Desktop Server is Down

Desktop Server is Down

We understand the difficult and frustrating situation that you are in.
However, it is important to understand that if your server is really down, this will not likely be a quick and easy issue to resolve.
We cannot create a temporary server, and we do not have, save, or maintain copies of the hotel's database on our side.
A local IT technician will be needed to assist. Whoever it will be, the IT technician MUST speak with a Visual Matrix agent BEFORE they touch the server.

Our Support is here to walk you through the process and to make sure we get all the information required to get you back up as soon as possible.
If your server is officially dead and we do have to process a reinstall of the software and your data, there will be a Server Reinstall Fee.

Starting the process

First, we want to verify if the Server is actually down or if it's something minor that can be resolved.
Here are the first questions our support will ask you:
Is the power coming on? If it is not, the issue may be as simple as replacing a power supply cable.
- Is the monitor not turning on when the tower is? Could it be the monitor cables aren't connected fully? Maybe the Monitor is off?
- If the power comes on and the server does not boot, is there an error message on the screen? What is the message?
In many cases, the problem is that the Master Boot Record (MBR) on the drive is corrupt. This means that the data is still there, but the drive does not know how to tell the computer where to find the files to boot into Windows so it may turn on properly.
- When did it crash?
- When did you realize there was an issue with the Server?
- Are any other stations working or loading Visual Matrix?
- Were you able to process the audit before it crashed?
Our support is here to help as much as they can to narrow down the problem, but will not be able to spend hours to resolve a technical issue with the computer.

If your server is officially down

Can we retrieve a database?
We need to know what will be your next step. Are you going to try to get it fixed/repaired? Are you going to buy a new computer?
Have you retrieved the data from the crashed server? Did you or your technician slave the hard drive to attempt data recovery?
We require you to first try all options to get data from the original hard drive because from this one, we can create a backup at the exact moment the computer crashed. Meaning there will be minor to no data loss.
What does it mean to slave a hard drive?
Slaving a hard drive means taking out the hard drive from the computer having issues and plugging it in another computer as an external drive where you will attempt to read the data on it.
Generally, you can get that kind of service from any hardware store like Best Buy or from an IT technician.
If you know how to or what it means, you can use an External Hard Drive to USB Converter/Hard Drive Transfer Cable.

If your IT Technician asks what files, folder, or data to retrieve, tell him to save everything from the following folder: C:\ImageTech

Every Desktop property should have an external hard drive for secondary backups.
Can you find the external hard drive or USB that is used for those backups?

If all data recovery attempts failed from the Server's hard drive and if you were able to locate your external secondary backup we can use a secondary backup.
This method will never be our immediate or go-to option as we require that all attempts to recover the data from the server's hard drive itself be salvaged first.
This is because if we use a copy of the backup from your external and the data is later recovered from the server's hard drive, we will not be able to use the data that was recovered.
Using the secondary audit backup to restore your database will result in some lost and non-recoverable data. 
As such, the property will need to redo any activity that happened since the timestamp of the backup used and the moment the server crashed.

- For a Best Western Hotel, there will also be some complementary steps to sync all the data between Visual Matrix and Memberweb.
- For an independent hotel, you will lose any reservation that came from your channel manager since the last backup. You will have to find those and enter them manually in Visual Matrix.
If we do not retrieve data from the Main Hard Drive, and there is no viable secondary backup, you will have to recreate the whole database. Not only it will be much longer but also much more expensive.
Any database retrieved will first have to be tested by our team to verify the data can be restored without errors.
Any database of more than 2+ days will not be able to be used.
If no data can be recovered and there is no Secondary Backup, a new Database will have to be created from scratch. This is irreversible. Once a new database is created you will NOT be able to revert back to your old system if you are able later to retrieve a database. Also, the cost is much higher than a standard server reinstall.

Do you use an encryption key?
If you are not using Shift4/Merchant Link or Elavon as your credit card processor, you do have an encryption key plugged into the server.
You should have two types of keys, 3 keys in total - one called Active, two called Backups. If we need to restore your database, we will need the Backup key.
If we do not have a backup encryption key, we will have to recreate a new key and you will lose ALL credit card data Past/Present and Future that was in your database. This will be non-recoverable or reversible once done.
Our Support will not give you any ETA or a price quote until you have accurately assessed the situation and we know what route that will be taken to proceed depending on data recovery.

How to avoid that the next time?

If you migrate to the Cloud, we will deduct the fee that you will pay for the server reinstall from the Migration cost. 

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