Software Toolbox Technical Blog

6 min read

Tech Support Corner: Protecting Your TOP Server OPC UA Process Data

By Tyler Lindsey on May 14, 2020 2:00:00 PM


With the rising security demands of Industry 4.0, OPC UA provides us with the means to encrypt data as it is transferred between client and server. But what if encrypting data to prevent outside extraction is not enough? What if UA client applications become compromised? What tools do we have to protect against deliberate or even accidental manipulation or consumption of data?

Continuing our Tech Support Corner blog series, this post covers how to leverage the built-in TOP Server User Group Security settings, alongside OPC UA username and password authentication, for greater control over which users have read/write capabilities as well as what tags a user is permitted to access.

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5 min read

Tech Support Corner: DCOM Resources for Easier Troubleshooting

By Kevin Rutherford on Jan 9, 2020 2:00:00 PM

DCOM security and its headaches continue to be a popular support topic - our DCOM tutorial videos consistently receive the most visits each month.  Speak to any OPC Classic user in the industrial automation space and they always have their own horror stories about fighting the woes of DCOM.

In our continuing Tech Support Corner blog series, this blog post provides you with a high-level review of the troubleshooting resources we make available to our users including a DCOM companion checklist that can be used with our DCOM tutorials.

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1 min read

Tech Support Corner: TOP Server Basics and Quick Start

By Kevin Rutherford on Dec 12, 2019 2:00:00 PM


If you're a new TOP Server for Wonderware user, or just a user that's been away from TOP Server for awhile, perhaps you need a quick refresher on how to get around in TOP Server.

Continuing our Tech Support Corner blog series, this video blog post covers the basic components of TOP Server and how to familiarize yourself with using TOP Server via the simulation project that installs with TOP Server.

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1 min read

Tech Support Corner: Adding Drivers to an Existing TOP Server Install

By Kevin Rutherford on Oct 24, 2019 2:00:00 PM


If you're a TOP Server for Wonderware user, it's possible you've gone to configure a channel using a driver you've never used before but couldn't find it in the available driver list.  This can be confusing, especially if you weren't the user that installed TOP Server.  It is, however, an easy fix.

Continuing our Tech Support Corner blog series, this video blog post covers how to easily add additional drivers to an existing TOP Server install from the long list of available drivers.

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5 min read

Tech Support Corner: How Application Reports Help Us Help You

By Kevin Rutherford on Jul 25, 2019 2:00:00 PM


If you're a TOP Server for Wonderware user, I won't assume that you've ever had the need to contact Software Toolbox for a technical support issue.  I've spoken with users over the years who indicated that after they installed TOP Server for their particular device type, it just worked and had been running with no issues ever since.

However, it's always best to be prepared for the worst case scenario in most situations.  To that end, it's a good idea to know what tools are at your disposal should you ever have any issues with TOP Server for Wonderware requiring you to contact our knowledgeable technical support engineers.

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4 min read

Tech Support Corner: To Format or Not to Format OmniServer Items

By Kevin Rutherford on Jul 18, 2019 2:00:00 PM


In case you're not familiar with OmniServer, it is a user-configurable I/O server solution that you can configure through a user-friendly interface to communicate with various devices that do not already have off-the-shelf drivers written for them.

A question that our support engineers at Software Toolbox sometimes receive from both new and veteran OmniServer users alike is whether an item in the OmniServer sequence builder, which is used to build the send and/or receive message for a device protocol, requires a formatting code or not.

Continuing our Tech Support Corner blog series, this blog post covers under what situations a formatting code is required for an item defined in the OmniServer sequence builder of a protocol and when a code isn't required.

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5 min read

Tech Support Corner: DCOM Horror Story - Part 2 - Locked Out With No Key

By Kevin Rutherford on May 30, 2019 2:00:00 PM

DCOM Security and the headaches it tends to create are undoubtedly familiar to any OPC Classic user in the industrial automation industry. Stories about experienced DCOM woes are just part of the territory.

In this second part of a "DCOM Horror Stories" sidebar to our continuing Tech Support Corner blog series, this blog post covers a DCOM user scenario where the user was a little too thorough in locking down their DCOM configuration, resulting in a locked out system. And it includes a reminder of options that help you avoid DCOM configuration altogether.

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6 min read

Tech Support Corner: DCOM Horror Story - Part 1 - When Cortana Loses Her Voice

By Kevin Rutherford on May 16, 2019 2:00:00 PM

Any OPC Classic user in the industrial automation industry has almost certainly had their interactions with Windows DCOM security.  And most, if not all, are stories that we all shake our heads at and nod in understanding of the difficulties of traversing the pitfalls of DCOM security configuration.

In this first part of a "DCOM Horror Stories" sidebar to our continuing Tech Support Corner blog series, this blog post covers a DCOM user scenario involving the Microsoft Windows Cortana search capabilities being sidelined by DCOM security misconfiguration. Additionally, it covers what options are out there for avoiding DCOM entirely for situations like this.

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3 min read

Tech Support Corner: Defining a TOP Server Administrator Password

By Kevin Rutherford on Apr 25, 2019 2:00:00 PM


If you're a TOP Server for Wonderware user, you may or may not be aware of the built-in User Manager that allows you to define user roles and associated permissions when accessing your TOP Server configuration.  As security continues to be a key focus for many process industries, keeping your process communications secure is as important as ever.

Continuing our Tech Support Corner blog series, this blog post covers how TOP Server for Wonderware now prompts users to specify an Administrator password during the installation process to ensure your TOP Server is as secure as possible.

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5 min read

Tech Support Corner: Virtualization Best Practices for TOP Server for Wonderware

By Kevin O'Connor on Apr 18, 2019 2:00:00 PM


If you're familiar with the term high availability, then you're also more than likely at least aware of virtualization environments such as VMWare and Hyper-V.  As computer hardware specifications have grown exponentially over the years, virtualization is more and more becoming the norm for hosting of automation control systems.

A common question that our support engineers at Software Toolbox receive from new and veteran TOP Server for Wonderware users alike is whether TOP Server supports virtual environments, which ones and what are the best practices.

Continuing our Tech Support Corner blog series, this blog post covers best practices with respect to using TOP Server for Wonderware in virtualization environments such as VMWare and Hyper-V.

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8 min read

Tech Support Corner: "It has to work, I can ping it, right?"

By Marc Holbach on Apr 4, 2019 2:00:00 PM


As you are probably aware, the Ping command is one of the most widely used diagnostics tool when troubleshooting communication issues on Ethernet networks. I would accredit this popularity to the fact that everyone knows how to use the command, it's extremely simple to execute, and the results are not really open to interpretation (i.e. it either works or it doesn’t); or are they?

When troubleshooting communication issues, the most common line we hear when something isn’t working is “but I can ping it” as if this alone should serve as definitive proof that everything is working as expected and the communications server is choosing to not communicate.

Continuing our Tech Support Corner blog series, this blog post covers some common misconceptions about the Ping command, particularly how it can be used efficiently, and when it may not be the best tool for the task, as well as, better alternatives to Ping that actually provide actionable data.

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5 min read

Tech Support Corner: Did You Know about TOP Server Language Support for German, Chinese and Japanese?

By Kevin Rutherford on Mar 28, 2019 2:00:00 PM


Our technical support engineers at Software Toolbox work with users like you from around the globe to keep their TOP Server for Wonderware implementations running with the highest performance and reliability possible.  Yet, many engineers pride themselves on their ability to self-help, as well.

To that end, in a continuance of our "Tech Support Corner" blog series, I'd like to review TOP Server localized language support for German, Japanese and Chinese that is included with TOP Server.  For our users whose primary language is not English living in regions speaking one of the supported localized languages, I'll show you how to take advantage of this support to enhance your overall user experience and self-help journey.

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Working in industrial automation since 1996, the Software Toolbox team has seen a lot. The level of automation system sophistication of our integrators and users has evolved, each driven by the demands of their market and clients.  Everyone's learning continues as technological change accelerates.

This blog is about sharing from these journeys.  From tips on implementing software, successes our clients have experienced, or new ideas and things to consider in your journey, we'll be sharing them here.

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