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Most common reasons for installation difficulties

If you are relatively new to computers (and a lot of herbalists are), diagnosing
a computer problem is similar to what you would do when you take your car to a
mechanic. Things that would be helpful to know are:

	* operating system and its version number
	* how far did you get in the sequence of steps to install/start the software?
	* what sequence of events triggered the problem?

We have tested version 4 of the HerbalThink-TCM software on dozens of computers
to date, and so far no new errors have been detected within the past 3 months
since it was released.


(1) When someone reports that it "does not work", normally I would need to know a
bit more to be of any help, but I can say that the most common reason why this
may happen for this version is that you have not yet installed a recent version
of Java on your system.

These details are all specified in "System requirements" in the
Help/Documentation:

	http://www.rmhiherbal.org/herbalthink/index.html#help

On all operating systems, Oracle/Sun Java version 1.6.0_26 or later is
required/recommended. On versions prior to 1.6.0_21 on the Mac, we know that it
will not run at all. Java comes pre-installed on most operating systems, but not
all.

To learn more about managing Java on your computer, click the "Java for [OS]"
link in the System requirements section of Help.


(2) The second most common reason why people have difficulty is that they have
not read the installation instructions that always are included on the same page
from which you originally downloaded your software:

     HowToInstall.html

Some users have asked why we don't make the software easier to install, like with
an automated installer that figures out where to put the software and then puts a
launch icon on your desktop? Nice when they work -- but automated installers are
constantly "breaking" with new operating system releases, and they add greatly to
our maintenance overhead. The vast majority of educational software is written in
Java and packaged for distribution in the form of a ZIP file -- a "universal
installer" that can be downloaded and installed on Windows, Mac, and Linux
computers. ZIP files have been around for a very long time, and they are almost
certain to be supported for a long time into the future on all systems.  This is
a huge advantage for everyone. Much of the original software that we wrote in the
year 2000 and packaged in ZIP files still works on the latest operating systems! 
How many Windows or Mac programs can you say that for??? (We briefly used a third-
party automated installer for Windows and for Mac OS X, but abandoned it after it
"broke" with major upgrades to these operating systems.)

ZIP files need to be handled slightly differently on each operating system. You
can't just double-click on them and expect things to happen correctly (except on
Macs).

So, the bottom line is that we will continue to package our software in
universal ZIP files that can be installed on all operating systems. The initial
installation instructions are slightly more complicated, but still 
relatively straightforward, which is why we include
a "HowToInstall" file along with each software download. Be sure to download a
copy of that file and to read it carefully.