Between a rock and a hard place

I have spent my career interfacing between the IT companies/departments and the accountant end users solving many varied problems. My current issue is made even worse as it is between two of the best in the business.

IRIS Logo V Symantec

Since September 2011 we have had issues using IRIS Accounts Production software, initially with the new iXBRL module and now with their shiny new IRIS Portal menu system.

IRIS has won many awards this year for their iXBRL software but we have only been able to use it by numerous workarounds interrupting the usual workflow of the business.

IRISBSODAt the beginning of September last year all twelve of our identical Vista 32 Dell OptiPlex workstations crashed (Blue Screen of Death) when we tried to produce any iXBRL report. In their usual cavalier manner IRIS support blamed Dell and the video drivers/cards. So we added new cards to each machine but found the issue continued.

 

At the end of September the issue disappeared, machines started working we could file our first returns and go back to issuing invoices on completion we have no idea why.

Bonfire night came and the issue returned with no visible changes to the machines other than the usual Microsoft and AV updates.

Anti virus and firewalls were now blamed and with some reluctance I ran the software on our Small Business server, it worked but the workstations all continued to crash BSOD.

We then installed the then latest version 10.7 on machine 13, an HP machine with more memory than the Dell’s and a copy of the database. We removed Symantec Endpoint and the machine worked. This allowed us to file the returns during the practice’s busiest time but only as a single user system. Running a machine without Anti Virus was something we only did with reluctance.

Once the busy period was over we tried the machine as a network one but again the workstations crashed.

Finally in February we formally complained to the CEO of IRIS – Phill Robinson. This resulted in a more senior support person being assigned.

clip_image001After some investigation it was found that a part of the iXBRL process was using a screen dialog from the Accounts Production area and was removing a tick from a box and causing a BSOD.

The little tick in the Screen box was being removed, this was shown in an ini file.

The engineer seemed to think this was caused by Symantec Endpoint in some way so the tag editor was excluded from all scans Endpoint might make. Moving back to the full server version we also made sure before all iXBRL reports were produced that the Annual Report Output screen had at least one tick in its output section and all was well until …..

We upgraded to 10.9 for iXBRL 2nd generation

clip_image002

The new IRIS Portal caused our machine’s to blue screen again. This resulted in the IRIS engineers excluding a further four files from being scanned by Symantec Endpoint.

This worked fine on most machine’s but I had left a few not edited whilst Symantec did some investigations from the West Coast of America. In the normal course of events Symantec Endpoint issued an upgrade and when I tried to enter the exclusions in the new client software I found that it was ever so slightly different from previously. Enough that the new exclusions didn’t work.

Symantec had "corrected" several errors in their exclusion module!!

So IRIS say its Symantec, though I have crashed a machine with the client software stopped and Symantec say its poor programming or not using the white list facilities they offer.

I put this rant together to try and see if anyone out there is suffering like we are?

Vista 32 OS, Iris 10.9 and Symantec Endpoint 12

We still want to use the two market leaders, the software packages when they work together do the job exceptionally well. The amount of man hours invested by our end users cannot be underestimated something we need to bear in mind when considering changing.

Comments
Old Greying Accountant's picture

2 out of three ain't bad

Old Greying Acc... | | Permalink

We use XP and Endpoint on a similar sized network of predominantly Dell machines and have no problem with IRIS.

So, as a complete numpty on IT (since the demise of DOS anyway) on a matching basis Vista is the fly in the ointment!

 

I have supported Iris on

dgilford | | Permalink

I have supported Iris on networks for many years and wouldn't consider ever installing a Vista machine. During the Vista era I always "downgraded" to xp when installing new computers. An upgrade to windows 7 would give your client a much more stable network.

We've had problems with Iris

tomsk100 | | Permalink

We've had problems with Iris and the new portal menu.

We've added every Iris .exe program file to the exclusions list of our anti virus software.

This wasted a lot of time and I feel is simply a work around. We've asked staff to switch the new portal menu off and revert back to the old menu.

Also have you switched the "User Access Control" off in the control panel of your Windows Vista machines? This always caused problems with Iris.

Have you tried Iris on a Windows 7 workstation? It might be worth getting one of borrowing one to try out. The Dell hardware's not going to give you any trouble.      

pmtate's picture

Portal Menu

pmtate | | Permalink

tomsk100 wrote:

We've had problems with Iris and the new portal menu.

We've added every Iris .exe program file to the exclusions list of our anti virus software.

This wasted a lot of time and I feel is simply a work around. We've asked staff to switch the new portal menu off and revert back to the old menu.      

Thanks Tom,

Which Anti Virus software are you using ?

As for Vista - apart from this issue with iXBRL we have had few issues, the machines are well put together and Vista has worked reasonably well, I might try an Windows 7 machine soon but upgrading 13 machines is not a cheap exercise. 

Not working with UAC is poor programming as for as I am concerned and with all the viruses and spyware out there turning it off is not an option. Why leave a door open in one area to allow an open door in another.

We use Kaspersky EndPoint as

tomsk100 | | Permalink

We use Kaspersky EndPoint as it can be managed centrally.

Not happy with just excluding the Iris folder we also exclude the important exe files too 'iwinaprd.exe' ete etc. Luckily Kaspersky allows us to do this.

Without the exclusions Iris works ok but the performance is severly hampered.

I don't know when your Symantec license expires? But if you switch to Kaspersky you get it for half price for the first year if you transfer from a competing product. 

I agree with your comments about the UAC being switched off, but luckily we only have about three Vista machines and I'll be looking to replace them as soon as possible.

I know this doesn't really help you in this instance, but we've asked staff to switch back to the old menu if they don't use the portal information included in the new menu. 

pmtate's picture

Portal Menu

pmtate | | Permalink

Thanks Tom

I had been told that whilst you are currently allowed to switch off the Portal menu the next release of IRIS won't allow you too.

Interesting that IRIS is causing problems with other centrally managed Anti Virus products.

 

pmtate's picture

what were the problems

pmtate | | Permalink

tomsk100 wrote:

We've had problems with Iris and the new portal menu.

What were the problems, did you actually get Blue Screen's or did IRIS crash gracefully?

IRIS's official view now seems to be the issue is Symantec's and no more work arounds are being offered.

ini files / turning off the "live" content

janetevans | | Permalink

I sympathise with the rant from pmtate.

We had a recent problem that caused a crash whenever someone tried to make a change affecting losses in Business Tax module, all users on CITRIX or PC.

After a lot of frustration and effort, including extracting files and sending them to IRIS etc, they found that some text was missing in one of the ini files. Apparently "it happens when an upgrade takes place sometimes".  Once the missing text was inserted it worked fine. IRIS staff were extremely helpful with this, I must emphasise that. I don't know whether there was any connection with anti-virus software.

And another thing...

I do not see why we HAVE to have live content on the menu.  Why do we need it?  There is no justification for it.  I've asked people to turn it off. Doesn't it mean it just increases unnecessary traffic and slows down loading IRIS? And who knows what adverts will be put on it next?

One of the things that has frustrated me over the years with IRIS is there is always a first assumption with any problem that it is the user that is at fault, or their network or their method of working, or their software - never with IRIS.  It always seems strange to me that something that worked perfectly in a previous "version" can suddenly stop working - do they not test in different scenarios?  There have been lots of different problems over the years so now it is not the next problem that is going to cause the frustration it is the history of working with IRIS that has worn me out. 

 

pmtate's picture

ini file

pmtate | | Permalink

janetevans wrote:

I sympathise with the rant from pmtate.

We had a recent problem that caused a crash whenever someone tried to make a change affecting losses in Business Tax module, all users on CITRIX or PC.

After a lot of frustration and effort, including extracting files and sending them to IRIS etc, they found that some text was missing in one of the ini files. Apparently "it happens when an upgrade takes place sometimes".  Once the missing text was inserted it worked fine. IRIS staff were extremely helpful with this, I must emphasise that. I don't know whether there was any connection with anti-virus software.

Thank you for the sympathies, needed this morning after an hour on phone with IRIS!!

Our initial iXBRL issue was tracked to an ini file not being updated or more likely being updated incorrectly it still hasn't been fixed and is part of our work around. The cause of it not being updated - now given as Symantec AV.

 

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