Can I use Ffenics with Windows Home versions?

Can I use Ffenics with Windows Home versions?

Postby Pete Tabord » Wed Jan 23, 2008 12:24 pm

'Home' being any version less than 'Pro'. This includes plain 'Windows' in Win 8 or Win 8.1.

Yes you can. But there are two limitations.

1) MS's 'Home' versions only support 'simple file sharing'. This supports whole file locks only, not record locks. This means that Ffenics databases (and hence applications using them) hosted on or accessed from a 'Home' computer cannot be used in any multi-user mode. You can however run multiple sessions of Ffenics, set as single user, and accessing different single-user applications. See below for alternative ways of accessing a multi-user application from a 'Home' machine.

2) The 'Home' versions lack 'IIS' which is necessary to 'publish' Ffenics documents to the Web using WebElements. You can however access previously published documents via your Web browser. Since the application server machine (the one where the shared data is held) must be running a non-Home version of Windows then all that is necessary is to make sure you use that machine to publish the relevant Ffenics documents. Alternatively you could download and install IIS from Microsoft.

If you plan to use a Home machine for logging on to a Ffenics multi-user application there are two preferred strategies:

a) Use the web and publish the documents with WebElements - ideal for such applications as sales support databases where the field operative only needs a smallish sub-set of the application. Cheap, too, since only a single WebElements Hub licence is required for up to 100 simultaneous web users.

b) Go thin client with Citrix or Terminal Services. Needs a Ffenics full or runtime licence for each user but ideal when access to the whole application is required.

Both the above strategies would support full multi user locking.

To reiterate! If you attempt to use any Windows version 'less' than Professional in multi-user / multi-session mode you WILL, sooner or later, get locking problems and possible data loss. In one case the user then attempted a reorganise all (to 'clear' the lock!) and blitzed the entire application. On your own head be it.

I have had no less than three instances of this in the last few weeks. All in companies that should know better.
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Re: Can I use Ffenics with XP or Vista or Win 7/8 Home versions?

Postby Pete Tabord » Mon Mar 17, 2014 8:31 am

As a alternative method of identifying which versions of Windows support proper MU locking, if you are using comparison charts such as published in Wikipedia, if the version you are using supports joining a domain, it will also support proper locking.

By 'proper locking' I mean the ability to have multiple record locks from different users on a single data file.

If anyone cares to experiment, I have over the weekend found it suggested on the Web that if you turn 'Simple File Sharing' off , you actually get, not no file sharing as you might expect, but full file sharing. I have not personally explored this route and do not recommend it, since one of the main objectives of Ffenics was to get reliable network behaviour without fiddling with lots of Windows settings.

But if you are desperate (for example, because it was on your recommendation your company bought Home instead of Pro ;-) )it might be worth a try, at your own risk . If you do try it, make sure you are aware whether you are running SMB1 , 2 or 3 as this may materially affect the results. This is NOT an experiment for the non-technical.

I can't recall if we have published the FF locking tests on here, but basically if one user can go in and manually lock a record, another user can go in and manually lock a different record, and a third user can browse records then add a record which, when they come out of their locked record, the other users can immediately see without exiting the form or reorganising, you have working range locking.

The most common symptom in FF of the absence of record (range) lock support on a network, since normally users do not place individual record locks, are unaccountable lockouts on the RDRR, relationship or application objects files. You may also get unaccountable GPF's.

It only takes one workstation running in 'simple file sharing' mode to disrupt the whole application.
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Re: Can I use Ffenics with Windows Home versions?

Postby Adrian Jones » Mon Mar 17, 2014 3:50 pm

Presumably there are no caveats if the app is being used standalone... ? :)
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Re: Can I use Ffenics with Windows Home versions?

Postby Adrian Jones » Mon Mar 17, 2014 3:51 pm

Out of interest, why is this in the SIG? Isn't this of general interest to users?
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Re: Can I use Ffenics with Windows Home versions?

Postby Pete Tabord » Wed Mar 19, 2014 8:30 am

It isn't in SIG. It's an announcement in FAQ - it appears everywhere.

You can however run multiple sessions of Ffenics, set as single user, and accessing different single-user applications.


Obviously running single user is fine, since the limitation is on locking support.

It's also been pointed out to me that running thin client on a 'Home' version might technically be in contravention of the MS 'home' licence, which includes the following:

The software is licensed, not sold. This agreement only gives you some rights to use the features included in the software edition you licensed. Microsoft reserves all other rights. Unless applicable law gives you more rights despite this limitation, you may use the software only as expressly permitted in this agreement. In doing so, you must comply with any technical limitations in the software that only allow you to use it in certain ways. You may not
- work around any technical limitations in the software;
- use the software for commercial software hosting services.
- use components of the software to run applications not running on the software;


I'm not a lawyer, so I won't attempt to interpret the above. Read strictly and by a non-expert (myself :-) ), it would seem to preclude running any remotely hosted application on a home version, even via the Web. Again, users must decide for themselves.

At least if you buy a copy of Ffenics you can do what you like with it, short of reverse engineering it or copying it for distribution/sale, which I think are reasonable restrictions.
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Re: Can I use Ffenics with Windows Home versions?

Postby Pete Tabord » Tue Jun 02, 2015 11:14 am

Note that with Windows 8 'Standard' means 'Home'.

The key factor seems to be 'can you join a domain'. If you can, you will get record locking and full Ffenics functionality. If you can't, you will get file locking only, which will effectively prevent two people using the same form at the same time, or two people being in design mode.

'Workgroups' are not domains.
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