Updates for Existing Adminsoft Users

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Automated Updates

The software is updated automatically from a special area of our website (that is accessed directly by the software).  This can even be done while other people are using the software - although they will understandably need to exit out of the software, and go back into it, in order to run the newly updated version. 

Permissions for running software updates are controlled through the normal software security settings (see the "Tools > Administrator > Security > Rights & Users" menu option). The software will quickly check for updates once per day - on the first time that a user with "Software Updates (Help Menu)" privileges signs into the software.  This user may notice a slight delay of 1-2 seconds, and will either receive a message saying that the software is up-to-date, or one advising that a new version has been downloaded and asking for approval to install it.  For users who do not have this security privilege (and on subsequent sign-ons that day by those that do), the software will not check for updates, and no associated messages will be displayed.

You can set up a Windows Scheduler task to check for (and install) updates (each morning before people arrive at work, say).   Users with "Software Updates (Help Menu)" privileges can check for and install updates at any stage during the day, through the "Tools > Administrator > Software Updates" menu.  (You can also view the recent update history, and the status of various modules from that menu.)

Ordinarily we will publish new versions once per month.  (Over 2017 & 2018 we left most users running our 2016 version, while we were doing massive high-impact development, to work around a change in the way Windows 10 writes data to network drives.)  We try to publish updates roughly in the middle of each month, which tends to be quieter for most users in terms of their billing activity.  It also lets our test sites (and we ourselves) run final testing on the new version (using our own live data for real), before rolling it out to all other users.  However, because the process is quite quick, we have implemented daily checks for updates, in case we ever need to urgently roll out a new version of a particular module to all sites that run it.  Updates are modular and have been compressed (using 7-Zip), to minimize Internet band-width.  The software will download and install only those program files (modules) that have been updated (and which you are licensed to use).

Important Note:  You will need to have installed 7-Zip on all workstations that are used by users who will check for software updates!!!    The 7-Zip install files should be downloaded (into the "\Adminsoft\Install\Tools\7-Zip" folder) and installed as part of our software updates.  If 7-Zip does not get installed automatically on a particular computer, you can do so manually, by running the appropriate install file from that folder.  (If necessary, you can also download the appropriate install file for 7-Zip from https://www.7-zip.org/download.html )

Version History Notes

Our Help Library contains information on the new enhancements introduced in various versions.

Click here to view Version History

Technical Info on the mechanism for hot/web updates

The software automatically checks for updates once per day.  This is done by the first user with "Administrator" (or "Software updates") security privileges who launches the software that day.  Anyone with these privileges can also "Check for Software Updates" from the "Help" Menu (or "Tools > Administrator > Software Updates" menu) at any time during the day.  The automatic and manual checks for updates can be done while other users are still logged into the software, (although they will understandably need to exit out of the software and launch it again in order to run any new updates that have just been installed).

The daily automatic check runs as part of the launch sequence for the software itself, and the user who does this will see some additional messages on the screen after he/she has finished signing in.  This can typically take an additional 2 to 5 seconds if there are no new updates, and up to a minute or so if a number of updates (i.e. to several modules) need to be downloaded and installed.  It is possible to force the update process to be run as a separate Windows task / process, which allows the main software to carry on immediately without waiting for it to complete.  This is done by creating a "flag file" with a name of "WebUpdateSeparateThread.txt" in the normal "Start-In" folder for our software - or an individual's "User Directory" if you only want this for one or two directors or senior staff who also have "Administrator" privileges.  (If updates are run as a separate thread, you will not receive any notification (in the main software) that any new updates have been installed.  However (the main objective), you will be able to start using the software immediately without waiting for the update process to complete - and will continue running the old version of the software until you close out, and come back in again.   Such is life - full of compromises.)

With the 2013 version, we replaced the old GECL.exe with a new Adminsoft.exe and MainMenu.app.  (We provided a new (and very small) GECL.exe that merely calls Adminsoft.exe, so that old shortcuts will still work.)  The master program files for the utilities library and all modules (*.APP) are all now located in an "\Adminsoft\_Apps" folder.  The automatic update program will make a backup copy of old program files (in an "Old" sub-folder), before it overwrites them with a newer version.

The new Adminsoft.exe program maintains a local working copy of the master program files (*.APP) in an "Adminsoft" sub-folder hanging off the user's Windows "AppData\Local" folder, and uses these when running the software.  This allows the master program files to be updated while users are running their local copy of the software ("hot updates").  When users close out of the software, and go back into it, Adminsoft.exe will update the local working copy with any new master *.app files that have just been updated / installed.  This scheme has additional advantages in that it should reduce network traffic, and allow the software to run slightly faster (if local hard disk speed is faster than access to the server over your LAN).

You can set up a Windows Scheduler task to check for updates at 6.00am, say.  This should "start in" the "\Adminsoft" folder on your server, and run the "AdminsoftWebUpdate.exe" program in that folder.  (If you have two or more separate datasets that run different modules, then the "Start In" folder should be that of the main data set - which runs the most modules.  If necessary, you can set up another scheduled task (with a different "Start In" folder), to run updates for any other datasets that use other modules not run in the main dataset.)