Setting up a scheduled task to upload pupil records from SIMS to ParentPay

The guidance we offer is for suggested use, as we cannot guarantee this process will work for every customer due to third party use of Microsoft Window’s scheduled task feature. The use of this guidance may add functionality, but some issues may be out of our control.

To ensure that your setup goes ahead without any issues please first check that you are setting the scheduled task on the SIMS server to alleviate any infrastructure or mapping issues that could incur. Ensure also that you have installed the most recent version of MIS:SYNC which can be downloaded from the ParentPay website via the Help > Downloads at the top of the screen and configured it to interact with SIMS.

First, log in as an administrator with full rights to the network and make sure that your SIMS account is also set up with the minimal permissions of ‘School manager’ and third-party reporting rights.

Please also be aware that when you create a new task you need to ensure you are signed in with the same administrator profile otherwise this could prevent the task from running.

Setting up initial MIS:Sync configuration

Log into MIS:Sync with your ParentPay credentials, the credentials you will need must belong to a manager account with the permission level set to Overall. This account needs to be activated which occurs after your first login to the ParentPay website.

Click on Tools and then browse to Settings

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Navigate to SIMS tab and add your SIMS Username and Password into MIS username and MIS password fields. Please note that the SIMS account used must have ‘School Manager’ level access. Click the yellow browse folder to ensure SIMS location is automatically populated.

Put a tick into Click here to enable Windows Auto Scheduler.
Ensure that the same SIMS username and password are used below also. Click Save.

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Note: You can click on Test these settings to ensure the SIMS path is correct.

Under the Connections tab add a Notification email and ensure that the Receive email... options are ticked. Click Save

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Next, access the Auto update tab and ensure that the tick box the Check for updates at startup is not ticked.

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Restart MIS:Sync and ensure that the following messages are present on the first screen:

  1. A connection to ParentPay was established with these settings, your username and password were correctly authenticated.
  2. Successfully connected to SIMS.

Setting up a scheduled task for MIS:Sync Windows Server

Navigate to Start > All Programs > Administrative Tools > Server Manager. This brings you to the Server Manager interface.

Select and open the Tools icon, then open the Task scheduler option.

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Select Create Task from the Actions menu (located on the right side of the task scheduler window).

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General

On the General tab give your task a title to identify the task (example: MisSync upload)

Check that the correct administration exchange account is in use (this needs to be the same account that you are logged in as or the task will not run)

Ensure that the Run whether user is logged on or not radial button is selected. Also, make sure that Run with highest privileges tick box is selected.

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Triggers

Navigate to the Triggers tab and select the New... option to open the runtime scheduler

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By default, the first option will always be On a schedule, but make sure this is displayed anyway.

Ensure the start time runs outside of working hours and that the runtime doesn’t conflict with any scheduled backups of SIMS.

You can choose to run the task Daily or Weekly (Daily is preferable) via available radial options.

Tick the Stop task if it runs longer than selection and enter 1 hour from the drop-down box.

It is vital that the Enabled tick box is marked as this turns the scheduled task on. Click Ok to save.

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Actions

The next step is to click on the Actions tab then click New...

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The New Action window gives you the option to browse to a program or enter a script that will perform a given task.

To set this up for MIS:Sync first click on Browse to open the explorer search/open options.

Search for the C:/ProgramFiles/ParentPay folder and click on the MIS:Sync application as below.

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The last alteration that is required is to add the arguments/ triggers to allow the scheduled task to open MIS:Sync in the background whilst logged off the server profile.

This can be done by entering /sims and /quiet as above. Please note that the order in which these triggers appear will have no bearing on the setup.
Please make sure there is a space after /sims (i.e. between sims and ‘/’)
If there is no space between parameters the task will fail.

Conditions

The Conditions tab does not need altering as new tasks open with correct default settings.

Note: If you are using a UPS monitoring application that runs over the on-screen standard mains power display then the setting Stop if the computer switches to battery power tick box is blank.

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Settings
Enable the Stop the task if it runs longer than: option to stop at 1 hour.

Also, enable the If the running task does not end when requested, force it to stop.

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Scheduled Task MIS:Sync Checklist

Please ensure all of the below have been done or the task will fail

The task needs to be setup on the SIMS server directly. (Task scheduler is required to run on a Server/ PC that remains powered on).

  • The user profile that is logged in needs to have administrator permissions.
  • The author of the scheduled task needs to be the same as the login profile.
  • ParentPay2018 report needs to be installed on SIMS.
    • This can be achieved by either:
      1. Logging into MIS Sync > Tools>Settings>SIMS Report>Click Reset.  Restart MIS Sync.
      2. Manually importing the report into SIMS (file available from ParentPay Support if required).
  • A successful pupil upload must be carried out via Pupils > Auto Update in MIS:SYNC before attempting to run the scheduled task.
  • The “enable scheduled task” is ticked on the same Tools/Settings/SMS location using identical login credentials as above.
  • The login credentials are saved on the task itself under settings as this allows the server to log in to the correct profile the scheduled task is saved to.
  • If the scheduled task is being run with the SIMS.ini saved to a mapped drive or running via virtual location then a NetUse script will need to be run simultaneously with the task. This maps the process to the correct drive.
    This part of the process is not guaranteed as MIS Sync and the scheduled task has issues with redirects.

Shortcomings

  • Scheduled task will not work where SIMS is hosted (Cloud-Based).

  • Schedule task will not work for schools using SIMS ID

  • Schedule task will fail when no change in the data is detected.