dbMASS Frequently Asked Questions


Printer Not Responding

Database Cleanup

Configuration Management

Windows 95 Task Switching

Windows 95 Database Corruption Fix

Database Problem Resolution

Windows NT Data Security Error

Files and Directories with Long Descriptions Not Listed

Printer Not Responding

I’m getting a "Printer is not responding." message from dbMASS whenever I try to print. I’m using a network printer and my other Windows applications print fine. What can I do to print dbMASS reports?

TThe problem is probably due to not having the LPT1 printer port captured for your network printer. With Windows 95 this can normally be fixed through the use of the printer's properties sheet. The following procedure should fix the problem.

Click on the Windows "Start" button and select "Settings/Printers."/p>

Select from the list of printers the printer you want to use as your default printer and with a right mouse button click bring up the printers properties window.

Select the "Details" tab.

Highlight the "Print to the following port:" data and type the [Ctrl]-[C] keys to copy the path into the clipboard.

Click on the "Capture printer port…" button.

In the "Capture Printer Port" window, set the Device to LPT1. If LPT1 is not available, cancel this window and then click on the "End Capture…" button to end the capture of LPT1, then repeat starting at step 5.

IIn the Path of the "Capture Printer Port" window field, type the [Ctrl]-[V] keys to paste the path of your default printer into this data field. If for some reason the [Ctrl]-[V] keys doesn’t do this for you, see if the desired path is listed in the drop down list. If not, you can type in the path to the network printer by hand.

Select "Reconnect at logon" and then click "OK" to close the window. Then click "OK" to close the printer properties window./p>

That should do it! If dbMASS still doesn’t print, contact your system administrator for additional assistance. In the mean time you can use the dbMASS Word Macros to view and print your reports.

IIf you are using Windows NT and the printer is not directly connected to the computer that you have dbMASS installed on, you will need to talk with your system administrator to see if he can configure the network printer for a DOS application. The ability to do this will vary with the type of network your company uses. You can use the dbMASS Word Macros to view and print your reports if you are unable to resolve the network driver issues.

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Database Cleanup

Is there anything I can do to purge or remove all entries that are no longer referenced from my database?

OOver the life of a database you may want to perform the following procedure to remove data that is no longer referenced from it. Unreferenced data can occur when parts or assemblies become obsolete. Also, when database records are deleted they are not necessarily removed from the database tables. Both of these conditions maintain larger database files and can affect performance resulting in slower response times. Unreferenced data is most easily removed by creating a new database and copying the appropriate data to it. Follow the procedure outlined below for most efficient and orderly transfer of data.

Large databases take time to transfer. Do this procedure when you can occupy yourself in other ways as you are waiting for the transfers to complete. If the database is on a network drive, copying it to a local drive first will allow for faster disk access and data transfer rates./p>

Run the database repair command on the database to ensure that good data will be transferred and so that you won’t need to address data related error messages during the remainder of the process.

Create a new database in a new directory. This will automatically become the active database.

Next, delete the default contingencies and materials in the new database. To do this you will need to add a part to the database. This part is required to access the contingency field. You will also need to add an item with a shape to this part to access the material field. Go to both of these fields and delete the listed entries. Deleting them now will help to maintain the order you have establish in your working database as the data is copied to the new database.

SSelect the "Copy to the active" database command and select as the "from" database the database you wish to extract the data from.

Copy the contingencies table and the materials table. Copying these first will maintain the present order of your data, i.e. the contingencies and materials lists will appear the same./p>

If you want to maintain all standard parts whether referenced or not, copy the standard parts table next. Otherwise, skip this step. All referenced standard parts will be copied in the next step.

NNow copy to the active database the first part listed. When this first entry is copied you will be asked whether you want to copy the entry field data and the uncertainty data if they are present. Answering yes will then result in you being asked whether you want to transfer each of the entry data fields. Answer yes to all that still apply. If you no longer use an entry data field and don’t wish to carry its data forward simply answer no when that particular field is addressed. Once the fields are added and the part is transferred, exit dbMASS and restart it. This restarting of dbMASS is done to ensure that sufficient memory will be available for the remainder of the process. Reestablish the connection to the "from" database with the copy to the active database command.

Now copy the top level entries over. If everything is reference by a few projects, copy each of the projects to get everything. Remember to transfer all of the different configurations and effectivities for each. Drag selections work well here (i.e. click on the first entry and drag down as you hold the mouse button). If there are sequences or weight distributions defined, copy them over as well. The important thing is to choose all of the top level entries and everything else referenced by them (whether directly or indirectly) will be transferred. /p>

Lastly, copy the report layouts. This needs to occur after the entry data fields are established (above) so that all references to these data fields in the report layouts will be maintained.

That’s it. You can now close the from database window and inspect your new database.

You may want to compare the total size of the files in the new database to the old to see how much disk space has been saved. You can use this comparison to weigh the merits of going through this procedure. Once you are confident that the new database has all of the entries you still use you can delete the old database.

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Configuration Management

How do I use dbMASS to perform configuration management?

dbMASS offers innovative features for doing configuration management. Outlined below is the procedure for introducing a new configuration.

Create the baseline configuration (you have this).

Identify the lowest (deepest) entry in the drawing tree that will require a new configuration. This can be any type of entry (part, assembly, ... etc.) that will have different mass properties for the new configuration.

Copy the selected entry using the 'Copy' command.

Assign the new configuration to the new entry within the Copy Window.

Select the 'continue' button on the bottom of the Copy Window which will then bring up the Assembly Tree Window which will show the super structure of the copied entry. The super structure gives the entries that reference the copied entry either directly or indirectly through other entries.

Follow the instructions given in the manual for the Assembly Tree Window to select the entries that you would like to include in the new configuration (use "duplicate to" feature).

Once the desired super structure for the copied entry is defined, select the "accept current tree" button at the bottom of the Window. This will then create all the entries specified.

Then edit the new configuration of the copied entry to define its uniqueness.

As you wish to create new entries of the configuration that were not covered by the previous process, you will repeat the process given above. However, you will see that the super structure of the new entries will be shown as "merged" with that which already exists for the configuration.

Repeat the process as required.

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Win95 Task Switching

Whenever I switch from dbMASS to another application on my computer, which is running Windows 95, and then try to switch back to dbMASS the system hangs or I get an insufficient memory error message. How can I fix this problem?

First, delete your existing short-cut to dbMASS. If the short-cut is reached through the Start button, then right-click on the start button to explore your start directory. Locate the dbMASS short-cut and then right-click on it and select delete from the pop-up menu choices.

Then drag a new short-cut on your desktop or onto the start button. You do this by using the explorer to locate the dbMASS executable in the dbMASS directory. Click, drag and drop it into the desired location. The default properties given should work.

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Windows 95 Database Corruption Fix

I have had a few calls from dbMASS clients that experienced database corruption problems when working with dbMASS databases over a network. I believe we have determined the source of the problem. It has been recently disclosed that a replacement virtual driver for Windows 95 OSR2 corrects a number of recent problems involving damaged files.

The problems only occur for computers installed with Window 95 OEM Service Release 2 (OSR2). You won't see this problem on Windows 95A computers. It only happens with Windows 95B computers with VREDIR.VXD files dated before 9/11/97 and with versions earlier than 4.00.1116 (VNETSUP.VXD dated 5/30/97 and version 4.00.1112). You can obtain the Windows 95 version number by holding down the Alt key and double-clicking your computer icon on your desktop. This will bring up the Systems Properties window. On the General tab you will see the Windows 95 version number. If it says 4.00.950A, you're ok and won't have this problem. However, if it says 4.00.950B, you will need to make sure this issue is addressed.

Several issues arise from the fact that the API that retrieves the size of a file will misreport the information to the program. With the wrong information, the program could overwrite existing information and corrupt the entire database. The biggest concern is that you don't have any idea a problem has occurred until the damage has been done. The only real solution is to install a patch on all of your Windows 95B computers. The patch is included in a self-installing file called VRDUPD.EXE, which you can download directly from Microsoft at http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/q174/3/71.asp. There are close to a dozen errors corrected with this patch.

You may want to get a system administrator to perform this update for you. You should at least make them aware of the problem.

To update your computer, download the file and execute it by double-clicking its name. It will replace the VREDIR.VXD and VNETSUP.VXD files in your \WINDOWS\SYSTEM folder. Once finished, you should restart your computer to make certain that the updated driver is being used. You should not have further problems when working with your databases files over the network.

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Database Problem Resolution

There are several types of data problems that users have reported when working with dbMASS. Under this topic I’m going to attempt to cover the different types of problems and what you can do about them.

Invalid Record Number errors

This type of error occurs when a reference is made to a record that is either deleted or goes beyond the available records in a database table. Should you get this error run the database repair utility and it will identify and correct the offending references.

Mass Properties or Uncertainty Data is invalid

Mass properties and uncertainty data can become outdated if dbMASS is abruptly terminated. This will occur if dbMASS is processing update calculations in the background at the time it is terminated. Should you suspect that the mass properties or the uncertainty data is not valid or up to date you can run the database update command to have dbMASS update the mass properties. This will force dbMASS to recalculate all summed mass properties for all assemblies, installations and projects. A choice to update the parts as well is offered in the updating options. This option will recalculate the parts mass properties for those defined by the sum of items. Parts that have user defined mass properties at the part level but also have items will not be affected. The updating of parts will also ensure that the with or without contingency mode is correctly accounted for in the mass properties. See below for further explanation.

Contingency Calculations are off

Contingency calculations are summed along with the mass properties and uncertainty data. Turning the contingency mode on or off (using the plus sign button) will cause the parts mass properties to be recalculated to reflect the current contingency mode. All affected assemblies, installations and projects will be updated through the normal roll-up of this data . However, the contingency mode toggle doesn’t compute the summation of the defining items. See updating parts mass properties discussed in previous section to address problems in this area.

Class Field data doesn’t flow-up correctly

Class field data requires reevaluations of super assembly class assignments when there are changes made to the sub-entries class field assignments or when entries are added to or removed from an assembly. Should dbMASS abruptly terminate while these updates are going on may leave some category assignments no longer valid. Removing categories from a class structure can also introduce invalid class category assignments. To correct for either of these case you can run the database update command and select to update the specific class that you are having problems with. We’ve seen cases where the class (maturity) report showed different results when including and then excluding the weight maturity status. If this should occur, you probably have the conditions discussed. Run the class update as described.

Unable to access database

TThis condition will occur if you try to access a database that you do not have access permission for or you have given an incorrect password. Try another user id and or password if you think that could be the problem. It can also occur if you try to access a database that has data in it for modules that you are not licensed to access. In some cases you may be able to access the data as a guest and then copy the database to create a working copy. Users without the weight change tracking module cannot access databases that are created or access by users with this module present.

Unable to locate requested database tables/p>

This condition will occur when a database has been removed from the location it was stored and you try to select it to make it active. Either deleting or moving the database files from outside of dbMASS will create this problem. You should normally copy and delete databases from within dbMASS to avoid creating this condition. Should you have databases in the list of databases that gives you this message, use the database remove command to remove it from the list of databases.

You can add relocated or unlisted databases through the select database command. When the list of available databases is given, select the ‘add unlisted database’ button that appears across the bottom of this window.

Database creation failed

A database creation failure probably means one of several things. Either dbMASS ran out of disk space in the process of creating the database, or the location has too many files located in the directory or you don’t have write permission to the destination drive and directory that was selected. Try creating a database on a different drive or directory to help isolate what the problem is for your case. If the destination drive is on the network, you may be experiencing a problem with the Windows 95 OSR2 release. This database corruption problem is discussed in an earlier section of this document.

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Windows NT Data Security Error

Sometimes when I go to start dbMASS I get a Data Security VDD error message: "Unable to locate Data Security Kernel driver." After acknowledging this message I then receive additional error messages. dbMASS will either fail to start or, if it does start, after a while I get a dbMASS error and the program exits. What’s wrong?

If this occurs all of the time, you need to follow the installation instructions given in NTinstal.txt file located in the dbMASS\Ntdriver directory. Then reboot the system and try starting dbMASS again. If the error still occurs, continue with the following instructions.

If you are confident that the NT drivers are installed correctly (i.e. dbMASS has started correctly in the past or you have double checked the installation), then proceed as follows:

First, acknowledge or terminate the error messages presented.

Type [Shift]+[Ctrl]+[Esc] to open the Windows NT Task Manager.

Select the "Applications" tab.

Identify any applications listed that might be 16 bit applications. Close the applications that you suspect are 16 bit applications by exiting them properly.

Select the "Processes" tab.

Look for "NTVDM.EXE" in the list of processes. If you locate this process, select it by clicking on it and then end the process by clicking on the "End Process" button. You will get a warning message. Terminate the process by selecting "Yes."

Try starting dbMASS.

This should allow dbMASS to start without errors. Contact i.e.Solutions if this procedure does not solve the problem.

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Files and Directories with Long Descriptions Not Listed

NNormally, with Window NT, long file names or descriptions are listed with an 8.3 format for DOS or 16 bit applications. That is, the file or directory name is modified to limit the description to eight characters and the extension to three. The creation of 8.3 filenames and directories for all long filenames and directories on NTFS partitions may decrease directory enumeration performance and is therefore sometimes disabled. When disabled, files and directories with long descriptions will not be visible to dbMASS.

Here is how to enable the 8.3 name creation on all NTFS partitions:br>
WARNING: Using Registry Editor incorrectly can cause serious, system-wide problems that may require you to reinstall Windows NT to correct them. Microsoft cannot guarantee that any problems resulting from the use of Registry Editor can be solved. Use this tool at your own risk.

You will likely require administrator level access to implement these changes.

1. Start REGEDT32.EXE and locate the following Registry subkey:


2. Select the entry: NtfsDisable8dot3NameCreation

NOTE: When disabled, the value for this entry is set to 1.

3. From the Edit menu, choose DWORD. Enter the value of 0 in the Data field.

4. Select OK and exit REGEDT32.

5. Exit Windows NT and turn off your computer.

6. Restart your computer and Windows NT.

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