Reset Sims.Net password

If you’re trying to migrate or take over a Sims.Net install (say, from an unfriendly MSP, or you are migrating Sims away from a hosted solution to on-prem) or have just forgotten the admin password, you might find yourself with access to the database but without any access to Sims.Net itself – perhaps no passwords have been shared out of spite or the data export/import process has gone a little awry and account information hasn’t pulled across quite right.

Sims.Net uses its own internal accounts for access via the application which can be quite awkward to unwind. As long as you have SA access to the database, you can recover from this – Luckily there’s a built in routine you can run which makes resetting the sysman account, which will give you enough permissions to get back up and running, a breeze.

Assuming you have access to the database (if you don’t have access to the sa account, read this) you can:

  1. Open SQL Management Studio
  2. Right click the Sims database and select New Query
  3. Paste in the following:
    exec sims.db_p_reset_sysman_password
  4. Click Execute

Now you should be able to log into Sims.Net with sysman as the username, and password as the password. It’ll ask you to reset this when you log in. All being well you should now have access to Focus > System Manager > Manager Users, and therefore able to escalate privs to take control of things.

Migrate Sims.Net Server

Sims.Net is a very common and, in my opinion, a very badly written Management Information System used in the UK’s lower education sector – primary and secondary schools. It’s commonly used not because it’s good, but because it was one of the few options many years ago and a huge number of schools just haven’t bothered to move to something else. And I don’t blame them, it’s got a lot of history and data going back decades in that database. It’s not an easy thing to migrate off of.

ESS, the (current) caretakers of Sims.Net, have recently changed their licensing model to seemingly prevent third parties from hosting Sims.Net data on behalf of a school. I admit, I don’t know the details, but that’s the message as I understand it.

It looks like due to this, and the EOL of Server 2012R2, many school techs and sysadmins across the UK will be scrambling to get Sims.Net installed on an on-prem server.

Unfortunately, documentation is sparse. It’s a shame, but it costs a whole lot of cash to pay for third parties to do this for you. Right?

In the spirit of publishing guides for stuff organisations seemingly don’t want guides published for I’ve written up a guide on installing or migrating Sims.Net (and the horrible, horrible SOLUS3) server/database, because I struggled to find any well written and up to date guides and had to figure it out myself recently.

So if you’re looking to install or migrate Sims.Net, hop in and come for a ride. It’s easier than you think! Until you get to SOLUS3. We won’t be migrating that. But I’ll go through how to install it fresh!