Chronicles of Simply Accounting 2008 and msvcr80.dll

In a previous post, I said, "According to Google, I am apparently the only person in the world who likes Simply Accounting more than QuickBooks."  I am beginning to discover why.

After happily using the trial Simply Accounting 2008 for a few months, I finally got around to activating it.  Simply promptly quit working.  Completely.  When I tried to load any data file, even the test company, it would get as far as "Verifying database..." and then bring up an error that said, "Simply Accounting by Sage 2008 has encountered a problem and needs to close."

This was frustrating.

I did eventually fix the problem.  The solution is at the bottom.  The story is below.

Like a good little tech, I first checked the knowledge base and attempted the solutions under Answer ID 22393 and Answer ID 21968.  I really didn't think these would solve the problem, as Simply worked perfectly before activation.  This indicated an issue with something other than framework.  I was right.

I noted that, even though I did not subscribe to SimplyCare (and I likely won't, given the techs I spoke with) I could receive help with one issue, for free.  (And since they did not solve the issue, I fully intend to claim this at some point in the future.) I started out with their live chat.  I spoke with Kimberly.

Kimberly suggested that I reinstall Simply in a folder outside of C:\Program Files.  She suggested I do this in Safe Mode.  I dutifully rebooted to Safe Mode and discovered that the installer refused to run in Safe Mode.  I forget exactly what it complained about, but if memory serves, it was something to do with installing a service.  I reinstalled outside of C:\Program Files in normal mode, but this did not solve the problem.

I used Live Chat again and spoke to Barry.  Barry didn't have any new ideas but said that "activation should theoretically not cause any issues."  Barry, let it be known that I beg to differ.  Barry scheduled a callback from a senior agent.  Nobody called me back, so I called them a week later and spoke to a technician with a very thick accent.  I was placed on hold for an inordinate amount of time and was finally told that the senior agent would get back to me either that day or the the next.  They didn't, but they did call promptly as soon as I left for vacation.

When I returned from vacation, I called back.  By this time I had used the issue as an excuse to FFR.  Much to my surprise, the problem survived it.  I spoke to a technician named Veronique who troubleshooted .NET for quite a while She thought the problem could be due to Kaspersky Internet Security.  (There is a known issue with Simply installation and various firewalls that makes the firewall use 100% of the processor thereby making the installation EXTREMELY slow.) We disabled Kaspersky, but oddly, the problem still occurred, so we uninstalled it completely.  This did not solve the problem.  I unfortunately ran out of time so called back the next week.  I was placed on hold for one hour and fourteen minutes before I even got to the right department.  I spoke with Candy who continued where Veronique left off.  Candy continued to troubleshoot .NET, eventually gave up, and promised a call back from a product specialist.

While I was waiting for the product specialist, I wanted to eliminate as many possible causes as I could, so I installed Simply on a completely different computer running Windows 2000.  The problem survived.  Predictably, nobody called, but this time it only took me an hour to get impatient.  I spoke with Gregg.  Gregg verified the existence of plenty of files, but did not suggest anything that would solve the problem.  He did have me check the event viewer, where some additional information was located.  It proclaimed: "Faulting application simplyaccounting.exe, version, stamp 476214f6, faulting module msvcr80.dll, version 8.0.50727.1433, stamp 471eb5ae, debug? 0, fault address 0x00012f4b." The error was identical on both the Windows XP and 2000 systems.  A few times during the call I asked Gregg if the problem could be the activation information, as it was the only commonality on both the Windows XP and 2000 systems.  "Of course not," he said, "that wouldn't have anything to do with the problem."

I believed him.  He claimed that "activating unlocked special features of .NET" which was what was causing the problem.  Gregg, if you don't know, just say!  Don't make stuff up!

Gregg finally said there was nothing more he could do for me.  I asked for (and received) a copy of Simply Accounting 2007, but as I'd used the trial of 2008 for quite a while, this would require re-entering lots of data.  I continued searching.

I decided to see if I could find a different version of msvcr80.dll.  The version I had was 8.0.50727.1433.  I found a copy of 8.0.50727.42.  Replacing my version with .42 did not solve the problem, but it changed the error, and to something much more useful: "You are trying to start Simply Accounting with an invalid Key Code (my key code). You need to uninstall this version of the software and install ."

"Odd," I thought.  "When I entered the key code, it congratulated me."

I took another look at the key code.  I noticed my serial number began with 1311612, but the key code began with 1311412.  Not being one to believe in coincidences, I reinstalled with the key code beginning with 1311612.  It dutifully congratulated me.

I congratulated myself when I was able to successfully load the program after activation.

ALL this time, the issue that had stumped me, and five Sage techs over three levels of support?  A key code with a typo.

Whether the rep I was speaking with gave me the wrong key code or I wrote it down wrong (which is entirely possible) I'm not sure.  Regardless, the activation program should have complained when I entered the invalid code, and even if it didn't, I shouldn't have had to Google for DLL files to get a coherent error message.  I hope someone from Sage reads this and recognizes a serious need to a) properly test their software and b) properly train their support staff.

And, as always, I also hope that others experiencing this problem find this website and solve it for themselves.

And Ms. Mango's first comment?  "You should have told them you solved it and you'd tell them how you did it for $150."  Smart girl.  I should have!
  1. Gregg
    May 23rd, 2008 at 13:15 | #1

    OK thanks for the update
    Not sure what the program did not complain about the incorrect keycode
    Anytime an incorrect keycode is entered in for any product --not just
    ours-- it will complain.
    Glad you are up and rolling

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