Advice

LPE Troubleshooting Guide

Courtesy of Bob Dessert.

 

Hints to work around a “confused” LPE

  1. If the LPE has “lost track” of things with Tracking ON, try saving your turn, closing your turn and then reopening it.  If that doesn’t work, do the above again, but exit the LPE after the turn is saved.
  2. If you still do not see your pieces as you should, reload your turn from the LPE/Unpack/Read folder. Just point to it there and unpack and import it again.  The reason for doing this, even in a perfectly working LPE and DB, is that if you are loading ally turns into the LPE and an ally, e.g. does not see you in his guild due to invisibility or whatever, the LPE will update and say your character is not in the guild and “off the map”.  Reloading your turn, even if it has an earlier date than the ally’s turn will correct this.
  3. If your turns are still not tracking correctly, you may need to restore your last known good archive and rebuild the LPE from there.  See Q5 below.

 

The main causes of corrupting the LPE database

Many problems the LPE has are due to a corrupted (or a bloated = SLOW) LPE Database.  I have written a lot about this in the past 2 years on this listserve and its predecessor.

In my experience, the main causes of DB problems are, in approximate decreasing order of likelihood:

 

Importing Exports from other players

This is looking for trouble quickly.  Always have allies send their turns, not exports, if you want their data in your LPE.

 

Making changes to piece data manually in the LPE

Sometimes this seems unavoidable, but really try to minimize it.  The “change and save” routines do not seem to be nearly as reliable as the turn importing routines.

If things are not as you know they should be, try importing your last turn again rather than changing the LPE database.  See “Hints to work around a “confused” LPE.”

 

Equipment/power failure while using the LPE may corrupt the DB

Especially if you are unlucky enough to be writing to the DB when it occurs.

 

The next points will affect all programs on the Computer.  So watch for problems in other programs as well as the LPE to point to them.

 

Hard Disk Drives (HDD) that are corrupted by other programs or with too little room on them

In a 2003 system, you should have at least 100 MB free on your HDD to allow the operating system to expand the place to put temporary data on the drive.  Use Windows Disk Defragmenter to be sure you have no bad sectors on your drive and the drive is optimized for storage.

 

Imperfect computer electronic memory (RAM, SDRAM, DDR RAM, etc)

The LPE loads most of the DB files into electronic memory for speed.  It will use as much as 90MB for a game with only 150 turns in the DB.  So operation with less than about 128MB of electronic memory will work, but slow you down.  If your electronic memory is not Perfect, any faults in it will either cause the LPE to fail, or worse, the DB in memory will be written back onto the DB on the HDD and corrupt the DB from then on.  Overclocking your computer is a good way to make your memory fail.

 

Bad or failing Hard Disk Drive (HDD)

It is a fact of computer operation that eventually ALL HDD that continue to operate will fail.  Often at the start of failure, it is not obvious what is happening.  Things are taking longer to load and there seem to be “random” failures.  If the LPE tries to use the parts of the drive that are about to fail, your DB will be corrupted.

 

Viruses making the OS operate erratically

It is not likely that a virus will specifically attack the LPE.

 

 

Advice on archiving

Archiving saves your database as of the moment you archive.  Everything (good or bad) in it is there.  That is why you should mainly archive when you know the DB is good.

The easiest way to solve LPE DB problems (and you will eventually get them unless you run a very simple position), is to Archive your LPE regularly, e.g. once per month.  Then when the DB goes sour, you only have to restore the last known good DB and build from there rather than rebuild it from scratch.  (You did save ALL the turns currently in your LPE, did you not?)

In LPE 1.06 and 1.07, there is a way to backup the DB from the “Two Sword” opening screen, called “Archive”.  It has to be used immediately after LPE startup, will ask for the position number to archive and will zip the required files for that position.  It does not remove the position from the LPE, just makes a compressed copy (zip) of the DB files for that position.  The archive file is named mmddyy.zip and placed deep within the LPE in the folder Lpe\Data\Archive\GGGPPP where GGG is the game and PPP is the position, e.g. D99066.  So the entire path to an archive made on Feb 6, 2003 could be C:\Lpe\Data\Archive\D99066\020603.zip

Alas, future archives of the same position will include the last archive in it (hence geometrically increase the file size) if you do not manually move the last archive to a safe location.  I just use the Windows Explorer to locate the archive zipped file mmddyy.zip and Move it up a level to the Lpe\Data\Archive folder.  Then it is not included the next time you make an archive.  Using this procedure, the archive files start out pretty small (about 100KB and seldom get bigger than 500KB even near the end of the game, so it does not take too much room on a modern drive to keep however many you like.

 

Restoring an archive

Unfortunately, there is no LPE menu item to restore the archive. 🙁   I use the shareware program Winzip to do this.  Just open the Windows Explorer and double click on the mmddyy.zip archive file you want to restore.  Winzip will open with all the DB files (about 54) archived in it shown. Use the Winzip menu or control-a to select all the files, which will highlight them.  Then use your mouse to left click and hold down in the highlighted file area to “grab” all the files and drag them to the Lpe\Data folder.  When you are over this folder, it will highlight.  Then let go of the left mouse button and the files will start to be copied to that folder.  You will likely get a dialog box asking if you want to overwrite a file there with the same name and click “Yes to All”.

This will restore your DB to the date of the archive.  You will have to reimport any files after that date. The files you have previously imported are in the Lpe\Unpack\Read folder.  Copy the ones with a later date to the Lpe\Unpack folder and use the LPE to import them again.

If you are having a problem using the Windows Explorer to do the above, any good windows guru will be able to use it and a program like Winzip to restore the position DB manually in a few moments.

 

Rebuilding a defective LPE from scratch

If you have not been archiving, or suspect something is wrong with the LPE other than the DB, you can rebuild from scratch. BEFORE you do this, make a copy of your entire LPE folder somewhere safe.  You ESPECIALLY want to be sure you save the turns you have to import again.  They are in the subfolder Lpe\Unpack\Read. Without them, you are dead in the water!

Then download the latest LPE, version 1.07 as of this writing.  Double-click on this file to install the LPE.

 

A. Copy all the turns from the old Lpe\Unpack\Read to the new Lpe\Unpack folder.

 

B. Unpack your setup turn:

Check “Create position for initial turns”.

Check “Import turn results”

 

C. Unpack a few weeks of additional turns, but

Uncheck  “Create position for initial turns”

Uncheck  “Import turn results”

 

D. Import the turns.

Do not try to import more than about 40 at a time. There was a bug in 1.06 that caused the LPE to crash at about this point and I doubt it was fixed in 1.07.

 

E. (Optional) Preserve a known good copy of the LPE and its’ early DB.

At this point, check out the map and explore the DB to see if it looks good.  Then configure your LPE Map and Display options.  Now exit the LPE to close all memory mapped files, re-enter it and from the Menu Bar, use Position\Archive Position Data to make a known good archive to restore if you have to go through this again.

An alternate method is to use Winzip and zip up the entire Lpe folder  (with paths) and put it in a safe place.  Then you can restore the entire folder to exactly the state it was upon zipping if you need to do this again.  Saves that initial hour.

 

F. Unpack then Import the rest of the turns following steps C and D above.