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IBM AS/400 Printer Output in Operations Navigator

Posted on 2009-07-01
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Last Modified: 2013-12-06
For the past three years I have been using the Operations Navigator inside of Client Access Express to access spool files on my AS/400 printers. I frequently drag and drop reports to my PC for further analysis via Excel. All of the sudden it I am having a major issue with this process. If there is more than one file in the printer queue only the first file shows up correctly in Operations Navigator. The other spool files show as gibrish. It is almost as though the colums have been shifted on the other records. I can see some identifiable data in these records such as user and printer names, but they show up under the wrong columns. I have tried to clear all spool files but this has not seemed to work. I am a novice when it comes to the AS/400 and would appreciate any help.

Regards,
Aaron J. Wood
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Question by:aaronjwood
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17 Comments
 
LVL 27

Expert Comment

by:tliotta
ID: 24758930
Aaron:

>  ...Operations Navigator inside of Client Access Express...

First things first -- that's either very old software or very old terminology. Can you click Help-> About Navigator... and send us a screen-print of the message window? (Use <Alt-PrtSc> to grab just the message window and paste that into a bitmap or some other format.)

Second, from your desktop Start menu, go into Programs-> IBM iSeries Access for Windows-> iSeries Access for Windows Properties. Capture (sceen-print) the General tab info from the Properties window. (You might have slightly different names for the menu items.)

Finally, can you tell us what version/release your AS/400 runs under?

Thanks.

Tom
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Author Comment

by:aaronjwood
ID: 24759153
Tom, thank you for the reply. This AS/400 runs our POS (Point of Sale) software. I am using a very old version of Client Access Express 5.1 that was provided by our POS company. I know it is old, but it has always worked and we have not done a version update lately. As I stated, I am an AS/400 novice  I will Google how to determine the version/release that my AS/400 runs under.
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Author Comment

by:aaronjwood
ID: 24759217
Looks like I am running V5R2M0 L00. I got this by running "go licpgm" and then pressing F11.
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Author Comment

by:aaronjwood
ID: 24759233
The Help -> About in Operations Navigator gives "IBM AS/400 Client Access Express for Windows Version 5 Release 1 Modification level 0"
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LVL 35

Expert Comment

by:Gary Patterson
ID: 24759303
When Navigator gets flaky on me on a workstation, I just uninstall it and reinstall it.  Almost always solves the issue.

- Gary Patterson
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Author Comment

by:aaronjwood
ID: 24759363
Gary, thank you for the comment. This issue is occuring on all PC's that have Operations Navigator installed. Otherwise I would have tried to do a fresh install.
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LVL 27

Expert Comment

by:tliotta
ID: 24759482
Aaron:

When you get to the Start-> Programs-> IBM Client Access-> Properties display, please include the "Service level SIxxxxx" value. The newest one possible is SI11806 from April 2004, I think.

This is indeed old software. What Windows version is running? I'm not sure I could expect anything later than Windows 2000.

Understand that Gary's suggestion _might_ be the only choice. With software like this, actual fixes and support are well in the past.

Tom
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Author Comment

by:aaronjwood
ID: 24759615
The service level is Sl01907. The the newer software available for download? What is the cost? What troubles me is that I have used it every month for the past 3 years and then poof if doesn't work. Our POS provider did an update to our Library that controls the POS this month, but they claim that is does not change any core AS/400 infrastructure files. I do appreciate your help.
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LVL 35

Expert Comment

by:Gary Patterson
ID: 24759723
Would have been handy to know that this is happening on multiple machines in that original post ...  :-)

Still doesn't change my advice, though.

If it is true that nothing was changed OS-wise by the vendor (no PTFs applied by vendor), then we are just left with the workstations themselves.  One guess is that an automatic Windows update (or some other automatic software update) broke it.  Are you running Auto Update?  If so, check your update history and see if an hit at the time Navigator went wonky on you.  If so, you can try going back to a restore point in Windows (I'm assuming WinXP Pro here) before the problem occurred.  The only problem with that plan is that backing up to an old restore point like this can cause more harm than good.

Personally, I'd still just remove and reinstall on my workstation (takes like 20 minutes) and see if that resolves the issue, rather than spending a bunch of time with "what happened".  Odds are that upgrading, applying PTFs, or reinstalling are going to be what has to happen in the end anyway.

- Gary Patterson

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LVL 27

Accepted Solution

by:
tliotta earned 250 total points
ID: 24759828
Aaron:

Don't be alarmed, stay calm, breath slowly and deeply... in... out... in... out...

When all is quiet, gently slide your chair back away from your keyboard. When you've gone far enough that you can stand _without_ touching keyboard or desk, do so slowly. Back out of the room carefully. Do not startle the PC. If it moves, run.

At least, that's what I feel like writing.

I _think_ that the download can be done from here:

http://www-03.ibm.com/systems/i/software/access/windows/sphist.html

...but I wouldn't recommend it yet.

This needs to be discussed with your POS provider. Any installation of the SI11806 service pack needs to be done on a _test_ PC first!

Personally, I'm almost amazed that the SI01907 service level has functioned so (relatively) well against the V5R2 server for so long. That was the first service pack for the first release of version 5 of the Client Access product. And it's running against the next release of the server operating system (which has been out of IBM support for a while now.)

I would be very concerned about the Windows environment and internet connectivity. Not so much for the AS/400, but for the PCs. I can't recall if Client Access V5R1 is appropriate for Windows XP at all, much less service level SI01907 on WinXP. If your network doesn't have good firewall support and internet routes exist to your PCs, your PCs are at risk. Even Zone Alarm has dropped support for Win2K.

The good news is that you potentially have a lot of system fixes that might be available.

If you can download the service pack and install on a _test_ PC and things work, then you can _probably_ do the same for other PCs running the same release of Client Access.

This is not something to rush into, though. One step at a time.

Ideally, your V5R2 server has V5R2 of Client Access loaded onto it and you could even drop the whole Client Access V5R1 setup. You could upgrade your PC to V5R2 from the server. If you can get one PC running the SI11806 service pack, then you should be able to work through each of the others. When they all are also at the latest service level, then you can see about upgrading a _test_ PC to V5R2 (and update it to its latest service pack too.)

But one step at a time...

Your next step should be a talk with your POS provider. Describe your desire (1) to install the latest CA V5R1 service pack, and (2) to explore upgrading to CA V5R2 through a server connection.

I don't know anything about your service agreement with them. You might not be able to do anything but chat with someone about implications. We can probably guide you through all the steps of determining if it can be done and, if so, how to do it. (The server should first have the components loaded for example.)

If they can't do anything but chat, just be sure to get as much info as possible. Of course, if they have contracted service obligations, don't hesitated to pull their chains. Bear in mind that they seem to have put together a pretty solid environment.

Finally, if Gary adds anything more, pay close attention. He's as good as it gets in all of this.

Tom
0
 

Author Comment

by:aaronjwood
ID: 24760011
1. I like your humor and appreciate the time you are dedicating to help me.

2. I talked with my POS provider about this issue today. The conversation ended with them saying that this was an IBM issue because they did not install any PTFs (whatever they are :o).

3. My next step will be the uninstall/reinstall. I will post the results of this. Our domain controller downloads the Windows updates and then alerts the workstations of the update. I do not recall installing an update this month, but will look into it. The PC that I use most often is running XP Pro, the other machine having the same issue is the domain controller that is running SBS 2003.

4. I did notice that when I looked up the version of the AS/400 OS there was a newer version of Client Access in the list provided in the "go licpgm -> F11" command.

I will keep you posted
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LVL 35

Expert Comment

by:Gary Patterson
ID: 24760298
Tom,

Thanks for the nice words.

Aaron,

I will add a couple of things:  Someplace around there you probably have V5R2 media for Client Access and Navigator.  Since you are going to go to the trouble of reinstalling, why not go ahead and upgrade to V5R2, and apply the last V5R2 service pack from the site that Tom sent you to above.

If you can't locate media or a network install source, maybe you can find a friendly IBM Business Partner that can help you.

Oh, and PTF = Program Temporary Fix.  It is IBM-ese for a patch, a service pack, a program fix, etc.

- Gary Patterson
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Author Comment

by:aaronjwood
ID: 24762307
Gary, I do not have the media for V5R2 Client Access and am not sure how to find a network install. I am quite good with computers, but this AS/400 is an entirely different animal. Is there a cost to doing a network install? Are there free providers? I am so used to so many utilities being free for PC's that I am lost. How would I find a local IBM Partner and what would I ask them? Thank you for all of you help.
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LVL 35

Assisted Solution

by:Gary Patterson
Gary Patterson earned 250 total points
ID: 24763286
Aaron,

A network install is just a load source for Client Access / Navigator on a shared network drive or the AS/400 Integrated File System (the IFS is a set of file systems on the AS/400 that are compatible with Windows, Unix, Netware, etc.).  Just like you probably load the installation media for other Windows programs out to a share someplace so that you don't have to track down media every time you need to install or reinstall a program.

If you have a common point on your network where you keep applications, you may want to check there and see if someone in the past loaded the Client Access installation source there.

When the iSeries Access for Windows is installed on your AS/400, a copy of the installation source gets stored in the IFS in the following IFS directory:

\QIBM\ProdData\Access\Windows\Install\Image (iSeries Access for Windows) or
\QIBM\ProdData\CA400\Express\Install\Image (Client Access Express)

You can use Navigator or the green-screen WRKLNK command on the AS/400 to browse the IFS.

If NetServer is configured on your AS/400 (NetServer is a Windows CIFS-compatible file server), you can access this from Windows Explorer on your network at:

\\your-iSeries-server-name-or-IP-address\QIBM\ProdData\Access\Windows\Install\Image or
\\your-iSeries-server-name-or-IP-address\\QIBM\ProdData\CA400\Express\Install\Image

and you can just install from that share by running SETUP.EXE

If NetServer isn't configured, it isn't a big deal to set it up.  The easiest way is with Navigator:

http://publib.boulder.ibm.com/iseries/v5r2/ic2924/books/c415507311.htm

But it is also possible to do it from the AS/400 command line by calling some IBM-supplied APIs:

http://www-03.ibm.com/systems/i/software/netserver/fastpath.html

Be aware that you need to use an AS/400 user profile that has *IOSYSCFG special authority in order to configure NetServer (WRKUSRPRF or DSPUSRPRF to view profile info), and you may require additional special authorities: *SECADM and *ALLOBJ plus *IOSYSCFG will probably be more than adequate.

I don't know of any free providers that do what Navigator does.  There are free providers that do other Client Access jobs, like workstation and printer emulation.

You POS software provider is probably an IBM BP.  Start with them.  If they can't or won't help you, post back for other ideas.

I know that several of the experts here work for BPs, but experts aren't allowed to solicit business, so you won't get any responses saying "I can help you".  If you check out EE profiles (click on the expert's name) you will find that some list contact information.

- Gary Patterson




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Author Comment

by:aaronjwood
ID: 24766129
Problem Solved! Thank you two for the excellent help. I was able to map the AS/400 QIBM drive to my PC and install the latest iSeries Access from that location. I am now able to see all spool files correctly and have much more functionality.
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LVL 35

Expert Comment

by:Gary Patterson
ID: 24766363
Happy to help.

- Gary Patterson
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LVL 27

Expert Comment

by:tliotta
ID: 24766553
Aaron:

Very glad you got it going.

Keep in mind that a new install of (or upgrade to) CA V5R2 will still be better with the service pack for CA V5R2 from the download site. With a little study of the README and any related docs, you should be able to download that final service pack to a public location on your LAN and get it applied to each PC.

BTW, does your POS app have PC GUI components that get updated by your POS provider? Some .DLLs _might_ get involved if the PC app needed changes.

In any case, discussion with them wouldn't have to be about whether they altered system PTF levels or anything like that. Focus of discussion should be whether or not new service packs would interfere with the POS app.

I'd also like to ask about who does the system maintenance on your AS/400 since the POS people don't seem to, but we probably don't really want to know...

Ummm... you DO have a backup strategy? Right?

No, leave that for a new question...

Tom
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