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Taming your USER.DAT files

Supplier: Manufacturing Software
22 April, 2008

ManuSoft System Administrators should already be aware that it is important that every user on the network is assigned a unique ManuSoft User Number for the system to operate correctly.

If two users are given the same User Number then it is quite easy for the Record Locking System to fail, and it is this system that prevents simultaneous operations being performed on the same data inappropriately.

Thus it is always a good idea to keep close tabs on which users have been given which numbers, and to always be careful when adding new users to your network.

We have often recommended that you occasionally perform a complete audit of ManuSoft User Numbers on your network, by visiting each user in turn and going into the "User Information" menu option under "System Maintenance" to check precisely what number they have been assigned. (Simply relying on the "Review/Reset Locks" display, which lists all the users and what program they are in, is not sufficient!)

For our larger clients doing such an audit is obviously a fairly tedious task, since there are so many users/computers to visit. To help in these situations I have developed a new Excel spread sheet, UserScan.XLS, and uploaded it to the "Miscellaneous Files" section of the ManuSoft Support Site.

This spread sheet contains a macro which when run will seek out your USER.DAT files before displaying in the spread sheet the results of its search, which you can then sort in the normal way, making it easy to spot duplicate of missing User Numbers. Too easy!

Some notes on using this spread sheet:

  1. The spread sheet can only work if your USER.DAT files are all being stored on the sever, not if they're on the local (C:) hard drives on each computer. Sorry.
  2. When first opening the spread sheet make sure you read the security prompts and enable the macro stored in the spread sheet, otherwise things won't get very far.
  3. When you click the "Start" button you will be prompted for a starting directory. You should be able to type in a "UNC Path" pointing to your user folders.For example, you have a folder (called "Users") shared out on your server (called "Server"). In that folder there is a folder for each login on the network (JimR, MichaelH, etc.) and in those folders you will find the ManuSoft USER.DAT file. Your server login script maps the drive letter H:, say, to each user's unique "home" folder, so your ManuSoft set up therefore is configured with either "H:\", or "H:\User\" as the "User Data File" directory in the System Installation routine.However, when you run the macro in the spread sheet you must enter "\\Server\Users" when prompted for the starting folder for the seach, not "H:\".Alternatively, if you are actually running the spread sheet on the server directly, then you may be able to enter the "real" name of the folder. For example, your "Users" share is in fact located in "D:\Data\Users", so when you run the spread sheet (on the server) you can enter "D:\Data\Users" as the starting folder.
  4. All sub-folders of the folder you specify are searched, including sub-folders of sub-folders. This may take some time! The Status Bar in Excel should show you which folder it is currently searching, so you can monitor the macro's progress.
  5. Depending on the security permissions set on your user folders you may need to be logged in as an Administrator for the macro to have sufficient privledges to go searching for those files.

I hope the "power users" out there find this useful. Let me know if there are any further enhancements you'd like to see made to this routine.