Welcome to the CADSTARguys Blog - Information, hints, tips and my waffle on the CADSTAR Printed Circuit Board design suite.

Please note that all names used are completely fictitious and any thing written is my own personal opinion or knowledge and not related in any way to either my employers or their customers (or Zuken).
Also this is not a replacement for proper Maintenence/support and you should read the help files before asking anything techy:).

Saturday, 6 December 2014

My car is broken - what's wrong with it?

A message from support teams all over the world.

Here is a picture of a car, it does not work - what is wrong with it?
Can you fix it for me please? I need to drive somewhere quickly.

Well of course it does not work - its only a toy one, but if you asked these questions to a car mechanic they would want to know a little more about what is wrong with it, has the wheel fallen off? does the engine run? has it run out of petrol? and so on.

Fixing problems with CADSTAR can be like this too, someone says it won't work, it crashed on me, it is not licensed, it won't let me do something.

Well I have just the thing for this, I got it at a Pound shop recently.

Unfiortunatly like a lot of the junk I get it from there does not work for long - I think the batteries may have gone flat so I am unable to magically figure out why your installation does not work.

Perhaps if initially more  information was given then an answer could be given to get you up and running again quickly. What has changed? Is this a new installation? Have you got your license? Was your license a temporary one that has run out? Have you upgraded your PC? Has anything changed on your PC? Has the network server changed? Have you installed the latest dongle drivers? Have you tried rebooting? Is the problem on this design or all designs? Have you tried another workstation? Is the problem the same? Is this actually a network permission problem because your IT BOFH has decided that although you can design all the companies products you are not allowed to have permissions for your own PC? And so on.....

If you have to send data then save it with the problem visible in the middle of the screen and/or identify the problem components, tracks or templates and what you were doing when the problem happened.

Think about it - the more information that you send to your support people, the quicker the support response will be, the more that has to be figured out the longer it will take to give you an answer to your problem.

One way of helping your support people understand what happens is to provide screenshots and use the Problem Steps recorder.

For screenshots - I am not talking about a screenshot of your entire desktop, if you have multiple monitors the actual item you want to show is so small it cannot be seen on an image that spans multiple monitors. Disable all but the main monitor and run CADSTAR on that while you replicate the problem. Instead of a whole screenshot - if you are on Windows 7+ then use the Windows Snipping Tool (Start\All Programs\Accessories) to take a clearer shot.

If the problem occurs when doing certain things then use the Problem Steps Recorder.
This is a useful tool that records every keypress and takes a screenshot at each one and can really help someone that it trying to understand what yo are doing especially when your description does not tally with what you are doing or you use the incorrect terms to describe something.

The same advice goes - turn OFF display over multiple monitors and only use the main monitor (Winkey+P and select "Computer only").
To run the Problem Steps Recorder use Winkey+R and type "psr" then hit enter.

With CADSTAR at the forfront on your single monitor (its best to close other apps\windows) click on "start record" on the Problem Steps Recorder and then continue with CADSTAR. If you can help it do not use hotkeys or macros. When you have shown what happens stop the recorder and save a file - zip this up and add this with the design that is causing a problem and send to your support team.

Your support team are only human and do not possess supernatural powers of deduction and can look at your computer system accross the ether, even if they have come accross the same issue lots of time so they can only help you if you help them, please consider some of the above suggestions when you are in need of help.


MattyLad said...

A note about using the Problem Steps Recorder - it defaults to only 28 screen shots, so configure it for more in the options or you end up with a useless file.

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