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Troubleshooting "Files in Use" Messages

Added 08/07/02
Article ID#: K000056

Topics covered in this document

Defining “Files in use”

 “Files in Use” is a RDP message displayed when a workstation is waiting for its turn to communicate with the data server.   Another workstation is currently updating data files which requires the files to be in  "exclusive" state. 

Pervasive manages the RDP database and the engine is installed on the data server.  Each workstation using RDP runs a Pervasive Client which communicates with the Pervasive Engine.  Pervasive tracks which task each client is processing.  If a specific task is aborted prior to completion, Pervasive “backs out” the partially completed database change, and leaves the original information in tact.  This is one feature that makes Pervasive the chosen database manager for many applications.

Other information:

  • The locking of the Tablfile.dat and filing information happens very quickly
  • Most users will never see the "Files in Use" message lasting for more than a split second
  • Pervasive will track "Start Transaction" commands from many RDP Sessions simultaneously
  • Only the exclusive locking of the Tablfile.dat generates any "files in use" messages

Flow of Events   

   

Expected files in use scenarios

Several files in use scenarios may occur during normal business operations.  An understanding of "normal" files in use vs. "problem" files in use messages is required.  A normal files in use message will flash for a few seconds, then clear.  If a workstation is completing a large data set, and 10 other workstation are also trying to access data, the workstations are organized in a queue waiting a turn.  As workstation #1 completes the transaction, the next workstation (#5) that made a request will continue, but the other 9 workstations will still get files in use.  Consequently, if workstation #10 made the last request in the queue, that workstation will receive the files in use message longer than others.

Possible Causes of "Files In Use"

Typical files in use scenarios are listed below.  A warning is issued by RDP when a chosen task requires heavy network resources which may result in files in use. 

    

Task Reason
Process Owner Statements - RDP912 Creates several transactions per reservation, per owner, per month
Process Travel Agents - RDP912 Creates transactions per reservation for each agent
Generate Forecast Records - RDP920 Creates records in the Statfile.dat for each in-house and future res, including group blocks for extended periods of time
Exploding Transactions - RDP900 Reads all new transactions, creates JRyymmdd files with credit/debit detail, and updates Ototalyy.dat & Totalsyy.dat files
Rebuild Totals - RDP998 Re-explodes all transactions for the selected month
Rebuild Statistics - RDP902 Reads the Statfile.dat detail to recreate the Totalsyy.dat for the selected month
Heavy Network Volume Too much network traffic and/or packet collisions - RDP & other applications vying for same resources
Hardware failure Network collisions and slow downs may be caused by the hardware environment failing - network cards, cables, routers, hubs, PC's, servers, hard disks, etc.
RDP software in "deadly embrace" Typically programming issues: a start transaction/lock tablfile routine has begun but cannot complete or reach the "abort transaction" routine.

Identify "hanging" workstation

Each workstation using RDP is assigned a unique station number.  This station number is visible on every screen in the upper right hand corner.  If a workstation is at a menu and is not processing data, only the station number will appear.  If the workstation is processing a transaction, a red asterik (*) will flash next to the station number. The red flashing * indicates the workstation is processing normally. 

Identify the source of problem as follows:

  1. If all workstations receive a files in use message and do not start to clear after 1 minute, check to see if any major process listed above is occurring.  If it is, increase the time out (use "+" key).  This will slow down the task but it will free up network resources. 
  2. If no major task is running, verify that the server is operational and that no errors are present.  Verify that workstations connected to the network are not displaying any errors and are still connected.
  3. At this point and several minutes without explanation, identifying the workstation causing the files in use is critical.  Remember, only one workstation may have the Tablfile.dat locked in exclusive mode. This workstation will display the station number but the red * will not be flashing.
  4. Close the RDP session that does not have the * flashing.  Many times, this will break the connection to Pervasive and be enough to let the other tasks continue.
  5. If this does not work, close all applications and restart this workstation.  Make sure to login into the network and restart RDP.  Many times, this will clear the connection at three levels:  Network, Pervasive, and RDP.
  6. Use Pervasive Monitor to identify the problem workstation and delete the specific user.
  7. As a last option, reboot the data server, all workstations and bridge computers.

After identifying the problem workstation, it is absolutely critical to discuss the problem with the employee who was using that terminal.  Sometimes, a series of keystrokes or unusual circumstance will create a deadly embrace or other problem within the RDP Programs.  Correcting these problems at a programming level is dependent on identifying the keystrokes or scenarios that cause them.  

Using Pervasive Monitor Efficiently

RDP recommends that each workstation on the network have a unique network login name.  This unique login maintains security.  In addition, the unique login provides more detailed information at both the network server and Pervasive levels to identify workstation locations and open files. Two options are possible.

The highest level of security requires that each employee be created as a unique user.  Each would login into the data server with his/her name and password.  Each user must logout of the network if leaving a specific workstation.  If the employee quits or is terminated, his/her access to the network can be eliminated by deleting the user login name.  This is RDP's recommended procedure.

Many times, employees use multiple workstations during the shift, and do not have a specific cube or desk to call home.  In this instance, each workstation should have a unique login assigned.  For example, if the Front Desk has four workstations, create four logins:  FDesk1, FDesk2, FDesk3 and FDesk4.  The password can be the same on all workstations.  Repeat this process for all departments: Acct1 and Acct2; Res1, Res2, Res3, etc.  Make sure to type login name labels and attach to each workstation.  Periodically change the passwords.  While not as secure as the first method, the second goal of network identification is reached.

Pervasive Monitor is a powerful utility.  To access:  Start| Programs| Pervasive| Pervasive 2000| Utilities| Monitor.  RDP recommends creating a shortcut for Monitor on the workstations used by the auditor and management.

Start Monitor.  Under Options,  Connect.  Input Server name, User name and Password.

               

                

Select Microkernal, then Active Files to find the workstation/user that is locking RDP.  Uncheck automatic refresh. 

Locate the Tablfile.dat in the left side display box.  

              

Click on the first user in the right side display box.  Look for three specific items:

  1. Transaction lock on the left side.  NO means that Pervasive user is not trying to process any data, is not in the queue waiting, does not have "files in use" message and is NOT the workstation hanging. YES means the workstation has started a transaction at the Pervasive level, and may be either in the queue waiting to process or it may be the problem station.

  2. Transaction state on the right side.  NONE means that the Tablfile.dat is not in use by this Pervasive user, and this is NOT the workstation causing files in use for everyone else. CONCURRENT transaction states are NOT used by RDP and this value should never exist.  EXCLUSIVE is the value which identifies that the Tablfile.dat is "locked" by that Pervasive user.  This is the field and value find.

  3. Task number on the right side.  By finding the user name and task number, this user can be easily deleted.

Identify the User/Task Number that has the Transaction State in Exclusive Mode, then close Active Files.  

Select Microkernel, Active Users.  Uncheck automatic refresh.

           

To delete this user that has the Tablfile.dat in the Transaction State of Exclusive:

  1. Active Microkernel Users on the left side is the Pervasive User listing.  Highlight the User identified above by Name and Task Number.

  2. Tablfile.dat  can be located by scrolling down the alpha list in the right display box.  Verify that the transaction state on the right side of the screen is exclusive.  This is the problem workstation.

  3. Click "Delete Current User"

Please note that in Pervasive Monitor, Active Users, the Transaction State on LEFT side does not refer to the state of the Tablfile.dat.  It is simply information for Pervasive User XXXX that indicates that RDP has sent a command to "start transaction."  In other words, this user is busy and will be ready to file and access data as soon as Pervasive and RDP allow it.  The Tablfile.dat transaction state on the right side in "handle information" is the key element. 

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