How To Guides:
All editions of Family Historian can be run under any variant of Windows 8, 7, Vista, or XP.
Some early editions of Version 2 CDs have a 16-bit installer, which will not work on 64-bit variants of Windows. However, even in these cases there is a workaround that solves the problem - see below.
Version 3.1 contains a new help system, so if you have Version 3 it is highly recommended to install the free Family Historian Version 3.1.2 Upgrade.
If the Help in Version 2 or 3 is inoperative, download and install the older Windows Help support by following the instructions at V2/V3 Help Pages Refuse to Display.
N.B. If you have a V4 to V5 Upgrade you no longer need to install earlier versions: See How to (Re-)install Family Historian.
Essentially the problem was that very early editions of Family Historian used a 3rd party installation program that was a 16-bit program. Please note that the installation program is quite separate from Family Historian itself. FH is and always has been a 32-bit program. But initially the installation program Calico Pie Limited used was 16-bit. And as you may or may not know, 16-bit programs do not run under the 64-bit variants of Windows 8, 7, Vista, or XP.
The relevant Family Historian editions are these (and possibly others):
Around the start of 2005 Calico Pie switched to a better, 32-bit installer, produced by a different company. Later editions of 2.1.8 (ones where the copyright message goes beyond 2004) and all subsequent versions of Family Historian use the new 32-bit installer, so do not have the problem.
Incidentally, in case anyone is wondering, 32-bit programs (which probably account for more than 99% of the Windows programs out there) run fine under 64-bit variants of Windows.
So, for those who are affected, how has Calico Pie solved the problem? They have created 3 new downloadable installation programs, which are called CD-backed Installers. All three of them will install Version 2.1.8 on your PC. But they will only work if you have inserted the correct Version 2 installation CD into your CD drive during the installation. So don’t throw away those old version 2 CDs! You need them if you want to install or reinstall now or in the future.
You can download the CD-backed Installers from this web-page:
Incidentally, some people have sometimes had problems with 32-bit variants of Windows that should support 16-bit programs, but for one reason or another, their 16-bit subsystem is not working. The same solution will work for them too.
To sum up then, you can now install and run ALL editions of Family Historian (not just Versions 5, 4 & 3, but all editions of Version 2 too) under ALL variants of Windows 8, 7, Vista and XP, including the 64-bit ones.
If you have “Data Execution Prevention” turned on for all programs, you may need to disable it for Family Historian. You only need to do this if Windows puts up a message saying Windows has stopped the program from running.
See Move Family Historian Settings & Projects for details, this includes the use of the new C:\ProgramData folder used by Windows 8, 7 & Vista.