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Is your computer too slow? Here’s how to fix that


Like all machines, computers are known to malfunction. So, if your computer is experiencing inexplicable slowdowns, periodic stalls, unexpected shutdowns, system crashes or similar issues, then there’s likely something wrong with it.

Here are some of the reasons why your computer may be having these problems:

  • You have not downloaded all the important Windows Updates
  • You have too many excessive or corrupt temporary files on your hard drive
  • You haven’t defragmented your hard drive for a long period of time
  • It is infected with a virus or malware
  • Your hardware is not sufficiently cooled down
  • The power supply is damaged
  • The hard drive is getting full or damaged
  • It does not have a fast-enough CPU
  • It does not have enough RAM
  • It may just be wearing out

To figure out which of these issues is affecting your computer, you need to do some troubleshooting (don’t worry, it’s easy!). Here’s what you should be looking into:

1.   Check for Windows Updates. Go to your Control Panel and run your Windows Updates.

2.   Clean up your hard drive. Delete all your temp files and defragment the hard drive.

3.   Scan for viruses and malware. Check to make sure that your antivirus is up to date and running periodic scans of the computers in your system. Remember, no antivirus program is 100% effective at stopping every cyber threat or a guarantee that you will not receive a virus, a worm or malware.

You should also make sure that you and your employees are not visiting Internet sites that are of questionable or unknown origins.

4.   See if the fan is working properly. Overheating of the CPU may lead to computer crashes and/or lockups. Make sure that the computer has adequate access to fresh air, and the fan is operational. Some of the newer computers have variable speed fans so they do run until the unit reaches a certain temperature and will run faster if they are running too hot.

5.   Check your power supply. It’s possible that a large power surge or a series of small surges have damaged your power supply, which causes your computer to require a reboot during the day. Eventually, the computer will no longer start back up at all – unless the power supply is replaced.

To prevent damage to your computer’s power supply and its other sensitive electronic components, consider getting an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) with Voltage Regulation for each computer.

Though you still need to periodically replace UPS’s because their batteries wear out, you do get to increase the longevity of your computers.

6.   Analyze your computer performance. Go to your Computer Properties and see how much available hard drive space you have. If you have too little, then may need to perform a cleanup or acquire a new hard drive. Next, check what your CPU usage is. If it is too high when using Ideal (90%-100%), then your CPU is not fast enough to handle the requirements of the system.

Finally, check how much available RAM you have. Ideal recommends a minimum of 4 GB of RAM for a workstation and a minimum of 8 GB RAM for a server. The more users, Ideal modules and third-party programs you have, the more RAM you will need to run your system optimally.

Our current hardware recommendations may be found by clicking on the “Configuration Instructions” link in the Resource Center on the left side of the Ideal Welcome Page.

7.   Consider the age of your computer. It is possible that your computer is just old and needs to be replaced. Electronic components wear out and become damaged over time. Most industry experts recommend that you replace your computers every 3 to 5 years.


If you would like to order any hardware items from Ideal, please contact your Account Manager. Ideal offers computers, UPS’s with voltage regulation, laser printers, cash ticket and label printers, bar code scanners, electronic signature pads, switches, routers and more.

Check who your account manager is right here.


Speed Up Your Point of Sale with Electronic Signature Pads and Bar Code Scanners


Do you want to get your customers in and out of your store faster and increase their satisfaction? There are a couple of things you can add to your Ideal system to improve the speed and efficiency of your point of sale: electronic signature pads and bar code scanners.


Electronic Signature Pads

Electronic signature pads allow your customers to electronically sign a Sales Order, Work Order, Invoice and every other document inside Ideal that has a signature line without ever having to print one. In case you do want a physical copy, you can always print the signature on the order or invoice and store it in a filing cabinet for future reference.


Finally, if a customer asks you who signed for a particular order or invoice, you can go into the Ideal customer file and pull up the information in a matter of seconds instead of shuffling through endless stacks of paper. It’s true, with electronic signature pads, paperwork is optional.


Bar Code Scanners

With a bar code scanner, you can add any product that has a UPC code on it and in the price file into an order without looking up the part number.


If the item does not have a UPC code on it, you can print a bar code with our label printer and place it on the part when you enter it into inventory. After that, you simply scan that bar code at the checkout, just like they do at the grocery store, to add the item to the order, which is much quicker than searching for the product in the Ideal software.


A bar code scanner can also be used to scan parts into inventory and to scan your bin locations when adjusting your inventory. In addition, you can now print your work order codes on labels and then scan them into work orders.


Whether you purchase corded or wireless units, a bar code scanner will allow you to work faster and better.


Need More Details?

For pricing and more information about these time-saving add-ons, contact your Ideal Account Manager; either Brit or Brian. Check who your account manager is right here.

Get the Most Out of Your Ideal Software


Did you know that many of our dealerships use only 20%-40% of the Ideal software’s potential, leaving valuable dollars on the table?


Are you one of them?

If you are, then invite us to come onsite and provide you with additional training and consultation on how to use the software to its full potential. It is best to have us come over when you’re busy, so that we can see where your stress points are in order to make the best recommendations for improving your productivity and bottom line.


Several dealers have already discovered the value of this service for themselves, and they say it’s worth the investment.


“We have Ideal come onsite every year to show us the latest features and train our new and existing employees to use the system better. This service has delivered a significant return on investment to our business – much more than we had anticipated. I would recommend this to all my fellow dealers, so that they can see first-hand the ROI for the time spent.”

Dale Magie

Moe’s Outdoor Equipment & Supplies


Save 10%-20%!

To make this easier for you, we are offering a 10%-20% discount for onsite services completed during the months of April, May, June and July this year. Take advantage of this special offer as soon as possible, because once all our training dates are booked, this offer ends.


Contact your Account Manager for more details or a quote.

How to Create “Golden Tickets”: Support Requests That Get Resolved 40%-60% Faster


At Ideal, we are always striving to resolve your support requests faster. In that pursuit, we did an analysis of the type of information we get when a support request is logged. Here are the top 3 ticket descriptions we get:

  1. Call Me (no other details)
  2. Problem with …x… call me (no other details)
  3. Something is going wrong and we need help (no other details)

We can most certainly call you and get the information over the phone. However, we estimate that had the information been provided upfront in the ticket, we could have resolved the issue for you 40%-60% FASTER.


By having all the information upfront on the Who, What, When, Where and How we can better zero in on the root cause and not waste your time chasing dead ends that will not lead to a resolution.

We understand this may seem like more upfront work. However, by getting your ticket resolved faster, you’ll actually SAVE time – because time is something we can all use more of!

Give it a try. When submitting a ticket via email or through the portal, think about the Who, What, When, Where and How:

  1. Who is experiencing the issue?
    1. One staff member, all staff members, certain staff members, etc.
    2. Which computer? Which printer?
  2. What is going wrong or what do you need help with?
    1. What is the error message?
    2. Fully describe the help you need
  3. When is the problem occurring?
    1. Every time?
    2. Only sometimes?
    3. Only when…
  4. Where are you noticing a problem or where do you need help?
    1. Which location (if you have multiple locations)
    2. Which screen, report(s), menu, application, etc.
  5. How did you already try to fix the problem or answer the question? By telling us upfront what you already tried, we won’t waste your time by asking you to do it again.
    1. Did you already restart the computer/application?
    2. Did you already cross-reference with other reports

Over the next 3 months, customers that submit what we call “Golden Tickets” that contain the “Who, What, When, Where and How” will be entered into a draw to win a $100 gift card.

Did you know that Work Order Emails can attach either a Work Order or a Sales Order?


When using your Ideal software to send customers a notification regarding their work order, you can choose what documents you want to attach.

For instance, if your customer is expecting the total due for your service, attach a Sales Order. However, if instead they are merely waiting for a confirmation on when the item in service will be ready for pickup, then attach a Work Order.

Sales Order is the default choice, but you can change that by following these steps:

  1. Click the Orders icon to open the Orders screen.
  2. Use the Options menu at the top, and select Set Defaults.
  3. Click on the Work Order tab to select the Email Report.
  4. Select the Work Order report, if you do not want the email to disclose pricing to your customers.
  5. Remember to check the Save Defaults box to keep this configuration!


TIP: You may also need to revise the fields you wish to print on the selected report. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Go to Applications -> Work Order -> Work Order Setup.
  2. Click on the Print Options tab.
  3. Click on the Sales Order tab. You may want to check Request Codes/Comments and Symptom Codes/Comments.
  4. Click on the Work Order tab. You may want to add more fields such as Labor Codes, Extras, and Parts.

NOTE: These changes are immediate and affect all work orders or sales orders, so be careful when making these adjustments.

Meet the Newest Members of Ideal’s Research and Development Team


Ideal is pleased to welcome Bob Murphy and Randy McKay to its Research and Development team. Both started working at Ideal this fall and are already making an impact on the development of the product.

Bob Murphy
Bob Murphy
Bob is no stranger to Ideal having worked here in the early 2000s when the company was first developing the Windows product. He then pursued software development opportunities in the healthcare and ground transportation industries. Bob has worked with and managed small to large teams developing stand-alone Windows applications, multi-tier web applications and some mainframe and mid-range applications. He’s excited to bring his experience back to Ideal.

“It’s great to have the opportunity again to work on a project so focused on the needs of a large user community,” said Bob. “It’s difficult to comprehend and appreciate the effort and the vision needed by the team to develop such a successful product, and I’m grateful to be a small part of it.”

Bob holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science and English from Iowa State University. In his spare time, he enjoys distance running, film photography, working on his 100+ year old house, and is part of the community arts council and the historical preservation committee. He and his wife also spend a lot of time supporting their two sons who are both in high school and participate in a variety of activities.


Randy McKay
Randy McKay
Randy brings a wealth of experience to Ideal. He worked in development at Gensoft Systems Inc. for over 18 years, and also held positions at Iowa Compass and EBE technologies. He’s done extensive work with Delphi and SQL processing raw data and setting up interfaces. Randy holds an AAS in Applied Science of Electronic Engineering from Hamilton Technical College, an Associate’s degree in Computer Science from Scott Community College and a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Teikyo Marycrest University.

“I appreciate the fact that my current position challenges me with new development and learning opportunities,” said Randy. “My co-workers are great to work with.”

When Randy is at home, he trades in the computer for his guitar. He’s a music enthusiast who has played instruments since he was nine years old. Randy plays in a contemporary Christian band and he and his wife started a community band that includes 12 members including his son who plays guitar, and his daughter who plays the drums and ukulele. They play oldies, folk, 70’s, Christmas music and take a wide range of requests.

Did you know you can set the default order entry screen to begin as an estimate?


We had a question come up the other day about the ability to set the default order entry screen to an estimate. This is possible in Ideal. Here’s how:

  1. Use the Orders screen to begin this setup. Note that this setting will only apply to the active user/login.
  2. Use the Options menu and select Set Defaults.
  3. Change the first field labeled Order Type to use Estimate.
  4. Select a Counter Person and/or Sales Rep as appropriate.
  5. Check the box labeled Save Defaults (otherwise this is a temporary change for the current session).
  6. This user will now start any Order Entry or WO Entry screen as an Estimate.
  7. Repeat this step for every user who works primarily with Estimates.














Also note that Estimates have the option to include Symptoms, Requests, and Extras.
Go to the Applications menu, Work Order, Work Order Setup. Click on the tab labeled Print Options.
Click on the tab labeled Estimate and check the boxes for codes and comments as desired.


Meet the Newest Member of Ideal Support – Larry Clay


Larry ClayYou may have noticed a new voice when you’ve called into Ideal support in the last couple of months. That person is Larry Clay.

Larry joined the Ideal team in May as a Customer Support Representative and specializes in troubleshooting hardware issues. Prior to his tenure at Ideal, he worked at ACT in Iowa City for five years providing desk-side support, and has over 15 years of experience in customer service. He received his degree in Computer Support from Kirkwood Community College in 2010.

When asked what he likes best about his current position, Larry said, “I like the challenge of learning something new, and the people are the best.”

In his spare time, Larry enjoys spending time with his family, walking, basketball and drawing. He calls himself a jack of all trades. Currently he’s working on a home improvement project laying hardwood floors at his home.

Ideal’s Data Backup Options Serve as Added Insurance for Your Business


Picture this… a natural disaster happens in your town and your business is severely damaged. Some things are salvageable but your computers are destroyed. What happens to your business data?

If you call into Ideal Support, the first question they will ask is if you have a backup. All too often, customers think that Ideal backs up on its own, which isn’t the case. If you don’t have an offsite backup system in place and a fire or natural disaster happen at your business, your data is ruined.

Much like any insurance policy, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Ideal offers two effective options that will back up your data.

Option #1:
Full Image Backup of the server’s hard drives.

This option is a focused solution with all the features you need including a solid backup system, in-depth status reporting and fast restore times. The solution creates sector-level backups of Windows’ data volumes. These backups are point-in-time representations of the entire volume and therefore include all data such as operating system, applications, services, and configuration settings.

Ideal’s Full Image Backup includes:

- On-premise full image backup software

- Offsite image replication to enterprise grade, RAID-6 storage arrays

- Email reports describing the health and status of your backup

- Offsite point in time backups include 10 daily images, four weekly images, and two monthly images

You’ll get best-in-class, full image backup software from global leader StorageCraft Technology that allows you to protect your data and quickly restore it in the event of data loss:

- Individual file restores and full volume restores are both available

- Data can be restored most quickly and easily from the local backup

- In case of local backup failure or disaster situation, restore from the

offsite cloud image backup.

- Annual Subscription

Option #2:

Nightly file based backup of Ideal and 3rd party accounting programs.

When determining which solution is best for you, keep in mind that Option 1 is a total and complete backup of the server and all of its files. It backs it up to a local device (provided by Ideal) and to the cloud. Option 2 is essentially a file based backup of only ideal data and 3rd party accounting to the cloud.

If you’re interested in learning more how these backup solutions can benefit your business, please contact your account manager.

Did You Know You Can Add Custom Fields to Customers, Suppliers, and Products in Ideal?


Recently a dealer asked how they could track which customers have opted to receive Text notifications. One way is to add a Custom Field to your Customers list with a Yes/No type of response.

Click on the Customers icon to open your customer list.








From the menu, go to Options -> Custom Fields. A popup window will appear.
In the Field1 Name type Wants Texts?:

1. Check the box to Use List
2. In the popup window, type Yes
3. Click Add
4. Now type No
5. Click Add










Click Close to close the dialog window. Close the Customers list, and reopen your Customers list.

Next, scroll to the far right end of the available columns. You will find a column labeled ‘Wants Texts?’

To populate this column, click the Properties button or use F7 to edit a Customer record. Custom fields appear on the 2nd tab (Additional).











Inform your employees to always set this response, when a customer provides their cell phone number and the box is checked to Allow Texts (which appears on the first tab).

TIP: Consider incorporating a rule that a blank response would indicate the customer has not been asked. A response of No indicates they were asked and declined.

Now that you have data, remember that you can arrange the Customers list to show the Cell Phone and Wants Texts columns by dragging the headings (click on the column heading and hold down the mouse button while you move to a new column location) until they display near the Name column. You can also resize the columns.









To save the position and width, use the menu to go to File -> User Settings.

Check the box for Remember Grid Column WidthsSuppliers and Products screens also have the Custom Fields feature.

If you do not choose to check the box to Use List, then the fields can store any type of comment, phrase, or value. The option for Use List is handy if you want to limit the acceptable values.

Once custom fields are defined, many reports can be set up to use them.


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