Probe for Windows: FAQ

Windows 64bit and 32bit
Quick Guide
Using 503DR Hydroprobe and Probe For Windows
New Season
Preparing for a New Season
Uploading and Uploading to USB port
Problems with uploading from a 503DR Hydroprobe
Moving Prwin
Transferring Probe for Windows to another PC
Software re-installed by copying the C:\Prwin folder and Re-installing licence
Problems with moving the licence to another PC.
Using Probe For Windows on a network
Data shared between multiple offices and Farms shared by several PC's
Organising seasons between multiple offices and multiple farms
Diviner 2000
Using the Diviner 2000
PR1 with HH2
Using the PR1 Profile Probe and HH2 reader
Graph Styles for irrigations and rainfalls
Colours and styles used on depth graphs
Plot last season on same graph as this season
Calculation of delivered amounts
Editing GPT and RPT files
Exporting graphs to PowerPoint or Word
Printing to WinFax or PDF files
Missing OCX files
Error in Procedure: Save site data
VCRDATA Error when graphing
Wish List - Vista upgrade suggestions

Plotting last season

To plot last season on the same graph as the current season...

Steps (1), (3.2) and the date adjustment are all done automatically in version v1.0.231

Colours and styles on depth graphs

When some colour laser printers 'shade' they erase previously plotted lines, so changes were made in v1.0.237 in the way shading and profiles are plotted.

When plotting depth graphs, items are plotted in the order...

OrderUser optionItem printedStyle used [Style Number]
1'Shade full-refill' checkedShading between full and refillRefill-To-Full [14] using options on the 'fill' tab
A border will be plotted unless lines=invisible
2'Highlight and shade latest' checkedShading between last 2 readingsShadeToLatest [15] using options on the 'fill' tab
A border will be plotted unless lines=invisible
3'Plot Full, Refill or PWP' checkedFull, Refill and PWP profilesFull [8], Refill [9], PWPDepth[19], with lines, colour, labels, legend.
4'Plot latest 2'The previous reading(s)
Note: If 'Highlight and shade latest' is checked the latest reading is NOT plotted.
AUTODEPTH [7], with lines, colour, labels, legend
If colour or symbol = 'automatic' the previous reading will use Colour #2, Symbol #2
5'Highlight and shade latest' checkedLatest readingLatestProfile [24], with lines, colour, labels, legend.

So 5 (the latest reading) will plot on top of, and could erase, 4 (the previous reading), and so on...

Hopefully, the most important lines are plotted last, so that they will be on the top.

Error in Procedure: Save site data

The error is because new fields in the data base have not been created after an upgrade has been installed.

New fields are normally created automatically after an upgrade, but will need to be done manually, by the user, if another ALLSEAS.MDB or season data file is opened.

Solution: Use SeasonsMenu/Check All MDB files. This only needs to be done once for each ALLSEAS file.

If you are a consultant, and regularly receive data files from growers who are using an older version of the software, you will have to use SeasonsMenu/Check All MDB files each time after receiving a data file from a grower.

However, there is a way to upgrade the growers data files without upgrading their software.

A configuration file called SITEFLDS.TXT contains all the new data field definitions.

If this file is copied this to the growers C:\Prwin folder and then SeasonsMenu/Check All MDB files is run (just once) all the growers data files will be upgraded to your version, but their software will not be upgraded.


The error message 'VCRDATA error' when graphing is from a format for the VSW 60cm depth being incorrectly set in Graph styles.

tab 'Scales'
in the list on the left, select style 'VSW6'
If it has numeric format: 0.0 deg , change it to: VSW
(like all the other VSW styles)

Re-installing licence

The electronic licence (dongle) for Probe for Windows are files saved in a folder C:\Prwin\Prwin.938

This folder and files are marked 'hidden' and 'system', so that normally you cannot see them, and they will not be deleted or moved by backup or defragmenting programmes.

If the licence needs to be re-installed this folder and it's files must be first deleted, then a new serial number generated, and a new pasword issued by RSNE.

By default Windows Explorer hides file extensions (e.g. .MDB), and 'hidden' files, so first you need to tell Explorer to show all files.

You should now be able to see C:\Prwin\Prwin.938 and delete it.

It seems that some OEM versions of Explorer running under XPHome (e.g. Acer, HP) still do not show hidden folders, and you will need to give DOS commands. To get to the DOS prompt...

C:\WindowsCD \PRWINchange to Prwin folder
C:\PrwinDIR \PRWIN.938 /AH /Ssearch entire disk for licence folders
C:\PrwinATTRIB -R -S -H Prwin.938This command is sometimes required before the files can be deleted.
C:\PrwinDIR \*.ccc /AH /Ssearch entire disk for licence files
C:\PrwinDEL C:\Prwin\Prwin.938\*.*delete all files in the licence folder
C:\PrwinRD C:\Prwin\Prwin.938remove licence folder
C:\PrwinEXITback to Windows

Then run Probe for Windows...

  1. FileMenu/Security
  2. <Install>
  3. Email the serial number (or error message if there is a problem), and the reason why the new password is required.
  4. RSNE will email you a password

Software re-installed by copying the entire C:\Prwin folder.

This should not be done - the software should be re-installed from the original CD, and any upgrade re-installed. The reason is that essential suppport files are also installed in the C:\Windows folder, and the software will not run if these files are not installed.

There will also be a problem with the software licence, because the licence folder and files will have also been copied.

The licence folder must be deleted before the new licence can be installed - see re-installing licence.

Uploading through USB ports

Red BulletMany new computers do not have a serial port, but USB-RS232 adapters are available.
The adapter should be automatically detected by Windows when it is plugged into a USB port, and ask for the installation CD.
It is typically allocated to the first free serial port, which you can check (and possible change) with...

  1. Right click on 'My Computer'
  2. Choose 'Properties'
  3. Choose 'Device Manager' tab
  4. Choose 'Ports (COM and LPT)'
  5. Click on the <Properties> button
  6. Use drop-down to change COM port (Windows XP only)

You should see the USB-Serial listed, together with the port allocated (e.g. COM2)

It seems you cannot change the port with W98 or W.Me, but can with XP

Red BulletIf you plug the adaptor into different USB slots a different COM port can be allocated, so you should always plug the adaptor into the same USB slot.

Red BulletWhen other devices, such as wireless network plugs or internet, have been plugged into the same USB slot, the slot can get 'locked' by that device and the adaptor does not work. A solution is to plug and unplug the adaptor 2 or 3 times.

Red BulletAn Acer Notebook, with no physical serial port, reported two COM ports being available
'Aten' brand USB adaptor, MyComputer/Properties/Hardware/DeviceManager reported COM ports COM1 and COM7.
COM1 seemed to work intermittently, but sometimes it appeared to be doing hardware handshaking, and stopped downloading even when doing PRINT LP.

Red BulletTo change the port in Probe for Windows use ProbeMenu/Upload <Settings> and choose the allocated port.

Even though the port may be reported as, for example, COM8, uploading may still work on COM1. (The world is very mysterious...)

Ver 1.0.231 (downloads) allows you to choose COM1 - COM50

Red BulletThe correct model of probe must be selected on ProbeMenu/Upload settings.

If different model probes are being used with the same PC, this setting will need to be changed each time you upload.

The Aten brand has a application note.

Printing to WinFax or PDF

Output of reports or graphs can be sent to special printers such as WinFax or PDF files. Instead of sending output to a physical printer, these special 'printers' send the output directly to fax or to a PDF file. After installing the WinFax or PDF 'printer', use FileMenu/Print Setup to select the printer.

WinFax comes with XP, but must be purchased separately with W98, 2000, etc. Winfax allows you to quickly print many graphs to a 'queue'. The 'queue' can be sent immediately, or sent later when faxes are available. A problem with some fax machines is that the top items on graphs (site name, date, etc) are chopped off. The solution is to edit the graph report file (.GPT) and move the textboxes down by changing the Y1 and Y2 coordinates.

'Printers' that send output to a PDF file come with Adobe Writer (but not with the free AdobeReader), and can also be purchased separately.

Exporting graphs to MS.PowerPoint or MS.Word

The graph is first copied to the clipboard, and then pasted into MS.Powerpoint or MS.Word

Use FileMenu/PrintGraph <Preview> or the <Preview> button on the Graph form, and then use the <Copy> button on the top of the Preview form.

This copies the image to the clipboard, and you should be able to use EditMenu/Paste in either MS.Powerpoint, MS.Word, or MS.Paint (or other software).

The PPT file can be made much smaller if you export via MS.Paint and GIF format.

This can be important at conferences if you have to use a disk to load the PPT file onto their PC)

Other benefits of going via a GIF file...

  1. You can also use the GIF file in a web page
  2. Insert the GIF into a Word document.
  3. Cleanup and annotate the image in MS.Paint.

To export via MS.Paint...


  1. 'Copy to Clipboard' was added v1.0.220 see Upgrade notes
  2. To change the image size add a new Printer with page size = A5
    The paper size might need adjusting for your PowerPoint format.
    Then use FileMenu/PageSetup and select this printer.


The MDB file that has the farms table can be set at ProbeMenu/SystemOptions (default=ALLSEAS.MDB)

Normally the ALLSEAS.MDB file has both the SEASONS table and the FARMS table (but not the actual data).

To make a separate farm file for distributing to other PC's...

  1. Use Explorer to make a copy of ALLSEAS.MDB
  2. Rename the file FARMS.MDB
  3. Use ProbeMenu/SystemOptions and set farm file: FARMS.MDB

To add or edit farms it would need to be agreed which PC had the 'master' copy of FARMS.MDB.

Organising seasons across multiple PC's or offices.

To allow easy access to data from multiple PC's or offices a separate 'season' for each office/year combination can be created.

Instead of using the default data file name of yyyyDATA.MDB, the files should be either re-named or saved in separate folders; and a 'season' numbering system should be implemented.

In the example below the head office is Christchurch, and one of the outer offices is Canterbury

Season NumberSeason NameData file
102Christchurch 2002/032002CHC.MDB
103Christchurch 2003/042003CHC.MDB
104Christchurch 2004/052004CHC.MDB
202Canterbury 2002/032002CANT.MDB
203Canterbury 2003/042003CANT.MDB
204Canterbury 2004/052004CANT.MDB

Only use 8.3 letter file names

Each week the offices would email their 2004CANT.MDB, etc to head office, to be saved in in C:\Prwin, and then HO will see the new data

Head office would see all seasons, but the other offices would only see their seasons.

Graph Styles for irrigations and rainfalls

This is how the graph styles work for irrigations and rainfalls (this is complicated...)

On SitesMenu/Edit irrigation tab, if gains in separate columns then the graph style used are numbers 10,11,12,13 - EffectiveRain, DeliveredIrrigation etc

But if gains in keydata rows, then the graph style used will depend on how you select the gains to be plotted.

(1) GraphMenu/Options 'time' tab, Delivered Irrigation = ON and Delivered Rain = ON
The irrigation and rainfall keydata rows should not be selected
The graph styles used are the same as gains in separate columns

(2) GraphMenu/TimeGraph/Selected, and selecting the rain and irrigation keydata row(s)
The graph styles used are KEY3, KEY4 (or whatever)

Notes on the styles...

TextData labels= ON - will show amount on top of vertical bar
decimal places controlled by ProbeMenu/DisplayUnits 'amounts'
'Label' is not used - it was designed for labelling a line, but users preferred to use the text in the keydata row)
Lines 3 pt gives a thick line
Miscellanaeous 'vertical' = ON
'Plot DeltaTime' plots 'days between irrigations' on data axis)
Scalesuse own axis = ON
Axis_Title is printed at top of axis.
TypeFor vertical bars, set type = Gains(bars)
(this is only used to show you what it will look like on the GraphStyles form)

Windows 64bit and 32bit

Probe for Windows will run on XP, VISTA and W7 (and possibly W8).

Probe for Windows was written for W95, so we should thank Microsoft programmers who maintained backwards compatability all these years.

The problem is not XP, VISTA, W7 or whatever, but whether you have Windows 64bit or Windows 32bit - and you need to read the small print to find out which version you have.

Probe for Windows will only run on W32bit - it will not run on W64 bit.

To find out if you have W64 or W32 on your PC is really obscure - Start/ControlPanel/SystemMaintenance/System, but something else entirely for XP.

See here for Microsoft help (sic).

Up to about 2011, in Australia at least, when you bought a new PC it normally came with W32 bit installed.

But in the last few years, new PC's and notebooks typically have W64 bit installed.

This is a pain, because W64 bit is only required if you are an Architect using AutoCad, or running some high-end games with amazing graphics.

You can still buy a W32bit computer - you just need to ask.

There is no user perceived difference between W32 and W64, and a W64bit PC can be downgraded to W32bit.

It is not just a Probe for Windows problem - there is a lot of software out there with this constraint.

Missing OCX file

Probe for Windows uses some programme files that are shared by other programmes.

There have been reports that, after installing other software, the file 'THREED16.OCX' is missing.

A re-install of Prwin from the CD should install the OCX.

Alternatively it can be downloaded from here, and saved in C:\Windows\System

The OCX file then needs to be registered with...

Start - (bottom left of the PC screen)
Open: regsvr C:\Windows\System\threed16.ocx