Total Visual Agent Product Guide

Thank you for your interest in Total Visual Agent. FMS is pleased to provide you with this Product Guide to assist in your evaluation of this exciting product that is part of the FMS family of integrated development products. The contents of this document are organized as follows:

Microsoft Access databases are relatively easy to create and deploy. Over time, they contain more and more critical data and perform more sophisticated tasks. As a file server database, Jet databases need periodic maintenance (visit the Microsoft site for keeping Jet databases working in top condition).

Bottom line: Access/Jet databases need periodic system administration to perform optimally. Total Visual Agent institutionalizes these tasks so you don't need to worry about them!

Total Visual Agent: A System Administrator's Dream! - PC Week

People and computers run on different schedules. The best time to perform routine maintenance tasks on your databases—compacting, repairing, and backing them up—is when nobody is actively using the databases. For most organizations, this means the middle of the night or the weekend, but nobody wants to be the one to stay behind to compact and repair the databases.

Total Visual Agent solves this problem by automating your most tedious maintenance chores. You schedule the Events for Total Visual Agent to execute, and Total Visual Agent performs the specified Actions on your behalf while you are sleeping or at a ball game. Events can be scheduled multiple times per hour, hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, or on a one-time basis.

Total Visual Agent can also perform a variety of other tasks:

  • Track statistics on the number of objects in your databases.
  • Track statistics on the number of records in your tables.
  • Create rolling "archive" versions (copies) of your databases.
  • Extract data from selected tables and write them into another database while users are in the database.
  • Run macros and command line Actions.
  • Create named Task Groups containing the Actions to perform against several different databases.
  • Automatically perform Actions on all of the databases or other files found in a specified directory.

The latest version of Total Visual Agent supports all versions of Access through 2016, as well as Visual Basic 6.0 and Jet. It manages databases in MDB, ACCDB and ADP formats.

System Administrator Features and Benefits

Feature

Benefit

Manage multiple databases (including secured and password protected databases) An unlimited number of databases can be managed by one installation of Total Visual Agent (provided the machine can see across the network and has sufficient rights).
Perform multiple tasks on each database Several tasks can be performed on each database in the order you specify.
Automated, "hands-off" execution Once setup, the tasks are executed on schedule without the need for user intervention. Even use the Total Visual Agent Service to run on a server, without having a user logged on!
Complete audit trail Every task on every database is documented with start and end times.
Email notification of problems An email is automatically sent to the system administrator if a problem is encountered.
Create named Task Groups to contain a list of actions to perform against a group of databases An advanced enterprise feature to simplify the execution of the same tasks on multiple databases.
Automatically perform actions on all the databases or files located in a specified directory An advanced enterprise feature to simplify the management of all databases or files in a directory (no need to know names in advance).

Available Actions (Tasks)

Action

Benefit

Compact/Repair the database Recover unused disk space, optimize the database, and update query statistics, which can improve query performance. The database is repaired if Jet determines it is necessary.
Copy and zip databases or create rolling "archive" versions Multiple backups ensure you can easily fall back to a previously saved copy of your database.
Perform "live" data extracts Databases cannot be copied while users are in it. Data extracts backs up data when you would otherwise not be able to make a copy. Ideal for 24 hour a day operations.
Run macros and other command line actions on a database Provides the flexibility to schedule any action you can launch from an Access macro such as downloading or uploading data, printing nightly reports, running reconciliation analysis, etc.
Track statistics on the number of objects in your database Monitor the growth of your important databases.
Track statistics on the number of records in your tables Track trends in data acquisition. Can be used to monitor usage by hour of day.

Total Visual Agent Quick Start

Total Visual Agent is made up of three separate programs:

  1. The Manager sets up the schedules and track previous history and statistics.
  2. The Monitor runs in the background, waiting for the time to process the next scheduled Event.
  3. The Service can be used in place of the Monitor to execute scheduled actions in a more secure manner.

The first step is to create the schedule for the activities you wish to perform on your databases. Launch the Total Visual Agent Manager:

Microsoft Access Database Task Scheduler with Total Visual Agent

Total Visual Agent ships with four sample schedules to get you started. You can use these schedules, or create your own.

Create an Event and Specify How Often it Should Run

To begin working with Total Visual Agent, select the schedule you wish to modify in the treeview control, or create a new schedule. Specify the schedule type (Daily, Weekly, etc.), and the parameters for that schedule type:

Set the Schedule Type to Automate your Microsoft Access database chores

Perform your daily chores in the middle of the night! You can even back up data while users are in the database (ideal for 24/7 environments) or execute your own custom code such as printing reports or data uploads and downloads.

Hourly Schedules
Hourly Schedules: Once Per Hour Options

Every X Minutes Schedule
Hourly Schedules: Every X Minutes Options

Daily Schedules
Daily Schedule Options

Schedule Weekly Microsoft Access Tasks
Weekly Schedule Options

Monthly Schedules
Monthly Schedule Options

One Time Schedule Options
One Time Schedule Options

Add Items and Actions to Each Event

For each schedule created, you can add one or more databases, ADPs, Task Groups, or Directories. In this example, a database named Sales.accdb is specified.

Scheduled Events

For each database, you can assign one or more Actions to perform:

Total Visual Agent Actions

Specify and Set the Actions to Perform

Each individual Action has options. For example, you may specify the location for compacted or archived databases, the name of the macro to run, etc.:

Compact Microsoft Access Database options
Compact Database Options

Archive Microsoft Access Database options
Archive Database Options

Set Microsoft Access Macro to Run on a Schedule
Execute Macro on a Schedule

Table Data Extract to Backup Microsoft Access tables while in use
Table Data Extract Options

Run Your Tasks with the Monitor

Once you create your events, set their schedules, and specify the databases and actions to perform, launch the Monitor to perform the work:

Total Visual Agent Monitor

The Monitor is a separate program from the Manager and lets you watch the tasks as they are performed, and know the next scheduled event. It can be run in hidden mode and appear on your system tray. The Manager which sets up your events does not need to be running while the tasks are executed.

Run Your Tasks from a Windows Service

If you're ready to automate the events in a robust, secure manner, you can launch the Windows Service feature, rather than the Monitor, to perform the tasks without a user logged into the machine:

Watch the tasks of Total Visual Agent when it runs as a Windows Service

Activity History Log

As events and actions are performed, a complete activity log is maintained so you know what happened:

Acvity History Log of Microsoft Access database maintenance

The comments field shows information on the original size, final size, difference and percent of space saved for each database that’s compacted.

Database Statistics

If you are collecting database statistics, you can see how your databases grow over time:

Microsoft Access Database Statistics

System Requirements

Total Visual Agent 2016 has the following system requirements:

  • 15 MB free disk space for Total Visual Agent program file
  • 150 MB free disk space for Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 if it's not already installed (part of Windows 7)
  • Microsoft Access does not need to be installed on the PC unless Access specific tasks are selected such as running Access macros and compacting ADPs

Licensing and Pricing

Total Visual Agent is licensed on a per installation basis. One installation can manage databases across an entire network. A single license is $299, and a 5-license package is available for $899. Existing Total Visual Agent customers can upgrade a single license for $199. Site licenses are available by contacting FMS, Inc. All FMS products offer a 30-day money back guarantee.

Visit the New Features for Total Visual Agent 2016 page for a complete list of new features. Here are some highlights:

  • Supports Microsoft Access 2016 and earlier versions of Access
  • Supports latest operating systems including Windows 8 and 10
  • Does Not Require Access to be Installed on your PC
  • Database Lock Error Identifies Offending Machines
  • Activity Log is Separated from Settings Database
  • Activity Log Shows Duration of Each Activity
  • Email Notifications Support TLS and Office365 SMTP
  • Tasks are Not Run at the End of an Event Interval
  • Enabled/Disabled Status Shown on the Event Form
  • More Robust Windows Service Feature
  • Improved Monitor Settings Tab
  • Default Location of Archive and Extract Folders Moved
  • Improved Setup Program
  • New user manual and help file
  • And More...

Your Microsoft Access databases represent a major investment of time and resources. There is a tendency to forget that system administrative tasks are required after an application is deployed. To maintain optimal performance and minimize corruption, you must be sure that database backups, compacts, and other critical operations are carried out on a regular basis. With the new Total Visual Agent, you can manage these tasks with ease and complete confidence!

Return to main Total Visual Agent page

Total Visual Agent User manual

Microsoft Access 2016 Version is shipping!

New Features

With Windows Service!
Supports: All Access, Jet Engine, and Visual Basic versions


View all FMS products for Microsoft Access All Our Microsoft Access Products

Reviews

"Total Visual Agent is a real find, a rare combination of ease of use, and bang for the buck. In the end, no other competitor even comes close."

Thomas Wagner, Product Review in MS Office and VBA Developer

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