need those packages to run the applications or if you are re-installing to repair a corrupted software installation.



System Restore's job is to keep notes of everything you change on your computer, enabling you to reverse them with a couple of clicks.

On Windows 7, right-click Computer, select Properties > System Protection > System Restore > Next, and choose the restore point you'd like to use. Click the new button to 'Scan for affected programs' and Windows will tell you which (if any) programs and drivers will be deleted or recovered by selecting this restore point.

Mentor Graphics applications can sometimes be adversely affected by other programs that are installed and registry settings that get changed. Reversing those changes by returning to a restore point can get Mentor software back up and running.

The Server Services tab in Mentor License Utility v3.0, provides quick access to almost every corner of your Mentor Graphics (mgcld daemon) license manager service.


  • Lmgrd.exe/Mgcld.exe version, TCP port and process ID info.
  • Open license, log and Options files
  • Restart service, reread, lmstat, lmdiag and other functions.


For more details, refer to page 35 in the MLU Users Manual (attached).


To download a copy of the Mentor License Utility v3.0 from SupportNet, click here.



Did you know you can drag a path from Windows Explorer to the Windows command line? It's true! Watch: