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$99 Tune Up Lessons

During the most recent 12 Days promotion from BCC Software, many customers took advantage of what we described as a $99 Tune Up. Customers who purchased the offer allowed our Professional Services team access to their system to clean things up and perform regular maintenance. Because it was so beneficial for our customers, we’re using this article to compile some of the lessons and observations our Customer Support technicians and customers took away from these tune ups to help keep your systems streamlined.

Initially, our technicians followed a guide written by our Professional Services Director on maintaining system performance. This guide goes over many of the sticking points and locations where data can build up and cause slowdowns and poor performance. This is a great companion piece to this article, so if you haven’t read it, make sure to take a look.

As we moved through customers’ systems and addressed their specific concerns, two common problem areas emerged. Cleaning up these secondary areas often lead to increased performance in the specific affected menus and systems.

The first area we saw problems in was the Company and Permit tables. Some customers had thousands of entries in these tables, which resulted in slowdowns on several important menus including the Open Lists page, the Encoding Options page, and any of the Permit and Company pages selection/setup screens. The files in question are Company.dbf in the Data Files folder and Permits.dbf in the Presort Tables folder. We found anything over 1000 entries in either of these tables caused noticeable lag when opening the menus.

For customers utilizing TaskMaster™, the problem was even more pronounced. With dbf files that contained more than 1000 records, any process that needed to reference the permit or company information was slowed considerably. Once we trimmed things down below 1000 records per DBF, however, the end result was increased responsiveness from these menus.

Another area where our technicians were surprised to find problems with was the Postage Statements. Several customers had issues with their Postage Statement printing and previewing being extremely slow. Even after cleaning up all the usual suspects from the Maintaining System Performance document, we found these pages notably less responsive than we would like. In many cases, the culprit was the presort-specific DEST files. These files are located in the Presort Tables folder, and are named Dest99999.txt or Dest999999999.txt, where the 99999 represents a given zip code for the sort.

These are the individual destination selections and decisions for specific sorts. They are very much needed for any sort that is currently being worked on, but can build up over time as leftover data from previous sorts. In the cases where we saw slow access to the Postage Statement screens there were tens of thousands of old DEST files dating from years ago. Once we removed all but the most recent 2018 DEST files, we were able to access the Postage Statement pages with little or no lag time. In theory, these files could also impact the presort time, as the Presort Tables folder was unnecessarily full and causing slowdowns when accessing any files in those folders.

These two sticking points surprised us, but absolutely made sense. In accessing a database or folder, one of the biggest pain points is sifting through all the entries in that folder or table. Even if the total file size is relatively small, if the program has to parse through thousands of individual entries it will cause considerable slowdown. Cleaning up these entries and files showed impressive improvements and lead to much more responsive customer systems.

If, when looking at your own system's build up of files, you have questions about whether they are safe to delete or remove, please don’t hesitate Customer Support at 800-624-5234 or email tech@bccsoftware.com.