Data entry field(s) do not auto-select when form loads.  PC too fast?

Posted on 2010-09-19
Last Modified: 2012-05-10
We have about 20 Dell Windows XP workstations of various models and ages all using the same corporate software.  We just purchased two new Dell Optiplex 780 PC's to replace a couple of old PC's.  They are dual-core Core2Duo CPUs and we decided to order them configured with 128GB SSD drives for speed and reliability.  The performance with the SSD drives is amazing.

When entering data, a form will display with various entry fields.  On form load, the cursor is placed on the first entry field and whatever prior value in that field is highlighted / selected.  The user simply types data which will overwrite the data in that field.  This works fine with all of our "older" PC's.

On the two new SSD PC's, the form will display, the data in the fields display, but only the cursor is placed in the front of the first data field.  It does not automatically select / highlight the first field.  The user has to manually double-click the field data to select it and overwrite the data.

All the XP workstations are on SP3 with all patches included.  They are very up-to-date.

This may sound trivial but when our personnel have to enter hundreds of transactions, it slows down productivity.  The "old" PC's do not have this issue.

After testing an old PC and the new SSD PC's side-by-side, it can be seen visually that a process occurs just before the main entry window displays.  On the new SSD machine, this process cannot even be noticed.  Discussing this with the software vendor has us thinking the machine may be "too fast" (if there is such a thing) for the entry software to keep up.

We think the SSD drive has increased the data-bandwidth performance so much that the older antiquated software has hiccups with it.

Would appreciate any comments on this.  It's a real brain-twister.

Thanks in advance!


Question by:EddieGomez
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Expert Comment

ID: 33712001
Do you also have and tried the Optiplex 780 with normal harddrive?

I would think no matter how fast the pc, the instructions of the software will run in the same order on slow and fast pc's. So the outcome of a faster pc should be the same as on a slow pc. Unless the software is depending on timers but that would be stupid programming. Also programs run from memory so the first suspect would not be the harddrive. The problem could also be a resulting from the graphics driver or card. Maybe try other drivers.

The software vendor should give you more information about issues with the software on new pc's.

Expert Comment

ID: 33712014

This is a very interesting question.

Too fast? I do not understand why should make problems....

I guees all this machines are sending the records in a server, is it so?

Did you try to work only with the new two machines in a moment when all the others can be switched off so to see which is their behaviour in a enviroment from which they cannot get any influence from the others?

SSD are tremendously performant if related to electromechanical drives, but they have drawbacks too, the write cycles are finite, and a wear leveling system is used to have block evenly weared, futhermore there are problems if using encryption or trying to securely delete data.

I would try to use those two machine only in a very intensive way to see how they behave alone, so faking to be in a enviroment where only SSD are used, this just to begin to exclude strange iterations with the other machines.

Let us know about, so that we can help having new information.



Expert Comment

ID: 33712036
"I would try to use those two machine only in a very intensive way" Sorry for this confusing sentence, I mean that I would try to use this two machine alone and in a intensive way as you described to observe their behaviour.

I read the post of william above and agree with him, I am not fond of programming but what he stated make me ask him if this can be related to the wear leveling system embedded in the SSD drives, what do you think about this william?

It would be very interesting to see what happen on that same machines if using a regular HD or using a real hardware RAM disk (pure RAM SSD) just to see if the mangle is there anyway or is directly related to those SSD.

Can you dump an image of the SSD and restore it on a regular HD to try this?

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Expert Comment

ID: 33712042
A detail tha meke me think something is strange with the software installation is that the cursor appears in a different way, why the selection is not automatically done as in the others?, i would inquire on this too, it should behave exactly in the same way. By the way is the OS on the new machines the same as in the older ones?


Author Comment

ID: 33712096
All os's are the same. Windows XP SP3.  We have other hard-drive bases Optiplex Dells being used.  Only the SSD drive PC's are exhibiting this behavior.

Author Comment

ID: 33712278
This is a fat-client setup.  All data is stored on a server.  No data is stored locally on the computer.  All documents are also stored on the server.  With the exception of the OS itself and the executable programs, nothing resides on the computer and all is served by our central servers.

Expert Comment

ID: 33712377
So try to dump the sytem onto an image with Savepart or filezilla and clone this SSD to a regular HD. You might have problems to boot from it even if you dump also the MBR and or the first sector or the whole disk, so I suggest you to do it in this way.

First dump onto an image  the System partition from the SSD. Remove the SSD. Install the mechatonic HD (traditional HD) and start a win xp installation, after first reboot you can stop it.

Now that the disk is ready to boot from windows restore the image from the SSD if everything works fine you have a working clone.

Now you can test the machine with a regular HD and see if the problem is still there.

You will be able to exclude that is due to the SSD disks.

Accepted Solution

EddieGomez earned 0 total points
ID: 33747059
I appreciate all the recommendations.  After working with the vendor in detail about this problem, we discovered that only certain panels were doing this.  It was not a consistent problem throughout the software.  It seems this may be a problem of the software that perhaps, the performance gained with the SSD drive seemed to have brought front and forward.  Typical.

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