Important Windows 7 information for BookManager users!
There are several things to consider regarding BookManager running on Windows 7. Be sure to understand the benefits and limitations before you purchase one of the many versions available.
Strong Suggestion: In our opinion, installing any major new software during your busiest time of year is a risky move that could cost you plenty, if things don't work as expected. If you upgrade to Windows 7, give yourself sufficient time to solve unexpected issues. Also, installing Windows 7 onto older computers might cause problems, if the computer was manufactured before the development of Windows 7 was underway.
Welcome to Windows 7
Windows 7 has just been released and is available in several editions including the most popular Home Premium and Professional versions.
For BookManager users, the most important consideration is choosing from either the 32-bit or 64-bit platform.
Why do we have to choose between 32 and 64-bit platforms?
64-bit Windows supports access to a huge amount of RAM memory whereas the 32-bit version supports just over 3GB. Most current applications use well below 3GB, which means the extra memory is not useful unless you have a number of memory intensive applications running on your computer at the same time, or you need extra speed for the latest graphic design and game programs. Otherwise, in a typical bookstore environment, there will be hardly any noticeable difference. Over the next few years, 64-bit will become the standard.
The future of Windows XP and Vista
It is likely that Windows Vista (unlike Windows XP, which still remains widely used) will not be available much longer because Windows 7 is an improved version of Vista. Many businesses found Vista to be too problematic with existing software and equipment. If you need a new computer and would prefer to use XP but cannot find it, Windows 7 (32 or 64-bit) will be your best choice over Vista. Vista is essentially dead (anyone remember Windows ME?) For simplicity, the 32-bit version is our choice.
BookManager compatibility checklist:
Note: Both Vista and Windows 7 cannot run BookManager in a full screen. Fortunately, using BookManager in a properly sized window is easy to get used to. We now prefer it this way.
Running BookManager on a Windows 32-bit platform
This is a straightforward upgrade and is essentially the same as using BookManager on Windows Vista 32-bit.
In case you were not aware, Windows Vista was available in a 64-bit version, which could not run BookManager.
Running BookManager on a Windows 7 64-bit platform
Just like Windows Vista 64-bit, BookManager will not run directly from Windows 7 64-bit. BookManager is one of many business applications that will not work on 64-bit platforms. This is one of the reasons that many businesses continue to use Windows XP (which is why we also believe it is the most stable!)
With the release of Windows 7, Microsoft has encouraged the business community to upgrade by providing them a free version of Windows XP mode that is run from inside of the Windows 7 system. From the Windows 7 desktop, you click a "Virtual XP" icon that brings up a Windows XP Desktop inside of the Windows 7 Desktop. This is where you would create network connections, set up printers and place an icon to run BookManager inside a window on the XP Desktop. Certainly, this adds a new layer of complexity, but it does allow BookManager to be run on a 64-bit system.
Steps to running BookManager on Windows 7 64-bit
If you choose Windows 7 64-bit, you will need to download the free "Windows Virtual XP" software. At BookManager's office we have installed the Virtual XP on a Windows 7 64-bit computer. After Windows 7 loads, a shortcut on it's desktop will launch Windows XP. The XP mode appears inside a window on the Windows 7 desktop (too many windows!). Treat this XP mode/session as though it were running on a completely separate computer. For BookManager to work you first must use the XP window to map the BM folder to a network drive letter, configure the XP security and password settings, and install the printers that will be needed by BookManager.
You then have two ways to launch BookManager:
Create an XP Desktop icon and click on it to run BookManager inside the XP mode Desktop.
Create a BookManager icon on the Windows 7 Desktop. BookManager will appear to be running on the Windows 7 Desktop (when in fact, it is running in XP mode but with the XP Desktop eliminated).
You will need to use Notepad (from XP) to create a batch file (e.g. bm.bat) that has the following lines:
F: (e.g. the network drive BookManager is installed on)
cd\bm (change to the BM folder that most stores currently use unless F: is the root BM folder)
bkmngr.exe 1 (launch BookManager as Station 1)
This file needs to be saved into the XP Start folder.
You can get there by right-clicking Start (bottom left of the XP window's desktop) and then left-click the Open All Users option.
The file created with Notepad needs to be saved here using a file extension of .BAT (not the default .TXT that Notepad suggests). When done correctly, Windows 7 will recognize this new file automatically, and in a few seconds it should appear on your Windows 7 desktop (with a black C:/ icon).
Note: Copying a normal BM desktop shortcut in the Start folder is ignored by Windows 7 --- it has to be a .BAT or .EXE file.
Now close the Windows XP window (this ends the XP session). On your Windows 7 desktop you should be able to click the C:/ icon (shortcut to BookManager), which will initialize a new Windows XP session but only run the BookManager in it's own window with no surrounding XP Desktop.
Presto! You have BookManager running on a Windows 7 64-bit computer (that was easy, ha ha ha).
The first time BookManager is started it may take a few seconds (it's starting your "XP computer" from scratch) but subsequent exiting and restarting BookManager should be quick.
Just some ideas to keep in mind...
BookManager has features to launch other applications. For example, if you start an email using the 6)Customers -->Print/Notice option, the email program in XP mode will be used. The <W>eb command in Inventory will launch the browser (e.g. Explorer or Firefox) installed on XP. If You have any applications in Windows 7 that need files from the BookManager folder, you will need to copy those files to a drive/folder that both Windows 7 and XP can use.
As we gain practical experience with Windows 7 over the coming months, we will provide you with more insight into BookManager and Windows 7.