Tech Docs: Maintenance

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Maintaining Facil for Optimal Performance and Reliability

A database system like Facil puts much greater stress on the reliability of your computer and network then does most other computer software.  The potential for damage or error in a database file is much higher.  For example, a word processing document or spreadsheet file is held in memory while being edited and only written to once each time you save it; most such files are only read from and written to disk a few times in their entire life cycle.  In contrast, the data file for a transactional database, like Facil, is written to every time new data is entered and saved; it may be written to many hundreds of times a day, day after day, for a lifetime of years.  The fact that such a system can routinely run for months, or even years, without problems, is a tribute to the quality of PC software and hardware.

There are several things that you should do to insure the best performance and reliability from your Facil system.  You should establish a regular schedule for each of these steps and insure that someone is responsible for performing them. 

  • Data File Maintenance: This function is built into Facil, on the Admin menu.  Details and instructions for use are found in the Help topic "Facil File Maintenance".  Data File Maintenance cleans and optimizes the data file, removing empty space and rewriting all the data, restoring the file to "brand new" condition.  Recommended interval: Single user - weekly, 2-5 users - twice a week; 6 or more users - three times a week.

  • Client File Maintenance: 
    Note: This is no longer required for Facil versions 5.0 and later.  The Client File Maintenance is now performed automatically every time the program is closed. If you are using Facil 4.5 or earlier, the following applies:

     The Facil program or "client file" is installed on every Facil workstation.  This is the file that contains all the forms, reports, and program code that makes the system work.  This file is itself a database, and also contains temporary files used for queries and reports.  The time required to load the program and to perform various functions may increase as the client file grows larger and more disordered with temporary data storage.

    For technical reasons, the client file maintenance is not built in to Facil.  It is actually a small separate program which is installed on every workstation as part of the initial system installation.  To maintain the client file on each workstation, close Facil and go to the Windows Start button menu. Under Programs, select the Facil program group. You will find shortcuts to start the Facil program and to "Maintain Facil Client Database". Select the Facil Client maintenance. A Facil window will open and display the message "Successfully repaired the 'C:\Program Files\Facil\Facil.mde' database".

    Recommended interval:  Workstation use of less then 2 hours per day - monthly, 2 - 4 hours per day - bi weekly, 4 - 8 hours per day - weekly.

  • Work Station Maintenance: All software on your PC will benefit from regular maintenance of your system.  Run disk repair (ScanDisk) and defragmentation (Disk Defragmenter) utilities regularly.  Recommended interval: monthly.

Preventing and Repairing Data Corruption

If the Facil data file is corrupted, the program may report that it can't find or validate the data file; it may give "unexpected error" messages when you attempt to use the data; or it may display obviously incorrect data, i.e. garbage characters.

The most common cause of data corruption is network errors due to bad wiring or failing network components, such as network interface cards or network hubs. Another possible cause is a computer that crashes or is powered off while running Facil.  To protect against corrupted data, be sure your network is functioning reliably and always maintain a current backup of Facil data.

The Facil Data File Maintenance function will repair most cases of data corruption and, when used regularly, also helps to protect against future corruption problems.  If the Data File Maintenance fails to resolve the problem, contact Tech Support at Becker Software, email to facil@beckersoftware.com or call (520) 991-0909.

 

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