|Tip of the Week||June 18, 2012
Volume: 2 | Issue: 24
SIIIIGH – Me thinks it’s time for the dreaded anti-virus chat, again…
Here at TBM HQ, we find ourselves fielding more and more anti-virus and firewall-related queries than ever before. The ol’ interwebs can be a mean, mean place; hackers and spammers are getting more crafty, and in turn, many anti-virus programs are turning into the equivalent of Fort Knox. So we are finding that many stores are complaining about “slow” computers/networks and are finding that even just their BookManager is not moving as swiftly as they like. About 90% of the time, this is due to either having a lot of “pig” programs running [that’s a cute term we use for things that use a lot of memory like Photoshop, or other apps such as online streaming radio stations, etc] – or the main culprit is anti-virus programs running real-time scans and literally, scanning every movement you make. This includes simple things in BookManager such as printing, emailing invoices, running reports, etc. So what this means, is we are spending less time teaching you eager beavers tips and tricks about the BM software/WebStore and this makes us sad pandas. We have covered this in brief before, but figured we could go into a bit more detail about what things you can tweak in order to ensure you are getting the most efficient experience with your BookManager program.
First things first: Most anti-virus programs are essentially the same, and although we have experience with a good handful of them, we of course can’t devote hours to poking around and making these changes for you – so we [kindly] encourage you to do this on your own, or better yet, if you have a computer tech, please get them to look at your settings.
The components that make up anti-virus programs include real-time scans, scheduled scans, trusted programs, sandbox, rootkit, etc. You are essentially looking for anywhere that you can add exclusions, or exceptions. If you are able to simply add the root of your BookManager folder, that makes things easy – but some programs want you to add the individual applications that BookManager uses for everyday tasks. Also, you will need to tweak these settings on all your workstations, in the anti-virus programs that you may have enabled on each. Fun, we know.
There are countless number of anti-virus programs, and we really can’t go over ALL of them here, but we will talk about two of the commonly used ones – AVG and Avast – and also some basic Windows security settings. Of course, feel free to call us to discuss whatever program you are using and we most certainly can try and help speed up this process for you.
The next area you will want to look at is the Scans - if you have this task enabled. You will want to select the heading What To Scan, and exclude the BM folder from being scanned. Of course, if you have this routine scheduled to go over night, then there really is no need to exclude, but, if you have it set during business hours, you may want to exclude BM from being scanned.
Next, you should look at Identity Protection and click Allowed List. Here you will have to manually add the BookManager .exe's that we talked about earlier. You will also need to do the exact same in the Potentially Unwanted Programs area. When you are done, hit Apply and then OK.
On the left hand side of this window you will see a menu listing the different active components that make up Avast. If you have a scan scheduled, you will need to do to the same thing you did above, and exclude the BookManager folder/drive from being scanned. Hit OK.
The next area to look at is the Real-Time Shields - within here, there are several areas where you can click the Expert Settings on the right to add the BookManager folder/drive. First things first, click the File System Shield and turn off the Auto-Sandbox. Trust us -we've tried to add exclusions and exceptions time and time again, yet this warning will still pop EVERY time you try to print, email, etc from within BookManager. If anyone figures out a way to keep this part of Avast on without it interfering, please let us know! Until then, we suggest you simply turn it off as its more of a pain than anything else. To turn it off, once you have clicked File System Shield, Expert Settings, select Auto Sandbox from the left hand side. Just uncheck the box beside Enable Auto Sandbox. Once that is done, select Exclusions and add in the path of your BookManager folder/drive. The next area you will want to tweak in the Real-Time Shields area, is the Behavior Shield, and add all of BookManager's .exe's into the Trusted Processes. One thing is for sure, after all is said and done, you are gonna be a pro at browsing for your BM folder - pretty impressive life skills, we know.
WINDOWS SECURITY SETTINGS
These settings all depend on which version of Windows you are running and what components may be enabled on your computer. For this example, we are looking at Windows 7, but most of these settings apply for Vista as well. Again, if you need a hand, please don't hesitate to give us a call.
User Account Control [for Windows 7/Vista]
Windows Defender [for Windows 7/Vista]
Alright folks, so this covers some of the commonly used anti-virus programs, as well as some Windows security components. We are hoping this will provide a good starting point for you to go in and tweak some settings on your own. Please note, use these suggestions at your own discretion, and perhaps even talk to your computer tech to ensure that these settings are something they are comfortable with. We are making these recommendations based on the frequent number of support calls/emails we receive regarding this issue - of course, every situation is different, so if you have any doubts, please do not hesitate to give us a call to discuss.
A common question we get is how to generate a report that totals last year’s sales numbers in order to compare them to this year’s. Obviously this is important information to know as it helps you plan for the future based on your past sales trends and also helps you spot areas that have changed over time. Many stores want to see their first quarter sales numbers as a whole, for example, or see how their store sales change between winter and summer in terms of sales by section code in order to order better for the seasonal trends. A big one that almost everyone wants to run is a Christmas season comparison year to year. If your sales have changed significantly year to year, you could use these reports to try to isolate what has changed… is one section in your store showing a lot of change year to year? How about the sales by customer type – has one customer types changed in terms of their sales? Is your average sale up or down?
One good tool to use is the Date Range POS Subtotal report. Like your end-of-day and month-end sales tapes, the POS subtotal report shows you the total sales, broken down by section code and also your totals by tender type, tax type, customer type, clerk code, sales by hour, etc. for whatever range of dates you are interested in.
To run this report, go into 4-POS, then M – Misc. Arrow down to the “Date-range POS subtotal report” option.
To compare year to year, you would need to run 2 reports – one for last year for the period you’re interested in, and one for this year for the same period.
And while we are speaking of POS totals, here’s a quick tip – you can easily reprint a previous end-of-day or month-end tape by choosing the “View/Print Receipt Tapes” option in the POS Misc options. So don’t panic when your printer jams…