Running IBM i Access 7.1 and Windows 8
October 31, 2012 Michael Sansoterra
With the newly released Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8, I wanted to test drive Windows 8 and use it on my primary computer if possible. However, I knew a potential stumbling block would be getting IBM i Access for Windows to function. So I set out to load IBM i Access 7.1 on Windows 8.
While doing my research, I didn’t find anything on the IBM i Access for Windows website indicating general compatibility with Windows 8. In the past, the newest version of Windows has generally been a “no-go” until a Windows specific service pack is released. But, I did find a statement from IBM indicating that Operations Console will not currently work. So if you need operations console, don’t bother with Windows 8 until further notice.
For my test, I loaded a copy of Windows 8 32-bit into a virtual machine using the free VMWare Player. After fumbling (and grumbling) with the new Windows 8 “Metro” interface, I then installed the base version of the IBM i Access 7.1 product with no problems. I may have chosen to run the installer under Windows 7 compatibility mode; I can’t recall. If the install doesn’t work for you, try setting the compatibility level for an earlier version of Windows. In general, the compatibility level doesn’t help with the installer when the installer runs an extract and subsequent execution of a different binary. But when tinkering, it never hurts to try!
No one wants to use the base version of the software, so I next set out to install a service pack. At the time of this writing, service pack SI45664 is the latest available for IBM i 7.1. The next scheduled service pack is November 30; hopefully IBM will have this service pack enabled for Windows 8/Windows 2012. Service pack SI45664 expects a specific security patch to be installed on your Windows machine before continuing. The service pack installer looks to see if the security patch has been installed and will fail if it has not been. However, the required fix isn’t available for Windows 8 (and may not be needed for Windows 8). So I had to download and install service pack SI39894 instead.
Once installed, I found everything I normally use ran smoothly. I was able to use the following without a problem:
About the only problem I’ve had using it with Windows 8 over the past few weeks is that sometimes the application components “crash” upon exit.
A Word On Windows File Sharing With NetServer
As an aside (and for the sake of killing two birds with one stone), Windows 8 has the same issue as the last several versions of Windows when it comes to connecting to a shared IFS folder via NetServer. Due to tighter security in Windows, the security policy on your computer may need to be changed, depending on how your domain and NetServer are configured. IBM has outlined the steps to take here under the heading “LanMan Authentication.” If you can’t map a drive to the IFS on Windows 8, try this fix.
If you need to run IBM i Access on Windows 8 right away, there is a good chance with a little tinkering you can get it running. However, if you need Operations Console or a “fixed feature” in service pack SI45664, then you’ll have to wait. There are many features in IBM i Access, so make sure to test all of your required functionality before using it in production.