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How to Setup Older ChurchWatch Versions For Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 and later

ChurchWatch Version 5 and 6 are fully compatible with Windows Vista and later operating systems.  However, prior versions of ChurchWatch were created before these operating systems were invented and as such, require some tweaking.  This web page gives a complete description of the issues and the solutions for each.


To begin with, since Windows Vista, the Windows operating system has become much more complex than Windows XP or Windows 98. The learning curve can be steep, especially when considering the new security and networking issues. The problems you will encounter with older versions of ChurchWatch will almost certainly center either on the new user interface or on the new security features which are MUCH tighter.  The following sections address each of our programs:



The ChurchWatch installer MUST be run from an administrator account or "run-as" an administrator. The default login in Windows is the administrator account so if you are not using user account logins, you are OK. If you are, you must login as an administrator account or run the ChurchWatch SETUP.EXE file as an administrator. ChurchWatch Version 4 and earlier is NOT Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8 compatible, but there are simple work-arounds that can get you running in the short term.  However, older versions of Churchwatch are not fully compatible and an upgrade to the latest version of ChurchWatch is a much better solution.  To solve the problems, you can adjust the "compatibility" settings.  Right click on the ChurchWatch4 shortcut icon.  Choose Properties from the menu that appears.  Next, select the "compatibility" tab.  Run the program in XP compatibility mode, check the "Disable Visual Themes" checkbox and run the program as an administrator as shown below.



ChurchWatch Help

The ChurchWatch help file does not initially work on Vista or later. This is because Microsoft made the decision to remove 32 bit help file support from Windows Vista and later. However, shortly after releasing Vista, Microsoft also released a new 32 bit help file viewer (probably due to a lot of complaints). In order to view the ChurchWatch help file, you will need to install the viewer onto your PC. The download file can be found at this website:

Click the CONTINUE button that you find there.  You may be prompted to install an ActiveX control into your browser to validate your copy of windows.  Allow this.  Finally, you will be given the choice of 2 download files.  For most people, you will want the ...x86... file unless you have a 64 bit PC.  This download and installation must be performed on all Vista or later PC's that will be running ChurchWatch.


ChurchWatch Online Update

Modify the properties of the shortcut as described above.


ChurchWatch Data Send Utility (Email tables to customer support)

Modify the properties of the shortcut as described above. You may get security prompts when ChurchWatch is attempted to email the data. This is normal and you should allow it to proceed.


"Sticky Notes" program

Although this is now somewhat redundant with the new "gadgets" in Windows Vista and "sticky notes" in Windows 7, this program works OK. Modify the properties of the shortcut as described above.


Database Rescue Program

As installed, the Database Rescue program, prior to version 5, does not function in Windows Vista or later. You will receive numerous prompts for permission to overwrite database fields that already exist. Fortunately, once again, there is a simple solution and its the same one that was described above. Right click on the Database Rescue Utility shortcut icon. Choose Properties from the menu that appears. Next, select the "compatibility" tab. Adjust the settings as shown below. Run the program in Windows XP Service Pack 2 mode, disable visual themes and run the program as an administrator. This should solve all issues.



Networking and Firewalls

We encountered some difficulty in getting File Sharing to work on a network with a mix of Windows Vista and Windows XP computers. It's not impossible but it is difficult. If you have a firewall such as Norton Internet Security you may have to disable the firewall or setup firewall rules to allow computers on your network to access shared Vista drives. None of our problems centered specifically on Windows Vista. Once the firewall issues were resolved, Windows Vista is able to "see" Windows XP computers on the network. Going the other way (Windows XP to Windows VISTA) is more difficult. The same problems likely apply to Windows 7 and 8.  Keep reading...


Using a Windows VISTA or Windows 7 or 8 PC as Your ChurchWatch Server

You can use a Windows VISTA or Windows 7/8 PC as your ChurchWatch server. However, setup of file sharing is more difficult than when using a Windows XP server. Windows XP can use "simple file sharing" to easily and quickly setup a shared network folder. Windows VISTA and Windows 7/8, on the other hand, have much tighter security. In addition Microsoft has changed the way that file and printer sharing works. We cannot give you a step-by-step approach since every network is different and you may want to setup your file sharing permissions in a different way. You can set the security as tight as you want. Here are two knowledgebase articles that we found to be invaluable in understanding how Windows VISTA file sharing works. There should be enough information here to help you share your server's ChurchWatch folder on the network, and it should apply equally well to Windows 7 and 8:

Note: In our simple tests we setup the file sharing permissions such that "everyone" had full access to the ChurchWatch folder on the VISTA server. This works fine. However, this is the lazy man's approach and in practice, you will likely want to give specific users on your network full access to the ChurchWatch folder, while locking out all other users completely.

Note:Another approach is simply installing ChurchWatch in the "PUBLIC" folder found in the Windows Vista file system. This is a writable folder that anyone can use. But this folder is intended for wide-open file sharing without much protection. Take the time to setup a proper network share directly to your server's ChurchWatch folder with appropriate access permissions in place.


"My Data Is There, Then It Disappears!" What's Going On?

Welcome to Vista and later operating systems. Vista uses a concept known as "Virtualization". When programs are installed in the "Program Files" folder, Vista does not allow you to write files under this folder. ChurchWatch (and most other programs to date) do exactly that. Virtualization is a method whereby each user who logs into the PC, gets their own copy of writable data. Suppose user "X" logs into Vista, and then uses ChurchWatch to enter some data. Then Vista user "Y" logs into the same PC and accesses ChurchWatch. They see no data! The reason is that Vista has given each user their own copy of the data. In a global database system like ChurchWatch, this is not good. The work-around is what we have already described above - place the program into XP compatibility mode and run it as an administrator. You should seriously consider an upgrade to ChurchWatch Version 6, which properly handles virtualization and is fully compatible with Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.  Another solution is to install ChurchWatch under the "PUBLIC" folder in Vista or Windows 7/8.  Programs ARE allowed to write data under this folder but installing programs in "PUBLIC" is really not recommended and has virtually no security.



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