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SIMS SOLUS Wizard User Guide


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SIMS SOLUS Wizard User Guide



Introduction ... 2

What is SOLUS?... 2

Why Use SOLUS? ... 2

How Does SOLUS Work? ... 3

What Does SOLUS Upgrade?... 4

What Do I Need to Use SOLUS? ... 4

How Do I Run the SOLUS Wizard?... 7

Amending Proxy Server Settings... 14

Frequently Asked Questions ... 17

General ... 17

Troubleshooting Questions... 20



This document has been produced to help users upgrade their SIMS system using the SIMS Online Update Service (SOLUS).

FMS and SIMS .net upgrades are very similar. Where an additional activity is required for an FMS upgrade, this is indicated by the F icon in the left-hand margin.

What is SOLUS?

The SIMS Online Update Service (SOLUS) is an online upgrade facility provided by Capita Education Services. This service downloads, verifies and runs update files from a website

(http://www.capitasolus.co.uk) using a download application called the SOLUS Wizard. The following diagram summarises the three simple steps required to update using SOLUS:

Step Comment

Step 1: Capita make the release available on the SOLUS website and advise customers of the URL for the specific release.

Capita SOLUS website (http://www.capitasolus.co.uk)

Each release has a separate URL with the latest two releases being available (i.e. the current, and the previous release). Any earlier releases are removed.

Step 2: The SOLUS Wizard

(SOLUS.EXE) is run to download the release onto the SIMS File Server.

SIMS File Server

The downloaded files are copied into the \Setups folder on the SIMS File Server. In addition, the SIMS SQL database is upgraded.

Step 3: SIMS .net users then run SIMS .net. Whilst SIMS .net is being loaded, a utility called SIMSLoad checks the SIMS File Server for updates and runs them accordingly. The upgrade is completed and

SIMS .net is opened. SIMS Workstations

SIMSLoad checks for three files (SIMSApplicationSetup.exe, SIMSManualSetup.exe and SIMSAMPARKSetup.exe) and runs any or all of them if it finds different versions from those that are installed. These files upgrade the applications on the workstation, add any new manuals and install a new version of AMPARK as required.

Why Use SOLUS?

SOLUS offers many efficiency savings to Local Support Units and schools.

Immediate Access to SIMS Updates

SIMS updates are released to SOLUS immediately. There are no delays whilst Capita copies and distributes CD releases (which for an installable release, used to take up to 10 working days).

Speed of Upgrade


Ease of Upgrade

The SOLUS Wizard provides a straightforward interface that guides the user through each step of the process.

Minimal User Intervention

Once the SIMS update has been downloaded via SOLUS, upgrading the Server and Workstation requires no further user intervention. This means that end-users’ machines will be automatically upgraded the next time they log into SIMS, without any action on their part or even a visit by the SIMS System Manager.

Utilises Existing Technology

SOLUS can operate on any Internet connection, although it performs best over a broadband link (please refer to Suitable Internet Connections on page 5 for more information). Given that all schools should have broadband access in the near future, there is no need to invest in additional technology to make SOLUS work.

How Does SOLUS Work?

An application called the SOLUS Wizard downloads the required files from the Capita SOLUS website and it then upgrades the SIMS File Server. A utility called SIMSLoad is then used to carry out the automatic updates on all SIMS workstations.

SIMSLoad is launched whenever the shortcut to SIMS .net is run (via Start | Programs | SIMS Applications | SIMS .net). It looks at the versions of three files called SIMSApplicationSetup.exe,

SIMSManualSetup.exe and SIMSAMPARKSetup.exe on the SIMS File Server and if it finds a different version of any, or all files, it runs them to update the necessary files on the workstation (and the shared SIMS folder, if required). In this way, a workstation can be fully upgraded by simply running SIMS .net.

NOTE: SIMSLoad is also run if you open a SQL module from Launcher

What is the SOLUS Wizard?

The SOLUS Wizard is used to download and run the upgrade files available on the Capita SOLUS website. The following graphic shows a typical example of the SOLUS Wizard:

New versions of the SOLUS Wizard may be introduced as new and improved wizard functionality becomes available. The latest version is automatically downloaded when you run SOLUS from the shortcut on the Start menu.


What Does SOLUS Upgrade?

SOLUS upgrades everything that sits on the SIMS .net CP4.xx platform, e.g. SIMS .net, Attendance, Assessment Manager, etc. It will also upgrade the Curriculum Suite (Nova-T, Options, etc) and FMS. SOLUS can be used to upgrade your system to the very latest release or to apply patches. In addition to Main Releases, it can apply any Update Releases which may follow a Main Release.

SOLUS releases are always cumulative and therefore incorporate any preceding releases. As with CD releases, it is possible to skip one Main Release. Update Releases also include preceding Main Releases. NOTE: It is recommended practice to upgrade your system whenever a release is issued.

What Do I Need to Use SOLUS?

In order to use SOLUS, you must have:

! A suitable internet connection. Typically, this should be a broadband connection, although it is possible to run SOLUS on a dial-up connection (but the performance would be poor). Please see Suitable Internet Connections below for more information.

! Appropriate access rights and Permissions. These only need to be set up/applied the first time that


Access Rights and Permissions on page 6 for more information.

! Suitable proxy settings. Please see Proxy Settings on page 6 and Amending Proxy Server Settings on

page 14 for more information.

! The SOLUS URL for the upgrade you want to carry out. The SOLUS URL is the location that needs

to be entered into the SOLUS Wizard to identify where the updates can be found on the Capita SOLUS website. This will be provided by Capita Education Services or your Local Support Unit (LSU) and is usually unique to each release (including Update Releases). Please see The SOLUS URL on page 7 for more information.

Suitable Internet Connections

Our recommendation is a broadband connection of 512Kb or greater.

The following table provides an approximate indication of the time taken to download a typical release of 30MB (based on a small release being approximately 10MB and a main release being approximately 50MB) dependent on the type of connection used:

Bandwidth Approximate Time (mins)

56Kb dialup 78 64Kb dialup 68 256Kb broadband 17 512Kb broadband 8.5 1Mb broadband 4 >10Mb broadband < 0.5

NOTE: Download times will vary depending on the number of other users accessing your broadband connection, in addition to the number of customers attempting to download the SOLUS release from our website.


Access Rights and Permissions

Step 1: The SOLUS Wizard (SOLUS.EXE) is run to download the release onto the SIMS File Server. To run SOLUS, you will need:

! to be a member of the System Manager User Group in System Manager. On the SIMS SQL Server:

! Admin access on the Server (elevated privileges are suitable) On the File Server (if different from the SIMS SQL Server):

! Full access rights to X:\SIMS\Setups

! Full access rights to X:\SIMS

Where X represents the drive of the File Server.

Step 2: SIMS .net users then run SIMS .net. Whilst SIMS .net is being loaded, a utility called SIMSLoad checks the SIMS File Server for updates and runs them accordingly. The upgrade is completed and SIMS .net is opened.

On the Workstations:

Full administrator rights are not required to upgrade workstations. The required access rights are:

! Full access to the following areas of the Registry: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\CLSID HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Interface HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\TypeLib

! Full access to the local installation of SIMS (Program Files\SIMS folder and subfolders).

! Full access to a SIMS Applications Folder in the start menu (%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Start Menu\Programs\SIMS Applications\).

! Full access to the SIMS.INI file (%WINDIR%\SIMS.INI).

! Full access rights to X:\SIMS

! Read-only access rights to X:\SIMS\Setups.

Where X represents the drive of the SIMS folder on the File Server. IMPORTANT NOTE: A batch file called SIMSPerm.bat is available to provide SIMS .net users with the required access in order to automatically run the upgrades when they log into SIMS .net. Please see Setting System Access Rights for Users (SIMSPerm.bat) on page 23 for more information.

Proxy Settings

A proxy server may exist on the network or between your school and the SOLUS Server on the internet. If this is the case, the proxy server must allow access to:


SOLUS also supports proxy server authentication. If your server requires authentication (i.e. you need to identify yourself to the proxy server), SOLUS will ask for user credentials when attempting to connect to the SOLUS Server.

If you are unable to upgrade using SOLUS due to your proxy server settings, please refer to Amending Proxy Server Settings on page 14 for detailed instructions.


The SOLUS URL is the location that needs to be entered into the SOLUS Wizard to identify where the updates can be found on the Capita SOLUS website. The URL is unique to each release and is supplied either by Capita Education Services or your Local Support Team (LSU).

WARNING: You should only run an upgrade when advised to do so by Capita Education Services or by your LSU.

An example URL is as follows:


If you want to apply patches only, simply enter http://www.capitasolus.co.uk as the SOLUS URL.

How Do I Run the SOLUS Wizard?

Before Proceeding:

The SOLUS Wizard can be run on any SIMS workstation or any SIMS SQL Server that has CP 4.00 onwards installed.

NOTE: SOLUS is for upgrades only. It cannot be used to perform new installations of SIMS or FMS.

As with any upgrade, before embarking on a SOLUS upgrade please ensure that:

! You have a complete back-up of the SIMS SQL database.

! You have a complete back-up of the SIMS Document Management Server. ! All users are logged out of the SIMS/FMS system.

! You have a complete back-up of your FMS system.

! You have read the release notes for the upgrade which are available from the SOLUS website.

You may also want to back-up the shared SIMS directory. If for any reason, the SOLUS download gets interrupted, the shared SIMS directory can be restored and SOLUS run again.


Backing up Your FMS System

NOTE: It is essential that a reliable backup of the data and transaction logs is taken on a regular basis and that you have verified that this works. LEA teams will not be able to reset a date last used flag. The only option is to restore from backup.

Ensure that the following files are backed up:



The SIMS.LOG file records and provides a history of all transactions made within FMS6 and, therefore, will increase in size over time. The SIMS.LOG file has the same importance as the SIMS.DB file and should NEVER be deleted. However, the file could be archived periodically, e.g. once a year.


It is essential that if an LEA creates a structure for schools, both the SIMS.DB and SIMS.LOG should be copied to the school site.

In the event that there is a need to investigate FMS6 data, it is essential that a complete LOG file is provided before any work can be undertaken. A series of LOG files can also be managed, providing they are


Step 1: Download and Run the Latest Version of the SOLUS Wizard

1. If you have upgraded to the Autumn 2004 (or later) release, the shortcut to update and then run the SOLUS Wizard should be available to you. Run the shortcut as follows:

Select Start | All Programs | SIMS Applications | Update and Run SOLUS.

If you have not upgraded to the Autumn 2004 (or later) release, select Start | Run from the Taskbar and enter: www.capitasolus.co.uk/simssolussetup.exe.

Click the OK button.

The File Download dialog is then displayed.

2. Click the Run button.

If your system is set up to warn you whenever an executable file is run, a warning similar to the following will be displayed:


Step 2: Login

The Welcome page of the SOLUS Wizard will be displayed:

1. Enter the SIMS User Name and Password of the user who is a member of the System Manager User Group then click the Login button.

2. Once the login has successfully completed, the Next button is enabled. Click the Next button.

NOTE: The Proxy Server button is only required if you have previously been unable to carry out SOLUS upgrades. Please refer to Amending Proxy Server Settings on page 14 for more information. If you have carried out SOLUS upgrades successfully in the past, please disregard this button.


1. Select your Country from the drop-down list. 2. Enter your Establishment Number.

3. Enter the required SOLUS URL in the Check for updates at the following web site field. This URL identifies which upgrade or patches you wish to download.

! To check for new patches only, enter http://www.capitasolus.co.uk. Please refer to Step 5: Downloading and Applying Patches on page 11 for more information.

! To download a specific release or upgrade, enter the related URL such as


Step 4: Downloading and Applying Upgrades

1. Having completed steps 1, 2 and 3, click the Next button.

The SIMS updates available on the specified SOLUS URL will be located by the SOLUS Wizard and displayed in The Following SIMS .net Upgrades Are Available. All the upgrades that are listed will be applied automatically.

2. Click the Next button to proceed.

The SOLUS Wizard downloads the files and copies them to the SIMS Setups Directory on the SIMS SQL Server machine. The downloaded files are examined for authenticity and the update to the setup files is applied.

NOTE: These files remain in the SIMS Setups Directory as their presence prevents them from being downloaded again.

After applying these upgrades, we strongly recommend that you run the SOLUS Wizard again and apply any patches displayed on the Patches tab. Please see Step 5: Downloading and Applying Patches on page 11 for more information.

NOTE: The SIMS Database Upgrade Tool requires that no other users are logged in whilst the database is being upgraded. The Unable to set the database single user screen will be displayed if other users are logged in. Please refer to A user was still logged on when I tried to run SOLUS – What should I do? on page 21 for detailed instructions on how to proceed.



FMS Upgrades Only

Once the upgrade is complete, the database upgrade process will start automatically with the aid of the FMS Database Upgrade Utility. Please be advised that this process may take some time.

1. The SIMS SQL Database Upgrade Wizard will be displayed. Click the Next button to continue. 2. On the next screen, enter your User ID and Password. Click the Next button to continue.

NOTE: You must have System Manager (Administrator) access rights.

3. Ensure that the correct folder where your SIMS.DB is installed is selected, e.g. C:\SIMS\SQL. If it is not, click the Browse button and locate the correct folder.

4. Click the Next button to proceed with the upgrade.

WARNING: You must complete the upgrade to FMS 6.79, as FMS will not function unless the correct version of the database has been installed.

Step 5: Downloading and Applying Patches

The patches listed in the SOLUS Wizard are related and restricted to the version of SIMS you currently have installed. Upgrading your system will mean that some of the patches are superseded by the upgrade itself (because the upgrade has fixed the problem requiring the patch). Therefore, you should always run any upgrade first then run SOLUS again to see if there are any patches which are applicable to your newly upgraded SIMS system.

Although an option is provided for you to choose which patches to apply, our recommendation is that all patches are applied. SOLUS releases are always cumulative, i.e. when you upgrade, everything that

preceded the upgrade is included (including patches). Patches are designed to only work where required and you will not harm your system by applying a patch which is not applicable to your system.

NOTE: There may be some occasional circumstances where patches need to be run immediately after upgrading.

1. Having completed steps 1, 2, 3 and 4 (if required), click the Next button.

NOTE: If you only wish to apply patches, ensure that the URL is http://www.capitasolus.co.uk. A warning message will prompt you for confirmation. Click the Yes button to continue.


2. Select the check box adjacent to the patch(es) you wish to download and apply. To view the release note for the patch, click the More Details hyperlink. Alternatively you can click the Select All button to select all available patches.

NOTE: Critical patches are automatically selected and should always be applied. 3. Click the Next button to apply the selected patches.

The SOLUS Wizard will download the patches and then apply them by running an application called DBUpgrade. The SIMS Database Upgrade Tool dialog is opened whilst DBUpgrade takes a backup of the SQL database and applies the downloaded patch(es).

NOTE: The SIMS Database Upgrade Tool requires that no other users are logged in whilst the database is being upgraded. The Unable to set the database single user screen will be displayed if other users are logged in. Please refer to A user was still logged on when I tried to run SOLUS – What should I do? on page 21 for detailed instructions on how to proceed.


4. Once complete, the dialog automatically closes and the final page of the wizard is displayed.

5. Click the Finish button at the end of the process.

Step 6: Upgrading the Workstations

Once the SOLUS Wizard has completed the download and has upgraded the SIMS/FMS Server, the next step is to upgrade each workstation. Upgrading the SIMS workstation is achieved by running SIMS .net or any SQL module from Launcher. The FMS workstation upgrade is carried out when FMS is opened. This process must be carried out on every workstation.

If you have applied appropriate permissions on the workstation, any user launching SIMS .net/FMS can upgrade the workstation. Please see Setting System Access Rights for Users (SIMSPerm.bat) on page 23 for more information.

NOTE: You must run SIMS .net on any workstation new to SIMS .net before attempting to use Lesson Monitor or Web Integrator on that workstation.

1. Select Start | All Programs | SIMS Applications | SIMS .net/SIMS FMS Module to open the required module.

NOTE: You can also run a SQL module through Launcher.

We strongly recommend running SIMS .net/FMS as described rather than via a desktop shortcut to ensure that the upgrade is triggered correctly. By default, the internal SIMS .net/FMS shortcut (i.e. Start | All Programs | SIMS Applications | SIMS .net) calls SIMSLoad.exe (which checks and triggers a workstation upgrade) followed by Pulsar.exe (which launches SIMS .net). This ensures that each time SIMS .net is run, a check for any available upgrades is carried out and run if necessary.

If you have created a desktop shortcut, it is likely that this will point directly to Pulsar.exe and will not run SIMSLoad.exe. As a consequence, the check for upgrades will not be carried out and the

workstation will not be upgraded whenever required.

2. The upgrade is carried out automatically with a screen displayed (although it may only appear very briefly) stating the system is looking for SIMS Upgrades.


3. Once the upgrade has completed, the SIMS .net login will be displayed and you can use the module as usual (the same applies if you launched a SQL module from Launcher).


FDS Users – Upgrading Multiple FMS Databases

Once you have completed the FMS Upgrade using SOLUS, you need to upgrade each FMS database. Select each database in turn using FDS and then select Start | All Programs | SIMS Applications | FMS Database Upgrade. The database upgrade will then be carried out. This process only needs to be performed on one machine, but must be carried out on each database.

Amending Proxy Server Settings

WARNING: This functionality is only intended for users who have been unable to download SOLUS upgrades due to issues relating to their proxy server. If you have been able to download SOLUS upgrades, there is no requirement to amend these settings and doing so may prevent SOLUS upgrades.

1. On the SOLUS Wizard Login screen, click the Proxy Server button.


3. The default setting is for the I have a proxy server and SOLUS works with my default settings radio button to be selected.

No Proxy Server

1. If you are accessing the internet without using a proxy server, select the first radio button – I do not have a proxy server.

2. Click the OK button and continue using the Wizard as normal.

Changing the Proxy Server

1. If the Proxy Server Location displayed by the SOLUS Wizard is incorrect, select the I have a proxy server and I am unable to use SOLUS to upgrade SIMS radio button.

2. Two check boxes are now displayed in the bottom frame. Select the I need to specify a different proxy server name check box.

NOTE: Your proxy server location can be obtained from your IT support unit. 3. Enter the Proxy Server Location in the field provided.


Providing a User ID and Password for the Proxy Server

1. If, for regular use of the internet, you are required to enter your user name and password, follow the steps detailed in the preceding Changing a Proxy Server section. In addition, select the I need to provide a different user id and password from the proxy server check box.

2. Enter your User Name and Password in the fields provided.

NOTE: For security reasons, the system won’t ‘remember’ your user name and password and this will need to be entered each time you run the SOLUS Wizard.


Frequently Asked Questions

This section of the document is specifically applicable to the person who is responsible for upgrading the SIMS system and provides more detail on preparing to use SOLUS, technical questions and troubleshooting tips.


For more information on the more technical aspects of SOLUS, please refer to the SIMS SOLUS Wizard Technical Guide which can be found on the Capita SOLUS website (http://www.capitasolus.co.uk).


What port and protocol does SOLUS use?

SOLUS uses HTTP on Port 80.

If you receive a “403 forbidden” message or a similar message it means that the Host or URL (i.e. the request) is being blocked by the proxy server, Web Server or otherwise. If this is the case, the proxy settings in Internet Explorer should be checked and corrected. You also need to ensure that the URL itself has not been blocked.

If there is a firewall in place, it must be set to allow SOLUS.EXE access to http://www.capitasolus.co.uk. If a personal firewall is in place and you receive errors of “Access Denied”, ensure that

http://www.capitasolus.co.uk is NOT listed in the Blocked list.


What about Microsoft upgrades, etc. that affect the infrastructure of my system?

Whenever Microsoft® upgrades are required that affect the infrastructure (such as the .NET framework, etc.) then a visit to each workstation will be required. We will try and provide these upgrades in advance of their requirement and limit infrastructure changes to 12 months, as we are fully aware of the impact on customers having to visit each workstation.

Whilst it is not directly related to SOLUS, if you have a Local Database Installation (such as Teachers’ Desktop) and Microsoft release any Service Packs for MSDE, visits to these workstations may be required. We will advise accordingly if this occurs.


What services need to be running on the Server to perform a SOLUS upgrade?

In almost all cases, the services that need to be running for SOLUS are already running as they are required for SIMS applications. These services are the SQL Server Service and SQL Agent (if Business to Business – B2B is in use)

SQL Server needs to be running (this usually runs automatically).

No services need to be stopped to allow SOLUS to download and apply upgrades.


What directories will be accessed during the upgrade process?

The following folders are accessed during the upgrade process:

! \SIMS on the File Server

! \SIMS\Setups on the File Server

! \Program Files\SIMS\SIMS .net on the workstation.

! Some temporary files may be added to the user’s Temp folder.

NOTE: The FMS folder will be accessed from FMS 6.79 onwards (when SOLUS can upgrade FMS) if FMS is installed.



What are the various files that SOLUS uses? SIMSApplicationSetup.EXE?

This file installs all of the SIMS workstation applications and online help files to the SIMS workstation Application directory (e.g. C:\Program Files\SIMS\SIMS .net), sets up the systems for the use of All Users and creates Start menu icons appropriately.

This installer will write its file version number into the file SIMSLoad.INI – please see SIMSLoad on page 19.


This deploys all of the SIMS .net programs that operate on the SQL Server. This installer will write its file version number into the file SIMSSQLLoad.INI – please see SIMSLoad on page 19.


This installs the SIMS .net Document Management Server programs into a Windows Service in the SIMS Document Server Application Directory. The user is prompted for this program location when setting up the Document Management Server in SIMS .net. This EXE file must be run with Local System Administrator access because it installs and configures a Windows Service.


Deploys the user handbooks to the SIMS Workstation Application Directory so that they can be called from the online help system and from within the application.


A user-friendly installation utility which controls the installation process. It automatically calls other relevant installers listed previously.


This utility performs the SIMS database upgrade. It is installed into the SIMS Workstation Application directory and the SIMS SQL Application directory by the associated installers. It compares the

downloaded database upgrade files with the current database version and applies the necessary upgrade scripts.

DBUpgrade.EXE is run in three different circumstances:

1. If you run SIMSSQLApplicationSetup.EXE from SIMSInstaller.EXE, the SIMSInstaller program will automatically run DBUpgrade afterwards.

2. If you run the SOLUS utility (documented elsewhere) and it causes a database upgrade file to be downloaded, it will run DBUpgrade afterwards.

3. In subsequent CDs. if the user runs the CD installation wizard that deposits the new setup programs to the SIMS Setups Directory from a SQL Server or from a workstation (i.e. there is a

SIMSDotNetDirectory setting present in SIMS.INI) then DBUpgrade will be run afterwards. If the CD installation wizard is not being run from a SIMS enabled machine (i.e. some kind of administration server) then DBUpgrade cannot be run automatically and the user will need to run the tool manually from their SQL Server or workstation PCs.

Application upgrade files

Files ending with * Upgrade.EXE, typically in the form SIMSApplicationSetup to Upgrade.EXE are considered by the SOLUS Wizard to be application upgrade files. These upgrade programs can be found in the \Setups folder and alter the application setup files themselves and do not directly upgrade the workstations.

As an example, a school may have the file SIMSApplicationSetup.EXE in their SIMS Setups

Directory. Its file version may be “” as viewed in the File Properties in Windows Explorer. This version number is examined by the SIMSLoad program every time SIMS .net is run on a workstation. When the version number changes, it is automatically run on the workstation and the workstation programs are re-installed.


What the application upgrade file does is either wholly replace the SIMSApplicationSetup.EXE file or more commonly carry out a binary patch to the file. Doing this intentionally changes the files’ version number and therefore triggers the workstation upgrade via SIMSLoad.


SIMSLoad.EXE is a simple .net application installed by the SIMSApplicationSetup.EXE installer. It checks the file version number in the SIMSLoad.INI file (written by the SIMSApplicationSetup installer) in the SIMS Workstation Application Directory and cross checks it with the file version number of the

SIMSApplicationSetup.EXE file held in the SIMS Setups Directory. If the file present in the SIMS Setup Directory is higher than that recorded in SIMSLoad.INI then it will be executed. SIMSLoad will wait for it to complete and it will then run the passed program file.

SIMSLoad takes a single parameter, the name of the application to run after it has completed its checks. It is used in the Start menu to prefix the SIMS applications.

This tool makes it simple for a LAN administrator to separate the automatic upgrade of the workstation applications from the running of those applications. A LAN administrator can remove the SIMSLoad part of the Start Menu shortcut and execute SIMS .net or Lesson Monitor directly, and alternatively run SIMSLoad as part of their user’s network login script.


What is the average download file size? A typical upgrade consists of three main file types:

! Signature files are small – approximately 128 bytes.

! Database upgrades for each release – approximately 2-5 MB. ! Application upgrade – approximately 50 MB per main release.

A small release may be in the region of 10 MB. A main release will be in the region of 50MB. However, the number of previous releases will push up the total download size (for applications only) and is therefore dependent on which release you are upgrading from and how many interim releases have been missed. It is therefore best practice to keep up to date with releases to minimise the download time.


Can I use SOLUS if I am on SIMS .net read-only?

You do not need to have migrated to SIMS .net read/write mode in order to use SOLUS. As long as you have CP4 installed (which you must have done to have SIMS .net installed) then you can use SOLUS to upgrade.


How frequently should I run the SOLUS Wizard?

This very much depends on individual requirements. However, our recommendation is to apply all upgrades (including Enhancement Releases) to ensure you benefit from the latest functionality and any fixes provided since the previous release. Various patches may be issued in between releases and it is worth checking on a regular basis.

Our advice is to regularly monitor our SupportNet website (http://support.capitaes.co.uk) for information on the latest releases or take advice from your Local Support Unit (LSU).


Why don’t patches disappear when I’ve run them?

Some patches are intended to be run multiple times (which is dependent on the nature of the problem being fixed).


What is the minimum version of SIMS that I can upgrade from?

As with any SIMS release, you are able to skip one installable release, i.e. if you are on Summer 2004, you are able to upgrade directly to Spring 2005 (skipping Autumn 2004).


Can SOLUS upgrade Nova Satellite installations via SOLUS?

No. A separate Help Sheet has been produced on how to install/upgrade a Nova Satellite and is available for download from SupportNet (http://support.capitaes.co.uk) Resource Number 8714.


Troubleshooting Questions


When trying to connect to the SOLUS Server, the following error is displayed Underlying connection closed – unable to connect to the remote Server Connection closed often suggests that the application cannot get to the internet to access a file called SOLUS.xml. The most likely cause is:

! SOLUS.exe is blocked from accessing the internet by a firewall.

The firewall needs to be configured to allow SOLUS access to http://www.capitasolus.co.uk and subdirectories thereof.

It is worth trying to ping http://www.capitasolus.co.uk. If the host could not be found, there may be some kind of restriction at firewall level, although there can be other reasons for ping not working.


My SIMS .net version does not match the SIMS database version, i.e. my workstation does

not appear to have upgraded

This is usually due to the local workstation upgrade not being carried out OR the workstation upgrade was run before the database has been upgraded (sometimes caused if the SOLUS download was interrupted). If this does not appear to have occurred, please do the following:

Typically, after running a SOLUS upgrade, the workstation can be upgraded automatically by logging into SIMS .net. This is dependent on the following:

1. The path for the shortcut to SIMS .net must include a reference to SIMSLoad.EXE – we strongly recommend that you ONLY use the default shortcut installed with the release (i.e. Start | All Programs | SIMS Applications | SIMS .net). To check a desktop shortcut:

! Right-click the shortcut and select Properties. ! On the Shortcut Tab, the Target line should read:

"C:\Program Files\SIMS\SIMS .net\SIMSLoad.exe" "C:\Program Files\SIMS\SIMS .net\Pulsar.exe"

2. SIMS.ini must point to the correct Setups directory on the server and the correct SIMS .net directory as shown in the following example (to launch SIMS.ini, select Start | Run, enter sims.ini and open with Notepad).



SIMSSQLAppsDirectory=C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL$APM4\Binn SIMSSetupsDirectory=\\xp4605\d$\sims\setups

(the previous line takes the form \\servername\simsroot\sims\setups) SIMS Directory=C:\FMS

SIMSDotNetDirectory=C:\Program Files\SIMS\SIMS .net

(the previous line denotes the location of SIMS.net – the SIMS .net desktop shortcut, if used, should point to this location)

3. If you have checked (and if necessary corrected) the SIMSSetupsDirectory and the SIMSDotNetDirectory then carry out the following:

! Delete SIMSLOAD.ini (which can be found in the C:\Program Files\SIMS\SIMS .net


! Run SIMS .net via the usual shortcut (Start | All Programs | SIMS Applications | SIMS .net) to


4. If the upgrade completes but the version of SIMS .net has not changed then we recommend running SIMS .net again to check if there any pending upgrades to apply.

Versions of SIMS .net between Spring 05 base and Spring 05 ER3, SIMSLoad may report a fault when upgrading on the Server. This is usually caused by the SIMS SQL Server having a ‘loop back’ mapping, e.g. \\server\share\sims\setups. If this occurs, use a local path e.g. C:\SIMS\Setups on the server.


Workstations do not update when logged in as a teacher, but do when logged in as an


1. Check SIMSLoad.exe in shortcuts (please see My SIMS .net version does not match the SIMS database version, i.e. my workstation does not appear to have upgraded on page 20 for more information).

2. Check SIMSPerm.bat has been run on the workstation. Please see Setting System Access Rights for Users (SIMSPerm.bat) on page 23 for more information.

3. If SIMS.ini SIMSSetupsDirectory uses a mapped drive, check that the drive is actually mapped.


When attempting to upgrade to an Enhancement Release, an unhandled exception relating

to CrytoAPI cryptographic service provider occurs on the downloading screen.

It is very likely that the Cryptographic Service on the Server is not running for some reason. Open the Control Panel then Administrative Tools then Services and look for the service called Cryptographic Service. Make sure its Service Status is Started and Startup Type is Automatic. If this fails, try running SOLUS from a different machine.


Why does it take so long for the SIMS .net login prompt to appear?

Please note that there may sometimes be a delay when logging into SIMS .net. This can be due to the following:

! Some virus scanners (especially SOPHOS) scan an entire file before allowing you to access it

(including its icon). Such virus scanners will therefore also scan all associated files (which can be in the region of 100Mb of files).

This can be improved by disabling Sophos before running SIMS .net (go into Sophos (or similar) and disable immediate scanning).

! Multiple copies of SIMSLoad.exe being executed.

We are currently reviewing ways in which this can be prevented.


A user was still logged on when I tried to run SOLUS – What should I do?

The SIMS Database Upgrade Tool requires that no other SIMS users are logged in whilst the database is being upgraded. If other users are logged into SIMS at the same time as a database upgrade is being carried out, the following screen will be displayed:


At this point, there are three options available to you:

! Ask all currently logged in users to exit from SIMS and then Retry. A list of currently logged in users is

displayed in the Users shown as using SIMS panel on the right-hand side of the screen.

! Cancel the process and run this process again when you know that all SIMS users will be logged out. ! Carry out the application of the licence regardless of how many SIMS users are logged in, by forcing

other users out of the system and then applying the licence. To force an upgrade, you must enter the SA user name and SA password to ensure that you have the appropriate Permissions to do so. IMPORTANT NOTE: Forcing an upgrade might lead to data loss if any user is actually using the system. If any third party applications that use the SIMS database are in use at your school, ensure that they are closed prior to forcing an upgrade. This option should be used with care, and only if it is not possible to log all users out of SIMS using conventional methods.

Once you have carried out any pre-upgrade procedure (i.e. asking users to log out, closing down any third party applications, etc.), click either the Cancel, Retry or Force Upgrade button.


The files have downloaded, but the upgrade appears to have failed?

Files delivered by the SOLUS Wizard are automatically processed at the end of the download session. However, the procedure may fail under any of the following circumstances:

! The user who is logged on does not have sufficient security rights to change the SIMS setup files. ! The download was interrupted, e.g. because the internet connection was interrupted in some way.

! The user inadvertently cancelled the SOLUS Wizard or SIMS Database Upgrade Tool or terminated

them through the Windows Task Manager.

In any of these circumstances, simply run the SOLUS Wizard again.


My Workstation upgrade does not appear to have run?

This can be identified by SIMS .net not being at the version expected.

If, for any reason, it appears as though the workstation has not upgraded, you will need to run the SIMSLoad utility manually. This is achieved by running the SIMSLOAD.exe from the following location:



What happens if SIMSLoad.exe still doesn’t run?

Check that the SIMS.ini file (which can be found in the \Windows directory) has a correct and current reference to the SIMSSetupsDirectory. For example:

SIMSSetupsDirectory=X:\SIMS\Setups Where X represents the drive of the SQL Server. Correct and save the SIMS.ini file if necessary.

Setting System Access Rights for Users (SIMSPerm.bat)


What is SIMSPerm.bat?

In order to upgrade each workstation on the SIMS system, the user logging into SIMS .net (which runs the upgrade) must be granted Local Administrator Rights.

SIMSPerm.bat is a batch file which can be run so that the workstation can be upgraded without the need for logging on as a Local Administrator. It grants a number of access rights to an individual system user or a group of system users. For simplicity, it is suggested that you run the batch file with the parameter for the system groups to reduce the number of times it has to be run (assuming that the appropriate system groups have been set up).

IMPORTANT NOTE: Running this batch file means that you do not have to log in as a Local Administrator on each workstation in order to upgrade SIMS. However, it does grant further access rights to users. After the access rights have been granted, inappropriate use of the system would make it possible to damage the registry. Therefore System Managers must make the choice between system automation and security.


What access rights does SIMSPerm.bat grant?

The following lists indicate the access rights that will be granted to each user once the batch file has been run.

Access Rights to the Registry

Full access is granted to the following areas of the Registry: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes


Grants full access to the local installation of SIMS (Program Files\SIMS folder and subfolders). Grants full access to a SIMS Applications Folder in the start menu (%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Start Menu\Programs\SIMS Applications\).

Access Rights to Files

Grants full access to the SIMS.INI file (%WINDIR%\SIMS.INI).


When should I run SIMSPerm.bat?

When you are installing or upgrading SIMS .net. It will need to be run once on each workstation to set up the permission and it is therefore recommended that you run this at the same time as upgrading a workstation to a new version of SIMS .net. Once it has been run, the workstations will be upgraded automatically each time a user logs into SIMS .net and an upgrade is available.


NOTE: If you are using either Microsoft SMS or RM CC3 deployment tools, the workstations can be set up remotely. However, running SIMSPerm.bat on each SIMS workstation is the recommended method to achieve the appropriate levels of access rights for SIMS users.


Who can run SIMSPerm.bat?

Only Local Administrators can run SIMSPerm.bat.

Running SIMSPerm.bat

NOTE: The following instructions should be performed on any machine running a Windows NT based operating system (Windows 2000, Windows XP, etc.) that will be used as a SIMS workstation. As your SIMS SQL Server will be updated by an administrator, SIMSPerm does not need to be run on this machine. SIMSPerm should NOT be run on Windows 98.

1. Select Start | Run from the Taskbar to open the Run dialog. 2. In the Open field, enter:


(where X: is the location of the SIMS SQL Server)

3. SIMSPerm.bat requires an additional parameter in order to identify the system user or group of system users for whom you wish to set access rights.

To assign the appropriate access rights to a single user, enter:

X:\SIMS\Setups\SIMSPerm.bat <Domain Name>\<System User Name> or

X:\SIMS\Setups\SIMSPerm.bat <System User Name>

(removing the Domain Name from the parameter will force the batch file to search for a locally stored user.)

To assign the appropriate access rights to a group of users, enter:

X:\SIMS\Setups\SIMSPerm.bat <Domain Name>\<System User Group>

NOTE: If <System User Group> contains spaces, it should be enclosed in double quotes, e.g. <”System User Group”>.

4. Click the OK button.


What will happen if I do not run SIMSPerm.bat?

Running SIMSPerm.bat is the easiest and the recommended way of achieving the appropriate level of access rights in order to run SIMS .net upgrades automatically. If you do not run SIMSPerm.bat, you will have to ensure that every user has been granted Local Administrator rights before they can upgrade SIMS .net modules automatically or a user with Local Administrator rights will need to visit each workstation in order to run the upgrade.


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