Aug 24

Total Visual Agent Available for Microsoft Access 2016

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Total Visual Agent, the world’s most popular maintenance scheduling tool for Microsoft Access/Office and Visual Basic 6 (VB6) is now available for Microsoft Access 2016 (and earlier). This is the ninth major release of Total Visual Agent and introduces many enhancements to automate maintenance chores easier than ever.

To keep your Microsoft Access databases healthy, you need to regularly compact them. For disaster recovery, you should also be making backup copies of your database regularly. You may also have regular tasks such as printing reports that are performed regularly. Total Visual Agent does this and much more on a schedule you specify. Run tasks hourly, daily, weekly, monthly or just one time. Perform database chores, run Access macros or Windows command lines. A complete audit trail is maintained, and you can even be notified by email if something goes wrong. Total Visual Agent can also be run as a Windows service to restart if the machine reboots and for added security since a user doesn’t need to be logged in.

Total Visual Agent 2016 leverages our vast expertise, and offers the best database management solution with many new features:

Total Visual Agent

  • Supports Microsoft Access 2016
  • Supports Windows 8 and 10
  • Does Not Require Access to be Installed on your PC
  • Database Lock Error Identifies Offending Machines
  • Activity Log is Separated from Settings Database
  • Activity Log Shows Duration of Each Activity
  • Email Notifications Support TLS and Office365 SMTP
  • Tasks are Not Run at the End of an Event Interval
  • Enabled/Disabled Status Shown on the Event Form
  • More Robust Windows Service Feature
  • Improved Monitor Settings Tab
  • Default Location of Archive and Extract Folders Moved
  • Improved Setup Program
  • New user manual and help file
  • download-trial-blueand More…

Download the free trial version today!

Easily Define and Manage Events, Tasks, Databases and Folders

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Mar 22

Total Visual Agent Ships for Microsoft Access 2013 and 2010

Microsoft Access Database SchedulerTotal Visual Agent for Microsoft Access DatabasesAutomate Microsoft Access Database Compact and Other Chores

We are very pleased to announce that Total Visual Agent 2013 is now shipping.

Don’t Forget System Administration for Microsoft Access Database Solutions

A professional Microsoft Access database application needs ongoing system administration. It’s an area that many MS Access developers neglect and causes problems when things go wrong (database corruption, missing backups, disaster recovery, etc.):

Enterprise Quality System Administration with Audit Logs and Email Alerts

Total Visual Agent has provided an Enterprise Quality solution for almost 20 years by giving organizations a reliable way to perform their critical tasks on a 24/7, 365 days a year basis. A detailed audit log documents each action that is performed, and sends emails if errors are encountered.

Schedule Events, Databases, and Actions to Perform

Total Visual Agent automates and schedules Microsoft Access tasks. It ensures repetitive tasks are completed reliably. Tasks such as database compact and repair, zipped backups, rolling backups (e.g. 7 copies for each day of the week), running macros, running Windows command lines, making copies of table data, collecting database statistics such as size and record counts, etc. Easily schedule tasks for the middle of the night and know they’ll be completed.

Events can be scheduled every X minutes, hourly, daily, weekly, monthly or just one time. You can specify the days of week and time periods that it runs to limit processing to off-hours. Select the databases and directories (including subdirectories) to manage with support for workgroup security and database passwords.

Includes a Windows Service for Secure Processing and Reliability

Once defined, the events and tasks can be run by our Monitor program that is a standard Windows program.

Alternatively, Total Visual Agent includes a Windows Service, so you can run your tasks without having anyone logged on the machine. The Windows service is a more secure, robust solution since it can automatically restart if the machine reboots.

New Features in the 2013 Version

A huge number of new features were added in this 2013 release from the previous 2007 version:

  • Microsoft Access 2013Support for Microsoft Access 2013 and 2010, plus 2007
  • Support for 64 bit Operating Systems
  • Simplified Startup and Easier Management of Multiple Microsoft Access Versions
  • Import Settings from Multiple Versions of Total Visual Agent
  • Test All Actions for an Event, Database, Directory or Task Group
  • Create Events that Run Every X Minutes
  • Create Events that are Limited to Periods Spanning Midnight
  • Process Directories with Managed Databases
  • Data Extract Tables are Keyed
  • Run Macros for Database Password Protected Databases
  • Pause for a Fractional Minute
  • Compressed Archive File Names Support Multiple Extensions
  • More Detailed Activity History Log with Deletions
  • More Detailed Database Statistics with Deletions
  • Add Your Comments to Events, Directories, and Actions
  • Simplified Addition of New Actions
  • More Modern and Improved User Interface
  • New User Manual and Help File

For complete list, visit: New Features in Total Visual Agent 2013

Download a Free Trial Version

A fully functional trial version is available for download so you can run it on your system with your databases

Contact Us

  • Visit our Support Site if you would like to submit any questions to our technical support team.
  • Place an order online. Existing customers can upgrade at a discounted price.
Jun 24

Microsoft Access Database System Administration

Many people deploy Microsoft Access database applications and neglect to provide the system administration necessary to properly support and maintain them over time. This becomes critical as the data it contains grows and becomes mission critical. Often, when something goes wrong, IT “professionals” are brought in to discover basic system administration are not in place. Rather than blaming the people involved, the Microsoft Access technology is considered at fault. We can do better.

Here’s a response I recently provided related to this issue:

First, I hope you have a disaster recovery plan in place. You may want to read my paper for what we consider best practices:Creating a Backup and Disaster Recovery Plan for Microsoft Access Database Applications.

Second, Access/Jet databases need to be periodically compacted to minimize corruption and bloat, and for optimal performance. The back-end database with the data is what needs to be compacted. You can do that manually. We created a commercial program Total Visual Agent: that does it on a schedule with auditing and email notification if something goes wrong.

Third, if you are experiencing corruption after regular database maintenance, it’s often caused by a suspect connection/user who disconnects in an improper manner. That can be very difficult to detect and replicate. We have a commercial product, Total Access Admin, that monitors the people going in and out of an Access database, logs that activity, and flags the people who exit improperly. If it’s happening with the same person, there may be a hardware or network problem causing the corruption.

Finally, it may be possible that the corruption and performance problems are due to the front-end application. Bad code and techniques, corrupt objects, and other issues may be causing crashes and problems that lead to corruption. We address this in a few ways:

  1. We adopt, implement, and detect/fix deviations recommended by Total Access Analyzer: Microsoft Access Best Practices Techniques
  2. We implement global error handling that records crashes by users to text files so we have evidence of what failed. In addition to the procedure call stack, current procedure, error number and description, we also want the line number: http://www.fmsinc.com/free/NewTips/VBA/ErrorHandling/LineNumber.html This makes it significantly easier and quicker to reproduce and fix bugs.

Overall, it’s about having a solid and repeatable process and checklist in place that evolves over time as new experiences are encountered.

Jun 13

Small Business Disaster Recovery Planning Article

Here's an article by FMS President Luke Chung that was recently published on the Entrepreneurs' Organization, Washington DC web site discussing the need of small business owners to Create a Backup and Disaster Recovery Plan for Your IT System. Luke has been a member of EO for over a decade and previously served as the Washington DC chapter president.

The article covers our experiences working with people running small to medium sized organizations, and the challenges they face to address business process continuation issues. An overview of the basic steps are covered.

Overview

As someone running a small organization, it’s easy to be consumed by day-to-day needs and neglect the importance of disaster recovery. Not only is it awful to think about, it requires detailed planning and thought to implement properly. Over the years, we’ve seen organizations run into problems because of inadequate planning and testing, so here are some pointers we’ve learned.

Disasters Happen

Unfortunately, bad things happen. You may have business insurance to pay for replacing your hardware, but for most organizations the value is in the data. Customer lists and purchase histories, accounting, inventory, operational reports and processes, management decision making systems, and even simple Word and Excel files can be critical to the success of your organization. Making sure these are accessible in the event of an emergency is worth considering before a disaster strikes.

Disasters can be on many levels. Certainly, there’s the chance of your whole building burning down but the more common situation is hardware failure or human error. All hardware eventually dies and a hard disk containing critical corporate information could just fail. Similarly, someone could make a mistake and accidentally delete data or files that need to be recovered. It may not threaten the whole organization but could be expensive and time consuming to recover.

Full Article

For Microsoft Access applications in particular, read our related article:  Creating a Backup and Disaster Recovery Plan for Microsoft Access Database Applications 

Feb 15

Luke Chung Speaking at Portland Access User Group Conference in May

FMS President Luke Chung will be attending and speaking at the three day Microsoft Access conference sponsored by the Portland Oregon Access User Group.  Join him and other guest speakers including Alison Balter from InfoTech Services Group Inc., Armen Stein from J Street Technology, and Kevin Bell from Microsoft.

Luke will be speaking on the following topics:

  • FMS Products for Microsoft Access Developers and How they Make You Money
  • Microsoft Access and Azure: Working in the Cloud
  • Microsoft Access Disaster Recovery Plans

For complete details visit PAUG 2011 Database Designer Conference and see you there May 14-16

Jan 12

Microsoft Access Database Compact and Repair to Minimize Corruption and Avoid Bloat (by Access Version)

File server databases like Access/JET MDB and ACCDB files need to be periodically compacted and repaired for optimal performance and to minimize database corruption. This also eliminates database bloat that can occur as data is added and deleted in the database. Here's a Microsoft Knowledgebase article that discusses some of the issues.

Microsoft Access databases can be manually compacted from the Access menu. Unfortunately, over the last few versions of Access, the location of this command has moved around driving Access many users and developers crazy. Read this paper for how performing this critical system administration task across all versions of Access:

Microsoft Access Database Compact and Repair to Minimize Corruption and Avoid Bloat (by Access Version)

 

Jan 12

Create a Backup and Disaster Recovery Plan for Microsoft Access Database Applications

Microsoft Access Backup Disaster Recovery Plan

If you create or take over a Microsoft Access application from someone else, you become responsible for the data in addition to the application and its queries, forms, reports, macros, and module code. Unanticipated disasters can occur, so it's important to prepare before they happen. The amount of effort and investment to spend for disaster recovery varies with the value of the application, but some basics apply to all applications.

A Disaster Recovery Plan is much more than making backups of your database. And if your backups are on the same machine and/or hard disk as your production database, that doesn't qualify. 

Read our paper on Creating a Backup and Disaster Recovery Plan for Microsoft Access Database Applications  for ways to limit your risk and headaches, while providing a professional solution for your end-users, boss, and clients.

Jul 15

Total Visual Agent 2007 is Shipping

Total Visual Agent is the system administration tool for professionally maintaining your Microsoft Access databases. Our seventh major release, Total Visual Agent 2007 is now shipping with full support for Access 2007 including the Access 2007 ACCDB database format. It incorporates many new features including improved support of Windows NT Service options, ADPs, and a more modern user interface.

Microsoft Access Jet Databases (MDB and ACCDB formats) need to be periodically compacted and repaired for optimal performance (visit the Microsoft site for keeping Jet databases working in top condition for more information). You also need to make regular backups or multiple backups for disaster recovery. Schedule these database chores, manage entire folders or disk drives, and ensure tasks are executed consistently and audited. If something goes wrong, Total Visual Agent can actually send you an email. You can also schedule your own tasks such as running a macro in a database, which can perform all sorts of work such as printing reports, downloads, file transfers, and other processes you want on a regular basis. Tasks can be run monthly, weekly, daily, hourly, or just one time. Schedule your tasks and confidently know they'll be executed according to your plan.