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How do I create a "sandbox" environment to use for test or training purposes?

This article describes how to create a test or training environment, commonly referred to as a "sandbox" environment.

  1. Make a back-up copy of the back-end database on the server. For the Microsoft Access back-end database, you can identify the back-end database by selecting Relink Company Database from the Tools tab. To make the backup, simply make a copy of the back-end database file after verifying that all users have logged off the system. For the SQL Server back-end database, you can make a copy of the back-end database using SQL Server Management Studio. In both cases, the sandbox copy of the back-end database needs to stay on the same machine as the production copy so you can use the same activation code.
  2. Rename the back-end database copy you created in step 1 to identify it as the sandbox copy.
  3. Make a copy of the front-end database on a client PC. The front-end database resides in the C:\Program Files\Catalyst folder on the client PC and has a file name like Catalyst vx.xx.accdb, Catalyst vx.xx_SQL.accdb or Catalyst Pharma vx.xx.accdb depending on the version. If the client PC is a 64-bit machine, the directory will be C:\Program Files (x86)\Catalyst. For earlier versions of Catalyst, the file extension will be .mdb.
  4. Rename the front-end database copy you created in step 3 to identify it as the sandbox copy.
  5. Make a copy of the Catalyst MFG desktop shortcut.
  6. Rename the Catalyst MFG desktop shortcut copy you created in step 5 to identify it as the sandbox copy.
  7. Right-click on the sandbox desktop shortcut and select Properties from the shortcut menu. On the shortcut Properties window, change the file name in the target path to the name of the sandbox front-end database copy from step 4.
  8. Open the sandbox front-end database using the desktop shortcut you created in step 5.
  9. After Catalyst opens, select Relink Company Database from the Tools tab and relink to the sandbox back-end database you created in step 1.
  10. Select the Company Master from the Data Maintenance tab. On the System page, select 'Sandbox' from the System Environment drop-down list. This sets the application title to display “Catalyst Manufacturing – Sandbox Environment” the next time the sandbox database is opened to make it easier for users to distinguish between the different environments.

You now have a copy of the production database you can open separately and use for test or training purposes. To replicate the sandbox on another PC, you need to copy the sandbox front-end database from the Catalyst folder on the original PC to the Catalyst folder on the other client PC and copy the sandbox desktop shortcut to the desktop on the other client PC.

To refresh the sandbox environment, all you need to do is repeat steps 1-2 and 10. This will replace the sandbox copy of the back-end database with the most recent production copy and reassign the system environment variable to 'Sandbox'. It will not be necessary to repeat the remaining steps as long as you're using the same server and the name of the new sandbox copy is the same as the old.

After establishing a sandbox environment for a user, please advise them to be careful about not accidentally opening up the sandbox instead of the production environment and vice-versa. As a precaution, it may be advisable to establish the sandbox environment on separate PCs used for test or training purposes only or employ some other method to prevent a user from accidentally using the incorrect environment. 

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