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Not really hacking related, but kind of urgent!

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oyle

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Post Thu Jul 12, 2007 9:43 am

Not really hacking related, but kind of urgent!

OK, I got a phone call yesterday from a recruiter, a local company had a server crash, could I go and take a look? "Sure", I said. (I didn't have anything else to do except deposit a measly $32.00 paycheck in my bank).

So I said about an hour. "No problem, thanks very much", they said. I get there, and it's a physical therapy office; they have weight machines, exercise balls, etc.

SO the application runs on the server, the two client machines run off that. This is an XP HOME environment.

The server runs the application, "VPTOS", and the clients run "CPTOS". The pyhsical therapy software runs FoxPro databases, seems in the server crash, the main db was corrupted. They SAID they backed up the good database onto a USB drive. Sure hope so.

There are Shared drives, Network drive is M:, and there is a network drive Y: that appears to be non-existent.

I discovered that the one client computer I was working on (I haven't touched the second client computer yet) was not in the same workgroup. I fixed that.

Admin password is the same as the user name. So is each user password, the same as uname.

Tech support from PTOS says the key to the clients seeing the server is the access rights. The clients have to have full access rights.

So I rebooted into safe mode, ran msconfig, and checked the perms. They all said "Full Control", but I want to make sure I'm not confusing access rights with NTFS permissions.

When you run the app from the client, it comes up asking for the Foxpro database, says the Run1 file has to be updated. It'ss supposed to find the DATAPT.DBF file, and I tried pathing to it, but it didn't work.

I have to go back there tomorrow;I recommended that we just re-install the whole software package and then just update it. They have it installed in several locations, on the server C: drive, and on the M:drive.

What's the best way for me to optimize this? Application website: http://www.ptos.com

I've never worked with this software before, never worked with FoxPro before. But this is how you learn. I've kinda been pre-occupied elsewhere, know what I mean? This is the first place I come to for help. Haven't had to monkey around with access rights under XP Home, all my machines at home are XP Pro.

I question the use of XP Home in a business, but the business owner set it up, and she's a physical therapist, not a computer person. I hate going in and cleaning up after someone else has been in there. They told me today they were thinking of calling in Geek Squad from Best Buy. I doubt they could handle it. I doubt that I can handle it. They originally offered me $35.00/hr, I'm going to have to go down on that. The app they had running on the server stopped working yesterday after I did a sytem restore back to July 3rd. I plan on going back there today to undo that system restore.

Any suggestions?

Thanks a lot, guys!!
MCP, MCP+I, MCSA, MCSE(NT4/W2K), CCNA, CCA, NWCCC, VH-PIRTS, CEH
--------------------
"hackers are like jedi, crackers are like the sith: do not fall prey to the dark side".

From 1337 h4x0r h4ndb00k: "the ten laws of geek", law x
                  -Tapeworm
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What90

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Post Thu Jul 12, 2007 10:36 am

Re: Not really hacking related, but kind of urgent!

Oyle,

Get a backup of everything first - all personal stuff like favourites, My documents, all office documents and personal stuff and burn it to cd/dvd to be safe.

Couple of questions:
Did the support tech know the network was a bunch of XP home machines?
Do you have copy of the database off the good USB backup?
Do you have an XP Pro machine you can test installing the FoxPro database software on?

I’d try to drop a copy of the FoxPro on a good machine and attempt to restore the database from the good backup. If you get that working, make a backup of that database to cd and show it to the client, so she can check it.
Unless the “server” has more than two physical disks, it won’t matter which drive letter the FoxPro db goes on. I’d get rid of the multiple copies and just pick one location.

Once you have a working copy of the FoxPro system, then you can talk about cleaning up the “network”. as the database working is their number one issue.
XP Home is for home systems, not for businesses, but it’ll come down to money at the end of the day.

A clean rebuild of the systems might be the best way for them to go, as long as they have all the right install cd’s!

Hope that’s some help.
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don

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Post Thu Jul 12, 2007 10:45 am

Re: Not really hacking related, but kind of urgent!

Barring the fact that they are running a business on home OSs, horrible password usage, etc. etc., the bottom line issue is that the client can run the CPTOS, but when it tries to connect to the share on the server where the FoxPro DB resides, it can't find it.

I'm not sure what Run1 is, but do I have that correct so far?

What OS is the supposed server running? I'm assuming it's not Server 2003, but probably WinXP Home like the other machines. If the latter, then your security settings are more limited. Check them by right clicking the shared folder and going to the Security Tab. Also make sure that the files that the client machines are looking for actually reside on the server and are still shared.

Do the clients connect to the share using \\server\share or does it use M:\share? Can you browse to the share where the DB is stored on the server using Windows Explorer instead of CPTOS? If so, then double-check to make sure all the names and mappings are still correct.

2 recommendations:

1. Use the company that makes PTOS as your foundation for support. From what I gather, everything else seems to work OK such as the their office suite of choice, getting online, etc. The only problem is the PTOS. So tell the client that you will work with the company and basically be the technical liaison, because you can talk tech to them whereas the client cannot. If the DB is really corrupted, FoxPro has some built-in repair tools you can use. But since they programmed it, make them walk you through the repair process.
2. Since there are multiple problems at this site, offer to help them upgrade the OSs, get their password policies in place, blah blah blah. Overall, they'll probably get everything accomplished through you at the same price that they would pay the Geek Squad for just fixing the PTOS issue. That ends up being a few hundred bucks in your pocket.

Hope this helps,
Don
CISSP, MCSE, CSTA, Security+ SME
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oyle

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Post Thu Jul 12, 2007 11:45 am

Re: Not really hacking related, but kind of urgent!

OK, I'm here now in the office.

ALL three machines are XP Home. "Server" is XP Home, the only two clients are both XP Home. Clients are popping ballons that this version of XP is no longer up to date, click here to upgrade.

Manager ran the System Restore Undo this morning before I got here, the VPTOS working edition was restored, that works now. that's on the server, they don't want me to touch that, and I'm not.

I'm waiting to hear from the tech support guy; they put in a call to him, waiting to hear back.

They have Roxio CD burning software installed on the clients. I need to ask the tech guy where the Visual FoxPro database file DATAPT.DBF goes, and if it's the same for both server and clients. Don't see the DATAPT.DBF on the VPTOS on Manager share, but there are DATAPT.DBC, .DCX, .DCT, located in M:\VPTOS (network drive).

"Access Rights": Went into Safe Mode with Networking on clients; NTFS permissions were NOT set for Admin and Users: I clicked on Full Control, so permissions should now be OK.

Network drive is drive M:; on this client computer I'm on now, it shows as "vptos on manager M:"; Also "Documents on Manager Y:" and "Documents on Computer2 Z:".

Server name is Manager; then "Computer1" and "Computer2".

Client CAN run CPTOS, but it can't find the db file. Prompt from CPTOS software that Run1 and Transaction files need to be updated. Then error messages, "Cannot find field Fname, Lname", while CPTOS is booting. Clients apparently conect through \\server\share. I CAN browse to where the DB is stored, but I'm unsure where it's supposed to go.  THEY DO HAVE a WORKING, GOOD copy of the DB on a USB drive, thank goodness.

Yes Don, what you have so far IS correct. Pretty bad, huh? Can I pick 'em, or what? 

Not really sure backups are needed at this point in time; the only thing they're having problems with is the PTOS software. If I upgrade them to XP Pro, I'll do backups then. I've been pestering them to find the install disk for PTOS; they THINK they have it somewhere, but the version they using now (3.5) is a later one than the install disk, they must have updated it from the website.

I don't know if tech support knows they're runnning XP home, but when I talk to him when he calls back, I'll sure tell him.

I have MY notebook with me, which is XP Pro, but I don't have Visual FoxPro installed on it; never had a need for it. Testing the DB on my machine is not an option.

The "Server" is a PowerSpec; my local computer store, Micro-Center carries PowerSpec as their house brand.
Last edited by oyle on Thu Jul 12, 2007 11:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
MCP, MCP+I, MCSA, MCSE(NT4/W2K), CCNA, CCA, NWCCC, VH-PIRTS, CEH
--------------------
"hackers are like jedi, crackers are like the sith: do not fall prey to the dark side".

From 1337 h4x0r h4ndb00k: "the ten laws of geek", law x
                  -Tapeworm
<<

oyle

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Post Thu Jul 12, 2007 7:27 pm

Re: Not really hacking related, but kind of urgent!

The job is over: I was only there today a little over an hour. I think they were getting antsy about having to pay me the $35.00/hr we agreed upon. I told them I could be flexible; That's part of what I offer my "customers" is adjustable pricing. I told them we could do what they thought was fair. I have to send them an invoice.

I didn't see a Foxpro version number, All I saw in a window titlebar was MS Visual FoxPro. Most likely part of Visual Studio, that's fairly recent, no?

I DON"T have Foxpro on my machine; I've never had a need for it. I do have Access somewhere, if I ever want/need to do a db, I would probably use Access.

They had two versions of the DB; the older one, created in 2005, I think, was approx. 1.84GB, or thereabouts. The other DB, which was dated newer than that one, was approx. 487 MB. I;m pretty sure that was the one that was corrupted when the server failed.

I did a System Restore in the server yesterday, restoring the server back to a  July 3 checkpoint. Doing this removed the icon for the working copy of the db on the server, and caused much concern. I was talking to the company on the phone this morning before I got there, I told them that the System Restore can be undone. They went ahead and did that before I got there, the DB was restored to working order, BEFORE I got there, ON the server, so I didn't touch the server at all today.

The clients were NOT set up for full access. I went into Safe Mode on each client, right clicked on the CPTOS folder, and set Full Control for each user. Creator/Owner would not maintain Full Control perms, I didn't press the issue. I made sure the Admin and Computer1/Computer2 accounts had full access, rebooted back into normal mode. I'm just not sure about if "rights" on an XP Home box is actually NTFS perms or not. I don't really use XP Home here at home, I use XP Pro.

On my way out the door, I told them, just for fun, they could call up Geek Squad and get an estimate, and I'll do it for half. I apologized to the manager yesterday for taking so long; I was there approx. 4 hrs. I told her that I was coming into the situation after someone else was already in there, and I had to see what was going on. She said she understood. "Damage Control", it's called. I still harped on them that they should not be using XP Home. But the entire network is ONLY 3 boxes.

You may think I'm undercutting myself financially here. Maybe so, but the only way I'm going to make any money in computers is to get in somewhere fulltime. Low prices [supposedly] brings in customers, and Word-of-mouth.

Thanks for all yor help.
Last edited by oyle on Thu Jul 12, 2007 7:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
MCP, MCP+I, MCSA, MCSE(NT4/W2K), CCNA, CCA, NWCCC, VH-PIRTS, CEH
--------------------
"hackers are like jedi, crackers are like the sith: do not fall prey to the dark side".

From 1337 h4x0r h4ndb00k: "the ten laws of geek", law x
                  -Tapeworm
<<

What90

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Location: Syndey, Australia

Post Fri Jul 13, 2007 7:36 am

Re: Not really hacking related, but kind of urgent!

Oyle,

You went in to an unknown environment, figured out what to do, then got the job done. That’s the important part.

Small clients (the mom and pop shops) tend to think that you should be able to do everything for next to nothing and in two minutes.

Put it down to experience and don’t worry about the money.
It's always useful to drop in this kind of pressured situation when taking a future interview, proving that you know more that how to deal with the tech side.
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BiotiC

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Post Wed Jul 18, 2007 6:22 am

Re: Not really hacking related, but kind of urgent!

Oyle, Firstly well done on nailing the problem.

Secondly,
Oyle wrote:You may think I'm undercutting myself financially here. Maybe so, but the only way I'm going to make any money in computers is to get in somewhere fulltime. Low prices [supposedly] brings in customers, and Word-of-mouth.


My dad gave me some sagely advice once when I was deliberating what to charge a client, he said "Men who work for nothing and women who do it for nothing will always be busy and poor."

What90: Small clients (the mom and pop shops) tend to think that you should be able to do everything for next to nothing and in two minutes.
Too true - and once they've got you to do one job for next to nothing they'll expect the same every time with the added bonus that everything that goes wrong with their system from here on in will be your fault ! Oh the joys of being an IT whiz  ::)

My advice would be to stay away from mom and pop shops and try and target small companies with around 10 pc's. They're not big enough to employ someone full time but are obviously at a size where they realise their dependency on IT and have the financial resources not to query a $35 an hour charge (or greater  ;) ). Don't sell yourself short.

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