The Lien Writer™ Newsletter
Thursday, November 1st, 2018
USING LIEN WRITER® ON NETWORK SYSTEMS – IMPORTANT INFORMATION, DO NOT NEGLECT TO READ THIS ARTICLE!
Folks, many of you have chosen to setup your Lien Writer® systems on network drives so the information database is accessible to multiple users. We encourage this choice as networked users usually have their database automatically backed up by their server system, hence protecting their data against loss- you will never know how important your Lien Writer® data is until you have lost it!
While Lien Writer® does have a manual backup system available (see under File / Backup Data Files and File / Restore Data Files under the File Main Menu option) having the database on a server location just insures the database is automatically saved no matter what the users are doing.
But, some users have reported problems with their Lien Writer® database being backed up due to their network setup, something we at FWM Software cannot control. This article is about getting your tech folks to get the server where the Lien Writer® database resides setup correctly. If nothing more, please send this newsletter to your tech guys and ask them to address the issue. Mention to them also the new 10.1.1.0 version has added features to protect your data (see below), so make sure you keep updated.
Many backup systems for servers- to another server, tape system, drive, whatever- are setup for network drives and regularly maintained by the tech staff. Once setup, the backup is done automatically with the tech staff just adding or removing the backup device as needed. Alas, the tech staff does not always check to make sure all the files on the drives were indeed backed up. Many backup systems, incorrectly setup, do not even advise the techs of files that were not backed up unless they look at the program log. That is the first thing I would recommend your tech folks check out, especially if the following problems occur.
Lien Writer® is very easy to use, one of our big selling points being if you can type you can use Lien Writer®. But, as a database the program does make several assumptions of user behavior including, as with many accounting systems, that the users log out of the system when they leave at the end of the day. Lien Writer® has many protections of your data to prevent damage occurring to the data and, as it tracks the users in the system, you can even clear users out of our program if they have failed to logout at the end of the day, but we cannot tell if your network knows if they have logged out. This becomes a problem when you find that you cannot log into the system when it declares you have too many users in the system, and the program will not let you clear the license table even thorough you have had everyone else log out of the system. This often necessitates a call to our office for assistance, and we often tell the callers they are going to have to reboot their server, then log back in and then clear the license table.
But, that is dangerous in this scenario is that the database may not have been backed up in some time. We had one large user of the program, with 20 licenses, but never more than 15 users in the system, and with one errant user showing logged onto the database via their server system. They never caught it in the year and a half the program was running, and when the server crashed they found that the database which not been backed up for that year and a half was gone. All that data, gone. And we could do nothing to restore it as the hard drive was the component that failed.
A year and a half of data, gone. Think about that.
So, while we can catch this problem when we find that the program will not clear the User table, we cannot catch it if we don’t know the program is not being backed up. But, there is a set of solutions that your tech guys can do to make sure everything in your servers is being backed up:
1) First, if they have not been getting a report from the backup system on the files backed up, have them setup the backup system to start reporting to them every time a backup is done. You get a list of the backed up files, and you know you are good;
2) When and if you find that files have been skipped in a backup, have them find out why the files were not backed up, particularly if the files are in the Lien Writer® database;
3) If they have not been backed up, make sure they are backed up by the next check of the server. Often this is as simple as rebooting the server to reset access;
4) Once they have reset the server, next find out why the files were not being backed up. Usually this is because the server believes the files are still being accessed. If the backup system, before the backup is done, can override the user access on the system, have the backup program set that way. If the backup system program cannot do this, there are other ways to setup servers to log all users out at a certain time every day before the backup program runs. Since there are hundreds of different server systems out there we cannot recommend a particular way to do this for everyone. Your tech guys should know or be able to find out a way to do this.
Protecting your data is vital for all programs on your servers. Actively protect them.
A NEW VERSION OF LIEN WRITER® ON OUR WEBSITE
After some two years of quiet on the Mechanic’s Lien front, some 14 states have made some changes to their laws, two major changes. The new 10.1.1.0 version of the program updates:
1) All Required State Updates
2) The following States have major changes. Please read about the updates in the Lien Writer® Help File – GA, ID, IA, KS, KY, LA, MS, NJ, ND, TX, UT and WY.
3) New Rhode Island Preliminary Notice – There is now a required preliminary notice for all Rhode Island jobs. When you do a job in Rhode Island, always send the Notice of Possible Mechanic’s Lien within ten (10) days of starting the job, both public and private works;
4) Nevada Notice of Intent – It’s back! Nevada now again requires a Notice of Intent to Lien or Bond Claim (under Lien Warning Notices) 15 days prior to filing a lien on residential projects. Sending this notice on commercial projects is still optional, but recommended.
As always, it is just as simple. Download and upgrade your program (see below).
Keeping Up To Date With Lien Writer®
The current version on the street is our 10.1.1.0 version.
It is easy to update Lien Writer®:
1) If you are using a Lien Writer® version 220.127.116.11 or before, first run Lien Writer®, then go to Help / About Lien Writer and write down your version number and expiration date for verification;
2) Open your Internet or Google Explorer;
3) Go to our website at http://www.fwmsoftware.com/fwm-software-downloads/;
4) Click on Lien_Program_Installer v10.1.1.0;
5) The site will ask where you want the program to download. Put it in a directory location you want, or just download to the Desktop. Normally, it should take less than 5 minutes;
6) Once the program is downloaded, go to the directory site, or the Desktop, and double click on the Lien_Program_Installer v10.1.1.0. The program will begin installing and updating your data files;
7) If the former program was of the 10.x.x.x series, it will simply update. If your version is of the 18.104.22.168 series or less, it will install but you will need to get a update code. Call (530) 622-1344, or write us at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive your new code;
8) A WARNING ON USING LIEN WRITER® VERSIONS PRIOR TO 10.x.x.x. THESE PROGRAMS ARE OUTMODED AND IN SOME CASES HAVE ILLEGAL AND OUTDATED FORMS. PLEASE UPDATE IMMEDIATELY;
9) Once you update, just use the program as you have always used it
You can contact someone to discuss any newsletter subject:
Address: FWM Software
705 Pleasant Valley Road
Diamond Springs, CA 95619