Great Plains Accounting on Windows7: Compatibility, Installation, Support

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If you still have this old Great Plains Accounting for DOS or Windows (archaic Windows application, based on old Windows event driven model and primitive graphical interface), we tried to deploy it on Windows7 and results are presented in this publication.  If you are not aware, you may redeploy GPA for DOS/Windows in client server environment, where GPA server is in Windows Server 2003/2008 and GPA client is on WindowsXP, Windows Vista platforms.  These facts were described in previous publications on the topic.  Today we are publishing new info, relevant to Microsoft Windows7 operating system:

1. GPA could be deployed on Windows7 32 bit version.  Please, be advised, that GPA and Btrieve/Pervasive SQL 2000 SP4, 3, 2 are not compatible with 64 bit operating system. As we write these lines in September 2010, if you simply go to the computer store and try to purchase normal PC computer (either on AMD or Intel processor platform) – there might be the high chance that the store does have all their computers in 64 bit version (Windows7 64 Home or Professional, Vista Home or Professional).  At this time, one of the good options to get 32 bit Windows7 installed – purchase small PC computer (not Netbook, as they might be Windows7 incompatible) with Intel Atom processor, if you cannot find hardware with Windows7 32 bit system preinstalled.  Then simply download and install Windows7 32 bit from MSDN subscription

2. Installation.  In our case we used Windows7 32 bit, loaded to small PC computer (Zotac with Intel Atom processor, we loaded Windows7 Professional 32 bit), which is currently available through TigerDirect and it is sold without OS.  We installed GPA for Windows from version 9.5 installation CD, following all the defaults.  If you need your GPA just for transactions inquiries, you can install single user GPA with database directly on your Windows7 computer (typically in C:GPSGPDATA folder, if you have several companies in GPA, you should copy company database folders into GPA folder, they usually are abbreviations of the company names).  When you would like to change GPA for Windows default company, please locate GPAWIN.INI file in Windows folder (usually on C: drive), locate DefaultCompany=GPDATA string and change Default Company folder as required

3. Great Plains Accounting support.  GPA could be upgraded all the way through the current version of Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010.  Upgrade is not free, you will need to pay for the software (usually with good discount, as GPA license owner you will get the privilege to good discount in purchasing Dynamics GP with similar set of modules), plus you will need to pay for consulting hours to migrate from GPA to Dynamics GP (migration tool is available from Microsoft Business Solutions).  However, we know multiple stories of GPA customers, who simply have to stick to Great Plains Accounting due to the lack of budget (downsizing is often the case).  We are more than happy to support your GPA for DOS, Windows and to some extent on Macintosh.  How we support GPA, see the next paragraph

4. GPA support knowledge base in Excel.  Microsoft Business Solutions doesn’t support GPA directly (probably due to high overhead to train consultants and have them support only few calls, versus Dynamics GP 11.0. 10.0 or 9.0 full time 8 hours work day workload for typical technician).  This is why direct GPA support is outsourced to Dynamics GP VARs who carry old fashioned Great Plains Accounting consultants in staff (obviously these people support newer versions of Dynamics GP as well, but they still remember their GPA training classes and certification exams)

5. Typical GPA support cases.  Majority of calls we are facing are about GPA corrupt data recovery and repair.  Second in popularity is the request to move GPA from Novell/Windows NT4 server to something more modern (Windows 2003, Windows Small Business Server 2008).  The third candidate is when you are moving away from GPA to another Small Business ERP application, something like SAP Business One, QuickBooks, PeachTree, MYOB, Accpac and you need to export data (customers, vendors, employees, Sales, Purchasing transactions, Chart of Accounts, GL transactions)

6. Moving away from GPA when your business is growing.  Our recommendation is to consider switching to Microsoft Dynamics GP, where you have direct migration and upgrade path.  In our opinion migration to such high-end Corporate ERP applications as Oracle Financials, PeopleSoft, SAP R/3 is probably not optimal from software licenses and consulting hours budgets

7. Great Plains Accounting and eCommerce programing considerations.  We do not recommend to stake on GPA, when you are rolling out ecommerce web site with shopping cart, as in our opinion GPA Btrieve database might be too unfriendly for modern ecommerce programmers (it is possible to connect to Btrieve GPA tables via ODBC connection, see GPA Btrieve manual for details).  We would rather recommend upgrade to Dynamics GP and then roll down ecommerce web site integration there

8. How to contact us?  Please call us 1-866-528-0577, or email us help@albaspectrum.com  Due to the limited number of GPA customers, we are supporting your USA, Canada nationally and even internationally: Latin America, Caribbean, Asia (English, Spanish, Chinese and Russian language support).  Local service in Chicago area, Western Michigan (Kalamazoo, Benton Harbor, Holland, New Buffalo, Grand Rapids, Battle Creek, St. Joseph), Southern California: Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego

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