e-Newsletter, February 12, 2010

Roundtable Software Newsletter #63, February 12, 2010

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In this issue...

New Version of Web Commerce Released
PDG Software has made a change to the structure of one of their import files in version 5 of their software. If you are using version 5 you will need this patch in order to be compatible. If you are presently on an earlier version of the PDG software, do not install our patch until you update your PDG software.

The change is in the item discount section of the import file. A new field for Customer Category has been added. After installing the patch you will need to go into the Web Commerce Setup Discount Export program and set a customer category to be used. For most users this should be the PDG-suggested default of "Anonymous". This default customer category may be changed by you, though, so if you use a different Customer Category name you should substitute that.

Existing users of our Web Commerce module can click here to download this patch.

Running RTS-Advantage Version 4 on 64-bit Windows Computers
As we've discussed before, 64-bit versions of Windows have a command prompt that cannot run programs of any kind, including RTS-Advantage. Therefore when shopping for computers you should always look for 32-bit versions of Windows, which are available for all versions including the new Windows 7. If, however, you've gotten one of these 64-bit versions already you do still have some options for running the DOS version of RTS-Advantage.
If you are running a single user system, or a multi-user system where only one station runs RTS-Advantage then we suggest you use an application called DOSBox. This is free software and is available at http://www.dosbox.com/. It is a command-line emulator from which you can run RTS-Advantage. The limitation is that as of this writing the developers of DOSBox have not yet implemented file and record locking capabilities, thus the reason it should only be used in single-user environments.

Here are the steps for setting up DOSBox:

Step 1: Download DOSBox from their website http://www.dosbox.com/download.php?main=1

Step 2: Run the DOSBox installer. Take the default options in any questions asked in the installation process.

Step 3: Once the installation is completed, if you run DOSBox you will see a window with a DOS command prompt. In order to set it up to automatically run RTS-Advantage you will need to edit the startup configuration file. You can access the configuration file by going to your start menu, selecting the DOSBox program folder, then look in the Configuration subfolder, and open the "Edit Configuration" option.

Step 4: Scroll down to the bottom of the configuration file. All the needed settings are added at the end. Below the line "[autoexec]" type these lines, substituting the correct paths for your system. Don't type the comments that appear after "##":

mount C C:\ Your local hard drive must be mounted in order to have access to it; the same will work for network drives if needed
set AFILES=c:\adv\sys\ Set RTS-Advantage required environment variables
set APROGS=c:\adv\progs\
set AUSER=c:\adv\data\
set PRTDIR=c:\progra~1\roundt~1\printe~1\
c: Switch to drive C
cd \adv\progs Change directories to our PROGS folder
adv.exe Run RTS-Advantage
exit Close the DOSBox window on exiting RTS-Advantage
In our testing we also had some minor problems with the default keyboard driver that was used by DOSBox, but they have a simple way to fix it. Once in a DOSBox window, type Ctrl-F1. A keyboard customizer will appear where you can manually set the keyboard layout. It takes just a few moments and the settings are saved for future sessions.
OPTION 2: Microsoft Virtural PC
If you are running a multi-user system, we instead recommend Microsoft's Virtual PC application. This is a free utility from Microsoft that allows you to run multiple versions of Windows (including 32-bit versions) on a single PC. In other words, your PC can be running Windows 7 64-bit, but this gives you access to a window that is running Windows XP 32-bit, Windows 98 or what have you. This is a little more work to setup than the delightfully simple DOSBox, but has the important capability of doing proper multi-user file and record-locking.

Here are the steps for setting up Microsoft Virtual PC:

Step 1: Download Microsoft's Virtual PC from Microsoft's website. Microsoft will list two versions of the software to download. Choose the version for 64-bit versions of Windows. The website may ask you to download and run Microsoft's Genuine Windows Advantage program to verify your version of Windows - just follow the steps presented by the website to finish that process.

Step 2: The file that you downloaded is "Setup.exe". Run the program and follow the prompts to finish installing Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 SP1.

Step 3: Go to the start menu and run Microsoft Virtual PC. When the "Virtual PC Console" window displays, choose New to create a new virtual machine.

Step 4: Click Next, then choose the option to "Create a virtual machine" and then click Next again.

Step 5: Give the virtual machine you are creating a name for future reference. The virtual machine file will be saved in your "My Documents/My Virtual Machines" folder.

Step 6: Choose the version of Windows that you will be emulating. You must have an installation CD for the version of Windows you choose. Press the Next button.

Step 7: Select the amount of RAM for the virtual machine. Using the suggested amount should be fine. Press the Next button.

Step 8: Choose the option "A new virtual hard disk". Press the Next button.

Step 9: Choose a file name that will be used to store the virtual machine and the size of the virtual hard drive. The name doesn't much matter, and the virtual hard drive can be small if you are going to be accessing RTS-Advantage across a network. It does need to be large enough to hold the installed operating system though. In fact, making it large is not really a problem because that is just a maximum -- the virtual drive will only actually take up the amount of space actually used. Press Next.

Step 10: When prompted insert the CD or DVD for installing the selected version of Microsoft Windows into your computer.

Step 11: At the "Virtual PC Console" choose the virtual machine you just made and click "Start".

Step 12: When the virtual machine starts running, click on the menu option "CD", then click "Use Physical Drive". If the virtual machine does not see your CD, click on the menu option "Action", then click "Reset".

Step 13: At this point your computer is mimicking a computer boot and you will continue installing Windows as though it were a real machine.

Step 14: At the end of the process, shut down the virtual machine using its Start Menu. This will save all your settings.

Step 15: On the Start Menu find Microsoft Virtual PC. Start the application to open the console window. Choose the name of the Virtual Windows version that you created. This will 'boot' the virtual Windows PC. You can now install RTS-Advantage as normal.

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