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Maintaining Database Reliability and Performance


Troubleshooting Guide

Multi-user databases such as the PRS rely on the proper functioning of the shared database server, user workstations and the intervening network. If you are experiencing problems the first task is to figure out the source of the problem:

The problem is confined to a single workstation

Skip to the next section if the problem occurs on all workstations.

First check the PRS Shared data folder and Documents folder locations match the other workstation (you’ll find these options on the File Locations page of the Tools→Options menu command dialog). If the file locations are OK you should fully reinstall the PRS Runtime and the PRS Client:

If this does not resolve your problem then the problem is external to the PRS, in other words: there is a

The problem occurs on all PRS Client workstations

  • If the problem is sluggish performance you should read the section on Performance.

  • If you are getting Disk or network errors error messages then you really do have disk or network problems and should consult your system administrator.

  • If necessary compact and repair your database.

How to compact and repair your PRS database

To ensure your shared shared PRS database contains no inconsistencies run a compact and repair over the data. Here’s how:

  1. Ask all users to close the PRS.

  2. Open the PRS Monitor program — you will find it in the Programs section of the Windows Start Menu under PRS 2000 (it’s called PRS Monitor and has a binoculars icon).

  3. When the PRS Monitor opens check there are no Computer names listed — if you do see computer names listed and everyone really has closed the PRS then you’ll need to kill the orphaned database locks using the the PRS Monitor Tools→Kill Database Locks menu command.

  4. Run the PRS Monitor File→Compact and Backup Database menu command. Depending on the size of your database this command may take a few minutes to complete (don’t worry though, it will tell you when it’s finished).

If the PRS Monitor Compact and Backup Database command does not fix the problem use the PRS Monitor to rebuild the database with the Tools→Rebuild Database menu command. This takes longer than a compact and backup but it completely rebuilds the database files. To rebuild your shared PRS database:

  1. Log off all PRS users.

  2. Open the PRS Monitor (Start→Programs→PRS 2000→PRS Monitor).

  3. Run the PRSMon Tools→Rebuild Database… command.

  4. When prompted for the rebuild number enter the version number of your database (the shared data version number displayed by the PRS Help→About PRS menu command).

  5. Wait until the the PRS Monitor tells you it’s finished before logging back on to the PRS.

If you still have a corrupt database check out How to troubleshoot and repair a damaged Jet 4.0 database in Access 2000 on the Microsoft website.

Still not sorted?

If you’ve been through the above checklist and your problem still persists check out our Support page — it explains how to send us a problem report.

Steps to maintain database reliability

Steps you can take to avoid data errors and data corruption include:

  • Don’t unplug network cables, press the PC reset button or turn off the PC power while the PRS is open.

  • Fatal system errors almost always cause abnormal termination. If your computer is prone to fatal errors, you should resolve the source of the errors.

  • Compact the database regularly using the PRS Monitor program (PRSMon).

  • Do not attempt to open the PRS shared database with other applications — use a copy instead (run the PRS Monitor File→Make Offline Copy menu command to create a copy).

  • Turn off anti-virus background scanning of the shared PRS database.

  • Use robust, reliable hardware — database application reliability is only as good as file server and network. Databases are more network intensive than other applications, consequently intermittent hardware problems are much more likely to show up in database applications such as the PRS.

  • Disable opportunistic locking on all PRS client PCs or the server hosting the PRS shared database.

In addition you should also:

  • Verify that the latest operating system service pack is installed.

  • Verify that the latest Microsoft Jet Service Pack is installed on all clients (the PRS client install should ensure the correct service pack is installed).


PRS performance is primarily determined by:

  • The speed of the PC running the PRS Client (the PC you work from).

  • The performance of your local area network that connects the PRS client to your shared PRS database.

  • Other programs that may be hogging the PC and network resources.

The speed of you client PC will have a major impact on performance, aim for a 2.8GHz Pentium processor and 1GB RAM.

Use a 100Mbps or 1GBps wired local area network. Wireless networks do work but can be problematic — the actual throughput of a wireless network is typically a less than a third the advertised theoretical speed and slows even further when more wireless users are in the general vicinity. As with any radio system wireless networks are subject to interference which will generate network errors. As a general rule a wired Ethernet local area network will always outperform a wireless network.

The PRS works on peer-to-peer networks, but there are performance implications, especially when there are more than justs a few users (here’s what Microsoft has to say).

Make sure your PC anti-virus software does not scan PRS related files every time they are accessed. This anti-virus feature (sometimes called on access scanning) will not only result in severe database and document indexer performance losses but can also result in database corruption and document indexer errors. The following folders should be excluded from on access scanning:

  • The PRS shared data folder (containing the shared PRS database).

  • The PRS shared documents folder (containing the document indexes).

  • The PRS Client application folder (normally C:\Program Files\prs2k).

Opportunistic Locking

The PRS Client installer has an option to disable client oplocks on Windows workstations — you should select this option when installing the PRS Client.

We also recommend that you disable opportunistic on the server that hosts the PRS shared database. See Configuring opportunistic locking in Windows.

Explanation of the oplocks problem

There is a well known issue when running applications on a Windows workstation computer that can affect any application attempting to access shared database files across a network. This is a result of a default setting configured in the Windows operating system. When a workstation attempts to access shared data files located on another Windows computer, the Windows operating system will attempt to increase performance by locking the files and caching information locally. When this occurs, the application is unable to properly function, which can result in database errors or even database corruption.

The oplocks problem affects all file based multi-user database applications and is not peculiar to the PRS.

A more detailed explanation of the oplocks problem can be found at http://www.samba.org/samba/docs/man/Samba-HOWTO-Collection/locking.html.