Addsum web site and general info

Postings here will focus mainly on Advanced Accounting software updates, tips, and related topics. They will also include general comments relating to troubleshooting PC/Windows/network problems and may also include reference to our other software products and projects including any of our various utilities, or to the TAS Premier programming language. We considered setting up separate blogs for different topics so that users/others could subscribe to topics mostly aligned with their interests, but decided that it would be better to keep things simple since some topics cross over into others. We would nonetheless welcome your feedback/input in this regard. Our web site URL is www.addsuminc.com. Call us at 800-648-6258 or 801-277-9240. We also maintain www.advancedaccounting.us so that older Business Tools users in particular have a greater chance to find us.

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Friday, March 27, 2020

COVID-19 paid sick leave and payroll tax credits: preliminary information


The Department of Labor, Treasury and IRS have released preliminary bulletins concerning the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) passed on March 18, 2020, an expansion of the Family Medical Leave Act:

Department of Labor:

Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Questions and Answers

Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Employer Paid Leave Requirements

Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Employee Paid Leave Rights

 

IRS:

Treasury, IRS and Labor announce plan to implement Coronavirus-related paid leave for workers and tax credits for small and midsize businesses to swiftly recover the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave (March 20, 2020, IR-2020-57)


This guidance is limited to sick leave paid specifically to employees who meet one of six specific criteria as outlined in the foregoing links.  

The IRS indicates that further guidance will be forthcoming "next week."  There are questions surrounding the tax handling, withholding, and payroll tax "credits" that employers will be able to take.   Employers have to provide sick pay for eligible employees but do not have to take the tax credits (which if they do, appear to have to then need to be added to company business income for 2020) and there can be complications/conflicts with any existing sick leave plans and policies.

Amounts paid (subject to the per day maximums based on which of the criteria applies) represent taxable income to the employee and normal social security/medicare taxes and federal and state (if applicable) income tax withholdings apply, and are subject to normal reporting requirements; but, the employer can apparently then take gross wages, and the FICA/medicare match or some portion thereof along with applicable health insurance premiums paid relative to the sick or care-providing employee as a credit against the next payroll tax deposit that is due.  Our interpretation of how this will work, so far, is that all of the amounts paid to the employee should be treated as ordinary income and therefore all of the normal deductions would apply (there are references out there to these amounts are not being subject to FICA; that does not appear to be the case).   Normal FICA/medicare, federal and state withholding tax, and other elective deductions apply to the gross wage amounts paid (which in Advanced Accounting should be classified as "Sick pay" with possible sick pay accrual adjustments if you already have a sick leave policy).   Amounts withheld for state/local income taxes should again be processed and paid in the normal way.  Payroll tax amounts would be transferred to accounts payable as usual (PR-M in Advanced Accounting) and initially calculated in the same way.  Calculated credits for amounts related to COVID-19 sick leave benefits would then be entered as a credit memo/voucher in Advanced Accounting's AP-B which then can be taken prior to making the EFTPS tax payment. The gross wages paid along with calculated health insurance premiums and FICA/medicare matches may need to be preferably credited to a "sick leave tax credits" income account or some other miscellaneous income account when making the AP-B credit memo, rather than directly reducing any of the original expense accounts.

It is unclear what, if any, payroll withholding logic changes will need to be made depending on reporting requirements that may evolve (will these amounts for example be required to be reported separately from regular wages on W-2 forms?) nor how employers should track applicable sick leave exactly in time and attendance and payroll systems.

The law goes into effect as of April 1, 2020 and continues through the end of the year.

We stand ready to make whatever changes may be required to the Advanced Accounting 8 payroll system once further sufficient details are available (the examples currently provided are insufficient to actually institute any changes at this time) when the first payrolls in early to mid-April come into play.   Employers should plan on keeping logs and utilize additional tracking methods as well as to gather the information required as outlined in the preliminary notices. Payroll processing will not be getting any easier.



























Monday, March 23, 2020

Adv 8 r3 will support IRS form 1099-NEC

Advanced Accounting 8 (release 1, i.e. r1) was released in late September of 2019.  In addition to all of the usual initial updates as well as ongoing development that continues following a major release, rather drastic changes to U.S. federal income tax withholding became final in January of 2020 which Adv 8 r2 addressed along with other changes made since r1.

We have now begun work on r3 which we expect to be available next month (or at least by then a a preliminary r3 release which has been fully tested) which will include many new updates including initial support for the "new" 1099-NEC form that users will be required to use when it comes time to file 1099 forms for 2020.

Form 1099-NEC was first used in the early 1980's and is now being resurrected.  The  Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act (2015) required that nonemployee compensation form reporting had to be completed by January 31 (in an effort to combat identity theft and refund fraud).  That isn't a deadline just to provide copies to recipients but also to actually file with the IRS.  And this has been the requirement with respect to form 1099-MISC  box 7 (nonemployee compensation) reporting since calendar year 2016.   For other types of miscellaneous income, the deadline is March 31 if filing electronically, otherwise by February 28.

These differing deadlines for the same form created problems for the IRS in processing 1099-MISC forms in determining whether or not they were timely filed, so much so that we are now going back to the 1099-NEC form for reporting nonemployee compensation starting with 2020.

The old box 7 for nonemployee compensation is gone.

The 2020 1099-NEC.  Nonemployee compensation is placed in box 1.


Within Advanced Accounting, nonemployee compensation will still be considered treated as "type" 6 for purposes of classifying vendors for 1099 purposes (including payments for legal services) that will now print in box 1 of the new form.   Updates to the "1099 Types" lookup in AP-A Enter/Change Vendor information as well as AP-Q Print 1099 Forms have been made to reflect the appropriate box number and form for each type. 

Transmittal form 1096 has also been revised to include a check box for 1099-NEC forms.   Each "type" continues to require a separate 1096 transmittal form, i.e. you submit 1099-NEC forms separately from 1099-MISC forms, each with their own transmittal form.



The 2020 form 1096 transmittal.  Note the 1099-NEC box to the right of 1099-MISC.



The IRS approved forms that are currently available for review can't be used to effectively test actual alignment and position relating to those items which have changed, so when those become available from forms suppliers, we will then re-test the preliminary format changes that we have now made; but we have implemented what should be all of the other related logic changes especially in the AP-Q option which allows the user to choose which of the two forms should be processed among other things.

In addition, Adv 8 r3 will include an option that will allow an end user to make changes to certain report/form layouts including the new 1096 transmittal and the supported 1099-MISC and now 1099-NEC forms in the event of issues with printer margins, alignment, etc.


An e-file option may also be added later depending on end user interest.














Saturday, February 1, 2020

2020 federal payroll changes create confusion

Despite significant federal income tax law changes that went into effect in January of 2018 when personal exemptions ("allowances") were eliminated, federal income tax withholding logic along with their associated W-4 options were not changed (only tax tables were changed).  Until now.  And the changes are potentially dramatic for employees and software developers alike.

Federal changes

Many of the changes that occurred as of the 1st of the year were the normal expected types of changes.  There were no W-2/W-3 form or submission changes once again.  The social security wage maximum was once again bumped up (this time to $137,700).  Social security, medicare and FUTA rates remain the same.   We again achieved testing acceptance for the e-filing of federal and state W-2 forms with our filing partner, and were able to successfully assist a number of Advanced Accounting 7i and 8 users with those e-filings in January.  The day is coming when all federal and state W-2 forms will have mandatory e-filing requirements for all employees regardless of company size (and as is already the case in Connecticut, North Carolina, Oregon, Utah and Virginia). 

While only nominal federal tax table changes (the federal standard exemption increased from $4200 to $4300 with only minor tax table changes), the trigger for using those rates has now changed and a dual rate table system has been introduced which depend on values entered by employees on the new 2020 W-4 form.

The early release notice form 1036 has been discontinued and there is now a new publication 15-T entitled "Federal Income Tax Withholding Methods."

Changes to the new W-4 form have been referred to by the IRS as a step towards simplification, yet if anything it is now more complicated and has engendered a considerable amount of confusion.   Employees should talk to their accountant or tax preparer in determining how to fill out the form.  The line for "total number of allowances" is gone (yet many states still base their calculations on the number of claimed state allowances).  Current employees are not required to submit a new W-4 form, and it may in many cases be wise to do nothing at this point until 2019 individual tax returns are filed, and the advice of the employee's tax preparer then obtained in forecasting 2020 values.   New employees, who are required to use the new form,  may want to do nothing more than complete Step 1 of the W-4 form (name, address, SSN, and tax status), and sign/date the form (Step 5).  

Steps 2, 3 and 4 of the form are all new (except for the extra withholding option under 4(c)).  The question at 2(c) as to whether the employee has two jobs (which meaning changes depending on the tax status claimed) is the trigger now for a completely different set of rates and can significantly increase withholding.  Employees should consult with their tax adviser (and not their employer) as to whether to check that box.  The amounts to be entered under 3, 4(a) and 4(b) should also again be obtained in consultation with the employee's tax adviser.  Note that those are annual amounts (unlike the extra withholding amount box 4(c) which is per pay period).   The order of the annualized amounts starting with Step 3 is somewhat backwards because that amount doesn't come into play in the tax formula until after the other amounts are taken into consideration and an annualized tax withholding amount first computed.  All of amounts should be entered as positive numbers even though the amount entered in 4(b) will be subtracted from annualized income including any amount entered in 4(a).   

So, overall, nothing about these changes is simpler than before.

In order to handle what is now required as the result of these changes, we've had to add five new database fields to the Advanced Accounting payroll master file, plus we've added two more to handle claims of federal and state exemption which at least at the federal level used to be handled by indicating that the employees had 99 allowances (but with the trend towards eliminating allowances by same states as well as at the federal level going forward,  new exempt flags were required).

This then also led to some screen redesign issues in Advanced Accounting's payroll maintenance option (PR-A) and we decided to put both federal and state withholding values on a new W-4 tab in version 8 of Advanced Accounting.

Adv 8 redesigned screen with new W-4 tab and with "Use new W-4 form?" unchecked, the default for existing employees.


Adv 8 redesigned screen with the "Use new W-4 form?" option checked (the default for new employees)


Users of the Adv 8 version will now be able to indicate whether the employee is still on a pre-2020 W-4 or on the new form.  Existing employees will be assumed to be on the old form until a specific change is made to the "Use new W-4 form?" option.  "New" in this context refers, for now, to the 2020 form.

If only federal tax tables and various state changes were needed for 2020, we would have likely made an update to the Adv 7i version as well; however, the nature of the new federal changes led us to conclude that only the Adv 8 (latest version released last September) could realistically support these changes, not only because of the new fields required but also because the PR-A screen formats in Adv 8 are dramatically different than in Adv 7i, and the two versions already had additional field differences. So, Adv 7i users that need payroll support for the new W-4 form and related federal logic, will need to upgrade to Adv 8. 

To accommodate the two new standard exemptions amounts and dual tax structure for single, married and now head of household as well as continue support for the pre-2020 method, the federal tax tables now include (in PR-K):

Standard exemption:  US0 (pre-existing/updated), US1 (single/new form) and US2 (married/new form).  

Tax tables:  USS (pre-existing/updated) and UST, USM (pre-existing/updated) and USN, and USH and USI.

The USS, USM and USH tables are used when box 2(c) is not checked and in connection with the the new and the old standard exemption amounts.    New tables UST, USN, and USI are the parallel tables to single, married and head of household respectively when box 2(c) is checked, and are being used now for the first time in long history of Advanced Accounting along with the new US1 and US2 standard exemption codes.   This will make end user maintenance of the tax tables (which Advanced Accounting has always provided) more complicated, but new table codes had to be created to meet the new requirements.   These are tables we will of course be updating and can provide with annual payroll updates obviating the need for end user maintenance.

Tables with all of these rates are provided in our 2020 payroll update for Advanced Accounting version 8.

Use of the 2019 rates for employees having their withholding based on pre-2020 forms has been perfectly acceptable and since the 2020 adjusted rates for those employees were nominal and because employers are given a reasonable period of time to adjust to new withholding changes.   Users should however start to update their systems with the newer approach now that year end and 4th quarter 2019 wage reporting deadlines have largely passed.

FAQ's related to the new W-4 form can be found at https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/faqs-on-the-2020-form-w-4.

State changes

Because many states have formulas that are tied to the federal changes (and because state budget changes are also common as of the first of a new year), at least 20 states have made changes to their payroll withholding formulas as of January 2020, and more could follow.  At this time, we've made changes (in the Adv 8 version) for the following states:

Arkansas* (changes effective March 2020)
California+ 
Illinois*
Iowa+
Indiana+~
Kentucky*
Maine*
Maryland+
Massachusetts*
Michigan*
Minnesota*
Missouri*
New Jersey+
New Mexico*
North Carolina*
Ohio+
Oregon*
South Carolina*
Vermont*
Rhode Island*


+tables only (California=extensive)
+~about 10 counties in Indiana have new COIT rates - have to be updated in PR-A manually
*program change required, and for most also table changes

Most states (with a state income tax) have separate W-4 forms, sometimes called certificates, unique to that state; a few  states use the federal form (which creates further confusion in the event the employee wants to withhold different extra amounts for their state versus federal withholding, and so in states without a separate form, employees will have to write in their preferences on the federal W-4 form and/or communicate those changes in accordance with their employer's policies and as may be dictated by state laws or regulations).  

North Dakota is following an approach similar to the IRS in terms of driving their tables based on whether a new W-4 form has been submitted or not.  That is however not the approach that most states have taken.

We also regularly update supplemental wage rates that each state may require and have made several changes to those.

Updates to our list of state tax links has also been made, something that we normally do every year.

Advanced Accounting 8 updates (included with r2) are currently available to comply with these changes.

Contact us for further information.











Friday, November 1, 2019

TAS Premier 7i release 15 published

Yesterday (10/31/19) we published release 15 in the TAS Premier 7i series.



In late May of this year, we outlined some of the new features of this release.

The TAS Premier 7i updates page provides additional details and a download link for this update (which assumes a prior installation through rel. 14).   

For new installs, the TAS Premier 7i download page contains the latest download link.

This release is also what developers should preferably use who are making custom modifications for the recently release Advanced Accounting 8  (Adv 8) and is one of the driving reasons for us to release this now rather than later, although, other recent TAS Premier releases are also compatible for developing Adv 8 programs.  Another reason relates to ongoing enhancements for CodeBase development and because the TAS Premier data dictionary itself uses CodeBase format files.   Advanced Accounting also uses CodeBase format files for all its memo fields (notes) and for other supplemental files.   We are increasingly using it in custom programming projects including several non-accounting software systems that solely use it.  It has more than proven to be a durable option.

An updated TAS Premier 7i PDF is is also on our store page.   The PDF help/reference file is now 780 pages long and is not included in the new install nor or update packages.   However they do include an eBook format help file as well as a standard Windows CHM help file.


















Friday, September 20, 2019

Advanced Accounting 8 release

We are pleased to announce the release of Advanced Accounting 8.



As indicated in today's release announcement, this upgrade has literally been in progress for years while the prior version also continued to be developed with unofficial releases and updates for existing users.  It is without question the most extensive single release that we have ever published in the Advanced Accounting series.

An update for existing Advanced Accounting (Adv) 7i users (which requires that all of the Adv 7i releases are first installed) is available and has already been installed at several sites.  There were some seven official (plus one unofficial) releases in the Adv 7i series.  Our preference is to install all needed updates as well as the 7i to 8 update remotely which is a service we provide without any additional cost.   An update path for older users also remains available.

The release announcement also includes some eight pages of "what's new" information. And there are many important new features any one of which could be reason enough to update.  Adv 8 is also now running on the latest internal updates to the underlying runtime engine which we also publish.


Adv 8 main screen - the shortcut icons in he lower 1/3rd can be turned off

Adv 8 runs on every current Windows operating system that has been released so far by Microsoft.

E-mail related enhancements alone will likely be of key interest to many users.  To accommodate increasingly long e-mail addresses, they have been expanded in this release from 40 to 65 characters.  More importantly, they are now fully searchable on a case insensitive basis including in customer/vendor lookups.  



Customer e-mail address lookup/search


But there is more. The ability to e-mail a pack slip or customer aging list (which is different from a statement) are both new features.    A new E-options button in the customer entry screen allows you specify how e-mails should be directed to a given customer.  You can of course still simply use the customer's primary/default e-mail address but you can now also specify whether a different e-mail address should be used for sending SO invoices, sales orders, pack slips, statements/aging and quotes.    For SO invoices (or POS tickets) you can also specify a default CC: address.  



Customer E-options screen

 And you can also specify whether e-mail should be the default output option (applicable to those options have an e-mail check box)  for any given customer.


Customer screen - new options (AR-A)


Unlimited contacts/e-mail addresses per customer and vendor remains fully available.

But there is yet more just with respect to e-mail.   The way that e-mail is processed in certain options (such as printing an invoice) has been enhanced and in a number of other options in terms of how/when it is sent. The underlying setup programs have been significantly enhanced as well as the technology used to actually send e-mails.  The setup has been enhanced to include the ability to test e-mail settings without having to log in using that person's credentials.   Employees now have a field for e-mail (which can be used when filing federal or state W-2's).  Contact e-mails when accessed from customer and vendor maintenance can now be copied even when in read only mode, and there is now a e-mail option to trigger and send e-mail after posting a POS (point-of-sale) ticket which then works in the same way as elsewhere.


New POS configuration options


And, a new e-mail export option is also available.

Finally there is a new and very powerful capability to batch e-mail customer statements.  Previously statements could only be e-mailed to a customer one at a time.  Now you can globally send statements and still also print statements for customers with no e-mail address that still want their statement to be printed and mailed.


AR statements new batch statements option (under AR-E)


The above e-mail enhancements only scratch the surface of what is included in Advanced Accounting 8.

For our long-time users that have run into some of the old sales order/invoice number, employee/salesperson, and checking account limitations, those are now gone.   For those users this will be a must have update.  For other users, know that you will never hit the prior 999,999 SO/invoice number limit.  For users that like to separate SO/Invoice number ranges by location or POS register, the new expanded limit of 999,999,999 offers unlimited new possibilities.  We have had users hit the 999 employee limit and that upper limit is now 99999.   Checking accounts have similarly been expanded from 99 to 999.  And all of the foregoing without any change to the existing data of current users.

The list of new features goes on.  Every time that a general ledger (GL) transaction is posted anywhere in the system, an audit record is now saved into a new data file which includes  the actual date and time of the transaction (tied to the assigned transaction number) with the posting date, the program ID that the transaction was saved in, the Adv logon code, the Windows computer name, user name and IP address, and even whether the transaction was made remotely using remote services (RDP); and there is now a powerful new report that can be used to analyze those audit records.  The audit report can also include the full GL transaction details within the report if desired.  This will be another must have feature for many users.


New GL-E-E transaction audit report


Adv 8 also incorporates the enhancements to the Change in Financial Position (Cash Flow) statement was discussed in a blog earlier this year.

There are powerful new sales tax reporting options and new sales reports.  The general ledger module workhorse options that print the detailed trial balance and journals have been modernized.  You can now import general journal entries.  There are new job costing options and capabilities.   Inventory items now have a floor price option.   Inventory transfers are again available for on-the-fly transfers during sales order entry, and you can even transfer one item to a completely different item (product code).  Sales orders now show the initial portion of any attached notes without having to click on the attached notes button, and include the optional auto complete option (see our prior blog on that topic).   Purchase order receiving has a completely new option that may also be invaluable for users and represent the sole reason for wanting to update.   Purchase order receiving reports can also be generated after receiving purchase orders from either the new (PO-D-A) or prior existing (now PO-D-B) option, a critical feature for some users.  Tthey can also be generated for inventoriable items after the fact.


The new PO-D-A option that has been in waiting since 2015

And then there are the new payroll (PR) options.  To accommodate some of the new options including provision for those needing PTO (paid or personal time off) tracking, we completely redesigned the employee payroll screen and added a number of new fields.    We have many users who use Advanced Accounting solely for its payroll module and so we continue to give the PR module the attention it deserves, and also for our many other users who also use the PR module as part of their overall accounting system, providing a complete solution.


The new PR-A enter employee information screen with many new fields and features

There is more.  See the release announcement for more information and contact us if you have any questions.

We are very excited about this new release, and all of the new features that we have planned for future updates!




Saturday, August 31, 2019

Running 16-bit Adv/TAS programs under newer 32-bit operating systems


By now, users of older versions of Advanced Accounting and TAS (5.1 and prior) are aware that they cannot run these legacy programs under 64-bit versions of various Windows operating systems absent setting up a virtual PC or running in an environment like vDOS.  The better solution for users needing to replace older PC's that need to continue to run 16-bit programs on a daily basis and in multi-user environments is to simply use a 32-bit version of the newer operating system.

Even Windows 10 is available as 32-bit (sometimes referred to as "Win32") but it does present new obstacles and setup considerations that weren't an issue with, for example, Windows 7.   Win32 versions have not been the default operating system included on newer PC's for quite some time, so if running a 16-bit application is a requirement, be very careful when planning the replacement of an older PC.

Some of our users have for reasons of performance and other issues elected to use newer versions of Btrieve (referred to under a variety of names including Pervasive, PSQL, Actian, and Actian Zen) with their 16-bit software which has been possible due to backward compatiblity these engines have offered.  Ironically however that newer record manager engine component has created issues when moving to different operating systems.

The 16-bit version of Btrieve that came standard with legacy Advanced Accounting and TAS as well as the DOS4G introduced in the version 5 series work without issues in 32-bit versions of the Windows 7, 8,  and 10 operating systems.  And the 16-bit Btrieve 5.x (which only coincidentally has a similar version and file format number as the Advanced Acccounting and TAS products) scales up fairly well for multi-user access and at no additional cost.  It isn't however client-server capable and can have limitations (although we've had users with upwards of 20 concurrent users utilize it, both back in the older 16-bit OS days but also currently using Windows 10).

Users however that were using the modern engines and then moved to Windows 7 and especially to Windows 8 and now 10 have encountered some new challenges.  They can however still be made to work (and even with Pervasive v9).

After moving to a newer operating system and installing Pervasive and making other setup changes, users have found that they may still be greeted with an error response such as:




Recently we've seen this happen with both Windows 7 and Windows 10 involving 16-bit accounting software users using Pervasive/PSQL engines.

The problem seems to be caused by Windows not fully recognizing established path environments when running 16-bit applications and DLL's are called.  This problem has become worse in Windows 8 and 10.

The solution for Windows 7 is to COPY the btrdrvr.sys and btrvdd.dll files from your Pervasive BIN folder to c:\windows\system32 folder on each PC.

In Windows 8 and 10, all of the DLL's in the Pervasive BIN folder need to be copied to c:\windows\system32.   In essence these newer operating systems can't find the DLL's they need to call even though they are sitting in an established path.

The Pervasive BIN folder in versions 9 was typically found at:

c:\pvsw\bin

In newer Pervasive versions, they can be found instead at:

C:\Program Files\Pervasive Software\PSQL\bin

or somewhere similar.

Additional Windows 10 specific issues:

(1) Legacy options must be enabled and NTVDM made active. For an example see:

https://www.groovypost.com/howto/enable-16-bit-application-support-windows-10/


(2)  Enable CMD's legacy console (this is different than enabling NTVDM).  See for example:

https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/94146-enable-disable-legacy-console-mode-all-consoles-windows-10-a.html

Checklist for other issues involving 16-bit Adv/TAS programs running under 32-bit operating systems:

In addition to dealing with the Pervasive DLL issues, here are some additional items that need to be checked (some of which also apply to using the 16-bit version of Btrieve):

(1) The pvsw\bin or "PSQL"\bin folder must be in  the user's path (it probably already is).

(2)  The users PATH= can't be longer than 255 characters which is 16-bit program limitation - if it is (and on any given modern Windows PC it often is), it will prevent the application from running (on even XP Pro as well as Win 7 and above.).  So you may have to create an "ADV.BAT" unique for the user that explicitly setting the path, e.g.

PATH=c:\windows\system32; c:\pvsw\bin; 

along with any others that are needed/desired. You could then restore the path at the end of the batch file if necessary (probably not) and even create separate batch files per user if different users require different paths.   We discussed this issue in greater detail here:

https://addsuminc.blogspot.com/2016/04/dos4g-error-2001-exception-0dh.html

This issue applies to all versions regardless of whether Pervasive is being used.

(3) Run NOTEPAD as administrator and retrieve: 

c:\windows\system32\Config.nt 

Change the default FILES=40 to:

FILES=150

and save.  This too applies to all situations involving 16-bit Adv/TAS applications including running under XP-Pro.

(4) If you are using Pervasive, also in c:\windows\system32\config.nt make sure that the line:

DEVICE=c:\pvsw\bin\btrdrvr.sys 

(or whatever the appropriate path is to the installed Pervasive engine - the above is a version 9 example)

has not been REMmed out or removed.  That's the line that gives Pervasive engine "DOS Box" support for older applications. Without that, programs using Pervasive won't run.

NOTE:  we've had a least one report that a Windows 10 update completely removed this DEVICE= line in CONFIG.NT thereby disabling the application from being able to run.  Users are advised to make CONFIG.BAK back-up copies or equivalent that can be easily restored.

(5)  To make NET USE statements for LPT ports, you'll need to run CMD as administrator in order to make them (and if the ADV.BAT is making any NET USE statements, then the icon's property would have to be set to "run as administrator").  The user must have some kind of LPT1 connection.  You can NET USE LPT1 to a USB connected printer as long as that printer can receive/output characters directly without a Windows printer dialog box (such as some monochrome laser printers, dot matrix printers, etc.)  To do that on a local PC, you would have to create a share to that printer on the local PC.  Or just NET USE to some other printer on the network as LPT1 even if the user won't be printing to it.  Note that the legacy versions require an LPT1 port of some kind in order to print.  Newer versions of course simply use whatever is installed in Windows and don't require any special printer setup.

If a printing delay issues occur, you may have to set:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\WOW\LPT_timeout

to a value of 1 or 2.  For more information:

https://www.addsuminc.com/ad012098.htm

The foregoing applies to all 16-bit environments (but only those environments).

NOTE:  a big advantage in the using the modern Pervasive engines is that you do not have to run the program as administrator (which is also required when running the 32-bit legacy Btrieve 6.15 version with even the newer version of Advanced Accounting).

(6)  Because this is a legacy version, it needs to be drive mapped preferably the same way as on other PC's.  (Since UNC paths are not supported by 16-bit applications.)  This issue is unrelated to whether Pervasive is being used or not.

(7)  If you are using the Pervasive workgroup engine (WGE), it has to be configured to run as a service.  Newer versions of Pervasive normally automatically install this way.  Version 9 did not but a special utility can be run to make that WGE version run as a service. This issue does not apply to client-server installations. however, normally for client-server installations to work properly on newer versions of Windows, you need to be running at least on Pervasive v11 (true for all versions of Advanced Accounting or TAS whether 16-bit or 32-bit).

(8)  If you are using Pervasive (or newer named versions), neither the TSR BTRIEVE.EXE nor any Btrieve 6.15 32-bit legacy components (which shouldn't be the case because the 16-bit versions were not compatible with that particular engine) should be present in the application folder where tpc50.exe or the equivalent is launched.



More references:

Win 8.1:

https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/scriptcenter/en-US/3202934d-cd47-447e-b927-e605c80d48ea/running-dos-applications-requiring-device-drivers-in-confignt-that-load-dlls-from-the-search-path?forum=w8itproappcompat


vDOS:

https://addsuminc.blogspot.com/2016/02/extend-life-of-old-applications-with.html


Pervasive 7/2000 and 2000i issues:

https://www.addsuminc.com/ad092299.htm

https://www.addsuminc.com/ad070902.htm



























Thursday, May 30, 2019

Next TAS Premier 7i release in progress

Even though we just published release 14 of the TAS Premier 7i series early last month, we've already almost added enough new features for a release 15.  Those changes are  now going into further testing and production and the documentation has already been updated.  While we normally don't publish more than one release each year, this year we are planning a second release by October.

Now that our supported xBase option is available as open source (and has been updated for other platforms) and also because we have been increasingly impressed by its performance, more features to support it have been indicated.  CodeBase files are dBase IV compatible and that driver, included with Windows, can be used to query them using SQL (and which is something that we have previously successfully tested with our own SQL query program). We have therefore added a CBDELETED() function which is able to return the total number of deleted records in the DBF format that we support (CodeBase).  This is important because the normal TRC() (total record count) function, unlike in a Btrieve/Pervasive/Actian ("Btrieve") file, includes deleted records, and so code that relies on that function could fail and/or work unexpectedly without a function that can be used to easily determine the actual number of "live" records in a DBF file.  That function has now been tested and implemented and is already in active use in a number of our projects.

Because the maintain database program uses the TRC() function to show active records, we have now been able to enhance it to show the number of deleted records in the event that a DBF or (*.C* file) is opened in that option.  This then allows the user to know what "net" active records are currently contained in the file, something that was not previously available.

Reindexing or "packing" the file can be used to permanently delete records in a DBF file. The DBF header record however is not decremented when a record is deleted. In order to determine the number of deleted records, the entire file does have to be internally scanned (which the CBDELETED() function automatically accomplishes based on the file handle passed to it) to determine the deleted record count. Use of this new function, therefore, involving DBF files with a large number of records has to be used with some level of care if used in an end user program. For this reason, in the maintain database enhancement, we make obtaining the deleted count an end user option rather than to automatically initiate it after the file is opened.

In the case of a Btrieve file, a deleted record takes up space but all of the fields are in essence blanked out (i.e. set to null values) and the active record count is maintained in the header record of the file.  So TRC() returns the active record count.  

In the course of adding the CBDELETED() function, we noticed that the OPEN_FILE_NAME() function was not returning the FILELOC path when a DBF file handle was passed to it, which it now does.  Previously it was only returning the data file name without any path.  When used with Btrieve files, it continues to return the fully qualified path.

And we also noticed that the GET_FILE_TYPE() function was internally being referenced as FILE_TYPE(), inconsistent with the documentation and the cmdtree.txt.  This has been fixed.

We have also reviewed and made minor updates to both the Btrieve and CodeBase reindex utilities which had not been previously reviewed since 2012, and have also updated the globally change utility to make it more intuitive with respect to changes made to it in release 14.

Also of significance, the EXEC_RB() function which loads the report designer has been enhanced so that developers can optionally pass an RTM name as a parameter.  This can include the full path, a relative path, or just the RTM name.   If a file name is passed, the RTM is then automatically loaded without the user having to take any other action to open it for review/editing.

As we continue to work with and test these latest changes, some additional changes may be added before release 15 is officially published later this year.