Thursday, March 27, 2014

Don't Use Platform Killer

Platform killer is an unsupported tool.  Most people believe the tool is supported because it was so widely used, even recommended (out of necessity) by support people.  The necessity has been eliminated in System Platform 2012. Now, platforms remove much cleaner.  There is a supported reliable method for removing a platform.  It is done though the system management console. Here are the steps.

1.) Open SMC – Navigate to Start | All Programs | Wonderware | System Management Console
      2.) Navigate to Galaxy name – In the left pane, find platform manager and expand it.  Click on the name of your galaxy.
3.) Remove Platform – Right click on the name of your plant then select remove platform from the context menu.  This removes the platform from the local computer and only the local computer, no other platforms will be removed.  Your screen will look like the screenshot below at this step.

Please remember to use this supported method.  Platform Killer shouldn’t be used for System Platform 2012 and above.  Platform Killer can create problems requiring a system to be reformatted on 2012 and above.  Even for versions before 2012 it is better to try the supported method first then try Platform Killer. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Extending IP Networks over Copper Wires

To improve the efficiency of industrial automation systems, many operators are considering
the possibility of IP upgrades to provide centralized control/management and remote
monitoring. When migrating to a converged IP-based network, acquiring an Ethernet
communication framework will be necessary to provide higher bandwidths and longer
transmission distances, which can require the installation of new cables. However, installation
of new cables can incur substantial costs in planning, labor, and system downtime. Under
hard-to-wire circumstances, or when budgets are limited, existing legacy copper-wire networks
can be a cost-effective alternative to quickly deploy an Ethernet extension.
Read this article to learn how you can significantly improve network communication and the methods to ensure a stable, reliable, and efficient DSL Ethernet extender deployment.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Exporting a Wonderware Log File

This document details the steps of exporting a Wonderware log file.

Step 1: Open System Management Console – In Windows search bar type “System Management Console” then launch it.
Step 2: Select the logger – Click on “Log Viewer” in the left pane.
Step 3: Select the relevant computer’s logger – Drill down into logger viewer then drill down into default group then click the relevant machine.  Most likely you are working on the local computer so “local” would be the relevant computer.  Below is a screenshot of what your screen should look like at this point.

Step 4: Filter Data by Time Range – Refer to the above screenshot.  Select the filter icon by the black arrow.  Now select the Time Range time.  Adjust the time range to one day before the issue that occurred to one day after the issue occurred.
Step 5: Select Export – Right click in the left pane on the computer you are working on.  Navigate in the context menu to messages then export.  Click export.  Refer to below screenshot for example.

Step 6: Save the file – Put your company’s name at the start of the filename but leave the rest the same.  Leave the save type the same.  Pick a location to save the file, anywhere you choose, then click save. 
Step 7: Send Log file to Logic tech team -  If the log file is smaller than 10 MB it can be sent through email to the logic person working with you on the issue.  Files greater than 10 MB will not go through Logic’s email servers and will need to be uploaded (you can try zipping a file to get it under 10 MB limit).  To upload a file go here:  The upload is extremely easy to use, no username/password required.  Once the upload is complete, give us a call to review your file. 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Industrial Networking Security Best Practices

      Protecting network-enabled industrial control systems from both external and internal
threats is critical to preventing costly intellectual property theft and ensuring cybersecurity.
In this white paper, Moxa explores the following five important topics related to 
  • Protecting against external hackers who want to cause a disruption
  • Protecting against external hackers who want to steal information
  • Protecting against internal employees who accidentally cause a disruption
  • Protecting against internal hackers who want to cause a disruption
  • Protecting against internal employees who want to steal information

                              Industrial Networking Security Best Practices                              

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Ten Tips for Installing Wonderware

Here are practical tips for installing Wonderware software.  Please take a few minutes to read over this document - it could save you hours of troubleshooting time.

1. Confirm Windows Compatibility
It is an easy oversight to purchase an operating system that is supported but forget that the service pack must also be supported.   The list of supported service packs is located in the readme file.  The readme file is on the root of the installation CD.
2. Setup Administrator Account
You should make sure that you are installing and configuring all Wonderware software from a valid administrator account.  This ensures that Wonderware is able to make the necessary changes to your system and that it will have all permissions needed to complete installation tasks.  If installing with a domain account make sure it has local administrative rights.
3.  Verify Computer Name
Make sure that the domain, workgroup, and/or computer name are set properly.  Having correct network identification is critical when developing applications and setting up any server or node for external connections/communications.  Changing the computer name or moving the computer to a new domain after Wonderware software is installed will cause certain components to break.
4. Disable Firewall/Local Internet Port Security
Verify that firewalls are turned off.  This can cause issues with ports and security settings required by Wonderware software.
If you must use a firewall, it must be configured.  Most new Wonderware software will automatically add exceptions to the Windows firewall to allow Wonderware communication. To perform this manually, run the utility “osconfiguration.exe”, provided with your Wonderware software.  Note that this only applies to Windows firewall. For other firewall software, you must add exceptions yourself.
If you need to use a hardware firewall, contact us for a tech note regarding which ports to open. 
5. Windows Automatic Updates
Wonderware cannot quality test every minor update that Microsoft sends out through automatic updates.  Some of these can cause problems with Wonderware software products.  We recommend that if Automatic Updates are to be left on, they should not be set to automatically install after download.  This prevents updates from being applied without operator knowledge and will cut down on confusion when troubleshooting.  Consult “Security Central” at for qualified security patch information.
6. Create a Wonderware Network Services Account
For one Wonderware application to execute software on another computer than itself, it must have permission to do so.  To grant that permission “under the hood”, Wonderware uses a special account called the Network Services Account, or sometimes simply the “aaAdmin” account.
This account is used to start/stop services on remote machines, and also grants permission to local services, such as allowing DAServers to run.
This account must be a local administrator level account, and the password policy should be set to not expire.  Username/Password should be the same on all machines.
You will be prompted for this account during installation of Wonderware software.
7. Add Exceptions to Real-Time Virus Scanning Software for Wonderware Folders
Wonderware folders should be excluded from real-time virus scanning.  Your installation folder names may differ, but here are examples of the folders to exclude:
C:\Program Files\ArchestrA\*.*
C:\Program Files\Common files\ArchestrA\*.*
C:\Program Files\FactorySuite\*.* (may not exist in newer installations)
C:\Program Files\Wonderware\*.*
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\ArchestrA*.*
Consult the readme file on the root of the Wonderware installation media for a complete listing of folders that need to be excluded.
8. Use Tech Note 682 for SQL Server Install
During the installation process for Microsoft SQL Server there are many decisions you will have to make.  Making an incorrect decision often requires reformatting the operating system.  To avoid a reformat it is best to follow the step-by-step instructions in Wonderware tech note 682.
Tech Note 682 link: 
Note: Starting with System Platform 2012 the installation media includes SQL Server Express.  The installer will automatically install SQL Server Express for an InTouch development machine.  For all other products that requires SQL server the standard version should be installed before starting the Wonderware installer.
9. Time Synchronization
Make sure all computers in the network running Wonderware software are time synced.  The easiest way to accomplish this is to run a scheduled task on each machine that executes a batch file.  The batch file contains one line:
 net time \\nodename /set /y
Where “nodename” is the name of the computer you want to be the master.
10. Reference More Detailed Install Documentation
It is important to note that this document is not a comprehensive coverage of installing Wonderware software.  This document is a collection of pragmatic tips based on Logic’s experiences with customers in the field installing Wonderware.  For comprehensive coverage of installation refer to the official Wonderware installation guides.  The InTouch, Historian, and System Platform install guides can be found on the root of the System Platform CD in the file “ASP_Install_Guide.PDF”.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Moving DA Server Configuration

It is desirable to move a DA Server configuration from one computer to another via a file. This avoids the process of moving the configuration over by simply looking at the original DA Server. The risk of a manual move is that a configuration will be missed. You would then by faced with all of the challenges of integrating a DA Server with a device, leading to hours of work being lost. To avoid the risk of losing hours of work follow the simple steps below.
  1. On source machine goto SMC->DAServer Manager->Default Group->local->Archestra.[DA Server Manager Name].[x]->Right Click On Configuration->Click Archive Configuration Set
  2. Give a meaningful name to the configuration set. An example would be "DASABCIP_10_9_2013". DASABCIP indicates which DAServer it is and 10_9_2013 indicates the date.
  3. Copy the configuration set from the source machine to media like a flash drive. The configuration set can be found in this location:
    C:\ProgramData\Wonderware\DAServer\[DA Server Name]\[Configuration Set Name].aaCFG
  4. The file just copied to media needs to be copied to the destination machine. Copy it to the same location it was copied from in Step 3.
  5. Deactivate the DAServer on the destination machine you want to restore the configuration set to.
  6. Right click on configuration like in Step 1. Then select "Use Another Configuration Set" and select the name you gave the configuration set in Step 2.
  7. Activate the DAServer

Friday, September 27, 2013

Trend Live Mode Refresh Interval

To reduce load on your Historian server, change your live trend’s refresh interval.  By default the live trend will refresh itself every 1 second.  Generally every 5 seconds will be satisfactory.  Just right click on your trend area and select properties.
The refresh interval setting is the first one on the “General” tab.