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Installing Fast-Flex Plus to a network

Q: How do I install Fast-Flex Plus to a network so that multiple users can enter/edit data and print reports simultaneously?

A: A network installation is a good idea. Besides the obvious backup advantages, more than one person can work in the program at the same time. Partial network installation instructions are on page 22 of the manual or available by doing a search for "network" in the help file. (Press F1 for help at any time while running Fast-Flex Plus.) The reason we say "partial" is that we have discovered that additional steps are needed to get Fast-Flex Plus to run on most client server networks. That is why we have built this web page.

When you are done with a proper network installation, only a "start menu" selection and a couple of *.DLL files will reside on each client computer. Both the Fast-Flex Plus program and your data files will reside only on the server or one hard drive shared by all clients.

Please note: Network installation requires Windows XP or higher.

Step 1. Set up an environment variable on each client computer.

Each client or peer computer's environment variable will be as follows:


Where USERID is the environment variable Fast-Flex Plus uses to identify the computer accessing it and "XXXXXXXX" is a UNIQUE client computer identifier (environment variable value) such as "DELL3".

For example,
Computer #1: USERID=DELL3
Computer #2: USERID=HP2

 Windows XP and higher uses an on-screen procedure to create environment variables. Below are instruction on how to add an environment variable named "USERID" with a unique value to each client computer (workstation) that you want to have access to Fast-Flex Plus.  You will need to visit each workstation that will be accessing Fast-Flex Plus and add "USERID" as the environment variable name and a unique value to distinguish that computer from the others (Ex.  DELL3, HP2, LENOVO1, Fred1, or whatever).  You must reboot each computer for the environment variable to take effect.


Windows 10 and Windows 8
  • From within Control Panel, click System
  • Click the Advanced system settings link.
  • Click Environment Variables
  • In the Edit System Variable (or New System Variable) window, specify the new name (USERID) and then the value of the USERID environment variable.


Step 2.
Download the Fast-Flex Plus (FFPRO3DL.EXE) file now from a client computer that has internet access. Select the "Save" option in the dialog box, and save FFPRO3DL.EXE to a shared (network-accessible) folder. Make a note of the location of this folder for future reference. Once FFPRO3DL.EXE is on an accessible network drive, or you have copied it to a thumb drive, you are ready to proceed with the installation to each client computer.

Step 3.
You must install Fast-Flex Plus from each client computer to the network file server or shared hard drive. This process will install the necessary DLLs on each client computer's C: drive, place Fast-Flex Plus icon on the client computer's desktop and on the Windows program menu, and copy the necessary program files to the network file server or shared hard drive.

Step 4.
From the first client computer, use Windows Explorer to double-click the FFPRO3DL.exe file you just saved to the shared network drive. Next, click the "Advanced Options Installation" button and enter the full network path (drive letter and folder name) where you want the Fast-Flex Plus program files installed into the "Program Files Folder" box. (We highly suggest that you "browse" to the location on the shared network drive by using our installation program's "browse" button rather than just typing the path yourself.)  Once you have browsed to the proper network drive and program filder (if any), add "\FFP" to the value in the box.  For example, if you browsed to network drive "F:", to tell our installation program to install to a directory (folder) named FFP on the shared network F: drive, you'd enter: "F:\FFP" in the "Program File folder" box.  (Note: We suggest you DO install to a folder named "FFP" to maintain consistemcy with the examples shown in our Operator's Manual and program itself.)


The install program will create this directory if it doesn't already exist and then copy the necessary program files into it.  Next, if necessary, clear out the "garbage" (if any is found) in both the "Common Files folder" box and "User data folder" box by placing the cursor at the beginning of each field and pressing the "Shift+End" key combo and then pressing the  "Delete" Key.  Finally, enter the same value as you put "Program Files folder" box into both the "Common Files folder" and "User data folder" boxes.  Leave the "Start Menu folder" as is.

If, during the installation, you are told that some of your system files are out of date, this is normal and you will need to let Fast-Flex Plus restart your computer in order to continue with the installation. Start over with Step 2, above, after re-booting your system.

If you experience any difficulties installing Fast-Flex Plus, please refer to this URL:

Note: The network server directory you install to must allow Fast-Flex Plus to create subdirectories below it and allow Fast-Flex Plus to write "working" files to it. Otherwise, you will receive a barrage of "Error 70 - permission denied" messages. Make certain that the network administrator has given the Fast-Flex Plus program folder the necessary read-write "rights".

STEP 5. Start Fast-Flex Plus from the first client computer

To start Fast-Flex Plus from the first client computer, click: "Start/Programs/Fast-Flex Plus/FFPRO4". After the "Flexing Arm" title screen appears, double-click the sample HERCYY company in the "Data Path" window and then double-click HERCULEN.EMP in the "Company/Divsn Code" window.


If this is a first-time installation of Fast-Flex Plus, Skip to Step 6. 

On the other hand, if you've previously installed Fast-Flex Plus
onto this workstation's C: or another drive, you might be asked to enter an access code. If you have purchased a permanent access code from us, just enter it when prompted. (Contact us by email if you have lost it.)  Otherwise, if you don't have a permanent access code because you are still in the 90-day evaluation period, exit Fast-Flex Plus at this point (click: OK/Cancel/Yes/OK). Start Windows Explorer, and copy the SUPPORT.DAT file (which contains your free, 90-day access code) from the existing Fast-Flex Plus program directory (if you did the default installation, the file is probably C:\Program Files\FFPRO4\SUPPORT.DAT or C:\Program Files (x86)\FFPRO4\SUPPORT.DAT for Windows 7 and higher) to the new network Fast-Flex Plus program directory.

Re-start Fast-Flex Plus from this first client computer (the computer will do this for you if you entered a permanent access code).

After the "Flexing Arm" title screen appears, double-click the sample HERCYY company in the "Data Path" window and then double-click HERCULEN.EMP in the "Company/Divsn Code" window.

Click: "Main Menu/Analysis/Report Generator/Employee Reports/Participants Listing" as a test. If a detailed listing of the sample company participants appears, exit MSWord and Fast-Flex Plus and proceed to STEP 4.

If MSWord appears to start, but then you receive a message such as: "F:\FFPRO4\FFP_OUT.FFP is already in use by another program", immediately click: "Employee File/Participants Listing" again. If it still doesn't bring up the report, Please go to for further instructions.

STEP 6. Install to another Client Computer

Using Windows Explorer, double-click the FFPRO3DL.exe file. Next, click the "Advanced Options Installation" button and enter the same full network path (drive letter and folder name) that you entere in Step 4. Click the "Proceed" button twice to complete the installation.

STEP 7. Start Fast-Flex Plus from this client computer

To start Fast-Flex Plus from this client computer, click "Start/Programs/Fast-Flex Plus/FFPRO4".

STEP 8. Test the client computer

Double-click the sample HERCYY company in the "Data Path" window and then double-click HERCULEN.EMP in the "Company/Divsn Code" window. Click: "Main Menu/Analysis/Report Generator/Employee Reports/Participants Listing" as a test. If a detailed listing of the sample company participants appears, exit WordPad and Fast-Flex Plus.

Repeat STEPS 6, 7, and 8 for each remaining client computer.

STEP 9. Add a folder for another (New) company's data

Click: "Main Menu/File/Add New Company". Follow the on-screen directions. Repeat for each new company.

STEP 10. Enter data for the new company

If you have already entered data into Fast-Flex Plus on a stand-alone PC, use Windows Explorer to "drag" existing data from the PC's Fast-Flex Plus data directory to the company's matching data directory that you just made on the server.

If you are entering a company's data for the first time, click "Main Menu/File/Select Company" and choose your NEWLY ADDED company in the "Data Path" window. Click the "Add Code" button and follow the on-screen directions. (You can click the "Help" button for more info, too.) After the new code has been added, and the full data path is shown, click the "Select" button. The program will tell you to visit the Company setup. If you go there immediately, it may have the sample Hercules Tire Company data still there. Just over-type it with the new company's data.

STEP 11. Check operation of the environment variables

Whenever you use the Report Generator, the file loaded by your word processor will appear in the upper left corner. This file will have an extension of *.FFP. The prefix of this file should be the environment variable name that you assigned to the computer in Step 1, above. If not, continue as outlined below:

Using Windows Explorer, go to the Fast-Flex Plus program directory and look for files with the ".WPX" extension. You should have one with a prefix that matches each USERID you assigned with the environment variable in STEP 1. If all of the environment variables do not exist, Fast-Flex Plus will create a default file named FFP_OUT.WPX and will write all output to it. This can cause chaos in a multi-user situation if more than one client computer is using this default output file.

If problems with adding the environment variable, described in STEP 1, arise, contact your network or operating system vendor.

Final Disclaimer

We usually can't help much with network installations because each network is quite unique and so much depends on network "rights". All we can really do is assure you that many of our customers have successfully installed to a network, but it is mostly up to you to get it to work. Usually, our guess won't be as good as yours why things don't work on your particular network

If you do get error messages, please tell us exactly what they are and when they occur, and we might be able to give you some guidance.