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Checking for Updates
If you select Tools ⇒ Check for Updates, the following window comes up:
The two radio buttons at the top of the window above allow you to control whether the program reminds you monthly, as you are exiting it, about checking for updates. If you leave it at the default setting, to remind you monthly, and over 30 days have passed since your last check for updates, then the next time you run ACCOUNTS and exit it, you will be asked whether to check for updates. If you answer Yes, this same window will appear. If you answer No, you will not be asked again for another 30 days.
In the Web Network Version, however, it is quite important to keep that version up to date, in case there are significant bug fixes. So the options at the top of the window that allow you to choose not to be reminded to check for updates monthly are removed. All that is shown is the four buttons.
If you need help figuring out whether you might want to take a new update, you can click the View Updated Features button, which takes you to the Revision History web page on the Software4Nonprofits.com web site. That page shows you a list of all of the changes in all recent releases, up to the most up to date one. You can compare that to your current version, to see whether any of those recent changes seem particularly appealing. (By comparison, the Help ⇒ Revision History menu option shows you the same Help page in your currently installed version, which may be older.)
The Check for Updates Now button does the actual check for updates. You need to be connected to the Internet for it to work.
When you click that button, a small file is invisibly retrieved from the Software4Nonprofits.com web site, which has information on the latest version available for download, and when that version was released. That information is compared to your current version number (which you can also see via Help ⇒ About ACCOUNTS), and also to the date up to which you are eligible for support and upgrades (assuming you are not still evaluating the program). That upgrades eligibility date can also be seen via Tools ⇒ Request or Install License Key. If you are still in your evaluation period you are always eligible for updates.
Having made those comparisons, you are then shown a message box explaining whether or not there is a newer version of ACCOUNTS available, and if so, whether you are eligible to download and install that version, based on your support and upgrades eligibility date.
Sometimes the program will say that you are not eligible for updates when you know that you have indeed paid for ACCOUNTS within the last year (which is the determining factor). In that case, you just need to request an updated license key through the button on the Tools ⇒ Request or Install License Key window. (If you have an Internet connection on your computer, and have taken one of several actions that communicates your database's Unique ID to us, this may happen fairly automatically when you choose that menu option.) Once you have received and installed your updated license key, the program will know you are up to date, and you will be able to perform the update.
With the Web Network Version, license keys aren't used, so if it says you are not eligible for updates, that will be correct - you must be in the 30-day grace period after your last annual payment expired, and before the program stops you from running at all until you make a payment.
If there is a new version and you are eligible for it, you are given an option to download it. If you answer Yes to do the download, please read the message boxes that come up next carefully, to understand the process. Note: if you have used this option before for the same version but for some reason not completed the installation successfully, the program will actually notice that the installation file has been downloaded before, and give you an option to just use that file, rather than downloading it again.
If there is a new version and you are not eligible for it, you are given an option to go to the PRICING/PAYMENT page on the web site to see about making a payment (usually an Annual Renewal payment) in order to resume your eligibility for support and upgrades. Once you have made a payment, and requested, received and installed an updated license key to inform your copy of the program that you are now once again entitled to support and upgrades, you can come back to this option to take the upgrade.
Before actually downloading the update file, you are given an option to backup your database first, to protect yourself in the very unlikely event that the upgrade somehow affects your database. (There is no reason it would do so, but it's always better to be safe than sorry!) The only exception to this backup question is that users of the Local Network Client version of ACCOUNTS are not prompted with it, because it is assumed that the user of the Local Network Server version would probably have updated first, and it's easier to do the backup from the Local Network Server version. (There is only one database when you use the Local Network Versions of ACCOUNTS - the one on the computer running the Local Network Server version.)
During the downloading of the update file, a window will be displayed showing the progress of the download. Once the download has completed, you will be prompted to run the downloaded update installation file. Just follow the prompts - it is quite self-explanatory.
You can also click Help on the window above to view this help page. Click Close when you wish to exit the window.