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-   -   The Big Switch (http://tantalk.com/technology-forum/2325377-big-switch.html)

tcn813 07-23-2002 05:55 PM

I have read over all the postings on new versions of Helios, new computers, windows xp, etc. and now I need to decide what to do. I don't want to make any decisions based on answers that my be outdated and I am totally a "non" computer geek so here are my questions:

I want to get a new computer and I am pretty sure it will come with xp home on it. Does that work? If not can I get xp pro preinstalled? I recently bought a compaq for my back office and I'll probably get the same thing for the salon. It came with xp home some of my older software won't install.

I have Helios V8 currently and wonder if that will even work on xp. I remember transferring the program to my current salon computer and you have to take it off the old computer before it will install on the new one. I'd like to know ahead of time if it will work or not. That way I will have the new version in hand before doing anything.

I ordered a demo off the helios website yesterday. As of now (24 hrs later) they have not aknowledged me in any way so I am still wondering if I will get V9 or V10. Does anyone know? Also, does this demo turn into the real version or is it strictly a demo?

I currently use a t-max manager connected to a serial port. Do newer computers still connect the same way? The new Compaq I have uses a USB for the printer (bought new at the same time) so I wasn't even asking what other ports are standard. Will I need any additional hardware for the t-max?

I currently have two computers in the salon but only one can set beds. I won't buy two new ones unless I know that a newer version of Helios will allow both computers to set beds. Does anyone know the answer to that? Is additional hardware or a multi user version of the software required?

The early days of initially setting up Helios and than installing a t-max are not the days I want to go through again. At least I am confident that all the brainy folks on this site will be able to talk me through any glitches.

Thanks in advance for any answers, Tammy

Andy 07-24-2002 07:44 AM

Hi Tammy:

Here is what Helios have listed as the mininum requirements in the V10 User Manual on the V10 CD distributed at the Vegas show.

XP would be included in the "higher" category. In the manual they make no specific reference to XP Home. Helios Tech Support have in the past stated that XP Home is not compatible with Helios, while we in fact know that it DOES work fine if properly installed as shown on the Solarsoft website and with the updated Crypto-Box drivers (likely not needed when V10 is installed - I would hope).

V10 was/is reported to include Web Based reporting to allow you to access your Helios Database for reporting from a remote location over the internet. When I visited the Helios office at the end of March 2002 it appeared that Helios may use the Personal Web Server within the Windows Operating System, this application (PWS) is NOT part of Windows XP Home - maybe that is why they have stated that XP Home will not work with Helios because it certainly does with V9.2.5 and V9.4

You can also ask Tech Support for further clarification on this, you will need to push past the standard automatic response you will likely get.


Helios V10 (as distributed at the Vegas show) has so many problems I have discontinued further testing until an additional update (after 10.0.45) is available.


I have not actually seen V8 installed on a XP machine but logically if you were to follow the instructions above on the Solarsoft site (HOWTO) it should install. HOWEVER, you will have a greater problem here - with V8 you need an Activation Code after installing V8 to get it out of Demo mode. Other users that have contacted Helios for this have been told that the company has had a change in ownership and that they no longer support V8 and that the user will have to update to V9.

Since you are still on V8, I assume you do not have the Software Maintenance Agreement in force (or you likely would have upgraded to V9 by now). If you do not, be prepared to be charged a penalty to reactivate your support to thereby get access to V9. The agreement form states that you will need to pay an enrollment fee of $299. PLUS $34.99 per month since your software maintenance was interrupted (all per location) - YES all those months that you did not have support, the agreement says you now have to pay them anyway to be reinstated. I am aware of situations in the past were all or some of this penalty was waived and I am also aware of situations were it was charged. You may be able to think of a way around that.

Tammy, you really will benefit from upgrading to V9.4 it is the most stable copy of Helios since the DOS days and MOST certainly more stable than V10.0.45 (be in NO hurry to upgrade to V10 - let others be the pioneers)

Your reference to "have to take it off the old computer before it will install on the new one" - that refers to V7 that came with authorized installs on the diskettes. V8 requires an Authorization Code that you got from Helios by phone and V9 requires a "Dongle" (copy protection device) that connects to the LPT1 port of your computer.

Whether you get V9 or V10 when you requested the demo is something that I am interested in as well - please let us know when you receive it.

If you were actually ordering the Dongle to install an operating copy of Helios at this point, to the best of my knowledge that would be V9. To date I am not aware of a V10 dongle being shipped. It was not shipped on Nov 9th as promised at the 2001 Nashville show, it was no shipped on the Monday following as promised at the Vegas show - and based on what I have seen in V10.0.45 it really should be a good while before it is still shippable.


Your T-Max Manager will need to connect to a serial port on your computer, so ensure you have at least one serial port. Your report printer using an USB port is excellent. If you also use a Receipt Printer it would connect to the LPT1 port through the Dongle.

With V9.4, Helios now uses a Timer Server, that allows any networked workstation to also control the T-Max Manager connected to the main computer in your salon.

All the Helios oriented software is included with V9.4 to allow you to network Helios.

First you need to create your Local Area Network between your computers and within Windows. It is suggest that you create this network using internal IP addresses (your Network Technician will know what that means and we will come back to this point later).

From this point on - technical info on actually setting up the LAN configuration within Helios on the Server and Workstation(s)

You then share the Helios Data Directory on your "server" and map that directory on each additional workstation as "F" drive. Then use the MultiUserSetup program in the Utilities Directory of the V9.4 CD to point the Data and Pictures (later if applicable) directory on each workstation to the "F" drive (thus the data directory on the server).

Finally on each workstation (after the above networking configuration is complete) go into the Systems Default Preferences and go to the Site Info tab.

You will need to add an additional System File for each Workstation - Edit System Files - you will see 0-Default. You could change the name Default to Server if you wish (not necessary) if you do the 0 record will appear to disappear after you save it - fear not it is still there (as long as you did not delete it (DO NOT delete it - BAD BAD BAD) if you close the maintenance box and go back into Edit System Files it will be visible again - just a little bug. OK now add record 2-Workstation 2 and save it. I normally ignore record # 1 or leave 0-Default alone and set up 1-Server. The point here is that later you will assign a Workstation Number and 0 is not valid.

The "Server" should remain set at System File 0-Default (or Server if you renamed it) or 1-Server, depending on your earlier decision. On the Server leave the Timer Server reflecting Server and set the Workstation # to 1.

On the Workstation (first one if more than one) change the System File to 2-Workstation 2. Change the Timer Server to Client and enter the internal IP Address assigned to Server (note you can use Computer Name but I have found that using the IP address approach is more reliable) - told you above we would come back to this. Now also set the Workstation Number to the appropriate valid in this case 2. Save the record.

If you have more than one additional Workstation the next one would be 3-Workstation 3.

Now on the Workstation(s) you have some additional work to do. Exit Helios and restart Helios (thus using the new Workstation System Record). You have three things you need to adjust on each Workstation that may (likely) not have copied properly from the Server/Default record.

1. The User Defined Field Names and Accumulator names may be back to those of the Demo Data - Go into Master Edit (if needed) and make them the same as on the Server Workstation.

2. The System Default Preferences may (likely) also be back to those from the Demo Data - ensure they are the same on the workstation as on the server EXCEPT for the differences on the site info tab that are appropriately different for this workstation.

You would have to have shared (on the Server) and installed (on the workstation) the appropriate printers in Windows to have them available on the Workstation. If you are using one Cash Drawer between the two computers you would also have to "Capture" the receipt printer (connected to the server) on the workstation as LPT1.

3. In the Equipment Preferences the Bed Types will need to be set as the are on the Server.


Tammy, where are you located - I do a fair amount of onsite travelling - if you are interested I would be please to discuss the possibility of being of service.


Hope this helps,

Teresa 07-24-2002 08:06 AM

Thanks Andy for saying let others be the pioneers for version 10, I guess we are probably going to be one of those "others". The last that my owner has shared with me from his conversation with helios yesterday were:
1. Tony still works for helios
2. We are still scheduled for the last week in August
3. The address line encryption is only on the demo version
4. No dongle is going to be required for version 10

So as you can see I am still pretty much "in the dark" but I'll keep you posted as to how things go.

Andy 07-24-2002 08:49 AM

Thanks for the update Teresa, and I truly do wish you the very best with this implementation.

I for one am very glad to hear that Tony is still at Helios. I personally believe Helios Users will be the worst for it when/if he does depart.

V10 WAN scheduled for installation at the end of August, less than 40 days away - it has been so long coming it will be great to see the approaches and safeguards they have taken.

Remember if they miss that end of August date by a day or two - V10 was promised to be shipped Nov 9th at the 2001 Nashville show and it (to the best of my knowledge) is still not being shipped.

Address Line encryption only being in the Demo Version of V10 - I truly hope that this time, and at least on this issue, Tony is speaking from fact. Earlier in July when he said that to a number of Users, John Keffner at ETS stated on July 10th that that decision had not been made as yet. One would wonder why they put the encryption in the "DEMO" version if they did not intent on using it. This does not address the equally concerning issue of the EFT Account Number encryption which removes the ability of Users to export data from the EFT table within Helios for independant processing of EFT transactions without the involvement of ETS/Helios.

V10 - NO DONGLE - interesting. This must be a very recent change in direction. V10.0.45 starts in Demo mode saying as with V9 that the Hardware Key is not present. Earlier in July another User was told that the new "V10 Dongle" would work with both V9.4 (I assumed actually V9.4.5) and V10.

I wonder what security approach they are going to use now and if it will afford the same convenience to the User that the dongle did for reinstalling software without the involvement of Helios Tech Support and allowing for the convenient use of a copy of the software (in demo mode) for reporting on a home or office computer.

Thanks again for the update Teresa.

summrtan 08-17-2002 04:31 PM

I received an email from tony the other day and he said the donge is in fact still needed

Andy 08-17-2002 04:53 PM

and that is a good thing .....

with the exception of needing to update drivers for newer operating systems

the problems associated with using the dongle compared to the prior Software Activation code are very few.

If you are using a printer that uses two way communications (and especially MultiFunction printers) keep them away from the dongle. Either use USB interface for those printers or install a second LPT port.

I REALLY like the ability for a User to be able to move Helios from one system to another without needing Helios Tech Support to re-activate the use of Helios on the second machine.


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