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. This guide takes in account that you have followed and met the needed pre-reqs for installing OfficeMate such as security setup and hardware/software requirements.
Once you have installed the server (see Pre-regs and Server install) it is time to install the client software. There are a few things I have learned that are not covered in the official installation guide that have helped me through. I had a heck of a time on one of my first installs trying to upgrade the client software, and I found that when upgrading from OfficeMate version 8 to version 10 on client machines that it is often best to first Uninstall the previous version of OfficeMate, then freshly install version 10 (this is not necessary on the server if you are using it as a workstation or remote terminal server, all of my client upgrades worked fine on the servers).
Before installing version 10.5, first make sure you are using the latest version available (10.5.23 at the time of this writing – previous versions had a bad bug relating to insurance claim filing I am told). Also ensure that your workstations have at least Windows Installer version 4.5 or above – Windows 7/Server 2008R2 have version 5 installed by default which is fine. You also need to ensure that .Net Framework 3.5 SP1 is installed on each system. For XP, and Vista, check in your add remove programs, for Windows 7, check in Programs and Features > Turn Windows features on or off (it is part of Windows 7, but the feature might need to be activated).
Once you have the client pre-reqs installed, it is time to get ready to install OfficeMate 10.5 client – this will be the OM_Suite_Programs.exe file (unfortunately OfficeMate again did not properly make their install program and there is no real way to tell the version of the program from the installation file – checking the file details just shows a product name of InstallShield version 12 – fyi, this is a HUGE security issue as there is no way to tell if the file is legitimate prior to installing as it is not properly named, nor does it have a valid digital signature – complain to OfficeMate about this!). Prior to starting the installation, you will want to make sure that you have properly mapped your shared network drive for the OfficeMate Data folder as this will be needed during the installation. Before installing, also ensure that you have turned off your Antivirus and any screensavers. Although not required, I always right click on the installation file, and if there is an Unblock button I click that, I then right click on the install file again and select run as Administrator.
Once all of these things are done, follow the instructions in the official Upgrading to OfficeMate 10 pdf guide to start your installation.
The installation is pretty straight forward so I will just cover a few of the differences and issues I have run into during various (though not always all) installations.
Once OfficeMate 10.5 client is installed, you need to make sure it works! If you click on the OfficeMate link and nothing happens, go to your taskmanager and look for Login.exe (not omate.exe) – if that is running, but nothing is happening, then you need to first check your networked drive. If you can see all of the files in your network drive, but OfficeMate will not open, then you probably have a firewall issue on your server. Even though you can see the shared files on your server’s shared drive, the server firewall could be blocking the SQL ports which causes this problem. If this is the case, go to your server and turn off your firewall there, then recheck to see if you OfficeMate client will start (it probably will now). If this is the cause, you just need to check your SQL ports on the server and add a firewall rule for them, then turn your firewall back on and check again.
The client installations are fairly easy to accomplish once you have gotten everything set up properly such as the pre-reqs, mapped drives etc. I highly recommend downloading a copy of Windows Installer 4.5 and .Net Framework 3.5 SP1 to a shared folder on your server if you are doing many XP, Vista installations to save time. Also it is a good idea to follow a checklist for each workstation as you are installing so you don’t forget anything.
While the OfficeMate software definitely could use some tweaks to bring it up to standards, especially in the compilation of the installation files and having install file security digital signatures and proper names etc, the actual installation of version 10.5 seems to be a bit better than earlier updates and upgrades.
If you have any questions or issues, feel free to contact us via our contact information at http://pensacolacomputers.com
* 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.
After performing numerous OfficeMate version 10.5 installations and upgrades, I have found a few issues that I would like to share that may help ensure a successful installation or upgrade.
First: Make sure to read all the ‘official documentation’, being aware that there are some ommisions and some mistakes, but overall the procedures should be followed as closely as possible. Especially important is to ensure that you have setup Security Preferences and that at least one user has checkmarks next to “Access All” AND “Maintain User Security”.
Second: Ensure that you have full backups – I personally recommend having both a full SQL (or access) database backup, as well as a full backup of the OfficeMate Data directory. In addition, it is highly recommended to do a full server bare metal backup, or similar backup image in case you have a conversion/upgrade error and need to roll back the server.
Third: It is highly recommended to install SQL server express 2008 R2 if at all possible before upgrading or installing OfficeMate v 10.5 as this version has a 10GB database size limit as opposed to the 4 GB limit in the defualt installed SQL server express 2005. (If upgrading, do a SQL upgrade from 2005 to 2008 R2). Also, if you are using an Access Database, ensure you backup your database BEFORE running the Repair utility.
When downloading the upgrade software there are a couple of things you should do which are not mentioned in the ‘official’ documentation: If using IE9 or other browser with security, you may get a warning regarding the OfficeMate installation files, unfortunately there is no way to verify the authenticity of the files - for some reason, OfficeMate did not digitally sign their installation files (in my opinion this is a serious security issue as there is no way to verify the authenticity of the installation files – as it is, the files have a Product name of Install Shield and copyright from Macrovision – the maker of the install packager they used) – most legitimate software makers digitally sign their installation packages to ensure their customers of the authenticity of the files. When I downloaded the files, they appear to be hosted on an Amazon server instead of directly from OfficeMate.net.
Once the files are downloaded you will need to right click on them, select properties, then click the ‘Unblock’ button. Also, when installing, when using Windows 7, Vista, Server 2008 (R2), right click on the installation file and select run as Administrator to ensure a smooth install.
Before installing there are still a few other issues to deal with such as User Account control, and firewalls, and proper configuration of your SQL database.
The user account section of the installation instructions is not quite complete or clear as with Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 there is no “Use User Account Control (UAC) to help protect your computer” checkbox, instead there is a slider which you can set down to the “Never notify” position. **NOTE: unfortunately, turning off UAC on a workstation that is connected to the internet is not usually a good idea as the whole reason for UAC is to help PROTECT your computer from unauthorized changes and is a major defense against viruses and malware being installed (if OfficeMate had followed best practices guidelines for Windows Security, they probably could have programmed their software to not conflict so much with UAC).
Firewalls: If your systems are using an active firewall you may have to set some custom permissions to allow OfficeMate to function properly on your network – if you install OfficeMate and are having difficulty connecting to the SQL server, disable your firewall – if you are then able to connect, you will need to adjust your firewall settings to allow OfficeMate – as many firewalls have different ways of doing things, you will have to check the documentation of your firewall for how to do this.
If you are upgrading your SQL server to 2008 R2 Express, or you are moving your SQL database from one server to another, make sure you follow the instructions for OfficeMate SQL server installation – you can find a guide here ffor Reinstalling SQL server: http://www.officemate.net/omkb/Article.aspx?id=21190 - a couple things to note here: make sure that you enable named pipes and TCP/IP ports via the SQL Server Configuration Manager or you will not be able to connect from a client machine, also, I personally prefer to use the backup and restore method when moving a database rather than the detach and attach database method and have not had any problem doing it that way (there is issues with doing it each way – you decide which is best for you). Also make sure that you don’t forget to create the OM_USER using the link provided in the above instructions once you have your database restored or reattached to the new SQL installation/instance.
In Part 2 of the Guide, I will cover the installation procedures and how to deal with some of the issues I have run into.
OfficeMate is an eyecare practice management software used by a large number of area eyecare offices. I have been working with OfficeMate software installations and upgrades for the past 6 years and have done quite a few new installations, upgrades and conversions. Just recently released, OfficeMate version 10.5 has been certified as a Complete EHR cy CCHIT and is part of what is needed to achieve the ‘meaningful use’ neccessary to receive federal stimulus money.
OfficeMate has had quite a history with version 10, and its release date has been changed quite a few times, and in addition its hardware requirements have also changed massively since even last July: http://web.archive.org/web/20110723232816/http://www.officemate.net/officemate_sys_req.aspx
In July, there were minimum requirements for workstations an Intel PentiumE5800 or better, and minimum Dedicated Database Server requirements of a Quad Core Xeon 3100, 4 GB RAM and a 250 GB SATA 7200 RMP Hard drive (no Raid). Since that time, OfficeMate has radically changed its requirements, they eliminated the minimum requirements and instead made the new minumum what was previously the ‘recommended’: http://www.officemate.net/officemate_sys_req.aspx
What these official changes in hardware requirements mean to the average practice is quite a bit of money $$$$, and pity any practice that based their hardware on the previous requirements (not really, but officially according to OfficeMate). The new workstations have a minimum requirement of a Core2 E8400 processor which is a bit heftier requirement than a Pentium E5800, but where the big difference lies is in the server requirements – the drive requirements change from a single SATA drive (about $100 or so for a good quality drive) to 3 15k SCSI or 10k Enterprise SATA drives which means about $750 for the drives, another $200 or so for the needed RAID controller card, plus another $100 or so for the needed power supply upgrades. This of course assumes you don’t need extra imaging storage which would of course raise the price substantially more.
Now OfficeMate information states: Failure to meet hardware and system requirements may lead to an unsuccessful upgrade, including the inability to install or run v10.5 on your computers in your office.
The Upgrade guide actually states: “You will not be able to install the software on computers that do not meet the stated requirements” – somewhat false, basically for the server, if you have 4GB of RAM, regardless of anything else, it should install. I actually installed the server version on a $400 i3 single hard drive system with 4 GB of RAM that I bought from Office Depot to use as a test and it installed fine (I wouldn’t recommend using it for more than a few clients, but it did install) – in addition I have installed it successfully on a number of Virtual machines using 4 GB of RAM and as little as a single core of processing power. I also installed the client software on a number of older Pentium 4 single core machines (purely as a test, I got it to install on a system with only 512MB of RAM and it actually ran no slower than version 8 had on that same machine).
**NOTE: I would of course advise coming as close to the stated requirements in order to have an optimum experience, but it should be noted that if you have hardware that is close, you ‘should’ be ok.
I have done a number of full start from scratch test installs as well as a number of ‘in production use’ upgrades for clients, and so far I have not had any complete failures, although there have been some issues with firewalls, one database conversion that failed on the first attempt (not really sure why, but it worked on the second attempt – thankfully I had a full server backup to roll everything back!). The official guides from OfficeMate are not completely accurate, nor do they deal with all the issues properly. My next post will detail the issues I have had, as well as steps to take to ensure a proper upgrade experience: OfficeMate version 10.5 Software upgrade and installation guide – dealing with real world OfficeMate installations and upgrades for hardware and software.
For questions, please contact: Pensacola Computers at http://pensacolacomputers.com
* Pensacola Computers is not officially connected to OfficeMate software in any way, and all opinions stated are my own observations.