STARS Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Unable to update system files during installation

Symptom: You download STARS's Full Installation kit. You execute the installation program as explained by the instructions posted on the download page. STARS's installation process halts and tells you that some of your system files need to be updated in order to proceed with installation and that you need to reboot your computer. You reboot your computer and restart the STARS installation process, only to be told once again that your system files have to be updated. If this problem has occurred to you, then this is the information that you're looking for.

Solution: Windows NT and Windows 2000 handle program file security differently. Local users are typically given more access rights to the system files than the domain users are given. You'll probably want to login as a local user to install STARS. After a successful installation when you're logged in as a domain user, you should be able to run STARS.

For more information: This is an issue that isn't limited just to STARS but affects many applications in Windows NT and Windows 2000 environments. For a discussion on various ways to solve this problem, please see this Microsoft public user group posting.

STARS and Access

It is NOT necessary to install Microsoft Access on a computer that is going to use STARS. There are advantages and disadvantages to installing Access on a computer that is going to be used for STARS.

Advantage: If a user wants to be able to create ad hoc queries or reports attached to the tables in starsdb.mdb, it is useful to have a copy of Access installed on the user's machine. Access can also be used to repair the starsdb.mdb file if it becomes corrupted. If you wish to use Access with STARS 2.19, you must install Access 2000 or Access XP. Access 97 will not open starsdb.mdb in version 2.19.

Disadvantage: A user might attempt to open starsdb.mdb using Access and make unauthorized changes to the data or the database structure. If this is a potential risk, we strongly discourage installing Access on this user's workstation. One of the most frequent causes for database corruption in STARS occurs when a user opens the STARS database using Access and makes unauthorized structure changes or converts the database from one version of Access to another.

But the most important point of all of this is ...

You do NOT have to have Access installed on a computer in order to use STARS.

Using STARS from a remote location

Typical situation/problem:

You have a central security office where STARS is installed on the file server of your local area network. The computers in this office are connected via high-speed network 10BaseT or fiber optic cabling. The users who use STARS in this office enjoy quick access to STARS and can find and update all their information easily.

At a nearby location, you have a command post that needs to use STARS and have access to all the data at your central office. You have a dial-up telephone connection or a low-speed coaxial cabling from this command post through which you would like to use STARS. Unfortunately, when the users at this command post try to bring up STARS on their local computer, STARS takes several minutes to load. Then, even after STARS is loaded on this remote computer, your users complain that finding and editing data within STARS is as slow as molasses.

A solution to this problem:

A simple way to connect a remote site into your central STARS database with good performance is to setup a dedicated workstation with a modem and a copy of terminal emulation software. Here are some examples:

The main purpose of any of these programs is to create a local gateway or host workstation that can serve as the desktop for a dial-up connection. That is, a user at a remote site establishes a dial-up connection with the host workstation. The remote user then controls the keyboard and mouse of the host machine. Every function that can be performed by the host is displayed on the monitor of the remote machine.

The beauty of this solution is that no data is actually transmitted over the phone line, just the screen image. Also, no programs are loaded over the phone lines. STARS (or any other software) runs on the host's cpu. These two properties allow the remote user to have the same system performance that he would have if her were seated at the host machine.

Then, when the remote user needs to run STARS, his computer dials up your dedicated workstation to establish a link. If your modem connnection involves 28k modems or better, the user at the remote site will get about half the performance of STARS that someone working in your office would be getting.

STARS is going to expire?

Why this happens:

STARS is sold on a site license basis and it can also be downloaded from this website free as a 90-day trial product. If you are getting a startup message saying that your copy of the software is about to expire means that that STARS thinks you're using a free trial copy of our software.

Three ways to solve this problem:

  • Pay for the software. An order form is provided on this website. Note: STARS for Windows is sold on an annual site-licensed basis, so you have to pay for the software once every 12 months for your UIC.
  • Locate your "headers" file. If your command has paid for STARS, then somewhere in your office is a special file named HEADERS.TXT. This file contains the encrypted information that tells STARS that your UIC has paid for the software. Copy this file into your working STARS directory.

Corrupted data files

Power failures are the most common cause of data corruption. If you are in the middle of entering or editing data and power is lost to your computer or your network file server, you have a 25% chance that something bad will happen to the data file that you are working in. But don't panic. There's hope.

STARS for Windows

STARS for Windows has a menu function available to the Admin user named Tools / Repair Database. If you suspect database corruption, ask all other users to exit from STARS, log into STARS as the Admin user and run this function.

Alternatively, STARS for Windows has an automatic repair function. If during loading, STARS detects database corruption, it will automatically repair any corrupted data that it finds.


Built into STARS for DOS is a general repair function that will allow you to resolve 90% of the problems that can occur when a database file gets corrupted. Go to H) Database utilities and then Pack STARS databases. Then, pack the database group that seems to have been damaged. When the packing process is complete, return to the part of STARS where you have been encountering database corruption errors. If no further errors occur, then you have successfully repaired your data.

By the way, packing is a good thing to do once a week whether you have corruption problems or not. Packing helps refresh the file structure, deletes unnecessary data records and shrinks the files for better performance.

Repair or packing didn't work?

If repair or packing doesn't solve the problem, then you have a more serious case of data corruption.

You will need to have available a database repair tool -- and someone who knows how to use it. Typical database repair tools are Microsoft Access, dBase III and Norton's FileFix.

Before you start a repair or reconstruction of the damaged file(s), be sure to make a backup copy of it (them) -- in case your repair makes things worse!

STARS for Windows stores its data in one large file named STARSDB.MDB. You can use Access 2.0 to open this file, unless it is badly corrupted. In this case, use Access's Database Utilities to run the Repair function.

In STARS for DOS, data is stored in both DBF (data) and DBT (text) files. Make copies of both DBF and DBT files. See page 11 of the Administrator's Guide for details on which databases include DBT files. STARS for DOS uses dBase III file formats. If using Norton FileFix, this is all you need to know. Just run the repair and see if it works.

If you're using Access or dBase, try opening the damaged file. If you're lucky, you'll be able to open the file, find and delete the damaged records and then save the file.

When the repair is complete and you've replaced the damaged files with the repaired files, be sure to repack the databases within STARS. This will allow STARS to reconstruct the index files (*.NTX) associated with this file or files.

If you have a backup ...

If you are one of those smart people who regularly backup your STARS data, then you need only go to your most recent backup to restore the damaged file. You will lose data that has been entered since your last backup, but this is a lot better than losing everything.

Note: When you're restoring your data from your backup disk or tape, restore only the MDB or DBF and DBT files that need to be restored.

STARS for DOS maintains its data in quite a few separate files. If data corruption exists in one or two files, you should restore only those files that are damaged.

After restoring, repack.

If all else fails ...

If you can't repair the corruption and you have no backups, then here's a short series of steps that will allow you to replace your damaged database with a fresh, empty one. Upon restarting, STARS will detect the missing database and index files and automatically create new ones. None of the data in your damaged database files will be present, but at least you will be able to resume working with new data.

  • Exit from STARS for Windows
  • If you're on a network, ask all users to exit also
  • Erase the damaged STARSDB.MDB.
  • Restart STARS
  • Exit from STARS for DOS
  • If you're on a network, ask all users to exit also
  • Erase the damaged DBF and DBT files and their related NTX files
  • Restart STARS

Lost ICR password

First, the rules on ICR passwording:

Any ICR can be password protected. In this way, the author of an ICR can prevent unauthorized viewing, editing or printing of a sensitive case.

Each ICR can be separately protected. There is no limit to the number of ICRs within STARS that can be password protected. Every ICR can have a different password.

In general, the correct password must be entered in order for a protected ICR to be accessed, viewed or printed.

To access a password protected ICR without the password

In STARS for Windows, a password protected ICR can be accessed at any time without the password by the Author or by the Admin user. All other users must know the ICR's password to be able to access the ICR. In other words, if you need to access a password protected ICR and you do not know the ICR's password, you'll need the help of the Author of the ICR or the STARS Admin user.

Lost Admin password

About once a week, someone phones our office to say that they can't get into STARS -- or, more specifically, that they can't get into STARS as the Admin user. Usually, this problem occurs when there has been a change of staff in the Security Department in which the Security Chief or the senior MIS director has rotated out to a new command.

This is a problem that can only be resolved by a phone call. Please telephone our offices. After verifying your command's site license, UIC and authorized point of contact, we can provide you with a temporary user ID and password that will allow you to get into STARS.

If you are not an Admin, please contact your department's STARS administrator. He or she will undoubtedly be an Admin user and will be able to view, edit or clear your password so that you can resume using STARS.

Yes, STARS is Y2K compliant

This is a good sign that your website needs to updated

Certified for Year 2000 Compliance

Every date field in STARS for Windows is formatted in yyyy/mm/dd format in strict compliance with NIBRS specifications. Thus, STARS can accurately compute date differentials and sequencing for any date from Wednesday January 1, 1000 until Friday December 31, 9999.

If you would like to have an official document that certifies STARS's Y2K compliance, please click here to download a Word 97 document file.