Windows 10 Issues

By and large we have found Windows 10 Pro to be quite good.  The greater similarity with the traditional Windows 7 (and XP) interface certainly makes it much easier to use than Windows 8, and some of the improvements to various parts of the interface are great.

However, we have encountered two issues so far, that adversely affect your ability to run our software on Windows 10 computers.  Fortunately, these can both be overcome.  The two issues are:

  • A "Serious Multi-user issue" when new records are added simultaneously by two or more users (or recent records are edited).
  • A "Font Issue" which prevents our software from displaying a report in "Print Preview"

Serious Multi-User Issue

Microsoft have changed the default behaviour of Windows 10, and disabled the older file protocols (SMB 1.0 / CIFS) that were standard in all versions up to and including Windows 7, and on which Adminsoft (and many other mature software packages) rely.  This issue affects all sites that have one or more computers running Windows 10.  Our software works fine if accessed by a single user running Windows 10.  However, Windows 10 does not perform the record locking and other special functionality that our software is expecting in a multi-user environment.  This does not matter if multiple users are merely viewing adjacent data passively.  However, it can cause mischief if two or more users are editing records that are stored in the same physical part of the hard drive / SSD, and especially if they create new records simultaneously (e.g. saving timesheets, creating invoices from timesheets - or from orders in our Sales Admin module). This can result in unpredictable behaviour, trashed index files, and even lost data entry.

Fortunately, it is now relatively easy to turn the SMB 1.0 / CIFS protocol on, and we strongly recommend that you do this for all Windows 10 computers that run Adminsoft.  (In the early days of Windows 10 it was necessary for you to get your IT people to make some low-level changes to the Windows 10 configuration settings, to restore the conventional behaviour that our software is expecting.  But Microsoft have obviously responded to feedback, and added simple configuration settings that allows computer literate users to do this themselves.)  We can do this for you in remote sessions on each of your Windows 10 computers.  However, it would be appropriate to discuss this with your regular IT people, as they are specialist technicians, know how to access your server (and whether this also needs reconfiguration), and presumably have responsibility for the security and performance of your network.  Please ask them to contact us, so that we can communicate the relevant technical information, and discuss the nuances of your network from a technical perspective.  They may prefer to do this configuration themselves - and we are happy that they do so.  If you do not have a regular IT support partner, then please discuss this issue with us.

If you have high computer literacy, and want to turn on the "SMB 1.0 / CIFS" protocol yourself, you can do so through "Control Panel > Programs and Features > Turn Windows features on or off":

SMB 1.0/CIFS configuration

For normal computers / workstations you should only need to tick the 'Client' option.

For small sites that run our software in a 'peer-to-peer' environment (i.e. Adminsoft data and programs are stored on the local hard disk of an ordinary computer that is acting as a 'server' for other computers), then you need to also tick the 'Server' option on that main computer.

Some versions of Windows 10 have a third option 'SMB 1.0/CIFS Automatic Removal'.  If you have this option, it is probably better to leave it unticked.

 

We have also taken another approach, so that our software will still run robustly, should Microsoft 'muck around with' the SMB protocol in future updates of Windows 10.  We have now spent many hundreds of man-hours re-engineering our software deep in its engine-room, with a work-around we discovered in the early days of this issue (when it was quite difficult to reconfigure the SMB protocol in WIndows 10).  With our 2018 version, this new technology has been incorporated into the main data-entry and processing parts of our software that are accessed by multiple users.  We are continuing to progressively implement this new technology into other less used places in various modules.  This should also allow our software to work with different SQL back-ends, should Microsoft spring other unpleasant surprises like that on us all, in future.

So, with the 2018 version, you may notice a change in how the software displays lists of information - such as the List page for viewing / editing invoices.  You now only view a small sub-set, rather than the full invoice list, and the slider bar at the right only operates on this sub-set.  To access other invoices, type the desired invoice number (and press <Enter> if less than 6 digits), or press the <Up Arrow> or <Page Up> keys on the top line of the currently displayed invoice List.  Similarly, if you have typed in an earlier invoice number, and are viewing earlier invoices, the <Down Arrow> or <Page Down> keys will display further invoices at the bottom of the current list.  In both cases, you should encounter a brief pause while the software fetches the next sub-set of invoices and adds them to the currently displayed list. The drill-down facilities from the Address Book and Jobs modules are a good way to view invoices, timesheets, etc. for an individual Job or Client (and these follow you if you move on to look at a different Client / Job).

If you only have Windows 7 computers, the new 2018 version may still show full lists (like the old 2016 version did) in a number of places.  However, if you have even one Windows 10 computer that runs Adminsoft, all computers will need to use the new technology - and should do this automatically.

Please feel free to phone us, if you have any questions about this, or need a deeper understanding about using our software in a Windows 10 environment.

Font Issue

In the early days of Windows 10, it did some weird things with fonts.  It seems that Microsoft have since fixed these issues, because we have not had any users phone us with them for more than 12 months.  However, we have retained (below) the support documentation that we created, in case any users encounter issues with fonts.

Some sites (a relatively small minority) have encountered an issue where "Print Preview" stops working in our software, after Windows 10 has installed new updates and re-started.  The rest of our software works fine.  However, when you attempt to preview a report on the screen, it opens the Preview window frame, but doesn't display anything inside it.  (It seems to hang, but is still running, as you can close the preview window.).  Alternatively, the preview may run, but uses a different (proportional) font instead, which does not align the columns and displays Nordic 'A's instead of the normal horizontal lines.  Both sets of symptoms are caused by Windows 10 somehow messing up the visibility / availability of the special font ("FoxPrint") that our software previously installed.  (If you try to copy the 'missing' font file into the "C:\Windows\Fonts" folder, Windows complains that it is already there.)

Unfortunately, the Windows 10 behaviour is unpredictable.  Most of our sites have no problem at all, and with those that do, we have needed to use different methods to fix the issue.  You may find it easiest to simply call our help desk, and ask for a remote support session to fix the issue.  If you prefer to try to solve the issue yourself (or have your own IT people do so), the simplest thing to try first is:

  • Go into the "Control Panel" (if you can find it after the last Windows update)
  • Select "Fonts"
  • Select "Font Settings" (at the top of the menu in the left panel)
  • Clear the 'tick' in the setting "Hide fonts based on language settings"
  • 'Tick' the setting "Allow fonts to be installed using a shortcut (advanced)"
  • Reboot your computer !!! (This is necessary for these changes to come into effect - for some reason known only to Microsoft.)

Screen shot of Font Settings

Run our software, and preview a report to test that it is now working correctly.  (The Time & Cost "Work in Progress Summary" report is reasonably easy to find, or the "Timesheets > Reports > Staff Report" if you want something very simple without a filter wizard.  If you are running our Sales Admin module, the "Product Type / Group Report" is a quick and simple one that is good to test this issue.)

If that does not work, then try clicking on the button below the tick-box, called "Restore default font settings".

If that still does not work, then re-set the 'tick boxes' as per the above screen-shot, and try the following:

  • Use Windows explorer to view the "c:\Windows\Fonts" folder
  • Check what fonts exist with a name beginning with "Fox..."
  • If there is one called "FoxFont" (but not "FoxPrint"), delete this, and see if the "FoxPrint" one magically appears
  • If "FoxPrint" does appear, then double click on it (to check that it looks OK, and ensure that it is 'registered')
  • Run our software, and preview a report to test that it is now working correctly.

 

If that still does not work, it might be because the font was originally installed from a network drive.  Copy the "FoxPrint.ttf" file from the "\Adminsoft\Install\GESys" folder into a "\Temp" folder on drive C.  (You can call that folder "c:\Adminsoft" if you want to retain it for a future contingency.)  Copy that file (from the folder on Drive C) to your Windows Clipboard.  Select the "c:\Windows\Fonts" folder, and paste the full "FoxPrint.ttf" file (not a shortcut) into this folder.  (You may need to tell it to overwrite the file that 'already exists' - but Windows 10 is hiding from sight.)  Double-click on that new file (you may find that it has jumped up among the other fonts beginning with 'F') to open and register it.  Run your test report.

If even that still does not work, then try uninstalling and re-installing the Adminsoft Workstation Install on the computer concerned.  Note: This will merely uninstall and re-install the fonts and Microsoft VFP run-time engine, not the Adminsoft program, data, and configuration files.

  • Ensure that you have downloaded the file AdminsoftWorkstationSetup2015.exe (or later) - You will need this for the re-install
  • Right-Click on the Windows10 start button at the bottom-left of your Windows task bar
  • In the pop-up menu, select "Apps Features" (at the top)
  • Click on the item "Adminsoft WorkStation Install", and when this expands, click on "Uninstall" (You may need to give permission for this to run.)  When it has finished, this item should have been removed from the "Apps & Features" list.  (It can be a good idea to reboot Windows at this point.)
  • Locate the file AdminsoftWorkstationSetup2015.exe (or later), right-click on it, and select "Run as administrator" (Give this permission if Windows asks.)  Let this extract itself into its default directory on your Drive C !!!
  • After the re-install has finished, open Windows Explorer, and navigate to the "C:\Windows\Fonts" folder. Check that the "FoxPrint Regular" font is now visible.
  • Run our software, and preview a report to test that it is now working correctly.