Computer Counselor, Inc.

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Computer Counselor, Inc. was founded to provide law firms and other professional offices with reliable, trustworthy and complete technology services and practice management consulting.  Computer Counselor, Inc. is your Information Technology department that you out-source on an as needed basis.

Time Matters, Windows 10 and WordPerfect Merging

Since I have many clients who are purchasing new computers before the end of the year, and since my strong recommendation is that any new computer purchased on or after August 1, 2016 should have Windows 10 installed, some of my clients are running into difficulties with Time Matters merges and WordPerfect.  The reasons for these problems are many and are related to historical practices and procedures that have been used at Time Matters (and many other software companies) since the earliest releases of Windows back in the mid nineties.  Here is my take on the situation including (1) what the problem is; (2) why the problem exists and (3) what can be done to fix the problem.

First, What is the Problem? The problem that some of my clients experience is that WordPerfect merges that worked just fine in Windows 7 are now not working at all.  When the merge is started from Time Matters, an error will pop up from WordPerfect indicating that the Merge Macro cannot be executed.

The error is coming from the PerfectScript Compiler which is a component of WordPerfect that compiles and runs macros.  Note: the macro it is trying to execute is located in the "Program Files (x86)\LexisNexis\Time Matters" folder.  This macro is created by Lexis Nexis and used by Time Matters to open a merge template and fill in the data fields for the merge.

Why Does this Problem Exist?  I have explored many possibilities for why this problem exists.  The conclusion that I have reached is that starting with Windows 8, Microsoft has made access to the Program Files folder much more limited than in previous version of Windows.  This is, of course, a good thing, but older programs or programs that have a long heritage running in Windows before these new security choices were made can sometimes fail when running in newer version of Windows.  Time Matters has been a Windows based product since 1997 or so.  Many of the underlying features (like the Merge feature) have not changed much since then.  The macros that power the WordPerfect merge have historically been stored in the Time Matters program folder.  They therefore are executed from the Time Matters program folder when the user creates a merge document.  In the olden days (prior to the introduction of Windows 8) this sort of execution would be allowed.  Post-Windows 8, this is not allowed because it is something that viruses and spyware routinely do to to infect your computer.  Because of this problem Microsoft no longer allows running process to execute other processes from the Program Files folder.  WordPerfect is structured in such a way that when you run a macro (like the Time Matters merge Macro or any macro that you may create yourself) WordPerfect actually starts a new process or program called the PerfectScript Compiler.  Windows 8 and 10 see this in the same way that it would see a virus attempting to gain control of your computer and therefore Windows does not allow this new process (Perfect Script Compiler) to have access to the Program Files folder.  The Perfect Script Compiler then terminates with above pictured error.  This is not, strictly speaking, a Time Matters error, but is caused by choices made in the structure of the Time Matters program that were valid in the past, but are no longer implicitly allowed.

What Can Be Done To Fix This? First you should make sure that all of the merge paths and files are setup correctly.  Then you should verify the problem exists by following the Time Matters Support web site recommendations found here: Article 62111

Artcile 62111 gives a few recommendations that are good for figuring out if the problem as I ma outlining it here actually exists and what the cause of the problem is.  Keep in mind that if you use mapped drives, Time Matters running as Administrator may not recognize or "see" those mapped drives.  To fully test the issue using the instructions in Article 62111, you will have to change the mapped drive location to the corresponding UNC path for all network resources that are accessed during the test.  Sound complicated?  It is!  DO NOT CHANGE the merge template in Time Matters for this test.  Only change the path locations during the macro execution.

If the merge works after correctly following the testing procedures in Article 62111, then you have a security issue imposed by Windows.  If you can map the drives for the local administrator user, then you may be able to continue functioning by starting Time Matters as Administrator to run your merges.  Not a great solution for most of my Time Matters users.

The solution that I am using is a kludge, admittedly, but it seems to work.  Log on to the workstation as Domain or Local Administrator (depending on whether your network is Domain based or Workgroup based).  Open File Explorer and browse to the Time Matter folder -- This is located in "C:\Program Files (x86)\LexisNexis" by default.  Find the Time Matters folder and right click it.  Select Properties.  Then open the Security tab.  In the security tab, grant Full Access to the user that is generally logging in on the computer.  Do Not grant full access to everyone or a local group.   Once this is done, the Time Matters merge should function again.

Clearly this fix is not for the faint of heart or anyone other than a person familiar with Windows security.  I am not recommending that the casual reader undertake to do this on their own.  In fact, I think you should contact me so that I can help troubleshoot this issue on your computers and help you to fix it.  Under no circumstances should this be done on a computer that does not have strong up to date anti-virus and a good firewall in place.  The risk here is that a virus may be able to damage files in the Time Matters folder.  The risk is quite low, but it is a risk.

Let me know if I can help you.

Mark Spengler.