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Not long ago I was giving a talk to some ProAdvisors and I mentioned the fact that “QuickBooks isn’t ‘green’,” and several of them gave me an odd stare. When I went on to explain that I was talking about ‘energy savings’, there were still several who said they had never heard this before. So I thought to myself, “self, why not write a little explanation in an article for Intuitive Accountant.”
How QuickBooks works
There are three parts to QuickBooks (the QuickBooks database); these are the QuickBooks Application (what most of us think about when we hear the term ‘QuickBooks’), your QuickBooks data file (what most of us know as our ‘Company file’), and the third part is the QuickBooks ‘database server’ (which really is the Sybase database server since Intuit has chosen to use Sybase for the database that supports QuickBooks). The ‘database server’ is actually the part of this ‘trio’ that unites the other two parts, because it takes the data in your Company file and makes it available to the application while at the same time taking commands from the application and writes them to your Company file.
Intuit (and Sybase) provide two forms of the database server; the first is the ‘personal server’ which runs in the background of your QuickBooks application when you install QuickBooks in a single-user configuration. The 2nd is the ‘network server’ form of the database server and this is installed when you select the option to set-up QuickBooks for multi-user access. In these cases the database server also acts like a ‘street cop’ controlling the flow of traffic (streams of data) between each user’s QuickBooks application and the Company file.
QuickBooks is reliant upon all three components to work properly in order to provide the level of service users expect in either single-user or multi-user modes. Rarely do single-users have issues with any loss of connection between the three components, but the same cannot be said in a multi-user environment.
Anything that causes a loss of, or diminishes, the connectivity between the QuickBooks applications running on your workstation(s), and the QuickBooks database server running on the computer that is ‘hosting’ your Company file(s) will create issues with performance and may result in database corruption. Many times users will report receiving an error message telling them ‘Connection has been lost’.
Minimizing Connection Losses by Turning-off Power-saver Settings
I learned years ago that one of the all too common causes of connection losses (other than network connectivity or power loss) is power (green) settings on either your workstation computer or the hosting (server) computer. Any power settings that cause, or permit, either your computer to sleep, or hibernate will generally result in a loss of the connection between the QuickBooks application and the QuickBooks Database server.
The newer your computer, and the operating system it uses, the more likely the complexity of 'power saving' attempts the manufacturers and software engineers have built into your system in an attempt to appear as 'green', and thus as politically correct, as possible. All of these simply compound the problems you may experience when running QuickBooks unless you set-out to eliminate everything 'green'.
You should ‘disable all power management settings’ on every computer servicing any of the three components of QuickBooks. While you can do anything you like with the computer’s displays or screen-savers, the rest of the computer power components should be set to the appropriate power-hog settings.
For power settings such as “Put the computer to sleep” the answer should always be NEVER. (See figure 2) But just making this change isn’t enough, you must alter many of the ‘advanced power settings’ to turn off all the ‘green’ (energy saving) norms that most modern computers come pre-configured with.
One of these advanced power settings will be “Hard disk” (Turn off hard disk after) which should also be set to NEVER. (figure 3) All network adapters should be set to Maximum Performance and should never power-down.
While we already set ‘sleep mode’ within the overall power setting configuration, there are more specific settings under the Sleep ‘advanced settings’; (figure 4) these include “hybrid sleep” which should be turned OFF. You will also find the settings for Hibernate here, and again these settings should be NEVER.
USB and PCI power management should be Disabled or turned OFF to insure that the power to these computer components is left available at all times.
Make sure that none of the ‘low power’ settings either put your computer to sleep or cause it to enter hibernation mode. (figure 4) If your power is diminishing you want to turn your computer off in an orderly (normal) manner; of course I have mentioned in numerous articles that any/every computer running any aspect of QuickBooks should be protected with an Uninterruptable Power Supply, and preferably a ‘smart model’ of UPS so that it will actually perform a normal shut-down of your open programs as well as the computer itself when the UPS battery gets low and AC power isn’t available.
I realize that it isn’t politically correct to tell you to not conserve power in your computing, but if you want to avoid QuickBooks connectivity issues, and reduce the risk of Company file corruption, heed my suggestions and remember that “QuickBooks isn’t ‘green’.”