Technical support memos


July 3, 2002
UNC pathing
Advanced Accounting/TAS 5.1 and prior; Tas Pro 6
Anthony J. Frates (Copyright 2002 Addsum Business Software, Inc.)

When setting the properties of a desktop icon for any version of Advanced Accounting 5.1 or prior (or any TAS 5.1 or prior based system), UNC (universal naming convention) path names should not be used as Windows will not be able to set the working directory. TPC50.EXE (which in the case of Advanced Accounting is typically called by the batch file ADV.BAT) and TP5WIN.EXE are 16-bit legacy applications which run well under all Microsoft operating system releases to date but generally 16-bit programs either they themselves do not understand UNC pathing and/or Windows itself prevents them from being able to use UNC's in its support of 16-bit components. (Microsoft has documented this issue in article Q10520 specifically in connection with Windows NT as an operating system issue, however, this is something that similarly impacts Windows 95 and 98 as well as NT/2000/XP.) For similar reasons, 16-bit programs cannot use/access so-called "long" file names.

Both TPC50.EXE and TP5WIN.EXE look for several files in the working directory and when the working directory cannot be set to the directory where these are located (which is what happens if you try to use UNC path names as well as with any truly invalid path), the applications will not load. TP5WIN.EXE (the 16-bit Windows "mode) in fact will give the message: The file TAS50.OVL was not found in your default sub-directory or in your \TAS50 sub-directory. TPC50.EXE (the "DOS" mode) will appear to start to load and then a "Bad file or command" will occur and the window will close when launched from a desktop icon.

The solution to this problem is to use conventional drive mapping. Conventional drive mappings also have a reported tendency to improve performance over UNC mapping (can be especially true on Novell systems).

UNC icon paths in the 32-bit TP5WDBA.EXE used in the current DBA manufacturing software system which evolved from TP5WIN.EXE are possible but are not necessarily advisable because the internal data file location paths do not support UNC pathings and it is better to map everything in the same manner.

Tas Pro 6 and applications based on it (including the soon to be released Advanced Accounting 6) are 32-bit and UNC capable in terms of directory settings and related issues.

Example of a UNC path (should not be used for 16-bit apps such as this one):


Example of a drive mapped path:


Drive mappings can most conveniently and universally made at the command line prompt using NET USE. Use NET USE with no parameters and NET VIEW and NET SHARE to determine various UNC/share names.

Do not confuse this terminology with "absolute" and "relative" paths. Both of the above are "absolute" paths in that they provide a full path from beginning to end to where the EXE is. A "relative" path would be something like:


This path would only work in certain contexts if the working directory at, say, a command line prompt was already set to S: in this example. "Relative" paths are sometimes convenient to use in setting data file locations (not icon directory settings which generally need full/absolute paths) so that users could connect to the same place via a different mapping but can see the same set of data through the same relative path. With a Btrieve/Pervasive data file, access to the data file should as a general rule be thru the same absolute or relative path in a multi-user or multi-access situation (for example, accessing the same data file from more than one program).

Copyright © 2002 Addsum Business Software, Inc.
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Technical support phone number: 801-277-9240