Dealing with Lost Data

Last edited 2008-03-04 by Ron Lawrence

/!\ This article was written for for Microsoft Windows ME/98/95, and contains information which may not be relevant to using Publishers' Assistant on a later version of Windows.

Sometimes when an error condition occurs and Publishers' Assistant is abnormally shut down, the whole session's data is lost.

There are really two issues here. The first is that there was an abnormal shutdown in the first place. The second is that all the data you just entered was lost. Both of these may actually be caused by the same thing.




First of all, it's worth saying that there is nothing in the programming of Publishers' Assistant that should cause you to lose more than a single record, even in the event of an abnormal shutdown. If multiple records are lost (e.g. multiple invoices) then some other factor is at work on your machine.

Publishers' Assistant is developed using Visual Foxpro. Foxpro is a relatively resource hungry program, and if resources are tight on a system, Windows doesn't seem to handle it very well, and the following error message is often presented just prior to shutting down your application:


Other programs running in memory

There are a number of programs that come installed on new Windows-based computers these days. Anti-Virus software is chief among them. Unfortunately, by their very nature, these programs seem to conflict with Foxpro. Even though most new computers now come with 64Mb of RAM, they also come loaded with several programs which will take up lots of that memory. Since you, the user, never loaded these programs, often you don't even know that they are running.

In order to see a list of the programs you currently have running in memory, type CTRL+ALT+DEL to display the "Close Program" window on your system.

Every line displayed in the box is another program running in memory. There are many programs associated with Windows that are intended to improve the performance of your machine, but you should know that the ONLY two programs that are necessary for your system to function are "Explorer" and "Systray". All other programs are extraneous.

To make matters worse, some software buffers your data before it is written to your hard drive. Anti-virus software and programs like Norton Crash Guard and Anti-Freeze do this. The idea is that if something goes wrong, then your data is protected. Unfortunately, if your whole session has been buffered and something goes wrong, then you lose everthing!

We have seen this behavior on machines that are running Norton Crash Guard and Anti-Freeze, Norton Anti-Virus and ?McAffee Anti-virus software. There are likely to be other programs that will have a similar effect. Understanding these programs in detail and tweaking the settings may allow you to run them while running Publishers' Assistant without a problem. But we are not experts in the use of these programs, so we can't recommend a specific solution other than removing them.



Our general recommendation is that you remove these programs from your system completely. Uninstall them to insure that they do not run and can not start up automatically without your knowledge. It's also a good practice to check out every program that appears in your "Close Programs" list to understand what it is. If it is not needed, remove it.

America Online has a handy list of "Common Known TSR's" (Terminate and Stay Resident programs) which you can review. The site is:

You can also research others at Microsoft's web site:

There is an excellent article on the Microsoft web site that lists potential causes to data corruption in Foxpro applications. These are all hardware and configuration issues.

Publishers' Assistant is going to be at the heart of your business, so it makes sense to dedicate some computing resources to it to make sure that it runs smoothly. There is no reason why you shouldn't run other programs on the same machine, but in a new installation, you may go through a period of trial and error before you understand which programs you can and can't run simultaneously to avoid problems with Windows.