Techniques for Updating Live DDC Displays

There are often two challenges when updating DDC software on live systems via remote access:

  • One has to VNC or Remote Desktop into one computer (e.g., server) and then open another VNC/RD session to the DDC, with slow updates/refreshing making it hard to see what is going on and control actions on the DDC
  • The DDC is running VisDIDContinuous and is constantly changing, making it hard to get focus on the Windows Toolbar, Task Manager or IEDAppManager to stop the programs while updates are made.

The first trick is to use Windows file sharing to copy new files over to the DDC.  One can do this by opening Windows Explorer (My Computer) and typing a link in the address bar such as file://w.x.y.z/c$ where w.x.y.z is the IP address of the DDC.  If this is the first time the server has accessed this IP address, Windows will/may prompt for a username and password.  Enter the ones used to log into Windows on the DDC.  Then one should see the C:\ drive (as "c$" and be able to navigate as needed, e.g., to c$\IED\vis\DID\. 

Note 1: One can do anything on the files in Windows Explorer that one might do locally, such as copying files or editing configuration files, which often is a better way to deal with it rather than do it via the secondary VNC/Remote Desktop link.

Note 2: Once Windows security has been established to DDCs, one can directly navigate to the desired folders rather than to the root of c$.  So for example, if one if viewing files in file://$/IED/Vis/DID, one can change the .21 to .22 in the address bar an immediately be in the VisDID folder on the other DDC.

The second trick is that files can be copied even while they are running, if one renames the running EXE file first.  For example, if one is going to update VisDIDContinuous.exe, one can rename it VisDIDContinuous-old.exe and then copy a new VisDIDContinuous.exe up to the folder.

The third trick is how to stop VisDIDContinous when its constant refreshing is inhibiting access (second bullet above).  VisDIDContinuous can be stopped by clicking on it and typing alt-F4.  However, IEDAppManager will immediately restart it.  The trick is to rename the file first as mentioned in the previous two tricks, and then stop it with alt-F4.  Now, it will stop, but IEDAppManager will fail to restart it (because the file with the correct name is missing).  Then, one can right-click on the IEDAppManager tray icon and select "Stop Applications".  One can then put the new version in place via the file copy operation mentioned above, or do other file maintenance and then rename VisDIDContinuous.exe back to its correct name.  Once all file operations are done, select the "Start Applications" option in the IEDAppManager right-click menu.