Tech Docs: Trouble Shooting

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Trouble Shooting Facil

If you have a problem with Facil you may find a quick solution to your problem in the steps given below.  If your organization is a subscriber to Facil Technical support, please feel free to contact Becker Software at (520) 991-0909 or email to [email protected] for assistance.

First, Record What Happened...

Facil traps unexpected errors and reports them with a message in the form "Error Number ###, (Description of the Error), Unexpected Error in (internal name of a Facil object)". An error message of this kind indicates that something in the program failed to work correctly, but by trapping the error Facil can continue to operate instead of "crashing".

Write down precisely the error message that is displayed, particularly the Error Number, the Error Description, and the name of the internal Facil object. Make a note of the very last action you did before the error, i.e. "Clicked xxxx button on xxxx form after changing the xxxx field", "Entered xxxx in the xxxx field on the xxxx form and pressed Tab to go to the next field", etc.

What Kind of Error Occurred?

Try to determine what kind of an error you have encountered: a warning message, a non-recurring error, or a repeatable error.

Warning Messages

Facil contains many messages informing you when something is missing or incorrect. Perhaps you have left out a required piece of data, or a value you entered is not allowed - such as an invalid date, or a nonexistent Person ID number. These messages are not errors; they prevent problems by insuring that data is correct.  The message should specify what needs to be done; no other action is needed.

Non-recurring Errors

A "one-time" error in Facil might be caused by conditions outside the control of the program, such as network problems or a problem with Windows or another program that is running.  The error may be the result of such an external problem; it could be a unique circumstance in Facil that will never happen again; or it may not be an error at all, but simply a misunderstanding of what actually occurred. 

Repeatable Errors

Errors that recur whenever you perform a specific function in Facil are either due to problems with corrupted data or may result from a problem with the Facil programming.  Try to reproduce the problem by repeating the same steps.  If you have a multi-user system, determine whether the problem occurs on just one workstation or on all of them.

Program Won't Start

This may be the result of severe corruption to the data file.  In this case, a message will indicate that Facil can't recognize the data file.  Becker Software may be able to assist Tech Support subscribers with repairing corrupted data files, but a current backup copy of the data is the only real protection against loss of your data.  See the Tech Doc "Backing Up Your Facil Data" for details.

A problem with your Facil license file is another possible reason Facil will not start; a message specifying the nature of problem should appear.  Any Facil user is welcome to contact Becker Software if there is a problem with licensing; a Technical Support subscription is not required for assistance with licensing issues.

Check For Damage...

Close all open forms and return to the Main menu. This should restore the program to a stable state and should allow you to continue working. If the program is not responding correctly, try closing it completely and restarting it. 

If you were only viewing, querying, or reporting and not actually editing any data, there is almost zero chance of damage.  If you were entering or editing data, creating a new record of any kind, or otherwise making changes that should be saved, carefully check that the changes you were making were properly saved. If you were creating a new reservation, taking a payment, registering a Person for a class, etc., review the data to make sure that the entire process was completed. 

If It's Not a Repeating Problem...

If you don't see the same error again, you probably don't need to take any further action.  If multiple people use your Facil system, one person should be responsible for tracking any problems; report the problem to that person in case it happens to someone else later on.

Fixing A Continuing Problem

If you have a continuing problem, try the following steps...

1) Maintain Your Data File

Run the Data File Maintenance function from the Facil Admin menu.  This will correct most problems with data file corruption.  If you find that you can't run the Data File Maintenance because Facil says someone else is using the data, and you are sure this is not the case, continue on to "Clear False Data Locks".

2) Maintain Your Client File

Note: This no longer applies with Facil version 5.0 and later.  The client file imaintenance is now done automatically every time you exit Facil.

Run the "Maintain Facil Client Database" function from your Start menu.  This function compacts and repairs the Facil program database on your workstation.  It has no effect on other workstations or on shared Facil data.  You must close the Facil program on your workstation before performing the Client maintenance, but other workstations can continue using Facil.

Both Data File maintenance and Client maintenance should be run on a regular basis, even if no problems occur.  See the Tech Document "Maintaining Facil for Optimal Performance and Reliability". 

3) Clear False Data Locks

A data base system prevents conflicts by continuously tracking who is using the data and "locking" the data that is in use. When you save your changes or exit the program, Facil releases any "lock" that you may have had on the data. If a computer crashes or is turned off while Facil is running, Facil can not know that user has left the program and does not remove their locks. The next time anyone tries to read the same data, they may encounter messages indicating that the data is "in use", is "read only", "can't be accessed", etc.

The system maintains a separate file of information to track which user is using data at different times. This is called a "lock file". This file is not permanent; ordinarily when the first user opens Facil the lock file is created and, when the last user closes the program, it is deleted. As other users come and go, entries for each user are made and then deleted from the lock file. However, if one of the user computers crashes instead of exiting the program normally, then the file will never be deleted because their entry is still in the file.

The basic idea is simple - When no one is using the system, there should be no lock files and, therefore, any lock files that are found are invalid and should be deleted.  Locate and delete any invalid lock files as follows...

  • Warning: If you are not familiar with using Windows folders (directories) and with locating, identifying, and deleting files, you should seek assistance.  Make sure you have a current backup of your data before deleting any files.

  • Lock files are identified in Windows by the File Type "Microsoft Access Record-Locking Information"; they have the file extension ".ldb",  Lock files are always associated with the data base file they are "locking" and will have the same base name.  Because the lock file names are the same as the database files they lock, you must be extremely careful not to confuse the lock file with the database file! 

  • Determine the location and name of your Facil data file; this information is always shown on the Facil main menu in the last line of text at the bottom of the menu window.  In a single user installation, this is usually the folder C:\Program Files\Facil.  In a multi-user installation, the data file is located on your file server or other shared storage.  The data file is normally named FacílData.mdb or FacílData##.mdb where ## is the version number of the program, such as 45 or 50.

  • Determine the location of your Facil program folder.  This folder and the Facil files it contains are present on each workstation where Facil is installed.  The normal program folder is C:\Program Files\Facil.  The Facil program folder will contain the program file, named simply "Facil" with the file type "Microsoft Access MDE Database"; the file extension is ".mde".

  • Make sure no one is using the Facil system.

  • Check the following locations for lock files and delete them - you may find any one or all three of them. If you have a consistent problem on multiple Facil workstations, the problem is most likely an invalid lock file in the Facil data folder.  If the problem only occurs on one workstation, then the most likely problem is an invalid lock file in the Facil program directory.

Location Lock file to be deleted.
 
File type is shown as "Microsoft Access Record-Locking Information"  File extension is .ldb
Associated Facil file
Facil data folder FacílData.ldb Your data file, usually FacílData.mdb.  If your data file name is other than "FacílData", the lock file will have that name.  File type is shown as "Microsoft Access Application" or "Microsoft Access Database".
Facil program folder Facil.ldb Facil.mde - the Facil program file.  File type is shown as "Microsoft Access MDE Database".
Facil program folder System.ldb System.mdw - required for proper operation of system.  File type is shown as "Microsoft Access Workgroup Information".

 

 

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