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    Problem with Filemaker Pro database crashing


      Hi, I'm new to this forum - it was recommended that I ask you guys if anyone can suggest new lines of enquiry for me.


      I am using a specialist bookselling database called 'Bookseller'. I started with a version that ran on an older version of Filemaker, then got the network version of that,(for 2 pc's) then moved on to a beta version that runs on Filemaker Pro 11. It seemed to be running fine, although it was overly slow with a wireless network and we had to wire the PC's to the router.


      The new database does some things that the old one doesn't. It makes thumbnails of stock images, for example. But it was working to begin with, and it works for other people (we are told).


      At the end of December there seemed to be a few crashes. By the beginning of January the program was crashing regularly on both the host and the guest PC. It is about 16 times a day on the host. We get the blue circle going round but nothing happens and we have to close and reopen, losing the last data entered each time.


      There were Windows updates around the new year so I restored the PC's to 29th December and 27th December. Nothing changed.


      Both PC's have Windows Home Premium but the host is 64-bit and the guest is 32-bit.


      We have Kodak Hero 7.1 printer. Apparently they run a lot of things that might interfere with other programs. But we uninstalled it and nothing changed. We also got someone to run both PC's with all the startup programs turned off. We removed the Avira antivirus and replaced it with Windows Security Essentials. The network stopped working and we had someone run XP TCPIP to clean it up, which allowed it to work again. It may or may not be related to the problem because if only the host is running, the program still crashes. We switched the host function from one PC to the other in case it was a problem with the host PC, but the problems are continuing.


      The developer says he has not encountered this problem with other customers, so the question arises, what are we doing that is different? I don't know, but I'm hoping for ideas!


      Best wishes,



        • 1. Re: Problem with Filemaker Pro database crashing
          Stephen Huston

          Hi Julia,


          It sounds llike you may be using a "working" PC as the host of this system, using FileMaker Pro as the hosting program rather than FileMaker server.


          If that is the case, you MUST set either computer thatt may be hosting to NEVER allow the disk to sleep, nor for the computer itself to hibernate/sleep/shutdown.


          Similarly, if the host computer is running other network intensive operations, the FM connection to the other (client) computer can appear to be unresponsive, causing a failure on the client.


          When any of these things happens, if that computer is acting as the FM host, the files will suddenly fail to be served to the other computer.


          Let us know if you are encountering this problem with a dedicated FM Server machine, which is what the specs recommend.


          In the meantime, set everything on a client-host computer to avoid any appearance of it not being fully available on the network.


          WiFi will be enough slower to create similar additional problems, especially if both ends of the connection are WiFi.

          • 2. Re: Problem with Filemaker Pro database crashing

            Hi Stephen,


            Thank you for your input!


            The host is also being used to access bookseller databases on the internet, but I don't see why that should cause Filemaker to crash. It is set not to go to sleep. The crashes occur even when only the host is in use.


            We did not get this problem to begin with and I'm looking for an event which may have caused it. I have been told about Avira and Bonjour as potentially interfering with filemaker. The host (what is now the host) has no programs other than the database and the internet browser and what microsoft provides as basic.


            Maybe there are settings we could have changed?


            I am stuck!


            Any other suggestions gratefully received,



            • 3. Re: Problem with Filemaker Pro database crashing

              Hello. Welcome to the community.

              FileMaker is a real stable product. I have solutions with dozens of simultaneous users and millions of records and I haven't suffered any crashes so far...


              I believe the crash might be a faulty RAM o error of the disk. IMHO it's 90% a hardware fault.



              • 4. Re: Problem with Filemaker Pro database crashing
                Stephen Huston

                Hi Julia,


                Back to your original post, I noticed you have reported lots of crashes of this database in recent weeks, and it sounds like they have all been with peer-to-peer hosting.


                That is a classic and likely cause of file corruption. When you have had these crashes, have you reinstalled from original files and imported the data from the crashed opies back into the clean original copies, or are you continuing to keep the crashed peer-to-peer files running. If there is file damage, the crashing will probably continue until you roll-back to undamaged files that have not crashed.


                That is one of the hidden costs of so-called cheap peer-to-peer. It can cost you a lot more than FM Server in the long-run because it adds to the risks of file corruption as well as introducing client-based variables which make crashes more likely.


                You may need to reinstall from original files and then import current data (from your latest copy that still opens) into the undamaged files. Look for articles on File Recovery and also Importing from Backups if you need details of those processes.


                I suspect your files, if kept in use from crash to crash, are only likely to get worse until some day they won't open at all.


                Do you have any backup software on either computer? Running backup software on disks with open FM files can also corrupt them.


                I hope it ain't so, but file integrity seems a likely issue since your problem is getting worse.


                Stephen Huston

                • 5. Re: Problem with Filemaker Pro database crashing

                  Hi Stephen I agree with you approach too. NEVER use a crashed file  (although FM successfully recovered it).

                  Use a previous backup and reimport your data.


                  Anyway I suggest doing a checkup to the PC hardware.





                  Diego D'Alessio


                  FileMaker Business Alliance


                  skypeID: solfilemaker

                  twitter: @solfilemaker

                  • 6. Re: Problem with Filemaker Pro database crashing

                    Thanks to Stephen and Diego for your input. I passed on the information to my software developer and he agrees with the general principles but doesn't think my files are corrupted. At least they weren't when he checked them after the problem had become established.


                    I am now trying to run the program on the Mac to see if it also crashes there. If not, then it's got to be Microsoft related software interfering in the background, hasn't it?


                    Yet we tried to eliminate that by preventing the startup programs and removing the Kodak version of Bonjour. And if it was due to a recent update, other people should be getting it too.


                    Anyway, I'll keep looking - thabnks again,



                    • 7. Re: Problem with Filemaker Pro database crashing
                      Stephen Huston

                      Hi Julia,


                      File corruption can be very hard to detect. There isn't any tool out there (FM or 3rd party) that can say with 100% reliability that a file has NO corruption.


                      That fact that a file recovers without errors being reported is not a guarantee. That's why you need to always go back to a reliable source file to be as sure as possible.


                      Stephen Huston

                      • 8. Re: Problem with Filemaker Pro database crashing

                        Hi Guys,


                        Update on my problem:


                        I transferred the hosting of the database to the iMac and it runs perfectly without crashing.


                        So it seems there must be a problem with the PC's. The database still crashes on them as guests. I thought I'd cracked it when we uninstalled the Canon image processing software and had a whole morning clear. Then the PC crashed again in the afternoon and since then it's escalated.


                        Could there be issues with Windows security? both PC's run on Windows 7 and I see an apparent coincidence between the time of crash and an event on the Windows security log saying an account was successfully logged on. I don't know what this means and maybe it's nothing to do with it.


                        The software developer is adamant that it's most likely due to a program running in the background. Maybe despite uninstalling, there is still stuff lurking in there. I hate the idea of getting the hard drives reformatted. But I could try it on one and see if it helped.


                        Am I the only one to have this problem? I just wonder what is unique to my situation that nobody else has.


                        Anyway, we're limping on regardless!



                        • 9. Re: Problem with Filemaker Pro database crashing

                          FIleMaker is typically rock solid on Windows- to say that FileMaker Pro 'crashes' Windows is an isolated event and I would bet large sums of money it has something to do with your system, your database, and/or third party plug-ins.


                          FM Diff can give you some diagnostic info about your file. I don't think anyone will give you a 100% guarentee, but it's one of the few program with will read a FileMaker file directly.


                          If you run FMPA then you can export a DDR and we can run it through Beewaz Inspector for you. This isn't so much to check for corruption as it will check for problems in the coding itself...

                          • 10. Re: Problem with Filemaker Pro database crashing

                            Thanks Wordcloud - we have FMP11. I think I'm going to have to get the PC's wiped clean and start again.



                            • 11. Re: Problem with Filemaker Pro database crashing

                              Hi guys,


                              Just to update on my issue in case you're interested:


                              Two months later we still have the problem of crashing.


                              I reinstalled Windows 7 on one PC. Still crashes. Bought a new PC. The program worked fine on it until we networked, then it crashed as much as before. It doesn't crash on the Mac.


                              So my data appears to be safe and the problem seems to be related to the program and the way it works on the network. I'm not familiar with the way FMP works and in my ignorance I imagine the little messages going in through a field and going round and round so that when we type in a new field, the new message hits the old one that's still going round and round...


                              Plugins, maybe. Does anyone have any issues with any plugins on networks? The ones we use are:











                              Well, those were for the PC but since we switched to hosting on the Mac we have equivalent ones for the Mac.


                              We shall plod on regardless. At least I know it's not going to kill us.


                              Thanks for your input,



                              • 12. Re: Problem with Filemaker Pro database crashing
                                Stephen Huston

                                Are you running Peer-to-Peer access to the files, or are the files running on a dedicated machine via FileMaker Server software?


                                It may be that you still having issues due to peer-to-peer hosting. Anything that allows the host to sleep, hibernate, spin down the hard drive, or get busy with other things which tie up the host's processor or disk access can cause peer-to-peer to fail. Most Windows machines have stuff installed when right out of the box that are not intended to be used on a dedicated Server. So do Macs, but the difference is that on Macs you can find a standard list of what those are. On Win machines it depends on who sold the machine; custom installations of non-OS stuff is very common.


                                If you are doing peer-to-peer hosting instead of FM Server, how many users to you have in the system maximum (worse case scenario)?

                                • 13. Re: Problem with Filemaker Pro database crashing

                                  Stephen, thanks for the input, we were doing peer-to-peer with only one host and one guest when the problem started. We've added another guest but most of the time it's only the mac and one pc.


                                  I guess there might be things installed that run in the background, but we have gone through the windows logs and not found anything happening when the crashes happen.


                                  They do seem to happen when we are using certain drop-down fields that are in the program, so today we are trialling not using those fields to see if it helps.


                                  Other are using the same program with no problem, apparently, so it may be something different about the way we are using it that doesn't apply to anyone else, like these drop-downs.


                                  It's astonishing how long it takes to home in on a problem when you're trying to run a business at the same time!



                                  • 14. Re: Problem with Filemaker Pro database crashing

                                    hello Julia,

                                    make sure you run the latest versions of all plugins.

                                    When you open FileMaker preferences, tab plugins, the version number should be in the name or becomes visible when you select a name.

                                    If neither shows the version (i.e. sloppy plugin developers), you could see if there is a custom function that will  display the version number of that particular plugin.

                                    Write a small script that shows this function in a dialog.

                                    The google for more recent versions or ask your developer. Outdated plugins are known to cause crashes.



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