Partner Zone
Partner Zone

Instability in Retail Manager

Highlighted
Experienced Cover User maunderruth
42 Posts
Experienced Cover User
Australia
maunderruth
Experienced Cover User

42Posts

17Kudos

1Solutions

Solved: Go to Solution

Instability in Retail Manager

Hi all,

 

We are experiencing ongoing issues with Retail Manager losing its path to the recent file on our server. Some days it crashes quite often, others not at all. Any suggestions as to how we can fix this or is it a common problem??

 

thanks for any help,

 

cheers Ruth

2 REPLIES 2
MYOB Staff Post AliK607
378 Posts
MYOB Staff Post
AliK607
MYOB Staff Post

382Posts

164Kudos

106Solutions

Re: Instability in Retail Manager

Hello @maunderruth ,

Please see the full article below for optimizing Retail Manager: (Please pay particular attention to running the 'Rebuild/Compact' function, 'Archiving your database', and running the 'RMupgrader tool' as these will reduce your file size and optimize the database, thereby reducing the frequency of the "could not open recent data" error you get in your retail manager from time to time.)

This support note provides a number of things which can help RetailManager perform at its best.

The information below relates to things you can check (and tweak) in your computer's hardware and software and includes information on RetailManager database corruptions.

For more information on maintaining your RetailManager shopfront, see the RetailManager user guide. (http://files.myob.com/help/RetailManager/v125/AU/rm_userguide.pdf)

For some of the more technical (geeky) things covered below, you might need help from a network administrator or IT person.

 

 
Hardware maintenance

The information below relates to the physical components which are used to run RetailManager. This includes where you install RetailManager and some of the things to check or consider in relation to your computer hardware.

Consideration Details
Database location

If you use MYOB RetailManager on more than one computer, store your database on the computer that you use MYOB RetailManager on the most.

Accessing information over a network is always slower than accessing information stored on the hard disk. It is also more beneficial to performance if this is the fastest computer on your network as the computer will be able to process requests from the network faster.

Hard disk space

Windows uses free space on your hard disk for additional memory. With limited disk space information will become more fragmented and take longer to access.

This is particularly important for larger shopfront databases. As a general guide, your hard disk should have 30% or more of its capacity free. For example, on a 100GB hard disk, try to keep at least 30GB of space free.

A utility is provided by Microsoft to help you reclaim space on your hard disk which can be accessed by clicking the Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Cleanup (or click the Start button and search for Disk Cleanup).

Disk fragmentation

As you store and erase information on your hard disk, the information stored on it will become fragmented, requiring the disk to �ejump�f from one place to the next to read the data requested.

Defragmenting the hard disk on the server reorganises the location of the files on the hard disk so that they are all stored sequentially, speeding up access to your database.

To defragment the hard disk:

  1. Click Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Defragmenter (or click the Windows Startbutton and search for Disk Defragmenter).
  2. Click the C: drive then click Defragment (or Defragment disk).
Disk file storage

Periodically, the storage system on the hard disk may become corrupted because of data being written to the disk being interrupted by something such as a blackout or a physical problem with a part of the hard disk.

Running Check Disk (or Scandisk in Windows XP) on a regular basis will verify the way files are stored on the hard disk and try to correct some basic issues. Note that sometimes this utility may be destructive to data and MYOB Australia strongly recommends that you contact your system or network administrator before having Check Disk/Scandisk correct any errors.

To run the Scandisk utility in Windows XP, click Start > All Programs > Accessories > Systems Tools > Scandisk.

To run the Check Disk utility in Windows 7 or later, click the Start > Computer. Right-click the hard drive you want to check for errors and choose Properties. Click the Tools menu then click Check now. You have several options within the check disk tool. It is you leave the Automatically fix file system errors option selected, as this repairs any problems found. If you want to perform a deeper scan, select the option Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors. This second option takes longer, but is worth doing if you suspect a drive problem. Once you are configured, click Start. If you are trying to check a disk that is currently in use, you will receive a message asking if you want to schedule a scan. Accepting this will perform the scan next time you restart your PC.

Server load

If the server also stores other databases, then requests to access and add information to these databases must be shared with the MYOB RetailManager database. This means that the server cannot give as much attention to requests from other machines running MYOB RetailManager, for example to lookup and add new data, so it is slower. If you do use other databases or data files the server, you may want to look at storing them on a different system, as MYOB RetailManager will be more responsive along with your other programs.

Also, closing out of MYOB RetailManager on a computer when you aren't using it or don't need to use it for a while will improve the performance for other computers as there is one less computer that needs to be kept up to date on what is happening to the information in the database.

Computer speed

Although your data is stored on one machine, all processing of data is still done by each machine. The higher the speed of the computer, the quicker it will be able to process its data to either be stored in the database or to be retrieved from the database.

There are a few components in a computer that can improve system performance. These are:

  • RAM. Increasing the amount of RAM in the system will require less temporary storage of information on the hard disk. Because reading and writing data to and from disk is slow compared to working only in RAM, increasing your RAM will significantly improve the speed the computer will be able to perform its calculations as it will need to read and write less information to and from the hard disk. The back of the CD sleeve you receive your MYOB RetailManager CDs in will provide you with the minimum amount of RAM to run MYOB RetailManager with. If you add more RAM into your system than the minimum, MYOB RetailManager will run faster.
  • Processor. Increasing the speed of the processor will give the biggest boost in performance as this is where all calculations are done and the faster these are done, the quicker the performance of the computer.
Network access

There are a number of different network cards available today. You should make sure that your network is running at 100MBps or higher (1000MBps and 10000MBps network hardware is now available) to get the best performance from MYOB RetailManager.

Wireless networks are becoming more popular however they are presently slower than cabled networks and more likely to drop out than a cabled network.

 
Software maintenance

The information below relates to your Windows software and some of things you should consider for maintaining a stable shopfront database.

Considerations Details
Archiving your RetailManager shopfront

As you enter transactions daily, your shopfront database file can grow considerably in size. This can affect the efficiency with which MYOB RetailManager works. Archiving your shopfront database improves its performance significantly. We recommend that you archive at least once a week. Note that the Archive Database function improves the performance of your shopfront database. It does not remove any data from your system or affect your data in any way.

If you use RetailManager on a network, shut down any other linked RetailManager sessions first, before archiving your database.

To archive your database

  1. Go to the File menu and choose Configuration. Click Yes to close down your current shopfront. The Shopfront Configuration window appears.
  2. If you have multiple shopfronts, make sure you highlight the shopfront you want to archive.
  3. Click the Maintenance tab.
  4. Click Archive. Confirm that you want to archive the database.

RetailManager backs up, archives, rebuilds and compacts your database.

Windows operating system

Windows 7 and later are more resource and network friendly operating systems. Having all systems using the same version of Windows and network setup will improve performance.

Microsoft also constantly releases updates and improvements to their versions of Windows. These updates are available for download from their website or through the Windows Update function installed with Windows. It is important to keep your systems up to date with these latest updates.

Software conflicts

Some programs will install additional utilities that improve their own performance. Microsoft Office is such a program. It installs one or two utilities, depending upon the version you have installed, that improve its ability to search for information in files and also speed up the time it takes to start the programs it installs.

Other programs may also be set to start up when the computer is turned on. You may also want to disable these programs from starting when you turn on the computer as these applications may also be using resources that could be used by MYOB RetailManager.

If you want to disable some or all of these programs, you should contact your system or network administrator to make sure that these settings are changed correctly.

 
RetailManager database corruptions

There are a number of reasons why a RetailManager database may become corrupt. This section explains the most common causes and what you can do to reduce or eliminate the risk of corruptions.

Corruption Messages

There are a few messages that indicate there is definitely a corruption inside your MYOB RetailManager database. These messages include the following text:

  • Unrecognized database format
  • Not a valid bookmark
  • Junk data when viewing information on screen.

There are also a number of messages that indicate the possibility of a corruption inside your MYOB RetailManager database. Note that some of these messages may also be seen for reasons other than corruptions. Some of these messages include the following text:

  • Error occurred checking for exclusive use
  • The Microsoft Jet Database Ending stopped the process because you and another user are attempting to change the same data at the same time
  • DBErr #xxxx (where xxxx is a four digit number)
  • No read permissions
  • Inconsistent information. For example, a docket that has a total of $50, however the items only add to $40.

There are also issues which may appear to be corruptions, but are not. These include:

  • Incorrect dates recorded on transactions due to changing the system date
  • Reports showing incorrect information due to changing the system date
  • Incorrect data recorded by MYOB RetailManager
  • Editing the data in Microsoft Access

Resolving Corruptions

There are a number of steps that can be taken to resolve a corruption in the database. These steps are:

  1. Run the Rebuild/Compact function in RetailManager. This function can be found in File > Configuration > Maintenance. This function will reorganise the storage of information in the file and try to remove any corruptions that it finds. Further information about this function is in the RetailManager user guide.
  2. Try upgrading the shopfront. The RMUpgrader utility is located in the MYOB RetailManager program folder. It will make sure that all structural information in your database is as it should be and try to re-create any structural information that is missing. A log file is also produced that can only be read by MYOB Australia to assist in resolving any issues that may exist in the database. Upgrading a previously upgraded file will not cause any problems.
  3. Restore a backup. Note that if a backup is restored, any information entered between the time the backup was made and the database corruption will be lost. You should run the Rebuild/Compact function on the restored data prior to using it to make sure that the backup itself is not corrupted. Further information about restoring a backup can be found in the RetailManager user guide.
  4. Submit your database to MYOB for repair. For details on this service, including pricing, visit our website (Australia | New Zealand).

The above steps should always be performed on the server if possible, as working over the network is always less reliable than working locally.

Causes of Corruptions

Corruptions can be caused by a variety of reasons. This section will cover the most common causes of corruptions and how they can be prevented.

Cause Details
Human error

If the machine that stores the database is shutdown or restarted while someone is logged into MYOB RetailManager from another machine, there is the potential for a corruption to occur, particularly if the users logged into MYOB RetailManager were committing information at the time.

This can cause corruptions because MYOB RetailManager maintains an open connection to your database at all times, even when MYOB RetailManager is idle with the shopfront open. If this connection is unexpectedly terminated, then the state of the database may not be consistent when you try and open the database again, which may result in a corruption being reported.

If MYOB RetailManager will not be used for a lengthy period of time, it is recommended to shutdown the program while it is not in use. This includes leaving MYOB RetailManager open overnight. An overnight power failure can have the same effect as an incorrect shutdown. If your computer systems must be left running overnight, then it is best to close out of MYOB RetailManager.

Power supply

If the power supply to any computer that you use MYOB RetailManager on drops or spikes, this can impact upon the data flow between the system memory and storing the information on disk. Rural areas are more likely to experience such issues, along with individual stores in large shopping centres.

If you are unsure if you experience issues with your power supply, speak with your hardware supplier or electrician. They may either be aware of such issues, or can take action to find out if you are affected.

If you are affected by issues with your power supply, you may want to contact you hardware supplier as they may be able to supply you with an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS). A UPS will provide each connected computer with a few minutes of power in the case of a blackout and possibly even out the supply of power to the connected computers.

Blackouts

A blackout is especially dangerous, as it will cause all systems to shutdown. If this happens, the state of the database may not be consistent, especially if information was being committed in MYOB RetailManager at the time. If the database is not in a consistent state, then a corruption may be reported.

An Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) can provide computers with a few minutes of power in the case of a blackout. This will then enable you to shutdown both MYOB RetailManager and your computers correctly, which will avoid corruptions and hardware damage. If you want to investigate installing a UPS for this purpose, you will need to speak with your hardware supplier.

Corrosive materials

Materials that can corrode or damage the internal components of computers will over time, impact upon the data as it is transferred from memory to disk. Such materials include chlorine and other chemicals stored and used by pool shops.

If you do store chemicals or other materials that can be harmful to computer hardware, make sure that you make regular backups, which may include making one or more backups during the day or print two copies of each transaction as they are entered. Also you should make sure that you complete the database maintenance procedures provided in MYOB RetailManager regularly.

You may also want to speak with you hardware supplier as they may be able to suggest actions that you may be able to take to minimise or eliminate damage to your computer and other systems.

System location

If the main unit of your computer is stored in a location that enables dust to collect in and on the unit, this may in time cause issues due to the interference of the dust.

You may want to speak with your hardware supplier to find or create a better location for your units that will minimise or eliminate the collection of dust and other materials in and on the units.

Computer system & hardware issues These issues can be located in either software configurations or the computer hardware, and may apply to any one or more of your systems. Hardware issues can be difficult to locate as they may only occur under certain circumstances or on a periodical basis. Hardware issues are typically found on the basis of trial and error. This section will cover the most common causes for software and hardware corruptions.
Wireless networks

Wireless networks operate on radio waves, which are more susceptible to errors due to interference from outside sources and network hardware configuration.

While MYOB RetailManager can run over a wireless network, it will run slower and is more likely to experience corruptions in the database. It is recommended that you use a 100MBps network that uses Category 5 cables or later.

Network cables & hardware

The cables used to connect the computers together in the network may be experiencing issues ranging from electrical interference (such as the network cables running close to fluorescent lights) to failure.

Another common cause of network issues is the hub, router or switch used in the network to connect all the computers together. The computers may also be experiencing internal issues such as failure of a component.

You will need to contact your hardware supplier to assist in locating and resolving any issues that are located in your network.

Faulty system hardware

Hardware in one or more of your systems that run RetailManager may be faulty.

The faulty hardware may be in any components of any system. However, most commonly, hardware issues are experienced in the following components:

  • RAM
  • CPU
  • Network Card

You will need to contact your hardware supplier to assist in locating and resolving hardware based issues.

Anti-virus software

Your anti-virus program will most likely be configured by default to scan all information that is being read from and written to disk, along with information being sent and received over the network.

This interception of the data flow may cause issues with the data as it flows through the system. Disabling or reconfiguring your anti-virus software may resolve the issue.

Viruses themselves may be the cause of corruptions, as a number of viruses are intended to cause damage either to any file stored on the disk or within the Windows Operating System. MYOB Australia strongly recommends that you make sure that your virus definitions are kept up to date.

Viruses themselves are usually targeted at software that is in use by large numbers of people worldwide, such as Internet Explorer or Microsoft Outlook/Outlook Express. As a result, it is unlikely that a virus will directly attack your MYOB RetailManager database.

Server hard disk configuration

If the machine that stores that database is configured to use the hard disks as a RAID array then issues may occur, particularly if it is configured to use the �estriping�f technique. This method enables multiple hard disks to be logically combined into one disk. When data is written to the disk, it is then split evenly across the number of drives used. This will cause issues with the database's internal pointers to locate data and cause corruption.

If the mirroring technique is used, then one disk is an exact copy of the main disk at all times, which enables the backup disk to take over should the primary disk fail. This should not cause issues with the database as the data is not being split over more than one disk.

If any changes to the disk configuration of the server may be required, you should contact your network or systems administrator for further information.

Opportunistic locking

This is a setting used on servers running Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 to improve the performance of accessing information stored on servers over the network. This setting is enabled by default on the above mentioned versions of Windows. This does not affect servers that are running Windows 95, Windows 98 or Windows ME.

Microsoft has acknowledged that this can cause issues to Microsoft Access databases stored on servers with this setting enabled. Because MYOB RetailManager uses a Microsoft Access database to store its information, switching this setting off may help in the prevention of database corruptions.

To turn off opportunistic locking requires editing the server's registry. If done incorrectly, it is possible the server will not be usable. MYOB strongly recommends speaking to your system or network administrator to assist in making this change.

Information on how to switch this off can be found on Microsoft's website.


Regards
Ali
MYOB Client Support
Experienced Cover User maunderruth
42 Posts
Experienced Cover User
Australia
maunderruth
Experienced Cover User

42Posts

17Kudos

1Solutions

Accepted Solution Solved Solution

Re: Instability in Retail Manager

Thank you, this is a great source of information, much appreciated.

Didn't find your answer here?
Try using advanced search to find a post more easily Advanced Search
or
Get the conversation started and make a new post Start a Post