Software FAQ

This FAQ answers questions about PQ Systems’ software products.

The products that are covered by the FAQ include CHARTrunner, SQCpack, GAGEpack, DOEpack, Quality Gamebox, PORTspy, and MEASUREspy. These products are known as the computer (or desktop) products because they are typically installed on a computer used by a single person at a time, in much the same way that Microsoft Office is installed and used.

  1. Will PQ Systems software products work properly with respect to the extended Daylight Savings Time changes that take effect on 11-March-2007?
  2. How much “computer horsepower” do I need to run PQ software?
  3. What networks will PQ software run on?
  4. What network protocol, such as IPX or TCP/IP, is required for PQ software to operate?
  5. Does PQ software require product activation, via the phone or over the internet?
  6. Does PQ software use a copy protection scheme?
  7. How is PQ software licensed?
  8. How is PQ software licensed in a Citrix server or Windows Terminal Server environment?
  9. Can you give me some examples to help make the licensing issue more clear?
  10. How are trials of PQ software handled? How is a trial converted into a purchased license?
  11. I have decided to purchase your software. I have been using the "trial version." What happens to my data when I get the “purchased version?” Do I need to re-install the software?
  12. When I get a new version of PQ software, do I need a new update code?
  13. What kind of technical support is available for PQ software?
  14. What does the maintenance plan for PQ software include?
  15. Can PQ software be installed from a network drive or share?
  16. Can PQ software be installed to a network drive or share?
  17. What Windows rights or privileges are required to install and run PQ software?
  18. Does PQ software work properly in a multi-user network environment?
  19. Will PQ software run in a Citrix server or Windows Terminal Server environment?
  20. Does PQ software run on the Apple Macintosh computer?
  21. What type of data storage, such as a database, is used by PQ software?
  22. What is MDAC and why is it required by some PQ software?
  23. How is PQ software tested and verified to work correctly?
  24. I plan to use SQCpack, CHARTrunner, or GAGEpack to send e-mail messages. What type of e-mail system do I need to have?

Will PQ Systems software products work properly with respect to the extended Daylight Savings Time changes that took effect on 11-March-2007?

The U.S. Energy Policy Act of 2005, passed by the U.S. Congress July 2005, extended Daylight Saving Time (DST) in the U.S. by approximately four weeks. As a result, beginning in 2007, DST began three weeks earlier on March 11, 2007, and ended one week later on November 4, 2007, resulting in a new DST period four weeks longer than previously observed. Unless certain updates from Microsoft are applied to your computer, it is possible that the time zone settings for your computer's system clock may be incorrect during this four-week period. This depends on where you live and which time zone you have selected.

PQ Systems software products will operate properly with respect to the Daylight Savings Time changes as long as the underlying Windows operating system has the proper Daylight Savings Time update applied.

PQ Systems software products derive Daylight Savings Time information from the Windows operating system, and do not themselves perform Daylight Savings Time calculations.

More information about the Daylight Savings Time changes can be found here:
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx/gp/cp_dst

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How much "computer horsepower" do I need to run PQ software?

The computer speed and power needed to run any software application is somewhat subjective; what seems acceptable to one person may seem slow to another. The general rule that “more power (processor speed, RAM, fast disk access, etc.) is better” is generally true. A 400 MHz Pentium II computer with 512MB of RAM does an acceptable job of running the PQ workstation software for most users.

CHARTrunner, SQCpack, and GAGEpack (GAGEmail and GAGEpack Remote) perform database access, so these products tend to require more “computer horsepower” than the other PQ workstation products. For best results, we suggest that you install a trial of the PQ software product in which you have an interest, and see how it performs in your target environment.

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What networks will PQ software run on?

PQ Systems is not aware of any problems with running the software on any type of network supported by the Windows family of operating systems. The software has been tested by PQ Systems on Novell Netware and Microsoft Windows networks.

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What network protocol, such as IPX or TCP/IP, is required for PQ software to operate?

The workstation (or desktop) products generally have no knowledge of, or preference for, the network protocol used by the network.

The TCP/IP protocol is required in the following cases:

  • The workstation software checks for software updates via the HTTP protocol, which requires TCP/IP. If TCP/IP is not available, the software will work normally in other respects. However, it will not be able to check for software updates.
  • CHARTrunner connects to various databases via ADO/OLE DB and ODBC drivers. If access is needed to a database that is accessible only via TCP/IP, then TCP/IP will be required.
  • MEASUREspy and PORTspy can send a signal to SQCpack whenever new data has been placed into a given SQCpack database. When this signal is received by SQCpack, it will refresh any currently-displayed charts that depend upon the updated data in the specified SQCpack database. One signaling method that may be used is IP multicasting, which requires the IP protocol.
  • CHARTrunner, GAGEpack, and SQCpack can be used to send an e-mail message containing program-generated information such as a chart or an alarm condition. In order for this feature to be used, the TCP/IP protocol is required.

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Does PQ software require product activation, via the phone or over the internet?

The software does not utilize product activation. “Product activation” is a scheme where the end-user must obtain activation information from PQ Systems in order for the software to be used on a specific computer.

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Does PQ software use a copy protection scheme?

No copy protection scheme is used.

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How is PQ software licensed?

Per-computer license – Most PQ products are licensed under a per-computer model. Per-computer licensing means a license must be purchased for each "device” that "runs" the product. PQ software sold with a per-computer license may not be shared or used concurrently by different devices.

DEFINITION: “Device” encompasses client hardware devices, computers, terminals, or other digital electronic or analog devices that enable an end user to run PQ software.

DEFINITION: To "run," or "running," a PQ software product means using, accessing, displaying, or installing the product, regardless of the medium of access to the product.

Concurrent-user license – Some PQ products are available for license under the concurrent-user model. Under this model, the PQ product can be installed on as many computers as desired (including terminal server) and a license server meters usage of the PQ product so that no more than the licensed number of users is allowed to run the product simultaneously. Please see the Concurrent-user license FAQ for more information. The following PQ products support licensing under the concurrent-user model (in addition to the per-computer license model):

  • CHARTrunner 3.5 and higher
  • GAGEpack 8.5 and higher
  • SQCpack 6.5 and higher

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How is PQ software licensed in a Citrix server or Windows Terminal Server environment?

Windows Terminal Server, Windows Terminal Services, and various Citrix products are technologies that allow users from a variety of remote client devices to concurrently execute PQ software that has been installed on a Windows server. We refer to all of these technologies as terminal server environments under which the following licensing restrictions apply:

Per-computer licensing: For PQ software that is available only under the per-computer license model (see How is PQ software licensed?), you must acquire a license for all “devices” (see definition of "device" here) that will be running a PQ software application from the terminal server.

PQ software that is available under the concurrent-user license model will not operate in a terminal server environment using a per-computer license. The per-computer trial license will function under terminal server so that customers can evaluate the PQ product with terminal server, but a purchased per-computer license will not run under terminal server.

Concurrent-user licensing: For PQ software that is available under the concurrent-user license model (see How is PQ software licensed?), you must purchase a concurrent-user license in order to run the PQ software application under terminal server. The PQ software will run under terminal server during the trial period of a per-computer license, but will not run under terminal server when using a non-trial (i.e., purchased) per-computer license.

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Can you give me some examples to help make the licensing issue more clear?

Please refer to these examples of licensing scenarios:

Scenario 1: A customer has 50 Windows-based computers and would like to use CHARTrunner on all these computers. Two terminal servers support the 50 Windows-based computers.

Per-computer licensing: The customer will need to acquire 50 CHARTrunner licenses–one for each computer that will run CHARTrunner. Even if a computer is expected to run CHARTrunner only infrequently, the customer will still need to acquire and dedicate a CHARTrunner license for that computer. If 10 of these computers will never run CHARTrunner, then the customer will need to acquire only 40 licenses.

Concurrent-user licensing: The customer will need to purchase a concurrent-user license based upon the maximum number of concurrent users that need to run CHARTrunner at any given time. If the initial estimate for the number of concurrent users is too low, the customer can easily add additional concurrent-users to the license over time.

Scenario 2: A customer has 100 Windows-based computers and would like to use SQCpack on all of them. Those who sit at these computers work in three eight-hour shifts, so the 100 terminals support 300 workers. Whenever a shift change takes place, the current worker closes SQCpack and logs off of the server in order for a new worker to log on and to begin running SQCpack.

Per-computer licensing: The customer will need to acquire 100 SQCpack licenses, one for each computer that will run SQCpack. Note: The number of computers, and not the number of workers, is important to this per-computer licensing scenario.

Concurrent-user licensing: The customer will need to purchase a concurrent-user license based upon the maximum number of concurrent users that need to run SQCpack at any given time. If the initial estimate for the number of concurrent users is too low, the customer can easily add additional concurrent-users to the license over time.

Scenario 3: A customer has 40 Windows-based computers and 30 employees who will use CHARTrunner on all 40 computers.

Per-computer licensing: The customer will need to acquire 40 CHARTrunner licenses. This is consistent with the per-computer licensing policy.

Concurrent-user licensing: The customer will need to purchase a concurrent-user license based upon the maximum number of concurrent users that need to run CHARTrunner at any given time. If the initial estimate for the number of concurrent users is too low the customer can easily add additional concurrent-users to the license over time.

Scenario 4: A customer has portable computers that already have CHARTrunner licensed and installed on them. The users of these portable computers occasionally connect to a terminal server to run CHARTrunner remotely while they are using a dial-up or broadband connection.

Per-computer licensing: The customer does not need to acquire any more CHARTrunner licenses in this case; the devices (i.e. the portable computers) are already licensed to run CHARTrunner. It does not matter whether CHARTrunner is run locally or remotely from a terminal server.

Concurrent-user licensing: It makes no difference whether the concurrently running instances of CHARTrunner are running locally on a portable computer, or remotely from a terminal server. The customer needs to purchase a sufficient quantity of users for the concurrent-user license to handle the maximum number of users that will run CHARTrunner concurrently. If the initial estimate for the number of concurrent users is too low, the customer can easily add additional concurrent-users to the license over time.

Scenario 5: A customer has 50 Windows-based computers. All computers will run CHARTrunner on a recurring basis, but only 25 computers will ever run CHARTrunner at any given time.

Per-computer licensing: The customer will need to acquire 50 copies of CHARTrunner, i.e. one for each computer where CHARTrunner is installed.

Concurrent-user licensing: The customer will likely need to purchase a 25 concurrent-user license since no more than 25 users will ever run CHARTrunner at any given time. If the initial estimate for the number of concurrent users is too low, the customer can easily add additional concurrent-users to the license over time.

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How are trials of PQ software handled? How is a trial converted into a purchased license?

The workstation products are installed with a trial license number that typically allows the user to run the software for 14 days or 300 uses, whichever comes first. Under some circumstances, the trial period may be extended by contacting PQ Systems. The software is fully functional during the trial period and is not limited in any way.

When a license for the software is purchased, a non-trial license number is printed on a software license certificate that is sent to the purchaser. In addition to the license number, the software license certificate also contains a special update code that allows that specific license number to be entered into the PQ software’s license manager. Once this license number has been entered, the software is no longer in “trial mode” and will run without any further time or usage limitation. PQ Systems’ technical support team will ask for the product’s license number when you contact them. The product’s license number can be determined from the Help > About menu.

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I have decided to purchase your software. I have been using the "trial version." What happens to my data when I get the “purchased version?” Do I need to re-install the software?

No, you do not need to re-install the software. Any data that you have entered into the software while it was in trial mode will continue to exist and work with the software when it is in purchased mode.

The only difference between a trial version and a purchased version is the product’s license number. When you purchase a license for the software, you will receive a software license certificate that contains a “non-trial” license number. Once this license number has been entered, the software is no longer in “trial mode” and will run without any further time or usage limitation.

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When I get a new version of PQ software, do I need a new update code?

PQ Systems issues two types of license: “A” or “specific version”. The “A” stands for “All version numbers”. An “A” license will work with any version of the PQ software product, whereas a “specific version” license only works with the version of the product specified in the license number. A subscription license is of the “A” format, and a non-subscription license is of the “specific version” format.

The “specific version” license number

An example of a “specific version” license number for SQCpack 6.5 is “SQCW-6.5-00001-1-DCD”, where “6.5” specifies that the license only works with version 6.5 of the product.

PQ software products have a three-part or four-part version number of the form Major.Minor.Revision.Maintenance, such as 5.0.45 or 10.5.14014.1. Any time the Major.Minor portion of the software version changes, a new “specific version” license number is required, and thus a new update code is required in order to apply the new license number to the software.

For example, if you have SQCpack 4.6.67 and you install a free update to 4.6.72, the product keeps the same license number and there is no need for a new update code. But, when you upgrade from SQCpack 5.5.72 to SQCpack 6.5.23 a new license number is assigned for the license of SQCpack 6.5, which means an update code unique to the new license number for 6.5 must be used.

The “A” license number

An example of an “A” license number for SQCpack is “SQCW-A-00001-1-DEB”, where “A” specifies that the license works with any version of the product.

Since your “A” license number doesn’t change no matter what version of the PQ software you use, you will not need a new update code since you will continue to use the update code that came with your “A” license.

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What kind of technical support is available for PQ software?

In the United States, you may contact technical support via the toll-free phone number 800-777-5060 or support@pqsystems.com. Telephone technical support is available worldwide by contacting the nearest PQ Systems office. In Europe or Africa, contact our UK office at 0044 (0) 1704 871465 or support@pqsystems.co.uk. In Australia, contact our US office at: +61 3 9999 7347 or support@pqsystems.com. Technical support is provided as a benefit of having a current software maintenance plan. New software licenses typically include one year of software maintenance.

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What does the maintenance plan for PQ software include?

Each new per-computer license for PQ Systems software includes a one-year Maintenance Plan. After the first year, additional years of maintenance may be purchased.

The Maintenance Plan includes:

  • Free software updates via download or DVD
  • Access to our legendary technical support
  • Unlimited access to complimentary webinar training
  • Free subscription to Quality eLine
  • Peace of mind

>> View our maintenance and support agreement.

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Can PQ software be installed from a network drive or share?

Yes. You can copy the installation media to a network drive or share and install the PQ software from there to properly licensed computers, or to computers that will evaluate the software during the trial period.

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Can PQ software be installed to a network drive or share?

In general, the answer is no. Older PQ software products depend upon ActiveX (or COM) components that must be installed on the computer that runs the software. These ActiveX components are installed and registered on the local computer during the installation of the PQ software. Even if you specified a network drive as the destination where the PQ software will be installed, these ActiveX components will still be installed on the local computer from which the installation program is running.

Newer PQ software products require the Microsoft .NET Framework or other system components to be present on the computer that runs the PQ software. The needed prerequisite components are installed during the installation of the PQ product. If these prerequisite components are already installed on the local computer then in general it is possible to run the PQ software application from a network drive or share.

This does not mean, however, that certain data and configuration files that are used by a PQ application cannot be made available throughout the organization by placing them on a network drive or share. For instance, you could share one or more SQCpack databases among multiple users by placing them on a network drive. Or, you could create a network share that contains GAGEpack reports that will be accessible to all GAGEpack users in the company.

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What Windows rights or privileges are required to install and run PQ software?

Local administrator rights are needed to install PQ software on Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000 or higher. Older versions of PQ software required that the first time the PQ software is run, it must be run under an account with local administrator or power user rights. Thereafter, the PQ software could be run by non-privileged users. Current versions of PQ software do not have this requirement, and non-privileged users can run the software the first time and all subsequent times.

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Does PQ software work properly in a multi-user network environment?

Individual PQ products are discussed below.

CHARTrunner CHARTrunner works well in a multi-user environment. This product does not make any changes to the data that is being charted, so there are no “concurrent data modification” issues to contend with regarding the data source. Chart definitions, style definitions, and out-of-control test rule definitions are stored as text or XML files. When these definition files are placed on a network share, it is possible that multiple users might attempt to modify a definition file at the same time. In such a case, the last user to save a modified definition overrides the other users' modification.

SQCpack SQCpack works well in a multi-user environment. Versions 6.5 and prior store data in one or more Microsoft Access databases. The Microsoft Jet database engine handles concurrent access to these SQCpack databases. Version 7 and above store data in Microsoft SQL Server.

GAGEpack GAGEpack works well in a multi-user environment. This product stores configuration data locally in an INI file and gage data in one or more Microsoft Access databases. The Microsoft Jet database engine handles concurrent access to these GAGEpack Access databases. The enterprise edition of GAGEpack stores data in Microsoft SQL Server.

DOEpack DOEpack stores configuration data in an INI file in the Windows folder and DOE problems themselves are stored as flat files. When DOEpack opens a problem file, it reads it into memory, then closes the file again so anyone can subsequently use it. When problem files are placed on a network share, it is possible that multiple users might attempt to modify a problem file at the same time. In such a case, the last user to save a modified problem file wins. However, given the nature of DOE, it is probably unlikely that multiple users would attempt to modify the same problem file at the same time.

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Will PQ software run in a Citrix server or Windows Terminal Server environment?

Windows Terminal Server, Windows Terminal Services, and various Citrix products are technologies that let one or more persons remotely and concurrently execute PQ software that has been installed on a Windows server from a variety of remote client devices. We refer to all of these technologies as terminal server environments.

See also the following related questions in this FAQ:

When the PQ product is installed on the terminal server you must ensure that any special installation procedures applicable to installing shared application software on your terminal server are followed.

For instance, when installing a PQ product on a Windows 2003 Server that is running terminal services you should install the PQ product while the operating system is in install mode. If you run the PQ product's setup.exe via the Add/Remove Programs applet, the operating system will automatically enter install mode, perform the installation, and then go back to execute mode. Use change user /install and change user /execute to switch modes manually via the command line.

After the PQ product is installed, make sure to run the software once while operating under an account with administrator privileges.

All of the PQ workstation products will run in a terminal server environment. The main consideration for PQ software operating in a terminal server environment is the storage of program state, which is typically specified under the program’s Setup > Preferences menu. Any program state that is stored under the HKEY_CURRENT_USER registry key is stored separately for each logged-in user. Any program state that is stored under the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE registry key is shared by all users. Any program state that is stored in an INI file in the application’s installation folder is shared by all users.

Individual PQ products are discussed below.

CHARTrunner CHARTrunner stores a program state that is appropriate for a “per-user” setting under the HKEY_CURRENT_USER registry key. All other “global” program setting is stored under the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE registry key.

SQCpackSQCpack stores a program state that is appropriate for a “per-user” setting under the HKEY_CURRENT_USER registry key. All other “global” program setting is stored under the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE registry key.

GAGEpack GAGEpack stores all program setting in a configuration INI file in the installation folder. This configuration INI file by default is shared by all logged-in users. It is possible to pass the full path to the INI file as a command line parameter, so that each logged-in user has his or her own copy of the configuration INI file.

DOEpack DOEpack stores all program state in a configuration INI file in the Windows folder.

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Does PQ software run on the Apple Macintosh computer?

No PQ Systems software runs natively on Apple computers. All PQ software is written for the Windows operating system.

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What type of data storage, such as a database, is used by PQ software?

Individual PQ products are discussed below.

CHARTrunner CHARTrunner uses DAO (Data Access Objects) and the JET database engine, ADO (ActiveX Data Objects) / OLEDB drivers, and ODBC (Open Database Connectivity) to access many different types of databases. In addition, the JET database engine provides access to data sources that are not traditionally thought of as databases, such as Excel worksheets and text files.

SQCpack SQCpack 6.5 and below stores data in one or more Microsoft Access databases. The Microsoft Jet database engine handles concurrent access to these SQCpack databases. SQCpack 7 and above stores data in Microsoft SQL Server.

GAGEpack GAGEpack stores data in one or more Microsoft Access databases. The Microsoft Jet database engine handles concurrent access to these GAGEpack databases. GAGEpack Enterprise stores data in Microsoft SQL Server.

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What is MDAC and why is it required by some PQ software?

MDAC (Microsoft Data Access Components) is a Microsoft database access technology that uses OLEDB database providers to gain access to a variety of databases.

CHARTrunner uses MDAC to access many different types of databases in order to fetch data for charting.

SQCpack uses MDAC to read and write to the various Access 2000 databases that are used to store SQCpack data.

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How is PQ software tested and verified to work correctly?

The software validation information may help answer your questions.

PQ maintains a testing laboratory that uses Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 to test PQ products under all versions of the Windows operating system. We look at a variety of areas, such as verifying proper program installation, memory leak testing, performance tests, timing tests, etc.

When an issue (a program improvement or an error condition) is found in PQ software, the following procedure is followed:

  • The issue is documented in our tracking database.
  • A software developer is assigned to correct the issue.
  • The developer corrects the issue and verifies that the change is working properly. The tracking database is updated with information about the issue.
  • Our testing department performs its own test to verify that the change works properly. The tracking database is updated with information about the verification of the issue.
  • The issue is closed in our tracking database.

PQ uses an automated process to verify that the charts produced by CHARTrunner and SQCpack are created properly. We have a testing system that creates hundreds of test chart images after each new build of the software. The newly-created chart images are compared to “known good” baseline chart images. Any differences between a test chart and its baseline chart are investigated to determine whether the difference is due to a beneficial change or a chart generation problem.

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I plan to use SQCpack, CHARTrunner, or GAGEpack to send e-mail messages. What type of e-mail system do I need to have?

You must have access to an SMTP mail server that will be used to deliver e-mail messages sent from the PQ software. It makes no difference what kind of e-mail client software, such as Eudora or Microsoft Outlook, is installed on the computer where the PQ software is installed, since your e-mail client software is not used to send e-mail messages. In addition, the TCP/IP protocol must be installed. Please refer to this Knowledge Base article for more information.

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