|Collection Damage and Repair Options|
If damage is detected in your Helix collection, our first piece of advice is: don’t panic! Chances are the damage is minor and rash actions could make it worse, or result in the loss of your up-to-date data. Although it is difficult when faced with a ‘not corrected’ or ‘fatal damage’ dialog, the first order of business is to take a deep breath and allow the panic to subside before moving forward.
You can sometimes repair repair the collection yourself by following a few simple steps (outlined below). Even when that isn’t possible, 99.9% of the time your collection can be quickly repaired with zero to very little loss of data.
Of course, you are always invited to contact our technical support department to discuss the situation and to set up a repair. While there are no guarantees, our average repair times have been trimmed to less than half a day.
However, we are not always immediately available, so if you are in an emergency situation and you are unable to repair the damage yourself, our advice is — if possible — to go ahead and use the damaged collection until you can contact us. If a collection can be opened, the damage is not so severe, and further damage is unlikely. But you should make frequent backups, just to be safe. And contact us as soon as possible! Do not ignore the damage reports! Also, if you do need to send the collection to us, you can expedite your repair by uploading it (step #4 below) prior to contacting us. We would rather disrupt the normal order than have you without your database any longer than necessary.
|About Collection Damage||
Like any type of file, Helix collections are susceptible to damage from a wide variety of sources. Hardware failure (permanent or temporal), software bugs (in the OS, Helix, or another running application), and network issues are potential avenues for a file to become damaged.
If your collection seems to be running fine, but one of the utilities reports damage, do not ignore it! When damage has been detected, even the minor maintenance that is important to keep a collection running smoothly is not done. The result may be crashes, performance issues. In rare cases, further damage or data loss may result. If you are unable to repair a collection with the methods outlines below, contact us as soon as possible for expert diagnosis, and make frequent backups until the collection is repaired.
Many types of damage to a Helix collection file can be repaired automatically by the utility programs (Helix Utility and Update Collection) that ship with Helix, however the utilities can not repair all types of damage. Damage that can not be automatically repaired is flagged by the utilities, depending on what type of damage is detected:
|Assessing the Situation||
When a Helix application crashes or is closed abruptly, it is possible for the collection that was running to be in a ‘fragile’ state that one of the utilities would report as damage. Therefore, after any unusual shut down (or after damage has been reported) your first step should be to reopen the collection with Helix RADE, Engine or Server. As soon as the collection is opened, save and close it again, then retest it with both utilities. Why? Because these applications do routine maintenance when a collection is opened (and closed normally) and sometimes that maintenance alone is enough to correct the original errors reported by the utilities.
If that is not successful, make a backup copy of the collection, and then use the advanced diagnostic mode available in Helix Utility and Update Collection (click the application names to learn how to access diagnostic mode) to generate a complete diagnostic report for the collection. Email the report(s) to our technical support department and follow up with a phone call or instant message so we can give you an immediate, detailed diagnosis of the problem. (If you’re a member of the Europa Pioneer Plan, these diagnostic logs are automatically created for you, so you do not need to take special steps to get them. See the Europa documentation for Helix RADE and Helix Utility for more information.)
Note: When Update Collection detects damage, it marks the collection in a way that prevents Helix RADE, Engine, or Server from recognizing it as a collection, blocking your ability to reopen it. The solution to this is to check the collection with Helix Utility, which will reverse that effect. You can also use Helix RADE 6.2 to reopen the collection, but you must do so via the Open menu item — double clicking, drag and drop, and ‘Open Recent’ will not open a flagged collection.
Although the vast majority of collections can be repaired with zero (or minimal) data loss, occasionally a can become severely damaged, to the point that not even the Helix utilities can examine them. If you are in this situation, see Collection Repair for Seriously Damaged Files.
If your database has sustained damage that can not automatically be repaired, there are a number of options. If you maintain backups, one option is to revert to a backup copy that was made before the damage occurred.
There are also a couple of techniques that you can sometimes use to repair a collection without our assistance. If you have structural damage (reported by Update Collection) you can try to copy and paste the structure into a new collection, or if you believe you know where the damage is (often seen as a system crash when accessing the damaged icon) you can try pasting structure from an older, non-damaged collection onto this structure.
If you have data damage (reported by Helix Utility) you can try deleting data (on a copy) until you either eliminate the damage or identify the record that is triggering the crash. If, by process of elimination, you can remove the damaged record, Helix Utility will once again give the collection a clean bill of health.
If these techniques do not work to restore your collection to good health — or time is of the essence — the next step is to contact us to arrange for a collection repair. Follow the step-by-step guide below for the best service.
Helix RADE 6.2 (Europa) contains an integrated structure checker that is able to provide much greater detail regarding the damage detected. In addition, Helix Utility 6.2 provides easy access to the diagnostic log, making it much easier to send that data to us for pre-diagnostic assistance. Together with the AppleScript capabilities of Europa, these new features enable us to provide a more comprehensive suite of repair options.
If you are a member of the Europa Pioneer Plan you can use Helix RADE Europa to identify the damaged structure. This gives you the potential of repairing your collection without our assistance. A simple script that shows how to identify the icon behind the reported error is available on our scripts download page.
|Collection Repair Service|
The collection repair is billed on an hourly basis, as defined in our User Support Unit (USU) policy. If you do not have USUs on your account, you can purchase USU units in advance (at discount rates) or arrange for ‘pay-as-you-go’ support. Collection repairs will not be completed until payment is confirmed.
Although it is impossible to know exactly how much time a specific repair will take, a typical repair takes 8-10 USUs. (2 to 3 hours)
An estimate can be done upon request; the charge is based on the time required, typically 2-3 USUs.
|Step by Step Instructions for Arranging a Repair||
|The Repair Process||
Every effort is made to get the collection back to you as soon as possible. Once we receive the file, an initial assessment is done to determine the complexity of the repair: if it appears that the repair will take more than 24 hours, we will contact you to inform you of the situation. When the collection is done we will call or email you with the results.
After the repair we hold as copy of the repaired collection on site for two weeks in case any issues arise. If we have not heard from you within two weeks, we assume that the collection has been put back into use with no further problems, and destroy all copies in our possession. Upon your request we will destroy all held copies before two weeks has passed, but we can not hold them longer.
|A Note About Privacy||
We understand and respect the privacy of your data. We don’t usually even need to go into Design Mode and look at the data, but occasionally we must. To be honest, we’re focused on the repair, and the data is rarely even noticed. However, if the data is of a sensitive nature, please be sure to mention this to us beforehand. If necessary, we are happy to sign a non-disclosure, guaranteeing the confidentiality of your data.
|Repair Services Agreement||
In some situations (e.g: a password reset request), we may require you to sign our Repair Services Agreement before we can do the repair.