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Summary: Testing of Microsoft Windows Vista Operating System with EDESuite PC Products

Publication Date: September 18, 2008

Author: William Leith, Acting General Manager, Application, Operations and Delivery Services, Federal Student Aid

Summary: Testing of Microsoft Windows Vista Operating System with EDESuite PC Products

Posted on 09-18-2008

Federal Student Aid has completed testing of Microsoft Windows Vista as an operating system for our EDESuite PC products and would like to communicate the major findings resulting from our testing.

We tested both the Vista Ultimate and Home Premium workstation operating systems on PCs with varying hardware for the following EDESuite products:

  • EDExpress for Windows 2008-2009, Release 3.0
  • EDExpress for Windows 2007-2008, Release 3.1
  • Direct Loan (DL) Tools for Windows, Release 8.0
  • DL Tools for Windows, Release 7.0
  • Student Status Confirmation Report (SSCR) for Windows, Release 3.0

During our testing, we identified several issues that occur while running EDESuite PC products in the Vista environment. The most significant issue is that programs installed under the Program Files folder (the default for EDESuite software) are installed "virtually," which causes some of the database issues listed below. Creating a folder on the local drive outside Program Files and installing EDESuite software to it is strongly recommended. Please refer to issues 2, 3, and 4 below for further information.

Details about the Vista issues we encountered during testing are provided below (with the applicable workaround/resolution, if available).

1) Issue: When you start any of the EDESuite programs, the program checks to make sure certain system files have been registered. In Vista, the EDESuite installation program cannot register the files, so trying to run EDESuite software in Vista generates error messages about files that have not been registered.

Workaround/Resolution: Federal Student Aid has already implemented changes to EDExpress 2008-2009, Release 3.0 and DL Tools, Release 8.0 to resolve this issue. Both programs can currently be installed and run on Vista. The same changes will be applied to all future EDESuite software releases. In addition, we will post updated versions of EDExpress 2007-2008, DL Tools Release 7.0, and SSCR Release 3.0 to the Federal Student Aid Download (FSAdownload) Web site, located at https://fsadownload.ed.gov, that will enable you to run the programs on Vista workstations. We will post an electronic announcement when the updated versions are available.

2) Issue: The database update process that runs after upgrading to a new EDExpress or DL Tools release fails, generating messages that state "File Exception Result code number: 5, Access to an unnamed file was denied" and "The database update process failed. Please contact CPS/SAIG Technical Support for assistance."

Workaround/Resolution: Vista users should change the default installation path from Program Files to a location outside the Program Files folder. Federal Student Aid is currently assessing options to resolve this issue in future releases of the software and will communicate further information to users when it is available.

3) Issue: If more than one person uses a standalone computer on which an EDESuite product (i.e., EDExpress 2008-2009) has been installed, and each person logs onto the computer using his or her own user ID, Vista creates a separate "virtual database" for each user. This will result in major data management issues, as each user will be updating a unique version of the database rather than one centralized database.

Workaround/Resolution: As with issue #2, Vista users should change the default installation path to a directory other than Program Files. Federal Student Aid is currently assessing options to resolve this issue in future releases of the software and will communicate further information to users when it is available.

4) Issue: Because Vista handles programs installed to the Program Files folder by creating a "virtual store" on the local drive, workstations that should be accessing a network copy of an EDESuite database may instead be accessing a "virtual database" on the local drive. In this situation, the network database is not updated when changes are made while using the software. You can tell if you are accessing a network database or a "virtual database" on the local drive by looking at the bottom right of the EDESuite program where the path to the database is listed.

Workaround/Resolution: As with issues #2 and #3, this issue does not occur if EDESuite software is installed to a folder other than the default Program Files folder. Federal Student Aid is currently assessing options to resolve this issue in future releases of the software and will communicate further information to users when it is available. In the meantime, if EDESuite software has been installed to the default folder under Program Files, we recommend using the Registry Editor installed with EDESuite software to change the database path. Contact CPS/SAIG Technical Support if you need assistance with the Registry Editor.

5) Issue: EDESuite Help systems will not function. Users attempting to access Help receive the message "Failed to Launch Help," followed by a Vista Help window advising that "WinHlp32.exe" is not included in Vista.

Workaround/Resolution: EDESuite Help systems are designed using Windows Help format, which is not supported in the default versions of Windows Vista shipped on new PCs. As a workaround, users can download the WinHlp32.exe file from Microsoft's Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=6ebcfad9-d3f5-4365-8070-334cd175d4bb&displaylang=en&tm. This file must be loaded on all Vista workstations that require access to EDESuite Help systems.

6) Issue: "Return to Dialog" functionality in the EDExpress and SSCR software works differently in Vista. If you have this option selected in setup and run either program on a Vista workstation, the dialog you "return to" after running a major function (such as import or print) opens behind the main EDExpress or SSCR window and remains open, even if you access and work in a student record.

Workaround/Resolution: Federal Student Aid is currently assessing options to resolve this issue in future releases of the software and will communicate further information to users when it is available. In the meantime, we recommend that Vista users deactivate the "Return to Dialog" function to avoid this issue.

7) Issue: The text on SSCR reports printed to the screen is cut off at the right margin.

Workaround/Resolution: This issue will be resolved in the upcoming reposting of SSCR Release 3.0 to the FSAdownload Web site, located at https://fsadownload.ed.gov.

Note about Vista Access Rights: Users must have Vista "Administrator" access rights to avoid interruptive messages when installing or running EDESuite software. Users with "Standard" Vista access rights can install and run EDESuite products, but will be prompted for the "Administrator" password before certain major processes can be performed.

If You Have Questions

If you have any questions regarding this message, contact CPS/SAIG Technical Support at 800/330-5947 (TDD/TTY 800/511-5806) or by e-mail at CPSSAIG@ed.gov.

Last Modified: 09/17/2008