Skip to content
logo Knowledgebase

Sage 50 Payroll - Environmental Issues

Created on  | Last modified on 


Areas of your computer, or environment, to consider or amend to ensure Sage 50 Payroll runs correctly.


There are a number of different things you should consider and check with the environment running Sage 50 Payroll, to ensure that you don't encounter any issues.

This article will take you through some of the common areas or recommendations around the environment you have Sage 50 Payroll installed in, so that you or your IT Support can ensure everything is set up correctly, or to further investigate issues that may be caused by the PC environment.

This guide covers common areas and recommendations around the environment you run your software in. You or your IT support can use this to troubleshoot:

  • Windows updates and required components
  • Permissions and User profiles
  • Anti-virus, firewall and security
  • Speed issues
  • Report issues and recommended advice
  • Sage websites and servers within Sage 50 Payroll
  • 3rd Party Applications
  • VPN Issues

Let's take a look.


Windows updates

New versions of Sage 50 Payroll are always tested on the latest windows updates. For any windows related errors during installation, we recommend ensuring all windows updates are downloaded and installed.  Once these have been done, reinstall Payroll followed by a restart of the PC.

Permissions and User profiles

User Profiles

  • Log onto the PC with a different/new user profile to help determine if there is an issue with a specific user account.
  • Log into a different PC with the same user profile to help determine if the issue is related to the actual computer or its registry as windows may be corrupt and need to be reinstalled.
    • If the payroll issues don't occur on the same user profile on a different pc then it would indicate as issue with the registry on the 1st PC and a scan (sfc /scannow) may need to be performed.

Data Location

If you data is held on a server and you are experiencing performance issues we recommend moving to a different location to test and identify if the issue is with the environment.

For example, if the data is relocated to the local PC and payroll works as expected, it is not the program or the data where the issues lies.

We recommend:

  • Relocate the payroll data to a different location on the same server.
  • Check user permissions to the server.
    • Do they need editing/heightened?
    • Do users have access to all sage payroll related files and folders?
  • Is there a different server the data could be relocated to?

User/Administrator Access Rights & UAC

It is recommended that the windows user needs to be the Administrator or needs to have full administrator rights.  This because Sage 50 Payroll needs the ability to read/write to certain files in the main areas of the PC, such as Payroll.ini in the Windows folder.  Permissions issue can usually cause settings not to be retained in payroll or favourites not being retained in the reports areas.

You can check if the user is logged onto the computer as the administrator by following this article.

Anti-virus, firewall and security

Unrestricted Access

The Payroll program and all related files and folders need to run unrestricted by any form of anti-virus/security/firewall [either local and/or network].  If any of these files become blocked or quarantined, it can cause Payroll to stop working as normal.  We recommend making sure all files and folders in the following location are set to work unrestricted...

  • Program directory
  • Data directory
  • Payroll.exe
  • SBDDesktop.exe
    • C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Sage SBD\SBDDesktop\v12
  • SDK Licence folder
    • C:\ProgramData\Sage\SDK Licence
    • Limitations on this location can cause payroll to operate in a restricted mode.
  • AutoUpdateClient.exe
    • C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Sage\Central\AutoUpdateClient

Timeout Issues

There may be times when using Payroll, that certain areas of the program, such as Send Pension Data or Full Payment Submission take a long time to load or do not load at all.  This behaviour usually indicates that something is interfering/blocking the program from carrying out what it needs to display data.  You should check the following...

  • Anti-virus/Firewall - try disabling this feature either local and/or network
    • Some Anti-virus programs such as BitDefender or Eset will still run in the background even when disabled.  Uninstalling these may be required
  • Server/network connection - test the data on the local machine
  • 3rd party programs - close all non-essential programs when using payroll
  • Background services - stop all non-essential services running in the background
    • Open Windows Task Manager to see what is running on the PC
  • Internet connection - if using a wireless connection try using a direct cable
  • System Resources - does it meet the minimum requirements?

Safe Mode

Safe Mode is a special way for Windows to load when there is a system-critical problem that interferes with the normal operation of the computer. The purpose of troubleshooting using Safe Mode is that only basic processes and drivers are loaded when you boot up the PC.  This will enable you to determine if something on windows, such as the anti-virus or graphics driver is causing Payroll not to function correctly.  If payroll works as expected in Safe Mode, then you can conclude that this is more than likely the case.

Speed Issues

Temp Folder

The temp folder or temporary directory is used to hold temporary files. Many operating systems and some software automatically delete the contents of this directory on start-up or at regular intervals, leaving the directory itself intact.  However, some temp folders do not get cleared down and so get full of outdated files, which can slow down Payroll and conflict with current programs and processes.  Make sure the temp folder is cleared down as much as possible.

  1. Press the Windows key and R then type %temp% and press Enter.
  2. The temp folder appears.
  3. Select any file or folder.
  4. Ctrl + A to highlight all files.
  5. Hold Shift and press Delete.
  6. A message will display asking if you 'Are sure that you want to permanently delete these items'.
  7. click OK.
  8. Some files and folders in the temporary directory will be in use while the PC is in operation.  There will be an option on screen to 'skip' deletion of these files.

ODBC Buffer Size

Sage 50 Payroll uses a data source called Payroll32 to communicate with the data held in the database.  However, if the buffer size is low or the data source is not set up, missing or not accessible, it can cause problems with program speed and/or when connecting to a database or upgrading data.

Removing and re-adding the data source is a good way to refresh the process.

To increase the ODBC buffer size to 4096 you need to do the following…

  • Press the Windows key Image+ R
  • Enter odbcad32then click OK. 
  • On the User DSN tab select MS Access Database
  • Click Configure
  • Click Options
  • Buffer size increase to 4096
  • Click OK then OK again.

Clean Installation

Sometimes it may be best to remove all traces of the payroll program from the computer and start off with a fresh installation.  This can be done from the add/remove programs section within Control Panel.

  • Backup all of the data [including any reports]
  • Remove/uninstall as many instances of payroll as possible.
  • Delete all payroll.ini files.
  • Delete both the program and data directories.
    • C:\Program Files (x86)\Sage Payroll
    • C:\ProgramData\Sage\Payroll
  • Install a new copy of payroll.

Report issues and recommended advice

Reports Running Slowly

There may be times when using Payroll, that running reports will take longer than usual to preview or print.  To identify where the problem lies, we recommend trying the following…

  • Close all non-sage programs running on the pc – this could indicate an issue with the PC specification such as RAM.
  • End all non-essential processes in Task manager – there may be multiple processes running in the background that could be slowing down the PC.
  • If payroll is installed on a different PC, try on that machine – this will indicate if the issues is with the installation of payroll or the PC.
  • Database size – the size of the payroll data can affect the speed of reports. The data size can be reduced by doing the following…
    • Clear historical data – for GDPR, companies are only required to retain the last 3 years’ worth of data, so anything longer than this can be cleared down.
    • Delete historical leavers – like clearing historical data which removes the processing, deleting any historical leavers from more than 3 years ago can alleviate speed issues.

Printing Issues

You may find that some printing issues occur in payroll which can be caused by a conflict between the printer and the Sage software.  Outside of Payroll other documents may print fine but this is because other programs do not use the same platform or print routine, they have their own routines built into them.

If this happens, we recommend the following…

  • Installing or updating a compatible printer driver.
  • Changing the default printer and printing to something different, such as XPS document writer or CutePDF [If Installed] can help determine if the printer driver is the issue.

Sage websites and servers within Sage 50 Payroll.

Website Access

Sage 50 Payroll tries to access various websites, depending on the task, such as submitting the full payment submission or uploading online payslips.  Payroll therefore requires unrestricted access to all relevant URLs.  if Payroll is unable to access these websites, the program may return errors when performing tasks such as uploading payslips or upgrading the activation details.

NOTE: The link to the article above relates to proxy servers.  There may not be a proxy server in place, however the URLs may still need to be made as 'trusted' sources on any anti-virus software and/or web browser security settings

Network Monitoring

We also recommend using a networking monitoring to run side by side with payroll to see if there is anything running in the 'background' that could conflict with the payroll program. 

TIP: An example of a program that can do this is Fiddler. The Fiddler tool allows users to debug web applications by capturing network traffic between the Internet and computers as well as inspect incoming and outgoing data to monitor and modify requests and responses before the browser receives them.

3rd Party Applications

Sage has no control over 3rd part applications that link in with Sage 50 Payroll and issues can arise when a new version of payroll is installed. 

This is usually because these applications will be configured to work with the files and settings of a particular version of the program.  When a new update is installed, most of the Sage files are updated and some new ones added [depending on the update].  This will mean the 3rd party application will usually need reconfigured to work with any new/updated Sage Payroll files.

VPN Issues

A VPN is an encrypted tunnel through the internet that reaches from your device to a VPN server. From there, your traffic is passed on to the website or service that you’re using.  Since your data has to travel through the VPN server, it’s normal to experience slight hiccups in speed from time to time. 

A slow VPN may be a sign that you haven’t configured your settings for optimal performance, or it could mean that more significant changes are in order. 

CAUTION: Sage have no control over VPN's and their settings/configuration so we recommend contacting your IT support for assistance with these issues.

Mapped drive not appearing within Payroll

This can occur if you run Sage 50 Payroll as an administrator, but the mapped drive in question is not mapped on the admin profile.

If this isn't the cause, check that the EnabledLinkedConnections registry value is configured correctly. For support with this, please contact Microsoft.

Crashing Issues

This can occur for various reasons.  The best way to identify the source of the crash and potential reasons why is to use Windows Event Viewer on the PC.

  1. Click Start and type Event Viewer
  2. In the left hand pane click Windows Logs then drop down the chevron.
  3. Click on the Application option, then on the right hand pane click the Find option.
  4. Search the terms SBDDesktop.exe or Payroll.exe.
  5. Check results in the event pane.