Installation

If you don’t send/receive EDI files then there is no need for the Transport Application.

If your MIS has implemented an integrated transport you should switch to using your MIS and you can decommission the A2C Transport Application.

The A2C Transport Application is supported on Windows 10. Older versions of Windows are no longer in mainstream support by Microsoft.

The Application will require dotnet version 4.7.2. If you do not already have it installed you will need to install it. If you are using Windows 10 it should already be present, for other versions of Windows it may or may not be.

It may work on older versions of Windows such as Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 SP1 but we are not able to provide support. Other operating systems such as Mac OS and Linux are not supported.

The A2C Transport Application is designed to be run on a single PC. If network sharing is required it’s recommended to use a shared path for your Inbox and Outbox directories and leave the A2C Transport Application running on one machine. Please see your ICT Technician to configure this appropriately.

The old version was released in 2013 and was built using Microsoft .NET 3.5. That version of .NET is still supported by Microsoft in all currently supported versions of Windows, but is no longer installed by default, which means that most users had to install it separately as a pre-requisite. The new version is built on .NET 4.7.2 and runs on the .Net 4.8 runtime, which will already be installed on a default and fully patched version of Windows 10. If you don’t have .NET 4.8 please see ‘I don’t have Microsoft .NET 4.8 framework’.

We have also upgraded security to the current standards; although the old version has no known exploitable vulnerabilities.

The new version recognises the new results files for component results; the old version would receive the results files but reported them as unknown file types.

When the A2C Migration Application was rolled out in 2011/12 it was envisaged that all MIS suppliers would integrate the A2C transport into their MIS and the Migration Application would be decommissioned. The major MIS suppliers are now implementing this and most customers will be able to switch over to the new MIS transport within the next year or two.

Some customers will continue to use the A2C Transport Application. For them it is not a migration but the long-term solution.

If you are running Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 SP1 or you chose not to install .NET 4.8 with Windows 10, you can download the framework from

https://dotnet.microsoft.com/download/dotnet-framework.

Microsoft does not provide an easy way to check. Probably the easiest way is to run one of the following commands from a command prompt.

For 32 bit OS:
reg query “HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Net Framework Setup\NDP” /s

For 64 bit OS:
reg query “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\NET Framework Setup” /s

Windows supports multiple versions of .NET and they can be installed in any order.

We recommend that the A2C Transport Application is installed on a PC on the school network and that anyone who needs to use it is granted remote access.

If the A2C Transport Application is installed on a PC on the school network as we recommend, remote access can be granted to deputies.

If the A2C Transport Application is installed on a PC on the school network as we recommend, remote access can be granted to all members of the team.

Any files sent to you by the awarding organisations will probably be received randomly by only one of the instances. We strongly recommend you only ever have one instance of the application running at any one time.

We recommend that the A2C Transport Application is installed on a PC on the school network and that anyone who needs to use it is granted remote access.
If it is not possible to remotely connect to a single installation, an alternative is to install the application on multiple machines. There are several considerations:

  1. You must use the same access keys on each installation. IF you request new keys, the old keys are automatically revoked, so any other installations will stop working. You will need to enter the password for each key on each installation. If you’ve forgotten the password you may need to request a new key, in which case the new key should be installed on all installations.
  2. You must never have more than one application running at the same time. Make sure that all other installations have been shut down before starting.
  3. We recommend you use the same folders for the inbox and outbox – see the instructions below. If you use separate local folders you will need to consider the files from each installation.
  4. We recommend you use the same log database for all installations – see the instructions below. If you use separate logs you will be able to create CSV files from each installation but you will not be able to consolidate them.
  5. Use the same version of the application for all installations.

During setup you will be asked where you want the Inbox and Outbox to be located. Use the same location as your previous install(s).

You can change the Inbox location by going to the Inbox settings tab under Settings in the application, and the Outbox location by going to the Outbox settings tab. For the changes to take effect the Save button must be clicked.

If you experience difficulties with this, the User.Settings file in the A2C Migration Application folder under your AppData folder contains the locations of the Inbox and Outbox. For example:

S: \A2C\Inbox\

S: \A2C\Outbox\

These can be changed after installation, but you’ll need to restart the application for the change to take effect.

If you have multiple installations of the Transport App you can configure them to use a common log file and certificate store. This allows the logs to be shared amongst all users of the application and will also share the access keys, so you won’t need to import them for each installation.

Creating a shared Folder

In a location that you know both machines that the application is installed on has access to you must create a new folder to contain the application data. It may be wise for this to be in the same area as your inbox, outbox and archive. Perhaps create a new folder alongside these called ‘appdata’. You must ensure that both users who will be using the application have both read and write access to this folder. This may require some assistance from your IT staff.

Copying existing logs and other data to the new shared folder

You will only be able to keep the existing logs from one of the machines that the application is installed on. Choose which machine this will be and on it do the following:

    • Press and hold the windows key on your keyboard and press R, the Run dialog box should appear.
    • Into the textbox type “%APPDATA%\A2C Migration Application” and click ‘OK’, a folder should appear containing 4 or 5 files, including log.db and SavedCerts.
    • Select all of these files, right click on them and click ‘Copy’.
    • Now open the folder that you created in the ‘Creating a shared folder’ step above.
    • Right click within the new folder and click ‘Paste’, the files should now be copied into this shared folder.
  • Updating the applications to use the new shared folder

    The following steps must be carried out on the application on both machines:

    Open the folder that you have installed the application to, most likely:

    “C:\Program Files\A2C Migration Application”.

    In this folder you will find a file called “jcq.a2c.client.gui.exe.config”, right click on this and open it in notepad.

    Within this file about half way down locate the following line:

    <add key=“CustomAppDataPath” value=“” />

    You must alter this line, adding a value for this key – this must be the path to the folder that you created above in ‘Creating a shared folder’ – so it should look something like (the double quotes around the value are important):

    <add key=“CustomAppDataPath” value=“S:\Exams\appdata” />

    Save this file and close it.

    After you have completed this step you should be able to launch the application and your logs and other application data will be shared.

    This will depend on how you work and how you manage the different centres in your MIS.
    You can request access keys for multiple centres and have one installation of the Transport App. All outgoing files will be sent from the same Outbox and incoming files will be received in a single Inbox. The filenames contain the centre number.

    Alternatively, if you prefer to keep the centres completely separate, you could install a transport app for each centre. Each would have its own folders for Inbox and Outbox. You would have separate access keys for each centre – just make sure the right keys are installed on the right computers and your MIS is configured to point to the right folders.

    The Transport App is configured to transport:

    • EDI files following the ‘JCQ Format for Exchange of Examination Related Data’
    • Xml results files for component results
    • A2C xml files
    • Pearson Edifact files

    It is not configured for:

    • City & Guilds walled Garden files
    • SQA data exchange files

    The Transport App is configured to transport Pearson EDIFACT files.
    Note that Pearson has announced they will no longer support the EDIFACT format from the following dates:

    • Final registrations using EDIFACT format within the 2022-2023 academic year
      • Last date for registrations 31 July 2023
    • EDIFACT no longer supported after 2024-2025 academic year
      • EDIFACT switch off date 31 July 2025

    The A2C Transport Application installer will detect the previous installation of the A2C Migration Application and remove it. The imported keys will remain, so if the same custom appdata folder is used or both installs used the default appdata location then they will be used by the new version.

    The only port the A2C Transport Application requires outbound access to is 443 so please ensure this is enabled on any firewall.

    Depending on which awarding organisations you use, the following addresses need to be allowed through the proxy:

    OCR and Cambridge International

    https://a2c.cambridgeassessment.org.uk

    Pearson

    https://a2c.pearson.com/A2CEbXmlService/

    WJEC/CBAC

    https://a2c.wjec.co.uk

    AQA

    https://a2c.aqa.org.uk

    CCEA

    https://a2c.ccea.org.uk

    The application has not been tested in these environments. It may work, but we will be unable to provide support if you encounter problems.

    Configuration

    It does not need to be running all the time, though that is the suggested usage. The application periodically sends any files in the outbox to the appropriate awarding organisations and at the same time checks if there are any waiting to be downloaded. In this way it could be thought of as an email-like system, where you put the files to send in the outbox and receive files into the inbox and hit Send/Receive. If you close the application and open it again later, you will not miss out on any data. When you start the application, it’s a good idea to click on Send/Receive. That will look for and download any files which have become available while your application was closed. Otherwise the first transfer will take place after the set polling interval has elapsed.

    The application will automatically check for files according to the defined polling interval, which defaults to 60 minutes. If you have just started the application the first check will be after this interval. You can force it to check for files by clicking Send/Receive.

    If you have another instance of the application running at the same time (which you shouldn’t…ever) it’s possible the files have been received by the other application.

    The application will automatically send files according to the defined polling interval, which defaults to 60 minutes. If you have just started the application they will be sent after this interval. You can force files to be sent immediately by clicking Send/Receive.

    The transport application tool acknowledges the receipt of files within the Logs screen under the Sent Files tab by indicating a ‘Yes’ in the Receipted column against each file sent.

    AQA, Pearson and WJEC also send acknowledgement files (also known as X files). The time taken to receive an acknowledgement can vary depending on a number of factors such as the exam series and the individual awarding organisation.

    Contact CCEA Entries Team on entries@ccea.org.uk

    No. If you request a new access key any existing access keys for that centre number and awarding organisation are automatically revoked.

    You can have multiple access keys from one awarding organisation if they are for separate centres, but our recommendation if you are managing more than one centre is to request a single access key containing all the centre numbers you need.

    When access keys are generated they must have an expiry date. For A2C they are typically created to be valid for 10 years. If you are using the same key you were first issued in 2011/12 you are likely to start seeing them expire.

    They will continue to work despite the warning message, so replacing them is not urgent. When it is convenient, request a new access key. When you install it the expiry message will disappear.

    Errors

    This is usually because the .NET framework has not been installed. See .NET above.

    This is usually because the AppData folder specified during setup does not exist.

    Re-run the setup, choose custom AppData folder and browse to the correct location.

    Or, if you don’t need to use a custom AppData folder, un-tick the custom AppData option.

    The location of the parent AppData folder is defined by the %APPDATA% environmental variable.

    Type ‘echo % APPDATA %’ from a command prompt to determine where it is.

    The sub-folder for the A2C Transport Application is “\A2C Migration Application”.

    This means that the access key provided to you by the awarding organisation is not authorised to send files for that centre number. Contact the AO for an access key for the centres you manage.

    Ensure your machine has internet connectivity and your proxy server is correctly configured.

    The only port the A2C Transport Application requires outbound access to is 443 so please ensure this is enabled on any firewall.

    Depending on which awarding organisations you use, the following addresses need to be allowed through the proxy:

    OCR and Cambridge International
    https://a2c.cambridgeassessment.org.uk

    Pearson
    https://a2c.pearson.com/A2CEbXmlService/

    WJEC/CBAC
    https://a2c.wjec.co.uk

    AQA
    https://a2c.aqa.org.uk

    CCEA
    https://a2c.ccea.org.uk

    This means your computer is unable to verify the authenticity of the server. Make sure all available Microsoft recommended updates are installed.

    Some Awarding Organisations require you to be logged in as the centre administrator rather than a centre user or exam officer in order to download the access keys.

    This is normally caused by a permissions issue. Make sure you have permission to read and write on C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Crypto.

    The location of the ProgramData folder is defined by the %ALLUSERSPROFILE% environmental variable. If the C:\ProgramData folder does not exist type ‘echo %ALLUSERSPROFILE%’ from a command prompt to determine where it is.

    The application uses the machine key set rather than the user key set in order to support mandatory profiles. The user key set would always fail with “The user is logged on with a temporary profile”.

    To check that this is the problem look at the contents of “%APPDATA%\A2C Migration Application\Error.txt”. This file contains the stack trace. Search for System.Security.Cryptography.CryptographicException. If this is the problem you will see ‘Access is denied’

    For example:

    Error occurred at 1/12/2012 5:11:10 PM HRESULT: 80070005: System.Security.Cryptography.CryptographicException: Access is denied.
    If you see any other error please contact support.

    This means the application is getting an unexpected response to its request to the server. This is usually caused by web filtering software or a proxy/firewall blocking the request.

    Ensure your machine has internet connectivity and your proxy server and any web filtering software are correctly configured.

    The only port the A2C Transport Application requires outbound access to is 443 so please ensure this is enabled on any firewall.

    Depending on which awarding organisations you use, the following addresses need to be allowed through the proxy:

    OCR and Cambridge International
    https://a2c.cambridgeassessment.org.uk

    Pearson
    https://a2c.pearson.com/A2CEbXmlService/

    WJEC/CBAC
    https://a2c.wjec.co.uk

    AQA
    https://a2c.aqa.org.uk

    CCEA
    https://a2c.ccea.org.uk

    This means you don’t have access to the AppData folder. If a custom AppData location was set during install, ask your IT team to give you read/write access to it.

    If no custom location was used the location of the parent AppData folder is defined by the %APPDATA% environmental variable. Type ‘echo % APPDATA %’ from a command prompt to determine where it is.

    The sub-folder for the A2C Transport Application is “\A2C Migration Application”

    If you need to change the custom AppData location used, uninstall and re-run the setup, choose custom AppData folder and browse to the correct location.
    The database is unable to be accessed via UNC paths, so if you are using a network location, you must use a mapped drive.

    To use the JCQ EDI format you need to download basedata from the awarding organisation websites.
    Publicly available basedata which can be used by any approved centre (including all regulated GCSE and GCE qualifications) is available from:

    AQA
    https://www.aqa.org.uk/exams-administration/entries/make-entries/make-entries-with-edi-and-basedata

    CCEA
    https://ccea.org.uk/examiner-centre-support/examinations-support/pre-examination-information/ccea-basedata-examination

    Pearson
    http://qualifications.pearson.com/basedata

    OCR
    https://ocr.org.uk/administration/basedata/

    WJEC
    https://www.wjec.co.uk/home/administration/entries/basedata/

    Some qualifications are available only with explicit approval. Centre-specific basedata is available only from AO secure extranets.

    Cambridge International basedata is available to customers by logging into https://direct.cie.org.uk/login

    Pearson bespoke basedata is available on request and available by logging into https://edexcelonline.pearson.com/Account/Login.aspx

    Support

    If you’re unable to find an answer in our FAQs, contact details for Awarding Organisations can be found here:

    A2C – Contact Us

    The first line of support is your relevant awarding organisation. If they are unable to respond to your query, they will extend your query to the relevant team.

    Alternatively, you can contact your MIS provider.

    The A2C Transport Application is supported by the individual awarding organisations, whose details can be found here:

    A2C – Contact Us