|Repair Options for Collections that Report Unfixable Errors|
If an error is detected in your Helix collection, our first piece of advice is: don’t panic! The problem is probably minor and rash actions could make it worse, or result in the loss of your up-to-date data. Although it is difficult when faced with such a situation, the first order of business is to take a deep breath and allow the panic to subside before moving forward.
You can sometimes fix the problem yourself by following a few simple steps (outlined below). Even when that isn’t possible, 99.9% of the time your collection can be quickly repaired with zero to very little loss of data.
Of course, you are always invited to contact our technical support department to discuss the situation and to set up a repair. While there are no guarantees, our average repair times have been trimmed to less than half a day.
However, we are not always immediately available, so if you are in an emergency situation and you are unable to repair the error yourself, our advice is — if possible — to go ahead and use the collection until you can contact us. If a collection can be opened, the error is not so severe, and it is unlikely you will compound the error with further use. But you should make frequent backups, just to be safe. And contact us as soon as possible! Do not ignore the error reports! Also, if you do need to send the collection to us, you can expedite your repair by uploading it (step #4 below) prior to contacting us. We would rather disrupt the normal order than have you without your database any longer than necessary.
|About Collection Errors||
Like any type of file, Helix collections are susceptible to errors from a wide variety of sources. Hardware failure (permanent or temporal), software bugs (in the OS, Helix, or another running application), and network issues are potential avenues for a file error.
If your collection seems to be running fine, but the structure check fails or Helix Utility reports an error it can not fix, do not ignore it! When problems like this have been detected, even the minor maintenance that is important to keep a collection running smoothly is not done. The result may be crashes, performance issues, or other odd behavior. In rare cases, actual collection damage or data loss may result. If you are unable to repair a collection with the methods outlines below, contact us as soon as possible for expert diagnosis, and make frequent backups until the collection is repaired.
Some errors can be repaired automatically or by applying some understanding of what the error indicates. If an error can not be automatically repaired it is flagged by changing the icon and file type as follows:
|Assessing the Situation||
When a Helix application crashes or is closed abruptly, it is possible for the collection that was running to be in a ‘fragile’ state that Helix Utility would report as an error. Therefore, after any unusual shut down (or an error has been reported) your first step should be to reopen the collection with Helix RADE, Engine or Server. As soon as the collection is opened, save and close it again, then retest it with Helix Utility. Why? Because these applications do routine maintenance when a collection is opened (and closed normally) and sometimes that maintenance alone is enough to correct the original errors reported by the utilities.
If that is not successful, locate the diagnostic logs created by Helix and Helix Utility. Our web site contains various pages that address some errors found in these diagnostic reports, but you are always welcome to send the report(s) to our technical support department for analysis. If you need a fast reply, follow up with a phone call or instant message so we can give you an immediate diagnosis of the problem. Information on locating these logs is found by clicking here.
If your database has errors that can not automatically be repaired, there are a number of options. If you maintain backups, one option is to revert to a backup copy that was made before the error occurred.
There are also a number of techniques that you can sometimes use to correct an error in a collection without our assistance. In the case of structural errors, the Error Identifier script available on our free AppleScripts page can often tell you exactly which icon contains the error. You may then be able to correct the error simply by modifying the icon. However, some errors will trigger a crash when the icon is modified, making it necessary to delete the icon and rebuild it. (If deleting the icon triggers a crash, contact technical support for assistance.)
In the case of data errors, Helix Utility’s ‘Detailed Logging’ option can identify which relation the errors are in. With that knowledge, you can try deleting the data (on a copy) until you either eliminate the error or identify the record that is triggering the crash. If, by process of elimination, you can remove the damaged record, Helix Utility will once again give the collection a clean bill of health. If not, check the Helix Diagnostics section of our knowledgebase to see if the error codes reported by Helix Utility have technotes you can use to resolve the error.
If these techniques do not work to restore your collection to good health — or time is of the essence — the next step is to contact us to arrange for a collection repair. Follow the step-by-step guide below to make the process as smooth as possible.
Note: Although the vast majority of collections can be repaired with zero (or minimal) data loss, a serious malfunction (e.g: power outage or hard drive failure) could cause a collection to acquire so many errors that Helix Utility can not even examine it. If you are in this situation, see Collection Repair for Damaged Files.
|Collection Repair (& File Transfer) Service|
Collection repair (and design assistance) is billed on an hourly basis, as defined in our User Support Unit (USU) policy. If you do not have USUs on your account, you can purchase USU units in advance (at discount rates) or arrange for ‘pay-as-you-go’ support. Services will not be performed until payment is confirmed.
Although it is impossible to know exactly how much time a specific repair will take, a typical repair takes 8-10 USUs. (2 to 3 hours)
An estimate can be done upon request; the charge is based on the time required, typically 2-3 USUs.
|Step by Step Instructions for Arranging a Repair||
|The Repair Process||
Every effort is made to get the collection back to you as soon as possible. Once we receive the file, an initial assessment is done to determine the complexity of the repair: if it appears that the repair will take more than 24 hours, we will contact you to inform you of the situation. When the collection is done we will call or email you with the results.
After the repair we hold as copy of the repaired collection on site for two weeks in case any issues arise. If we have not heard from you within two weeks, we assume that the collection has been put back into use with no further problems, and destroy all copies in our possession. Upon your request we will destroy all held copies before two weeks has passed, but we can not hold them longer.
|A Note About Privacy||
We understand and respect the privacy of your data. We don’t usually even need to go into Design Mode and look at the data, but occasionally we must. To be honest, we’re focused on the repair, and the data is rarely even noticed. However, if the data is of a sensitive nature, please be sure to mention this to us beforehand. If necessary, we are happy to sign a non-disclosure, guaranteeing the confidentiality of your data.
|Repair Services Agreement||
In some situations (e.g: a password reset request), we may require you to sign our Repair Services Agreement before we can do the repair.