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MIS Systems Thread, Linked documents not opening Word, prompt to Save instead in Technical; Our SEN manager has discovered how to link Word documents into the SEN Detail page of student records (panel 3, ...
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    Rammie's Avatar
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    Linked documents not opening Word, prompt to Save instead

    Our SEN manager has discovered how to link Word documents into the SEN Detail page of student records (panel 3, Basic SEN Details). This worked fine on her PC, but when she demonstrated it to someone on another PC, instead of the document opening in Word, it prompted to Save in some semi-random folder. The sub-window has two buttons, View (to open in read-only) and Open (to open editable) - both fail the same. I've checked this out and a moderate number of our PCs do this. It certainly seems to be a property of the PC, not the user, and re-installing SIMS client doesn't seem to help. My next thought was to verify that documents open correctly on a double-click (outside of SIMS) - this works fine on all the PCs.

    Now I've run out of ideas and I haven't got a clue how the linkage functions. I suspect the same problem would occur with any linked documents in SIMS - except that as far as I am aware, no one else is doing this (they haven't complained to me, anyway). The problem is spoiling SENs strategy to deploy information, because she doesn't want people saving documents all over the place, to read them - this increases the risk of out-of-date information persisting.

    I'd be grateful for a clue on where to look for this!

    PS: using Office 2007 and seeing the problem on WinXpPro.
    Last edited by Rammie; 3rd October 2012 at 04:48 PM.

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    meastaugh1's Avatar
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    I had a similar problem last week, where a user could only open a limited number of linked docs; it turned out to be caused by the user reaching their disk quota limit.

    From what I gather, the open button copies the doc from the DMS to the user's Sims folder in their mydocs to allow the user to edit it.

    If the problem is definitely computer specific, this probably doesn't apply.

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    vikpaw's Avatar
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    Make sure Office is up to date and patched.
    Make sure they can see the document server and have permission.
    Make sure they have permissions over their own folders and the temp folders on PC. It might be worth checking on a working setup, where it saves the temporary file when you view it.
    Check SIMS is pointing to the correct document server and test connection.
    When you checked documents outside of sims was it the actual linked document? Sometimes machines have difficulty with .xml files but if you made them yourself and attached they would be .doc right? For XML files you need to make sure the file association is pointing to XML Editor.
    They should be viewing document not opening, otherwise if it was manually linked they will open it in edit mode and that causes issues.

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    Rammie's Avatar
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    I'm grateful for your help vikpaw & meastaugh1; sorry for the slow response, but I've been off ill the end of last week.

    No, probably not disk quota problems - as you say, same user has different symptoms on different PCs.

    Vikpaw, all useful and some of what you say gets me thinking. The documents are bog-standard .DOC files, Office is fully up-to-date (WSUS) and I'm reasonably confident it isn't a document server issue. But we upgraded our domain to accomodate Windows 7 deployment over the summer and we changed the redirection strategy amongst other things. Since then, I've noticed that when a user logs onto a PC for the first time (since the summer changes), the session sometimes behaves strangely, particularly regarding My Documents and redirection. Now this might tie up, because I see that linked documents are opened in a subfolder in My Documents\My SIMS Documents\{user's name}. Conceivably, if the session is struggling with My Documents, it may be unable to create the subfolder and therefore throw a wobbly opening the document. Capita could have avoided this sort of complication by opening documents in %TMP%, but I suppose they have their reasons(?).

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    vikpaw's Avatar
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    Profiles get well screwed in Win 7 , especially if you're running both 7 and XP clients.
    There are weird permissions issues with 7 too, even over local folders and places where they should or at least you think they should have access.
    Run the optional Office hotfix rollup. Even if it doesn't help now, it helps with individual reports, late letters, mail-merge and other areas.
    Check permissions of the user on the PC, as they need access to local drive for writing some temp files and you can't assume the access.
    See if when they're prompted to save, you can browse to their my sims docs folder and manually put it in there. then access from outside.
    To check setup, you could try with a user that doesn't have a roaming profile, and as a last resort as a local/network admin user - which for us doesn't have roaming profile, so this adds the extra permissions test too.
    Also, if you at any point turned off UAC, or chosen the run as administrator option on SIMS, reverse it. Since we've had Win 7, i've set and unset runas admin 3 times. Each time it affects / fixes something different.
    I think on the whole, the redirected folders is a good avenue to chase up.

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    Rammie's Avatar
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    More useful tips, Vikpaw, some of which I will chase up later - but meantime some experiments have allowed me to home in on the problem. Firstly, I may have misled you somewhat. The SIMS clients are almost all XPpro, although we have one W7x64 client on pilot. Also, the staff use free roaming profiles, but the MyDoc folder is not redirected.

    Anyway, I made close observations of a number of SIMS client PCs this afternoon (staff workroom). Three worked perfectly. The fourth worked fine using my personal staff logon, but failed using an administrator logon. Starting with a clean profile (nothing in MyDocs), what should happen when you startup SIMS, is that SIMS should firstly create "My SIMS Documents" and then folder "{surname firstname}" below that, populated with a {username}.xml file. Thirdly, it creates "tempSimsRpt" and populates it with some template files. Except that, when the issue arose, it had failed to create any of these folders and files. I checked permissions and found no reason why it couldn't create the folders. Then I tried manually creating just "My SIMS Documents" and it all began to work okay (created the rest of the structure). Unfortunately, this wasn't repeatable - deleting the folders didn't stop it working, because SIMS had no trouble recreating them this time - and I haven't found any more that don't work yet.

    I might try scripting a folder creation in the SIMS launch script (we've used a launch script for many years, initially motivated by the need to log and monitor usage and predating Capita's user list in system manager by some while).

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    vikpaw's Avatar
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    But it lets you in to SIMS and if you check that folder doesn't exist? Can you see if it's been created elsewhere?
    Where is the my docs folder for these users, on the C drive?
    I was going to say, maybe the mapped drive isn't connecting in time, but then you'd most likely not be logged in, unless you use a local connect.ini
    If it consistently didn't work on a PC, which isn't the case if it worked for you, would be to check the WMI implementation which it users to do a lot of it's checks on files etc.

  8. Thanks to vikpaw from:

    Rammie (12th October 2012)

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    Rammie's Avatar
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    Yes, correct, SIMS starts up fine and a check reveals that the special SIMS folders in MyDocs are not created (when it goes wrong). I had another example this morning - as before, the folders were not created, but manually creating "My SIMS Documents" seemed to free the log-jam. I'm currently testing a script patch to test/add the folder when the SIMS launch script runs.

    For info, staff have roaming profiles and the MyDocs folder is created on each individual PC (in the profile as per default). I've noticed that, when the MyDocs folder is empty (as-in the user never saved anything on the current PC), it also doesn't exist in the profile. Could this be significant? Saving something in MyDocs invokes the creation of the folder in the profile, so there is an additional step involved. By the way, this is a naff way of using roaming profiles and I don't recommend it. We're seriously thinking of using mandatory profiles for staff, to reduce confusion and problems.

    And no, the SIMS drive must be mapped correctly, otherwise the launch script is not visible (and won't run obviously), because it is located on the mapped drive.
    Last edited by Rammie; 9th October 2012 at 03:45 PM.

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    tombry's Avatar
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    as an aside to this conversation, I'm pushing my school to using PDFs for documents that are uploaded by users, as they are generally smaller, and not editable - most things that people are uploading I want to remain static, and therefore the PDF format works wonderfully.

    If you don't have a full version of Acrobat, or Office 2010 with PDF abilities, it would be a waste of time I suppose, but I completely push the use of PDF for archival purposes.

    perhaps it's my history of working in a lawfirm.

  11. Thanks to tombry from:

    Rammie (12th October 2012)

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    vikpaw's Avatar
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    I'm starting to think my docs doesn't exist for these users, not until something kickstarts it. So if you create a brand new user, then they will fail on every machine....?
    Is there an environment variable %mydocuments% or something that you can check on such a user to see if it returns anything or maybe a default location, which could well be temp, until the user initiates something to create their own local documents folder. This could help troubleshoot.
    Alternative is, since this seems to be a 'way you use windows' issue, can't you try a user out with a roaming profile that points to a server folder and see if that's okay.
    Even with ours pointing to a server share, the folder is not created there for the first time until the user first logs in then logs out. On log out the folder structure is made. So, maybe you can try a brand new user, get them to log in and out once. Then log in and try then...?

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    vikpaw's Avatar
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    @tombry i think, that PDF security, is related to how you made the PDF and what security you impose. I quite freely, edit our PDF documents, and add text boxes to doctor posters we've created. Even edit existing text. The new XI version is supposed to have even more functionality to link with Office and allow copy / pasting and editing.

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    tombry's Avatar
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    @vikpaw, yeah, I am well aware with how much you can edit PDF's, but it's not generally as easy as changing a word document - and from the people at my school I get the clear impression that they wouldn't even begin to know how to.

    the other option to force the PDFs to PDF/A standard.

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    vikpaw's Avatar
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    TRUE

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    Rammie's Avatar
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    Many thanks Vikpaw. My kludge seems to work for now, so I'll let it run for a while and see if we get any complaints. I think I can confirm your assessment of the wierd behaviour of MyDocs when you map it to a server, and now apparently when you don't too... Somehow it needs a kickstart before it appears; logging off is sufficient to do this in the case of server redirection. What I hadn't appreciated is that a SIMS startup is not sufficient to kickstart it, for some even wierder reason.

    Tombry, I would love my users to create archive documents as PDF, but in some cases I would have difficulty explaining what is meant by archive and why PDF is desirable. I can see them saving everything as PDF and then telling us they can't edit them. Such is life...

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    tombry's Avatar
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    Rammie,

    I'm lucky enough that the people who I feel generate documents that should be in PDF format have bought into my line of thinking.

    the SENCO doesn't attach anything to our SEN page, so when I trained the admin lady who does, I told her they had to be PDF.

    worked.



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