Yesterday I went back to finish up the Terminal Server install
that I started a
month ago. Don't ask me what took so long; I have no clue.
Possibly the "Tech Whiz" didn't believe that he needed to buy
Terminal Server Licenses.. I don't know, but here I was, a month
later and they had the license. I installed it, installed Terminal
Server, added users (making them Remote Desktop Users) and we were up and running.
Well, sort of. Eventually this server will get moved elsewhere,
but right now it's in the same store as the POS machine that will be
accessing it. That's where I spent the next few hours.
The first problem was Tech Whiz again. He had installed a Quatech
QSCLP-100 card to provide additional serial ports and had gotten
confused during the driver install - only some of the extra ports
were working. I don't blame him for being confused: this is a five part
driver install. First you install the Quatech driver, then Windows detects
new hardware for each serial port in turn. He must have cancelled out of
a few of them, probably thinking this HAD to be wrong. It wasn't. It
really is a five part install.
Because all the various devices (scanner, PIN number reader, pole
display, credit card reader) have to be accessed from the server software,
you need to set "Local Resource" options in RDP to redirect the serial
ports. That worked fine after reinstalling the drivers and running
"Change port" at a DOS session on the Terminal Server showed that everything
had been transferred. We were ready to go.
Yeah, but the scanner wasn't working.
I noted that it was connected to COM1 and asked the Counterpoint guy
to check that Counterpoint agreed with that. He looked confused and
said he shouldn't have to tell it. It was my turn to look confused,
but Tech Whiz had the answer: there's a little piece of software
called Metrologic Softwedge running that takes the input from COM1
and shoves it into the keyboard buffer. That's why Counterpoint didn't
have to be told where things were. OK, but it's not working..
Tech Whiz actually made a smart suggestion: maybe Softwedge needs
to be on the server? Well, yeah, that makes sense. I installed
it for multiuser use (Start->Run change user /install; install it; change user /execute)
and the scanner worked.
Unless you quit the session without logging out. Upon
resuming, the Softwedge doesn't work until you deselect and reselect
COM1. Not so horrible, I guess.
But then all hell broke loose. We tried testing the PIN reader and
it hung. Not only did it hang, but it killed all the other ports
and nothing but a cold server reboot would bring them back. We
tried moving it do a different port, same behavior. Very disturbing
because everything else was working perfectly.
I hate that kind of stuff. I have no idea how a malfunctioning serial
device can hose everything else; maybe that's a Windows feature. It's
very, very annoying to get this far and get stopped so abruptly and rudely.
So that's where we are. There's a spare PIN reader somewhere; they
are going to find and try that.
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