Modern computers are really ridiculously fast. Even the slowest computer made today is much more powerful than a simple point- of-sale system requires. This is good, it means you can buy the cheapest computers you can find. If you have old computers sitting in the closet dig them out. If they will run Windows (any version from 3.1 thru Windows 8 (32-bit only) they will run Foodman. Try them out to see if they work out OK. You need a minimum of 512mg of RAM to run dependably. Foodman will not run on 64-bit versions of Windows without using XP compatibility mode which is provided in the more expensive versions. Search the Internet for your best hardware buys. You can buy all the hardware you need at low-cost and just hire someone to install it and set it up for you. When you do it yourself, you don't have to pay anyone for hardware support. If something breaks, just throw it away and buy a new one - the hardware is inexpensive. Refurbished equipment usually comes with a six-month warranty. The odds are that if it survives the warranty period, it will have a normal life-span. So, give refurbished stuff serious consideration. Just about all you need to know about hardware basics follows, if you have questions, just call 800-971-3663.
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Input Methods (Keyboard/Touchscreen). Computers . Monitors and Touchscreens. Printers. Cash Drawers. Cables. Black on Blue? Networking. Preparing to Install. Microsoft Windows. Typical Problems. MSCONFIG and UAC (User Account Control) Windows Command (DOS) Prompt Testing Parallel Printers -INPUT METHODS- Foodman gives you the choice of using either the keyboard or a touchscreen monitor to enter orders. Before deciding on which method to use, it is best to buy the software first. Then, complete your Menu and decide which to use. You should also be aware that you can use the Mouse on the Foodman touchscreens. Using the Mouse is a viable alternative to using a touchscreen. The Mouse will work on a regular (non-touchscreen) monitor. Using the touchscreen is easier to learn and use, but the keyboard can be faster. -COMPUTERS- Your minimum requirements for a PC running Foodman, either single-user or network are: 1. Any Windows PC with any 32-bit version of Windows, including Windows 7). 2. One hard-drive. (Even a 10gb drive is MORE than adequate.) 3. One CD drive to load Windows. 4. At least 1GB of RAM. A machine with insufficient memory will run slowly and may crash. 5. A mouse. 6. A keyboard. 7. We strongly recommend having a "Memory Stick" flash drive to make backups on. Even the most basic computer sold today will typically meet these requirements for less than $250.00. See our home-page for sources of hardware. -MONITORS- Foodman requires your monitors to be set to 1024x768 resolution.
Touchscreen monitors start at about $360.00 retail. Shop around on the Internet to look for the best deals. Be sure you get the right cables and drivers for the one you choose. IMPORTANT: If you have specified Large Fonts or changed the colors of the desktop, you may have readability problems (Like black letters on a dark-blue background!). To fix this just change your settings back to the default settings. You may also get improperly displayed screens if you are not using True-Color 32bit colors. To change your monitor settings, right-click on the Desktop, click on Properties, click on Settings. Touchscreen monitors can attach to either a serial port or a special port provided by the manufacturer. The serial port model is easier to install. Touchscreen monitors pretend to be a mouse. You can use your mouse on the Foodman touchscreens to see how a touchscreen works - just click instead of touching. -PRINTERS- Please Note: Firewalls on your computer can cause printers not to work. Google "firewall printer problems" to see numerous example of Firewalls stopping printers from working. Anti-Virus software and screensavers can also cause weird problems. Get rid of all that stuff which you should not need anyway, since your POS computer(s) should NOT be on the Internet. There are dozens of printers. Epson, Star, Citizen are the big- three. There are three types of printer: Serial, USB and Parallel. Older computers may have parallel or serial ports but the newer ones will only have USB ports so your choice of printers is restricted depending on the available ports. When installing printers in Windows, install them all as 'Generic/Text-Only' which will eliminate the need to install specific printer drivers. Foodman will work with any type of printer but you may require additional software depending on the exact configuration. Feel free to call us to discuss your printer requirements. See our Hardware link for printer dealers. On networks, printers should be installed on the physically- closest computer. Any computer can print to any printer on a network. Buying printers depends entirely on how much you want to spend and what you need. They are all basically the same. They are all dot-matrix and use either ribbons or thermal paper. The cost of ribbons and paper may influence your decision - ask about those items before you buy. You can also easily acquire converters, for example, say you had an old parallel printer but your new computer only has USB ports. Cables are available which will connect your USB port to the parallel printer. IF you only have USB printers, you will need to acquire drivers for them. If you have a single-user version of Foodman, you need to download the driver from WWW.DOS2USB.COM. The following screen shot shows you which items should be checked.
If you have USB printers or some combination of Parallel, Serial and USB printers and the multi-user version of Foodman, you need to download the driver software from WWW.PRINTFIL.COM. Click here for detailed instructions for Printfil.
-CASH DRAWERS- Cash drawers must be physically attached to the PRINTER, not the computer. For this reason, be sure to specify which printer you are using before ordering a cash drawer. -CABLES- The odds are that you will have to run cables, the cables may have to be custom-made, so you might want to consider hiring someone to do the installation for you, especially if you require long cables. -BLACK ON BLUE- If you have changed your colors in Windows, you might get unreadable combinations. Just change your colors back to the Windows default to fix this problem.
-NETWORKS- We do not recommend the use of a wireless network. Based on our tests, a wireless network can be too slow. Furthermore, having a wireless network can leave your network open to hacking. On a network, the Foodman software is installed on the computer designated as the FILE-SERVER, the other computers are called WORK-STATIONS. Foodman does NOT require a dedicated FILE-SERVER. The Foodman software is EXECUTED on each WORK-STATION, but takes the software and the data from the FILE-SERVER. In other words, it does not use its own hard-drive, but the one on the FILE-SERVER via the NETWORK. On a network, Foodman is installed on drive C: on the FILE-SERVER. That drive must be designated as a SHARED DRIVE. When the drive is so designated, it will have another letter assigned to it. When the software is run for the first time on a network, it will prompt you to enter an unique User Number. Be sure to make the numbers unique to each PC. If you need to change a User Number for any reason, delete the file C:\FFM93A.DAT. To assign a drive-letter to drive C: on the server, click on start, click on my computer, then right click drive c:, then click Properties. The following shows drive C: being given the shared drive-letter of K. (you don't have to use K, you can use any unused letter.)
(This image is from XP, Vista differs for no imaginable reason.) ON THE SERVER, the SHORTCUT to run Foodman will specify drive C: as the TARGET. E.g., C:\XSS\SS.EXE would run Server-Station. Be sure the START-IN directory is either C:\XOD, C:\XSS or C:\XHD appropriately. The SHORTCUTs ON THE WORK-STATIONS would specify drive K: appropriately. For example, K:\XSS\SS.EXE. DO NOT USE the computer-name in the SHORTCUT TARGET on the WORK-STATION. DO NOT INSTALL FOODMAN ON ANY WORK-STATIONS. Foodman is installed in one of the following directories (Folders): C:\XOD, C:\XSS or C:\XHD appropriately. The NET USE command can be used to assign a drive-letter on workstations, e.g. NET USE K: \\SERVERNAME\K This command has to be given at the command prompt. NOTE: If running Windows Vista, Foodman must be "Run as Administrator" since it writes data to drive C: To eliminate this annoyance, you need to turn off "User Account Control". Turn it off in the Control Panel under "User Accounts". -PREPARING FOR INSTALLATION. The versions of Windows which come with computers from the big companies like Dell, HP, etc. have customized versions of Windows which may not be compatible with other hardware. Also, when in need of support you have to call the appropriate manufacturer. For this reason, we recommend buying computers which do not have Windows installed and buying your own version of Microsoft Windows. Those computers also come pre-loaded with lots of software which you will probably never use (or even know about) and which may well cause problems. And, you can get support directly from Microsoft rather than the manufacturer. You can tell if there is other software running on your computer by running MSCONFIG (See below). You need to get rid of that extraneous software which will free up resources on the computer and make it run faster. Most computers come with all sorts of stuff installed which you will never use and which are hogging resources. That other software can also interfere with Foodman. So, before you install the system in your business, it may be a good idea to REFORMAT the hard drive to get rid of software you neither need nor want, and install the SAME VERSION of Windows on all computers. You should also take care to prevent installation of other software on your computers by your employees either with or without your consent. You might wish to remove the CD drive from the computers since you will rarely use it. It is not a good idea to have your POS computers on-line to the Internet. To do so exposes your computers to risk of viruses, and other types of nasty software. In addition, you do not want your employees surfing the Internet on your POS system. When short of space, be aware that you can hang computers on the wall or stand them on their side. -MICROSOFT WINDOWS- When you buy a computer, buy one that does not come with Windows already installed. Just buy a legitimate copy of Windows (any version) on eBay or elsewhere and install it yourself. This will entitle you to support directly from Microsoft in case you need it. After installing Windows on the re-formatted (see above) drive, be sure to run MSCONFIG (See below). -TYPICAL PROBLEMS- 1. "COMPUTER FREEZES". This will only happen in live versions. If you attempt to print ANYTHING with Foodman, and there is no printer attached, or it is not on, or it is on the wrong port, or whatever, Foodman will 'Freeze' and await the correction of the problem, e.g. install more paper, turn it on, etc. 2. GENERAL PROTECTION FAULTS. These are always caused by conflicts with OTHER software running on the PC. To make the problem go away, do the following. Run MSCONFIG (See below) to rid your PC of this problem. 3. LOAD FAILURE (on xxxxxxx). This should only happen on networks and indicates that there is something wrong with the shortcut to the software on the server. See: Networking. 4. FONTS Foodman uses the standard Windows Fonts which SHOULD be on every Windows PC. Unfortunately, because of bugs in Windows, the fonts on the Foodman screens may not display correctly. Foodman uses the Britannic Bold font. If you have changed the colors in Windows, you may get unreadable screens with black text on a blue background. See: Fonts and Colors. 5. NOT INSTALLED PROPERLY. On some Vista machines, there can be an occasional machine which gives a message to the effect that the software did not install properly. When you run Foodman after this message, Foodman gives an appropriate message. If this happens, right click on the Foodman icon on the desktop, then click properties, then click "Run as Administrator". MSCONFIG and UAC (User Account Control). MSCONFIG is a utility provided with Windows (except Windows 2000). Virtually every PC which one could buy these days comes loaded with free software and other stuff of dubious value. That software is set to automatically run when you turn the PC on. Needless to say, having all that stuff running at the same time with Foodman can cause problems. Basically, you don't want any of the free stuff to run automatically since all it does is slow things down and mess things up. So, turn it all off, as follows: Click on Start Click on Run Enter 'MSCONFIG' Click on Startup Tab Click on Disable All Click on apply Click on OK then, reboot your PC. You should do this about once a month, because, as you will learn, things turned-off turn themselves back on again which is very annoying. Here is a screenshot of MSCONFIG: If your version of Windows includes User Account Control (UAC) set it to 'Never Notify'. - TESTING PARALLEL PRINTERS - You can test to see if a parallel printer is working by using the command 'DIR>LPT1' at the command prompt. If nothing prints, then the printer or something is not working. Do the same test for printers on the other parallel ports: 'DIR>LPT2' and 'DIR>LPT3'. Sometimes, for unkown reasons, even though you may have only one parallel port and logically assumed that it woudl be LPT1, it might have installed itself as LPT2 or LPT3. - WINDOWS COMMAND PROMPT - There will be times when it is either necessary or desirable to use the Command prompt. To get there, do the following: Click on Start Click on Run Enter 'CMD' or use 'COMMAND' or, for Vista: Click on Start Enter 'CMD' A black command prompt window will then appear. To get into the appropriate Foodman folder, enter one of the following: CD\XSS for Server-Station CD\XHD for Home-Delivery CD\XOD for Office-Delivery The prompt will then become either: C:\XSS>, C:\XHD> OR C:\XOD> You can then type the following commands: DIR/P - will list the contents of the folder. Assuming that you have a memory stick, you can backup the entire Foodman folder to the stick by using the COPY command. Assume that the drive-letter of your memory stick is 'E:'. COPY *.* E: this will copy the entire folder to the stick. COPY FFM*.* E: this will copy all the data files to the stick. In normal practice, use the Foodman File Manager to make backups of your data files. If you suffer a power outage there is a possibility that you will damage the day's data file (Invoice File). In that case you have to rebuild the file and that is done at the Command prompt. If a file becomes damaged, the following screen will appear. This screen explicitly states how to rebuild the damaged file. Just follow the instructions.