Troubleshooting 101

Whenever we run into any issue, there are a number of basic steps we will almost always take.  The majority of problems we see can be corrected using one of the following procedures.

1. Reset Program Options.  Within Intellect or Time & Chaos, click on Help and Reset and choose Program Options.  Close and restart the program and see if the issue still exists.

2. Reset Dock Panels.  Similar to number 1, click on Help and Reset and choose Dock Panels.  This will reset the various areas within Intellect or Time & Chaos back to their defaults.

3. Reset Columns.  If you right click on any current column header such as the word Name at the top of the Contact area or Description are the top of the Appointment area, you can then choose Reset Columns from the context menu that appears.  Many display issues can be solved by resetting columns in a given area.

4. Repair Data.  As with any database program, it is possible data can become corrupted.  Our software contains powerful tools for attempting a repair process.  First make sure all of your data is safely backed up and that no one else has this database open across a network.  Then click on Help and DB Tools and repair the database in which you are seeing a problem.  Step through the rebuild, reindex, and compact processes one by one until each completes.

5. Keep windows up to date.  Yes we know updates install automatically, often there are optional updates that should be considered.  Hardware driver updates are usually in this category as are browser updates.  Intellect uses Internet Explorer to view and create HTML message.  IE does not need to be your default browser of course but does need to be kept up to date along with your other drivers and Windows itself.

6. Here in technical support, we will often use the Report screen to quickly find “odd” data.  If you click on the View menu and select Reports, you can then (at the top left of the Reports screen) choose the database in which you are having an issue.  If you then simply click the Go button on the left hand side, the Reports screen will find all existing records in that database.

You can then click any of the visible column headers to sort by that column.  A useful check is to sort by a given field such as Date in the Appointment area or Name in the Contact area and look for any oddities at the top or bottom of the list.  A date field filled in with something that is not a date or odd characters in a name field can be easily spotted using this technique.

Keeping Things Fast

Everybody’s computer is different.  This can lead to sometimes radically different speeds using the same data on different systems.  Intellect is designed to be fast.  Within shared databases here internally, we can search through about fifty thousand messages in a matter of seconds using systems a couple of years old and searching across an average network.

If you are seeing performance issues within Intellect or Time & Chaos, there are a number of optimization steps you can take that may increase the speed considerably.

My first recommendation would be to not keep the data in an online folder such as a Dropbox directory or a folder that syncs the data with another location such as a Sugersync directory.  Though backup files can be kept in one of these online or sync folders, the data files themselves should not be kept in one of these locations and should instead be stored on your local drive or a system immediately on your local network.

For Intellect users, keep your Inbox as lean as possible.  We recommend keeping less than 1500 messages in the Inbox in general but the less messages the better.  Messages that exceed this number can be dragged to a folder under Saved Messages where you can keep as many messages as you like and create several folders and subfolders.  The speed of opening Intellect can be negatively affected by too many folders under Saved Messages.  Go crazy but not too crazy.

If you’ve been using our software for a while or recently made a large number of changes to your data, a reindex may be helpful.  First make a current backup of your data and make sure no one else has this data open.  Then click on Help and DB Tools and repair the Mail Cache.  Step through the rebuild, reindex, and compact processes one by one.  When those complete, repeat these steps with the Appointments, Contacts, and other data.

Keep the number of records in each database reasonable.  Typically under 10,000 records per database.  Mileage may vary depending on your computer hardware performance and network speeds.  This is not a hard set limit but a round number to use as a guideline.

Don’t try to network shared data across a network using wifi.  Wifi is great for web-browsing or streaming audio and video but not that great for databases.

Keep windows up to date.  Yes we know updates install automatically, often there are optional updates that should be considered.  Hardware driver updates are usually in this category as are browser updates.  Intellect uses Internet Explorer to view and create HTML message.  IE does not need to be your default browser of course but does need to be kept up to date along with your other drivers and Windows itself.

Finally, make sure our software is up to date as well.  We do periodically release new versions and these updates will normally add functionality and address previously found issues as well.  Current versions can usually be downloaded by simply clicking on Help and checking for a newer version but can also be found directly on our site.