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Hardware/System Requirements

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Q: My front desk computer is about 5 years old. It has Windows XP v. 2002 with service pack 3. It runs on a Pentium 4 processor at 2.80 ghz and has 2.0 GB of RAM.  Is this computer good enough for EMR or should I purchase a new computer or hard drive for the front desk?

A: That setup will work, but you'll eventually want to replace it if you find your system is bogging down too much. You want your fastest computer in the exam room, since that's where a lot of your intense processing power will be used.

Q: Should I purchase a server when I set up the network? I see the network as being a wired Ethernet network connecting the front desk computer, a laptop in the exam room, and my personal laptop in my office.

A: If your laptop in the exam room is fast, you can use it as the "server"; otherwise it would make more sense to get a fast desktop for the front desk. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, just new. We do recommend Windows XP (until Microsoft comes out with more stable version of Vista).

Q: Are you coming out with a Mac version of the software?

A: Not anytime soon, as it would take a major re-writing of the software and the market is slimmer for Mac software.

Q: What should I do about setting up a network?

A: Networking issues would be the domain of your "computer guy". But most users, once the "shared" drives are set up, find it relatively easy to make network connections the software.

Q: Does it work on Vista?

A: The software underwent a major overhaul from version 2.5 to 4.0 to make it more compatible with Vista and Win7. You should be using version 4.1+ (available for download from the website Occasionally, Vista (and sometimes Win7) is picky about how the application runs and you may need to run in XP compatible mode. Instructions are located here:

Q: I am about to buy new computers to do this. I see that Vista is OK but should I get a 32 or 64bit configuration?

A: The software will only work on the 32-bit version of Vista, but either 32 or 64-bit with Windows 7.

Q: Is this program based on SQL server or MS ACCESS? My experience with MS ACCESS is that it tends to be a slight bit slower after about 10,000 files.

A: Based on MS Access. And yes, it does indeed have many limitations, but even with 50000+ files we rarely notice a slowdown.

Q: Would it be beneficial to have a tablet laptop?

A: Realistically, no. Although it would apparently be more efficient to write on a tablet with a stylus, the reality is you need to do a bit of typing on nearly every patient. A keyboard makes it much faster. Having said that, some docs do use a tablet. Touchscreen computers are also an option.

Q: Will your software run w/ Vista?

A: It does, but we still recommend WinXP or Windows 7, since there seems to be less glitches.

Q: When I typed “ezChartWriter” in Yahoo, it pulled up several websites that stated, "Warning: Dangerous Downloads" , from, and, just to name a few. Just thought you might want to know.

A: This is a new feature of Yahoo to warn users of questionable sites. Unfortunately, many of the shareware download sites we use are getting blacklisted because of a tiny amount of virus-laden software that hackers are uploading. Rest assured that our software is thoroughly tested for viruses and most shareware sites download directly from us, so you likely have no danger. However, to be super safe you can download the software directly from our website:

Q: When I buy a computer, does the software run better on Windows XP or Vista, or does it matter?

A: We recommend XP or Windows 7 (I've actually have had Microsoft employees as patients and they recommend the same!!!)

Q: Can the ezChartWriter software run on windows 98?

A: No, and the install program will block if from trying to install.  It will run only on newer Windows systems, Windows 2000 and up (preferably on WinXP/Win7). I recommend against Vista.

Q: Is the software compatible with the new Windows 7.0 due out in 2010?

A: Yes, both 32 and 64 bit versions. You may need to run in compatibility mode:

Q: How much space does a patient database take up?

A: Surprisingly little. You should use the built-in compacting utility once in a while (monthly) to keep the size even smaller. Once you get upwards of 50,000 charts the file will get large enough that you might need to archive charts.

Q: Do I have to have an Internet connection even if I don't use the billing module?

A: Having an Internet connection is not absolutely necessary, but it makes things a lot easier. The licensing process works best when done via Internet. And regular updates are available via Internet download.

Q: Can a laptop work or does have to be a stationary computer?

A: A laptop is fine.

Q: Do I need a server to run ezChartWriter?

A: No.  Peer-to-peer is fine (using any computer that is fast and has enough memory/hard-drive space).

Q: What hardware do I need? I’m thinking four computers/monitors, two printers, a scanner for the old paper files.  Anything else I should have?

A: Yes, that should do it. Although I wouldn't bother scanning paper charts in unless the patient is returning (i.e. when you create a new EMR chart, then scan the document into PDF format and “attach” to the chart using the Attachment Manager).

Q: How much space do I need for your database storage. .....(I.E. How big of a Hard Drive do you recommend for a Practice that sees 50 to 60 Patients a week for 10 to 15 years ? Is a 100 Gigabyte Hard-drive sufficient....or should I specify something very large ? I am really just asking advice on selecting adequately sized Hardware to go with your Software. I have read that a 2 Gigahertz processor with 256 Megabytes of ram are all that is required....that doesn't seem like much ram to me ? I would rather know what you recommend above that so that I can be sure to get the most speed and performance out of our system using your product?

A: Your database will be in the sub-gigabyte range for many years, so disk size really isn't an issue. RAM is a determining factor in how many open charts the doctor can have open at the same time. As a practical limit, most doctors wouldn't need to have more than three charts open at a time, which is about the max you can do with a 2 gig machine. With under a gig, you can comfortably open one, maybe two charts at a time.

Q: I have read in Blogs about your product that some people use a server for the main machine and desktops for the other stations. If your Software runs as a stand-alone product on each machine and is not served to the other machines by means of license files,,,,,why would anyone need a server at all to use your product ? Am I missing something here....or are people using servers for some reason not related to ezChartWriter ?

A: For simplicity, we sometimes refer to the computer holding the database as the "server" (since most lay-people get the concept, even though it's not technically correct).

Q: Does your product Tie into Microsoft Office in any way ? Do I need Microsoft Office on any of the machines to use your product ? Should I order any other software on the machines that I buy in order to make the most of your product ?

A: No, you do not need MS Office or any other software to use ezChartWriter. There is a built-in backup utility with the software

Q: I understand from your reply that your product works with either XP or Vista . I prefer XP too. All of the New Machines that are offered seem to come with Vista . I know I can downgrade them to XP.....But I worry that downgrading to XP will invalidate any Microsoft support that came with the purchase of new Vista Machines ?

A: We recommend XP, but it's your personal choice. Remember, you don't need to have the newest machines to make this work. You can buy a few refurbished Dell desktops and do just fine for half the cost.

Q: With a relatively powerful "server" crt to hold the database file can this system function well with as many as 9 "viewing stations"? on our pier to pier ethernet? It is unlikely that more than 4 at a time will be in use.

A: The software will probably work fine with 4 -5 users logged in. Unfortunately, the database is built on Microsoft's Access system which, while low cost, does limit the network usability. Changing database systems at this point in the software development is not likely, so we are stuck with those limitations. It's one of the reasons we only market to small and mid-sized practices.

Q: We have about 15000 patient files. Will this push this software (or hardware) too far???

A: No, the software can readily hold many more records. In any case, since these are EXISTING records that you are scanning (I assume), they would be "attachments" which are stored outside the database. Are you planning on importing your patient demographics also? You'd want to do that FIRST so that the basic patient data exists in the new database. From there you can add attachments (although usually most doctors do this just when a patient returns, leaving the prior paper charts in co-existence until you decide to archive/discard them; you don't want to have to scan 15K records!).