Submitted by Will on June 22, 2015

R4 is here, R4 is here!

QuickBooks Point of Sale (QBPOS) Release 4 (R4)  is available for web download and contains quite a few fixes, especially related to the <Ctrl-Tab> functionality to move between open windows. The complete list of fixes is included here.

The biggest change is to upgrade the database engine to a newer version. This is done primarily to ensure the database engine that QuickBooks Point of Sale Desktop runs on is a supported version because support for the old database engine was about to be discontinued. And just like when Microsoft stopped supporting Windows XP on April 8, 2014 and therefore XP machines are no longer supported, the database engine will stop being supported, therefore Intuit needed to make this change. (You are not on  XP, right????).         

So what do I need to do?

The patch is currently available for web download and is scheduled to be pushed out via the normal update process to the community at large shortly.  You need to be aware that it will take some time to upgrade the database. As the knowledge base article states:

The company file will be upgraded to a more reliable and faster Database, this process can take some extra time when you open the file for the first time in after installing R4.  

So once the R4 patch is downloaded, it will upgrade the database. It does let you know the progress of the update but "a while" may be a bit vague. I tested the update on several files. The smallest file took a few minutes, but a 450 MB file took 25 minutes for start to finish. And this was on a machine with an I7 processor and 16 GIG of RAM. While the program warns not to stop the process during the update, what you need to understand is that while there is a backup done into the default location before this process and although during Intuit's extensive testing they didn't run across any problems, it doesn't mean that there will not be problems.  

Our recommendation is that you work with your trusted Certified Intuit ProAdvisor Consultant so they can control the process. If you don't have one, please give us a call. It's best if the ProAdvisors helps you download and install it from the web and most importantly advise you to make a backup immediately before downloading and installing R4. Stuff CAN and DOES happen, there could be a power outage, the hard drive crashes, WHO KNOWS!!! Better safe than sorry I say. The problem is that if something does happen and the process is stopped, the database is unrecoverable and the only option is to restore a backup and while there is a backup available, I always feel better when I have a backup on my trusty thumb drive. Upgrade the server first and then immediately upgrade the client machines, if any. In a multi-store installation, you must ensure all of the stores are updated, starting with the server workstations and then the clients.

Again, I believe that this upgrade will cause very few if any problems, however in the words of our beloved Ronald Reagan, Trust but Verify or in this case the more backups, the better.

Another recommendation is that, while the update is very good at telling you where you are at in the process, bring up Task Manager in windows and watch the CPU usage for the POS program. To start task manager, right click on the time/date in the system tray and choose Start Task Manager. As long as you see CPU usage by qbpos.exe and QBPOSShell.exe, leave well enough alone and wait for a long time before ending either program. Again, I will say it again, Intuit and a select group of users have tested the update with NO PROBLEMS, but unless there is a good backup to restore from if the unthinkable happens, I don't feel safe downloading and installing R4, and since it will be pushed very soon, I wanted you to be among the first to know so that you can communicate and prepare.

Author: English, William S., President of English Management Solutions, Inc. May 29, 2015