Subj:  Running AG Trouble-Free          Section: Agenda
From:  Bruce Frumerman, 73301,1724      #127541
  To:  all                              Saturday, February 12, 1994 11:48:00 AM


As Ron Freudenheim, creator of the Agenda add-on Beyond 2.0 has noted, AG files get damaged more often from system configuration and user caused problems than by Agenda itself. Good work habits, including regular backups and sorting out a system configuration are the best ways to avoid problems with damage.

Recently, Alex Todd, creator of the Agenda add-ons President's Planner and Partner's Planner, posted some great insights into potential sources of Agenda file corruption. Since many steps users can take to reduce the potential of Agenda file corruption were implied rather than stated, here is slightly more explicit info on what I've found users should consider doing to reduce the risk of file damage Alex outlined.

Potential Sources of File Corruption and What To Do About Them

  1. Opening more than one instance of the same AG file in separate sessions

(e.g., mistakenly hitting the start-up icon once Agenda is already up and running in the background in a multitasking environment such as Windows).

Dont be so quick on the keyboard that you enter a command you dont mean. Agenda cant work properly if its twice loaded.

Search & repair:
Should you accidentally twice load Agenda and your file, Alt-Q (save and quit) out of each. Next, exit Windows. Then, from a DOS prompt, run ag_chk on your Agenda file. If its clean, then you can re-enter Windows and restart Agenda. If its damaged, run damage repair with ag_chk /f, or, if that doesnt work, run DB2STF.

2) TSR (terminate and stay resident) Conflicts.

These can include anti-virus, disk usage monitoring, CD-ROM drivers, some terminal emulation, including possibly Timeslips and fax software and Network E-Mail notifications.

To reduce the potential for TSR problems when operating under Windows:

Accounts vary on how successfully Agenda can operate on a network. Where Ive head it to be a problem, the problem always has been when the network crashed (not caused by Agenda) and took down all systems on it, including those running Agenda and having open files that had not been saved since new data was entered.

It is preferable to run Agenda, which is a stand-alone app, anyway, off of a computers resident C drive.

If your computer is connected to a network, ag_chk can give false damaged file messages. For people running Agenda off of their PCs, but who are connected to a network, heres what you should do to get true file test readings with ag_chk:

If you regularly boot up connected to a network, consider creating copies of your config.sys and autoexec.bat files that REM out those network load up lines and save them to other names (i.e., autoexec.chk and config.chk). Before you run ag_chk, rename autoexec.bat to auto.ok and config.sys to config.ok. Next, rename the *.chk files to *.bat. Reboot. Run ag_chk. Rename the files back, reboot and youre back in business. (All of this file renaming staff can be automated in batch files.)

8) Access to and/or modification of complex views with lots of math in numeric columns.

Unfortunately, font formatting in Agenda using Formatting Markers within a Note never worked well.

Dont use it. If you want to print formatted Note text, copy it with Windows Clipboard to paste it into your word processing program. Format the copy there and print or fax it out as needed.

10) Software or Hardware problems (i.e., memory or disk problems, including delayed writes of disk cache utilities) trouble shooting:

Contact tech support of software that affects memory usage and file save activities of your computer to explain any system error messages youre getting or crashes that are occurring. (Try to remember your keystrokes just before the problem. Tech support people will want to know if your problem can be reproduced. Also, provide them with copies of your autoexec.bat and config.sys files, and with the PIF setting you use to run Agenda. If they need more file setting information, theyll ask for it.) Report same information to hardware tech support, as there are software device drivers that make their hardware run.

Recommendations For Protecting Agenda Data Integrity

  1. Create and maintain an up-to-date Template of your AG file.

(A refresher: Templates contain the structure of your AG file via the Category Manager and your Views, which are your queries and sorts of your data, but not your Items.)

2) Run AG_CHK at the end of a day on your file to validate that its clean.

Run it daily if yours is a mission critical app and youve had too regular file damage problems (for whatever reason). Otherwise, run it weekly.

3) Do regular backups of a file (that AG_CHK has verified as clean) onto removable media.

Also, consider doing an additional regular backup to elsewhere on your computer in a subdirectory other than the one in which your active file is kept (i.e., store a spare of your AG file in a new subdirectory called \agenda\apps\copy).

How To Repair AG File Damage

Should your original AG file become damaged and AG_CHK /F doesnt repair the damage by running ag_chk /f c:\agenda\apps\planner {enter}, run DB2STF on your damaged file. This creates a file that has the filename of your damaged file (i.e., planner), with an extension of STF (so, for example, planner.stf).

Type ag_chk /f c:\agenda\apps\planner {enter}

(This example assumes planner is the name of your AG file and \agenda\apps is the subdirectory in which it resides)

If you dont have one, create it. (F8 for View Manager, {insert} import {enter}. Right Arrow over to Sections and type import {enter} {enter}.)

Call up your STF file by typing c:\agenda\apps\planner.stf {enter}

(This example assumes planner.stf is the name of the STF file that DB2STF just created and that \agenda\apps is the subdirectory in which it resides.)

Youll now have moved all of your items, and their category assignments into a fresh Agenda file that has the same structure (Category Manager and Views) that you use every day.

If file damage is reported, run AG_CHK /F. If file damage is STILL reported, copy your files BG file to a filename ending with AG (e.g., rename to

Next, run DB2STF on Copy your template file again. Load up the copy, and import the fix.stf file into your Import View.

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