Continuing with my posts on OfficeMate installations, I will go over some things I learned doing the actual installations. **Note: Make sure to follow the official OfficeMate guide, though be aware that the official guide has a few mistakes and is misleading in a few places as well.
First, ensure that your systems meet the software pre-requisites (for hardware requirements see my first post: OfficeMate v 10.5 Software Upgrade and Installation – First Impressions) A couple things to note on the software pre-requisites – you must have ‘at least’ Windows Installer 4.5 (version 5 is fine and the guide note is wrong in saying that Windows Installer 4.5 is included with Windows 7 – it is version 5 – I had someone call me and tell me that they were trying to install version 4.5 on Windows 7 because that is what the guide said it needed). Also, note that you must be running at least SP2 on XP to install v4.5 of the Installer (SP3 is recommended of course).
.Net Framework 3.5 SP1 must be installed on the server and each workstation – .Net Framework 3.5 SP1 is included in Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2, though you should make sure that it is enabled (once again, the official installation guide is wrong in how to do this in Windows 7, the correct way is to go to Control Panel>Programs> Turn Windows features on or off, and ensure that there is checkbox next to the .Net Framework 3.5) If you need to install .Net framework 3.5 SP1, be aware that the link that is supplied in the OfficeMate installation guide is the link to the bootstrapper file which will download the reset of the file from the internet – if you are installing on multiple systems, I recommend getting the full install file then sharing it out on the network – you can get the full installation file here: http://download.microsoft.com/download/2/0/e/20e90413-712f-438c-988e-fdaa79a8ac3d/dotnetfx35.exe .
Once you have all the pre-req’s you will need to get the installation files from OfficeMate. **Note: The OfficeMate installation files are NOT digitally signed and you might get a warning when downloading and trying to install that the publisher could not be identified – IMO this is a serious security breach and there is no reasonable excuse why they don’t digitally sign their files!
You will need to download both the server and workstation installation files. I highly recommend sharing out the workstation installation files and copying it to each workstation and running it locally – I do NOT recommend running over the network, nor do I recommend what the OM official guide states about running it from a USB flash drive or CD/DVD – either one of those can cause issues if the installation stalls due to IO errors on the device.
As OfficeMate states “Prior to upgrading to OfficeMate Suite 10.5, you must set up security preferences. Security is required in OfficeMate and ExamWRITER 10.5.” This is NOT an option and is required! Follow the guide in regards to how to do this.
Prior to installing OfficeMate, ensure you have a validated backup of your Access or SQL database – if you are currently using a SQL database and are using SQL Express 2005, I highly recommend upgrading to SQL Express 2008 R2 (this allows a larger database size as well as includes a number of other enhancements). Also, ensure that your Server is running the latest patches and upgraded from Microsoft prior to proceeding with the server install. I would highly recommend that you take a full financial and inventory report prior to doing the upgrade and then rerun the report after the upgrade and do a compare before you start using OfficeMate again.
From my prior experiences with OfficeMate upgrades, I would personally recommend doing a full server backup prior to attempting the upgrade (bare metal or image) just in case something goes wrong and you need to roll everything back. If you are using an Access Database, you need to run the Repair utility (usually in C:\Omate32\repair.exe) – this will help correct any potential errors in the database that could cause the upgrade to fail. Once that is done, or if you don’t need to do that, restart your server. After the restart, you should disable all antivirus and screen saver programs. Also make sure that UAC is disabled (another security risk – I can’t believe that these software companies don’t know how to write a program that doesn’t make you disable a Windows security feature). To disable UAC in Windows 7 or Server 2008 R2, go to Control Panel > User Accounts > Change User Account Control settings > put the slider to the Never notify position (once again the ‘official’ guide is wrong – there is NO checkbox – do these people even try to do an install following their own guides???).
Once all of this is done, navigate to where you have saved the OM_Server.exe file, right click on the file, select properties, and then click the button that says Unblock. Once that is done, right click on the file and select Run as Administrator (though this may not be required, it can help eliminate some potential causes for failures). At this point, follow the official guide’s instructions, however be aware that you may or may not see all the screens they say that you will depending upon the type of install/upgrade you are doing.
Depending on the size/type of database you are using, as well as the server hardware, the upgrade process could take anywhere from 30 minutes to many hours – you can see what the upgrade is doing, but don’t be alarmed if something appears to freeze or not move for a few minutes at a time. Make sure you stay at the computer until the actual OfficeMate upgrade starts just in case there is an error in the SQL install/update part.
In the next post I will go through the Client installation as well as service releases and patches.
Feel free to contact me through my contact info at: http://pensacolacomputers.com – leaving comments here could take me a while to get back to.
* Pensacola Computers is not officially connected to OfficeMate software in any way, and all opinions stated are my own observations and you may experience different results. This guide is meant only as a narrative of my own experiences and is current as of the date posted.
I have been working as an IT consultant with Optometrists that use OfficeMate for over 5 years and have installed OfficeMate numerous times for 7 different practices. I have successfully upgraded 4 practices in the past couple of months to OfficeMate 10.5 and am currently working on getting 4 more done in the coming weeks. Please feel free to contact me with any questions. Contact info is available at: http://pensacolacomputers.com