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On Sierra, it takes a long time to start up my server computer after a restart!

On server computers running OS Sierra, some users have experienced an issue where if you need to restart your server computer, on restart MacPractice takes a long time to initialize. You may get a time out error,  or it may simply take an exceptional amount of time up to and/or beyond an hour. This is clearly undesirable.

Our engineers at MacPractice have been investigating this issue and they have discovered that the core of the problem is due to a change between OS El Capitan and OS Sierra in how the computer handles file system checks.

Explanation
When started up, the MacPractice Server will load up your practice's database in the form of a disk image. This is essentially a file that poses as a disk drive, the hardware that stores all of your computer files. The reason why MacPractice handles the data this way is because in this format, your data can be easily password encrypted and protected to comply with HIPAA requirements. Think of the disk image like a box with a lock on it.

Whenever you need to restart the server computer, MacPractice will try to quickly pack up the disk image to safely disconnect it. However, the Operating System will oftentimes commence with the restart before MacPractice has had the opportunity to finish packing away the data. The data is still intact, as it's still stored on your disk drive, but the operating system flags the disk image as needing a file check to ensure that it is safe to connect.

So when the server computer boots up and you log into MacPractice, the operating system will run that file check. On OS El Capitan, this file check was very speedy and typically wouldn't cause any problems other than a short delay to complete the file check. However, on OS Sierra, the file check process can take a much longer time, causing the very long delays or an error when attempting to start up the MacPractice Server software. This is also why after several failed attempts, MacPractice will eventually be able to start up, because at this point the file check has completed.

Solution
Our MacPractice Engineers are still investigating to determine if there is anything we can do to resolve this issue that will not cause any other potential impacts.

We would encourage you to call MacPractice Support for their assistance in diagnosing whether this is the issue your office is experiencing. We also have solution prepared, but this will require the assistance of MacPractice Support to properly demonstrate and execute the workaround.

We also recommend adjusting your restart schedule. For most offices we recommend a weekly restart of your server computer, however with this particular issue we've determined that it would be safe to restart once every two or four weeks at your discretion. We would still advise a regular restart of your server computer, as this can resolve inconsistent issues that occur anywhere on your computer.

This issue is not present on computers with OS El Capitan installed on them. A potential workaround would be to migrate your server over to a computer with OS El Capitan. If you wish to explore this option, please contact MacPractice Support to assist you with this process. You can also refer to our Help Desk article on how to Migrate the Server Computer.

 

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