Understanding the acct.ini configuration file

This article aims to explain the acct.ini configuration file and changes with how Acctivate uses the acct.ini starting in v12.2

The acct.ini configuration file is used by Acctivate to connect workstations to the correct company on the correct server.

In Acctivate version 12.2, there are changes to where this file may be located, the contents of the acct.ini file, and how it's used.

The Change

Prior to version 12.2, the acct.ini file was always located in the AcctivateData share found on the server. All workstations required access to this shared folder in order to read the acct.ini.

Starting in version 12.2, the contents of the acct.ini will be migrated into the Acctivate database.

New or upgraded Acctivate installs will read the list of companies and database server sources from the Acctivate database rather than reading this information directly from the .ini file.

Why Is This Change Being Made

The driving force behind this change was to eliminate Acctivate's requirement of access to shared folders on a file server.

The answer to the question “Why eliminate the dependency on a file server?” can be more complicated but could be summarized as:

  1. Changes in technology
  2. The desire/need for a remote or hybrid office (remove and on-premise users)

Many small businesses don’t have an IT professional to help set up and manage a domain or workgroup. This can result in headaches with workstations connecting to the shared AcctivateData folder on the server. Bypassing the folders and connecting directly to the database can alleviate these issues.

Arguably, the biggest benefit of eliminating the shared folders is that it becomes much easier to deploy the Acctivate database in a manner that supports remote connections. Removing shared folders from equation results in a more reliable remote connection. 

The Details

Starting in version 12.2, new Acctivate workstation installs will write an acct.ini file in the workstation’s local ProgramData\AcctivateData directory.

This acct.ini will contain the connection information for the Acctivate database where the list of companies and database server sources will be read from. This local .ini file will be used rather than the workstation reading from the Acct.ini on the server.

In fact, new workstation installs will only require access to a database server; shared folders on file server will not be required.

Existing workstation installs that are upgraded to version 12.2 will trigger a migration of the companies and database server sources from the acct.ini into the Acctivate database.

The companies and sources will remain in the acct.ini for reference purposes, but only the “Acctivate” database server connection information will be read from the acct.ini file located in the AcctivateData share on the server. Using that information the workstation will be able to read the list of companies and sources from the database.

Refer to the table below for acct.ini differences between upgraded and new 12.2 installs

  Upgraded 12.2 install New 12.2 install
acct.ini location Located in the AcctivateData share on the server (e.g., \\Server\AcctivateData)  Located in C:\ProgramData\Alterity\Acctivate on each computer where Acctivate is installed.
acct.ini contents
  • The “Acctivate” Database Server contains the connection string used to connect to the Acctivate database.
  • All [Database Server] and [Company] entries remain for reference purposes but are not read/used by Acctivate.  
 The “Acctivate” Database Server contains the connection string used to connect to the Acctivate database. 
acct.ini version Migrated acct.ini will have a version number of 9  Migrated acct.ini will have a version number of 9 


An example of an acct.ini file for a new 12.2 install

The “Acctivate” Database Server entry points to the database server. Since this is an .ini from a new install, there is no [Company] or [Mobile] section.

If this had been an .ini file from an existing install upgraded to 12.2, the [Company] and [Mobile] sections would remain for reference purposes, as well as any other database server entries, however those records would be migrated to the database server associated with the “Acctivate” entry.

The contents of the .ini are migrated to the Acctivate database found in the database server associated with the "Acctivate" .ini entry. In that database there are two tables that may store the configuration information:

  • tbDataSource:  Any database servers other than “Acctivate” will be stored here.
  • tbCompany: This table will list the Acctivate companies and their related source (from tbDataSource).


Q: Does anything change with the installation process?

A: For new installations you can expect a different experience that should be smoother. The Acctivate installer will attempt to discover Acctivate Database Servers on the network. You may be prompted to enter you database credentials, however Acctivate may be able to establish the connection without this steps. There are no user experience changes to the upgrade process.


Q: What should I do to prepare for this change before upgrading?

A: Unless you are using a custom app that relies on the acct.ini file to read company and database server information, no action is required. Otherwise, contact the creator of any custom apps that integrate with Acctivate so that the necessary change can be made.


Q: Why aren’t existing installations upgraded to 12.2 using the local .ini? What if I want them to?

A: While it’s possible that in the future we may try to convert existing installs to use a local .ini, it could introduce a new point of friction. Existing installations that have already been successfully using shared folders will not have their method change to avoid any potential disruptions.

If you want to convert an existing install to use the local .ini, simply uninstall Acctivate from the workstation and then perform a new installation. This will not affect your data.


Q: I used to add companies and servers directly into the acct.ini; how would I do that now?

A: New database servers and companies can be added using Acctivate Database Maintenance.

  1. Use the Windows Start menu to search for Acctivate Database Maintenance.
  2. Use the Database menu to select Source. Enter a new DB source here.
  3. Use the Database menu to select Database Info. Enter a new DB/Company here.