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Conversion Guide

You may want to print this page to keep as a desktop reference.

The purpose of this document is to provide our Aces customers with a general game-plan on the MS-DOS to Windows conversion. The main subject areas include:

Hardware and Operating System Requirements

Computer Hardware:
This has turned out to be a difficult issue to precisely state. Thus far, all Intel Pentium 4 and like equipment, such as AMD processors, operate our Windows applications with no problems. For the most part, most Intel Pentium III equipment has also been found satisfactory; however, a few of the older P III-type computers have severe problems. The most common problem is “hang-ups” although in rare cases various non-explicit error messages also appear. It is suspected that such problems are caused by incompatible video cards and memory usage problems. Since there are hundreds and maybe thousands of motherboards out in the marketplace, it is impossible to diagnose these problems.

In general, here is our recommendation. Do not put money into older PCs; but, rather invest in state-of-the-art P4-type hardware. We recommend P4 2.4 GHz with 256 Mb of memory although 128mb seems to work fine.

As an example of the above, recently we converted a user with two Pentium III processors that were supposed to be identical. Both were about 4-5 years old connected to an Microsoft NT4 server. Memory had been added to each workstation. The result was that one workstation performed well while the other hung up every few minutes. The customer installed a new Pentium IV processor and everything has been fine for over 6 months now.

Operating Systems:
The system does not operate on Windows 95 and no installations have been attempted with Windows ME which never worked right with our software anyway. We have installs with Windows 98SE, Windows 2000, and of course, Windows XP.

If your installation is using the Aces F&B Point-of-Sale, do not replace any desktop operating systems on those workstations for the moment. Leave those desktops with Win98SE.

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Other Necessary Items

High-Speed Internet Connection:
An internet connection is required for this upgrade!  The need for this feature cannot be overstated. The two products which are usually available to most users are DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) and Roadrunner. DSL may be available through your local phone company and Roadrunner should be available through local cable company. We recommend the Static IP service whenever possible.

All products from Aces are available to users from our website http://www.aces.us. For example, the Accounts Receivable product is approximately 10 MB in size. Using a dial-up connection, this download alone could take hours assuming no Internet connection errors occur. In addition, sometimes it may be necessary for users to “upload” their data to Aces so that we can see and test for a problem using a copy of your physical data files. A typical database for Aces AR is around 25 to 30 MB so you can judge about out how long that may take.

Microsoft Access XP /2000:
Though not absolutely required, this product serves several purposes including database rebuilding. Also, adventurous users can write customized reports from our Windows products. This product comes standard with MS Office Professional.

WinZip:
Microsoft's Windows XP comes with a program similar to WinZip. WinZip may be downloaded for evaluation and purchased for a small price from http://www.winzip.com. This tool is essential for compressing file data so that it can be uploaded.

Laser Printer:
It is not practical from a speed point-of-view to print on dot matrix printers any longer. The printer we recommend is the Hewlett Packard 4200-N if you have more than one workstation, or the HP 4200 if your system is only used on a single workstation. Of course, you will need to convert all your present forms to laser format. Data Forms Design can handle that for you.

Working Backup Device:
Unlike the MS-DOS systems, all member data records are kept in rather large database, some of which can be upwards of 200 MB in size. If data must be restored, it is imperative that various backups be available, not one tape used over and over! We recommend a large “dat” device.

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Description of the Conversion Process

Uploading DOS Data Files:
Once the equipment is in place and found to be working fine in terms of printing, LAN connections, etc., you are ready to send us your Dos data to be converted. A document in the Client/Environment is available for you that provides detailed instruction.

Using WinZip, each dos folder such as Data1, Data1PS, and so forth is zipped up and uploaded to our FTP (File Transfer Protocol) site ftp://ftp.aces.us. No special software is necessary as the files can be transferred to us using Windows Explorer.  Simply enter ftp.aces.us in the address line of Windows Explorer.  Next, double-click on the folder "Uploads".  Be sure you can either drag-and-drop the zipped data file to the uploads folder; or, copy and paste the file name in the uploads folder.  Do not attempt to email a file to this address.  That will not work.

Downloading Application Files:
By this time you will have been given a unique Aces website username and password which you send us by email. When you log on the site and select the Update, Client section, various selections will be made available to you including the Windows Environment product and all application products you are licensed to use. The Environment product contains necessary Windows components that will be installed at every workstation. The application products will only be installed at the server of course.

You will need to download two specific files from the Environment Area:

Original-WinEnviron.zip    
EXPCRsetup.exe    

We recommend you create a special area on either a workstation or server to hold all Aces downloads such as "HoldAces".  This should be a shared folder in the case of a network because EACH workstation that operates the Aces system must have these components installed.

Setting System Date Format:
Before ANY Aces Windows Applications may be executed, you must set the system date format to MM/DD/YYYY.  To do this, go into the Start/Settings/Control Panel.  Once in the Control Panel, choose Regional and Language Options.  Next, if using XP, click on Customize and then click on the Date Tab.  Click on the down arrow by the line that says Short Date.  Modify the selection to be MM/dd/YYYY.  You must do this at every workstation that will be using Aces Windows programs, AND at the server as well!

Converted Data:
In general, it takes 2-3 days to convert your dos data. This depends upon the size of the data and other miscellaneous factors. Keep in mind that in most instances, we will still have your Dos system to use; however, any data you input during this “conversion” time will need to be re-entered in the Windows system. Once your data is ready, you will be contacted and instructed as to how to download it from the web. In most cases, you will be issued a separate and secure website location which contains your data. Once download to your computer, you will simply copy the databases to the proper locations. The next step will be to set up Aces user passwords.

Software Support:

Thankfully, the days are long gone for media to be distributed through the mail or FedEx, UPS, or whatever. As mentioned before, all Aces products are available on our Client section of the web. Each product is separated into a folder such as Accounts Receivable. The program file for AR is called ARsetup.exe and will have a release date beside it. If this release is newer than the one you last installed, simply download it to your computer and install it to your server. But there’s more! On the same page as the releases, there is a notebook section that provides users with a history of each release and what was changed, added, or fixed in each release. Of course, the latest release version contains all cumulative modifications.

Of course, we still have WATS telephone support. Many issues are handled by email as well.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is this a 100 percent conversion?
    No, and it is difficult to quote a percentage number. If forced to give one, 85-90 percent is probably safe. Keep in mind that this system has more field data than the Dos, so of course, none of that data is available to convert. All the accounting data, including GL Sequence Files is converted. Some tables, especially in PR may need to be worked on.  Also, at this time we do not convert the temporary GL holding entries from AR, AP, or PR.
     
  2. What about Software Support Costs?
    Everything continues at the present rates. While running parallel, both systems are supported with one rate.
     
  3. Is On-Site Training Necessary And/Or Available?
    Yes, the present rate is $65.00 per hour plus trip expenses such as airfare, hotel, rent car, meals, etc. The necessity depends upon in-house Windows expertise or outside vendor assistance. In general, I don’t think it requires retraining to operate the software. The difficult issues seem to be network connectivity and general Windows issues especially the operation of the Windows Explorer, the Internet and WinZip.
     
  4. Does Aces set up the hardware?
    We can assume the responsibility of setting up POS hardware including POS printers, POS touch-screens, and POS workstations. In general, we have decided not to participate in dedicated server installations EXCEPT where third-party companies will provide LAN support and hardware repair services after the initial installation. Usually we have not found this to be an issue.
     
  5. Where can I get forms for the laser printer?
    Simply contact Data Forms Design at 800-580-2237. We cannot be responsible for incorrect forms from outside vendors. No program adjustments will be made for such mistakes. The vendor will have to rerun the job. Please make sure they understand this!

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