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Diagnosing Problems Running Accpac Part 2

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Last time we looked at what happens from when you double click on the “Sage Accpac ERP” icon to the sign-on dialog appearing. This time we will look at what happens when you click ok on the sign-on dialog through to when the desktop is displayed and ready to go.

When Accpac loaded the sign-on dialog with the company list, it kept track of whether security is turned on for that company/system database. This information is stored in orgs.ism. Accpac will then validate the user name against accpacshareddata\site\users.ism. If security is enabled it will also validate the password.

If you are having trouble signing on, first run DBSpy. If nothing appears in DBSpy then the problem is before opening the database links and will be to do with something in the accpacshareddata\site directory. Run ScanIsam to ensure the various ism files are ok. Sometimes ScanIsam can even fix them. Also remember that every user must have full control security access to all the files in the site directory.

Next Accpac will try to reserve a lanpak slot for this workstation/company/userid combination. If there is a free slot then you will be allowed to proceed, if not you will get an error message that all the lanpaks are in use. You can use the Desktop menus to see how many lanpaks are available and how many are used and which userid/company combinations are using them. If you think they should be available make sure the lanpaks aren’t expired 30 day licenses. If everyone is out of the system, it is safe to delete the site\lanpak.bin file. It will be re-created the next time you run Accpac. To do all this the desktop runs the a4wLPMgr.exe program which then tracks the lanpak usage for this workstation.

Accac will now run the Accpac Signon Manager (a4wSignonMgr.exe). This isn’t required by the Desktop, but is run so if anyone starts a UI program from outside the desktop, it can connect to this to share the signon info. You see this  running in the icon tray in the bottom right of your screen. If the signon manager doesn’t run as part of the desktop startup process, you may have a problem with the Accpac COM components. The best bet is to re-register these by running accpac\runtime\regacc.exe. This program will register all the Accpac COM components, normally this is run by the Accpac installation program, but sometimes parts of this can fail.

Accpac then needs to register with semaphore.bin that you are using this company. If someone has the company open exclusively (for something like Database Load) then you will get an error to that effect. Otherwise this is accomplished by using some more byte locks on this file.

Now Accpac is ready to actually open a database connection. With 5.5A and later we just open a connection to the company database. Prior versions will also open a connection to the system database. However the steps taken are similar for both. Encrypted within the records in orgs.ism is sufficient information for Accpac to sign-on to the database. This is the information you entered in Database Setup. Depending on the database, Accpac will use database client software to login to the Database Server. For Pervasive we connect to both the transactional engine using the Pervasive client as well as to the relational engine using ODBC. For SQL Server and Oracle we connect using ODBC. For newer versions of Accpac we login to SQL Server using the SQL Native Client OBBC driver. All of these require that the database’s client software be installed on the workstation and that the directory where the client DLLs are located are in the PATH environment variable. This is true even if using an ODBC only connection. For SQL Server, you used to not see this since MDAC and many other pieces of Microsoft software install the SQL Server client software. However with the introduction of the SQL Native Client, this wasn’t included in MDAC and now requires the client software be installed. As a best practice its best to install the client software from the DVD that you installed the database server with, on every workstation. Accpac 5.6 will now install the SQL Native Client as part of its install to save hassle. But say if once we support SQL Server 2010, then you would want that client software installed on every workstation rather than the SQL Server 2008 client installed by 5.6A. A very common cause of support calls are the result of people running client software that is older than the version of the database server. Its seems to usually be ok to run new versions of the client software, but older versions seem to always lead to problems. If you are having database connection problems, try running the “Enterprise Manager” software that came with the database to see if it can connect ok, if not often it has some helpful advice (or at least an error message you can Google). For database connection problems its often useful to look through the database vendor’s knowledgebase to see if someone else has experienced and solved a similar problem. For Pervasive problems are often associated with setting up the workstation and server ODBC datasources correctly. Setting up Oracle can be tricky, but usually if you can test the ODBC connection successfully then Accpac will work. The first thing Accpac checks when connecting to the database is whether the version of the database client and server software is supported. Getting back strange errors from these calls will often result in a “Database version is unsupported” error. If you are sure the version is correct, then this is probably a result of a connectivity problem that confused Accpac checking the version.

Once you start connecting to the database, DBSpy becomes the tool of choice. It will record all diagnostics from the database to hopefully help you diagnose the problem. Googling any error messages usually yields good clues as to what is going wrong. Most databases also have tracing facilities that can be quite helpful in diagnosing problems. If you are running on Terminal Server and have run the Web Deployment Wizard and chosen the DCOM protocol, then you have to run DBSpy (or RVSpy) from the console, they will always come up blank from a terminal server client, best solution to this is to run the Web Deployment Wizard again and choose .Net Remoting as this doesn’t have the problem and works much better.

Once a database connection is successfully established, Accpac will read through the CSAPP table. This contains the list of application (like AP, AR, etc.) along with their version and datalevel. For AS and CS it will see if these need to be activated to the current version of System Manager or if these are ok. Perhaps we’ll talk about data activation in a later posting. But basically we get the list of applications and their versions that are activated for this company. You can see this occur in DBSpy.

Now Accpac will go through this list and construct the path accpacprograms\applicationversion (say accpac\ar56a) and try to load the roto.dat file there. This file contains the list of all the Views (Accpac Business Logic Objects) and User Interface objects for a given application. (There are some variants on roto.dat for applications that sub-class other applications that will also be read at this time). With these loaded, Accpac now knows how to run any UI or View for that application.

Now that a user is signed-on to a company, Accpac will read the accpacshareddirectory\user\userid\orgid.wsp file. This contains the layout of the various desktop panes from when the user was last signed on. This file can be safely deleted and will be re-created when the user next signs on.

The desktop is now ready to start constructing the tree of icons it displays. Again the desktop goes through the list of activated applications and for each one looks in its language specific directory for grp.dat (perhaps ar56a\eng\grp.dat). This file contains all the icons to display on the desktop along with their captions and which program to run when they are double clicked.

As the desktop loads the icons from the group file, the accounting application has the option to hide some of the icons. The desktop looks in the application’s xx.ini file (say ar.ini) and in the section [callbacks], if there is a startupIcon entry then the desktop will call the specified DLL for each icon, so the application can hide it. This is why the icons for multi-currency related activities like revaluation don’t show up when you sign into a single currency company.

One problem that we see now and then is people installing a larger product update that includes updated grp.dat and roto.dat files. If the base application wasn’t installed, but the application was activated (like they all are in sample data) then the desktop will pick up the roto.dat and grp.dat and display the icons for this application. But since it’s a product update, it isn’t complete, so clicking on the icons leads to all sorts of missing file errors.

Once the standard desktop icons are loaded, the desktop will load all desktop customizations. These are stored in the accpacshareddata\user\userid\orgid_c.ism. This file contains any icons that the user has added to the desktop for this company. There is also a accpacshareddata\user\_EVRYONE\orgid_c.ism file that contains icons added to the desktop and set for all users. Since these are Accpac ISAM files, if there are problems with loading custom icons, run ScanIsam to see if there are problems. If so perhaps ScanIsam can fix them. If you don’t mind losing your customizations you can delete these files and the will be re-created the next time you run Accpac.

If you are running multiple Window’s users on a workstation and are running Vista or Windows 7, you might run into problems with the operating systems file shadowing feature. The ideas of this was to shield the changes to files that one user makes from other users. However in multi-user applications this tends to cause havoc. Your best bet is to install Accpac to a location where this feature isn’t enabled (ie anywhere except under Program Files). Otherwise changes one user makes, say be running Database Setup won’t be visible to other users. This is further complicated by Windows Services which run as another user and installation programs which get aliased to run as the Administrator account.

Now the desktop should be signed in. The next step is to run an Accpac screen by double clicking on an icon. Next week we’ll look in detail at the steps that happen when you run an Accpac VB screen.

Written by smist08

April 17, 2010 at 8:37 pm

Posted in sage 300

Tagged with , ,

27 Responses

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  1. […] trouble at this step then check out these blog postings on diagnosing problems in Accpac part 1, part 2, part 3 and part […]

  2. […] information on troubleshooting, check out these blog postings on diagnosing problems: part 1, part 2, part 3 and part […]

  3. Has anyone else had a a4wnetservice error? The service won’s start and I get this in the eventlog:

    Service cannot be started. System.ApplicationException: Could not locate registry entries required by the ACCPAC .NET Remoting Manager Service.
    at ACCPAC.Advantage.Server.RemotingManagerService.OnStart(String[] args)
    at System.ServiceProcess.ServiceBase.ServiceQueuedMainCallback(Object state)


    April 12, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    • On the web it indiates a permission issue, but I have done the registry suggestions and others and it is still not working.


      April 12, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    • If either of the Accpac program files for shared data folders are located on another computer then you have to change the Log on information of the Sage Accpac .NET Remoting Service in the control panel – admin services – services to be a domain network user instead of the local administrator.


      April 13, 2012 at 5:59 pm

      • I do have it running as a service account which is a domian user and an Administrator of the local machine. The other issue is that although COM+ is started with no problems, the Component services has a red arrow. I have followed the troubleshooting for that as well but neither work. Anything you can think of?


        April 17, 2012 at 8:42 pm

  4. Ah resolved – Component services red arrow issue due to permissions.


    April 17, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    • Hi Karen,

      I am having the exact same error. Could you tell me which component had the permission issue ? I don’t see the red arrow.



      December 14, 2012 at 8:03 pm

      • Hi Flavio, Component Services/Computers/My Computer/COM+ Applications. If I just clicked on that I got the error. I changed the permissions (My Computer/Properties/COM Security/Launch and Activation Permissions/Edit Default) to add Network Service, restarted and it worked.


        December 14, 2012 at 9:19 pm

  5. We have a problem where Windows is locking up the winuser.ism and user.ism files when users log in and out of Accpac. We have a virtualised multi server environment using Hyper-V with 3 load balanced Terminal Servers, a main Accpac licensing server, a CRM web server, and SQL database server for Accpac and SQL server for CRM. We cannot find a solution anywhere on the web or on the Accpac forums. We have had Sage Africa on site and still no solution. Maybe you can assist? Thanks


    June 20, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    • When you say “locking up”, what exactly do you mean? Do you mean that the system hangs up when people sign into the desktop? Which version of Accpac are you running? Out of interest why do you think these are locked up?


      June 20, 2012 at 4:06 pm

      • We are running Accpac 56B.

        The process of events is as follows:

        The user logs into the terminal server environment and tries to open Accpac, while the program files are loading, the winuser.ism and user.ism files are accessed on the license server, locked but not released by windows. The user and all subsequent users can therefore not log into Accpac. The following error message is display:

        “System error. Cannot verify information.
        Write down the message. Exit Sage Accpac and Windows. Restart and retry the operation. For more information, see Appendix A in the System Manager User Guide”

        Some users can successfully log into Accpac and work, however this is an intermittent problem that stops users from logging into Accpac. Existing users in Accpac can continue to work

        The only way to overcome this is to close the lock in Shared files in windows, close the user’s terminal session down, then the user and the rest of the users can log in


        June 21, 2012 at 8:25 am

      • I don’t have any thing certain. I seem to remember that for old versions of Windows Server (we’re talking NT 4 here) you needed to adjust a registry setting to stop locks being cached. We’ve also seen cases where backup software interfered with locking. If you have a backup agent running, you might try turning it off for a bit to see if that helps.


        June 21, 2012 at 10:42 pm

  6. There is no antivirus, no backup agent and we have disabled oplocks in the registry. Still no luck. Anything else we can check? Can we maybe schedule some time with you to log in and have a look? Softline has been on site and they could not find anything. We have logged a support case with Sage (Issue Number 37-33609) as well, but we have not had any positive feedback as yet (they asked us to check if the UAC is switched off, and it is, and we have also now included the accpac runtime exe’s in the Windows DEP without any luck).


    June 22, 2012 at 6:33 am

  7. We have troublshooted the problem some more and have now done the following to date, but we are still experiencing the winuser.ism lock:

    1. We have now done away with the 3 load balanced terminal servers and are now only using 1 terminal server, 1 main application server and 1 SQL server. This seemed to have stabilised the problem quite a bit as we had fewer of these winuser.ism errors. It does however still occur and if it does we have problems with users trying to log into Accpac.

    2. As soon as accpac.exe crashes and the winuser.ism is locked up we receive the following logs in Event Viewer:

    Faulting application name: accpac.exe, version:, time stamp: 0x4df2c9ff
    Faulting module name: windowscodecs.dll, version: 6.1.7601.17514, time stamp: 0x4ce7ba3a
    Exception code: 0xc0000005
    Fault offset: 0x00001e49
    Faulting process id: 0x5da0
    Faulting application start time: 0x01cd59aea6426afa
    Faulting application path: C:\a4w\Program Files\Sage\Sage Accpac\RUNTIME\accpac.exe
    Faulting module path: C:\Windows\system32\windowscodecs.dll
    Report Id: e6e5ae30-c5a1-11e1-a456-0050568d0006

    Followed by a number of these messages, this relates to every time a user tries to log into Accpac when the winuser.ism is locked up and does not want to close:

    The description for Event ID 100 from source ACCPAC cannot be found. Either the component that raises this event is not installed on your local computer or the installation is corrupted. You can install or repair the component on the local computer.

    If the event originated on another computer, the display information had to be saved with the event.

    The following information was included with the event:

    ibRelease – timeout – retrying

    Any ideas?



    July 4, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    • That’s a very strange place to crash. This DLL contains codecs for images and videos. We use very few images from the desktop. You might try turning off the desktop’s splash screen by setting the registry entry: HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Accpac INternational, Inc./Accpac/Desktop/SplashScreen to N. You could also try removing the references to the JPG files in the ASxxA\eng folder html files.


      July 5, 2012 at 4:21 am

      • Hi Stephen,

        I am having the same issue in 6.0 – is there a splashscreen setting in 6.0? I can’t find it in the path you provided


        August 18, 2012 at 3:37 pm

      • It is still there, you may need to add the SplashScreen value. The rest of the path should be present.


        August 20, 2012 at 3:57 pm

  8. Hi Stephen,
    Am having a problem with 5.6; when I run accpac on a workstation, the logon screen is not appearing unitl it says the program is not responding..But it runs properly on the server

    Tiyanjana Malowa

    September 10, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    • Perhaps having trouble accessing the site folder in the shared data directory? To build the sign-on dialog it needs to access the orgs.ism file there which has the list of companies. Probably worth running regacc.exe (in the accpac\runtime folder) as Administrator to ensure all DLLs are registered properly. Sometimes things like this are caused by bad DNS entries causing network traffic to not route properly.


      September 11, 2012 at 8:15 pm

      • thanks, that worked but now it is giving an error saying view ID is not valid when I open any program in accpac E.G. Chart of accounts in GL on a workstation

        Tiyanjana Malowa

        September 14, 2012 at 11:18 am

  9. Hi Stephen,
    I have an error in 6.0 saying view ID is not valid when I open any program in accpac E.G. Chart of accounts in GL on a workstation

    Tiyanjana Malowa

    September 17, 2012 at 7:52 am

    • Do you have multiple versions of Accpac installed? Perhaps it is some sort of conflict due to multiple accpac\runtime folders in the PATH?


      September 17, 2012 at 4:37 pm

  10. Hi Stephen,
    I have read through your post. They are very helpful. We have just moved to a new Terminal server running window server 2012 r2, upgraded our accpac from 5.6 to sage 300 and our sql upgraded the databases from 2005 to 2008. We are experiencing extreme slowness when they login to a company. it takes 35 secs and then once they are logged in it is fast. Then when they exit the company it takes 40 secs to disconnect. Do you have any idea why this might be happening? The users have full control to the sharedata folder.


    March 30, 2015 at 7:31 pm

    • You might want to check the SQL Server client configuration settings. This is sometimes caused by one access method not working (usually named pipes) so it tries this first, waits to time out then tries TCP/IP. So for each connection you have a timeout happening. Make sure only TCP/IP (and shared memory if installed on the same computer) are enabled.


      April 2, 2015 at 3:21 pm

      • Hi, thank you very much for responding!!! We disabled the named pipes and made sure tcp/Ip and shared memory are enabled and it actually slowed it down more (not much). I have noticed if we delete the semaphore.bin and lanpak.bin and let Accpac recreate the files the login in is really fast then as more users login it progressively gets slower. These files are excluded from backup and from the antivirus. I have also noticed a lot of userMgt-0-0-0.lock files in \\appserver01\tsaccpac\COMPANY\userMgtLogs directory. Any other suggestions would be very grateful


        April 2, 2015 at 7:08 pm

      • To see if its user management causing the problem you can

        Edit runtime\A4w.ini with the following.


        See if this helps.


        April 8, 2015 at 10:57 pm

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