Total Visual Agent

Microsoft Access 2016 Version
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With Windows Service!
Supports: All Access, Jet Engine, and Visual Basic versions


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Agent Info

 

"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

More Rave Reviews

Related Resources

 

 

Automated Task Scheduler for Microsoft Access Microsoft Access Database Compact SchedulerSchedule Microsoft Access database tasks for compact, backup, macro run, etc. Microsoft Access Database Insurance: Maintenance and Corruption Prevention

Automate Microsoft Access Database Tasks as a Windows Service

Total Visual Agent can run as a standard Windows program or as a "hidden" Windows Service to execute your scheduled tasks in a secure and robust manner.

Windows Services Offer Secure and Robust Performance

A Windows Service can run even without a user logged on to the computer, providing increased security and automated restart if the machine crashes.

The Total Visual Agent Service runs in the background, waiting for the appropriate time to execute scheduled Actions. Simply schedule the tasks you want, and let Total Visual Agent take care of it forever. Since it is a Windows Service, it does not require a user to be logged on in order to run its scheduled events. There's no need to keep your machine open and unattended while processing your events.

Contents


Service Control Manager

Total Visual Agent includes a Service Control Manager to help you manage the Service. Open the Service Control Manager from the Windows Start menu:

Launch the Total Visual Agent Service
Launch the Total Visual Agent Service

The Service requires Administrator rights if you want to modify its status. If you are not logged in as the Administrator, right mouse click and select Run as Administrator:

Launch the Service with Run as Administrator
Launch the Service with Run as Administrator

The Service Control Manager displays the following form:

Total Visual Agent Service Control Manager
Total Visual Agent Service Control Manager

The Service Control Manager works with the Windows Service to let you turn the Service on and off, and see what it’s doing. The "Current Processing Activity" section displays information about the Service’s current activity. When the Service processes an Event, this section displays the Item and Action that is being processed.


Managing the Service through the Microsoft Management Console

The Total Visual Agent Service is a standard Windows Service, and like other services, can be managed through Microsoft Management Console (MMC) Services. MMC includes more advanced management options than the Service Control manager, and can be used if you are familiar with Windows Services.

To open MMC Services, select Control Panel, Administrative Tools, Services from the Windows Start Menu:

Microsoft Component Services for Total Visual Agent
Setting the Total Visual Agent Service Properties from the Microsoft Management Console

Total Visual Agent Service Properties

Locate the service named “Total Visual Agent 2016 Service" and select "Properties" from the Action menu, or double click on the service to open the Properties window.

General Tab to Set Startup Type to Automatic

The General tab provides options for starting and stopping the Service:

Wndows Service General Tab for Automatic Startup
Total Visual Agent Service, General Properties

From this tab, you can specify the startup type for the Service. Change the Startup Type from Manual to Automatic for the service to automatically start when Windows is rebooted. This lets your processes automatically restart after the machine recovers from a power failure. This tab also lets you manually start, stop, pause, and resume the Service.

Log On Tab

The Log On tab provides options for how the Service logs on to the system.

  • Select "Local System Account" to specify that the Service logs on to the local system account. This is appropriate if Total Visual Agent is only working with files on that machine.
  • If Total Visual Agent processes protected local files and folders, or network files, you need to specify a specific user account with the appropriate permissions.

Total Visual Agent Service, Local Log On Properties
Local Log On Properties

Total Visual Agent Service, Network Log On Properties
Network Log On Properties

   

Recovery Tab

The Recovery tab provides options for how the Service behaves if it fails:

Total Visual Agent Service, Recovery Properties
Total Visual Agent Service, Recovery Properties

If the Service fails to start, consider restarting it, or running another program to notify you of the failure.


Troubleshooting the Service

The challenge with running a Windows Service is that a service has no user interface. If an error occurs, the program cannot prompt you with the problem and it may just shut down or hang. There are a few ways to diagnose such problems.

Make Sure Email Notification is Activated

Total Visual Agent has an email notification system to send alerts to you in the event something goes wrong. It uses standard SMTP email settings that are set from the Total Visual Agent Manager under the Tools, Options menu, Error Alert Mail Settings tab:

Email Notification from Total Visual Agent
Email Notification Settings to Activate Email Alerts

With email notification, you will receive emails when unexpected errors occur. Make sure to test your email settings to verify this is working.

Test Your Actions

From the Total Visual Agent Manager where you create your tasks, make sure you test them individually to ensure they work. You should do that before setting them on a schedule to run repeatedly.

Use the Monitor First

Before running it as a Windows service, launch the Monitor to ensure it works.

Launch the Total Visual Agent Monitor
Launch the Total Visual Agent Monitor

Unlike the Service, the Monitor has a user interface that can prompt you if it encounters unexpected errors.

Monitor Status in Total Visual Agent

In terms of performing your scheduled tasks, the Monitor behaves identical to the Service so there is no difference in functionality. However, if a problem occurs in the Service, it can just quit or hang without telling you why. The Monitor can help you troubleshoot issues, so run it for a few of your scheduled cycles to ensure there are no issues before using the Service.