How do I share my MainBoss Basic database over a network?
First, we recommend that you install the MainBoss software on every computer where you think you will use MainBoss. While it is possible to store the software on one machine and execute that software from other machines on your network, you will get better performance if the software is installed directly on the computer where you're working.
Second, if you intend to access the database from more than two computers simultaneously, we recommend that the database be installed on a server version of Windows (e.g. Windows Server 2012) or else on a network run by specific network software (e.g. Novell or a Unix/Linux system). If you attempt to store the database on a Windows desktop system (e.g. Windows 7 Pro), the system will either run very slowly when more than two computers are connected or else it will prevent connections entirely. However, you should be okay with non-server versions of Windows if you're only going to access the database from a maximum of two other computers.
Note: The rest of this document uses the term server for the computer that holds the MainBoss database. Other computers that will access the database will be called remove computers.
Before trying to share access to a MainBoss database, you should make sure that the network is working in general.
- On each computer, start Windows Explorer. Go to the Network section of Explorer. Make sure that the server can "see" the remote computers and the remote computers can "see" the server. If they can't, consult your network documentation for information on establishing connections.
All computers should have file sharing turned on.
If you have a commercial firewall product (e.g. one that comes as part of an antivirus package),
consult the software's documentation for how to allow file-sharing.
If you're using the standard Windows firewall, follow these steps:
- In the Control Panel, click Windows Firewall .
- In the resulting window, click Change settings.
- A window opens where you can make firewall adjustments. Go to the Exceptions section of this window.
- In the list, go to File and Printer Sharing. If the accompanying checkbox isn't already marked, checkmark it.
- Click OK to exit.
- All computers should have TCP/IP Internet protocols enabled. These are usually turned on by default during standard Windows installation. (TCP/IP isn't necessary to make file sharing work, but it makes connections more stable.)
Sharing the Database Folder
In order to make the MainBoss database accessible over the network, you must share it. To do this, login to the server computer under an account with Administrator privileges. Then follow these steps:
- On the server computer, use Windows Explorer to locate the folder that contains the database (e.g. C:\MainBoss).
- Right-click the folder. In the resulting menu, click Properties.
- In the Sharing section of the resulting window, click Advanced Sharing. You will be asked to verify the action for security purposes. Then, in the resulting window, click Share, then Apply, then OK.
Next you must make sure that the computer has a user name and password for the person who wishes to access the MainBoss database folder. If you're connected to a network whose central server controls logins, this is already taken care of; it is also taken care of if you're using a domain. Otherwise, follow these steps.
- Login to a Windows account with Windows Administrator privileges.
- In the standard Windows Start menu, right-click Computer.
- In the resulting window, click Manage.
- In the left hand side of the resulting window, expand the entry for Local Users and Groups.
- In the resulting expansion, click Users.
- Windows will show you a list of authorized users. If there isn't already an entry for the desired user name, right-click on Users and click New User.
- Windows opens a window where you can enter user information. Under User name, put the login name you want to create.
- Fill in Password and Confirm password with the desired password.
- Fill in any other fields and/or select any options you wish, then click Create.
- Close the "New User" window and the computer management window.
Now that you have made the database folder eligible for sharing and have created a user account for the person who will be sharing it, you must grant access to that folder for that user:
- In Windows Explorer, locate the database folder again.
- Right-click on the entry for the folder, then click Properties.
- In the Security section of the resulting window, click Add.
- In Enter the object names to select, enter the user name for the person who will be sharing the database.
- Click Check Names.
- Click OK.
- Click OK again in the folder property window.
The user should now be able to access the MainBoss database folder over the network. To make it easy for the MainBoss software to use the database:
- Using Internet Explorer, go to Network.
- Local the computer that holds the MainBoss database folder.
- Open the entry for that computer and locate the entry for the MainBoss database folder.
- Right-click on the folder's Address line (at the top of the Explorer window), then click Copy Address as Text.
- On the computer of the person who will be sharing the database, right-click on the desktop icon for MainBoss.
- In the resulting window, click Properties.
- In the Shortcut section of the resulting window, erase any contents of the Start in field and paste in the database folder address that you previously copied (e.g. by typing Ctrl+V).
- Click Apply, then click OK.
You can now use this desktop icon to start MainBoss on the shared database folder.
Disabling Offline Sharing
If some of your users connect to the network with laptop computers or other portable devices, it is important that you disable "offline sharing" to MainBoss database files on those devices. Offline sharing lets users keep offline copies of the MainBoss files when they've removed their laptops from the network. If such users make changes to those copies while they're offline from the network, Windows tries to synchronize those changes with the master files the next time the user comes online. This can lead to synchronization conflicts and great confusion. It is best to disable this type of sharing so that users can only make changes to the MainBoss files while they are connected to the network.
On the computer that holds the MainBoss database files, do the following:
- Login under a name that has Windows administration privileges.
- Start Windows Explorer and find the network sharepoint that contains the MainBoss database files.
- Right-click on the icon for the device. In the resulting menu, click "Properties".
- Windows will open a window showing properties for the device. Go to the "Sharing" section and click "Advanced Sharing".
- Windows will open a new window. In this window, click "Caching".
- Windows will open a new window. In this window, select the option "No files or programs from the shared folder are available offline". (The exact wording of this option may vary from one version of Windows to another.)
- Click OK, then close any other open windows.