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Family Historian won't load

Posted: 09 Jan 2018 11:27
by rfj1001
FH on my win7x64 pc has been stable for months and was running OK up to a couple of days ago - but not this morning.

When I double clicked on the desktop icon FH failed to load. I rebooted and tried again - no effect; I downloaded and installed the latest FH minor upgrade and tried again - no effect, even with another reboot.

When I open windows task manager and then click on the FH desktop icon, an FH entry can be seen briefly in the processes window but the entry then disappears after a second or so.

I haven't changed the config of the pc, a-v and security is up to date, etc.. All other apps so far today are working fine. The only thing that has happened was a MS windows "security monthly quality rollup" that was installed yesterday via automatic updates.

Any advice to get me up and running again would be much appreciated.

Many thanks

Re: Family Historian won't load

Posted: 09 Jan 2018 11:50
by tatewise
Sounds like the Windows Update may have upset something FH relies on.
I suggest you try the following steps.
  1. Create a System Restore Point so you can get back where you started if necessary.
  2. Use Control Panel > Programs & Features to uninstall both Family Historian and Family Historian PDF (nova printer).
  3. Re-install FH V6 from your installation media with V5 and V6 licence keys.
    Then update to the latest free download FH V6.2.6.
    See Knowledge Base > Family Historian Installation Details.
    It is advisable to right-click on the installation file ƒh icon and choose Run as administrator.
  4. If that still fails, try re-installing the Microsoft Visual C++ package.
    See Knowledge Base > Error 126: DLL Maybe Missing, Corrupt or Wrong Version.

Re: Family Historian won't load

Posted: 11 Jan 2018 10:24
by rfj1001
Thanks Mike - not sure what happened to my reply to you a couple of days ago, but it never got to the board.

I found that FH would operate in safe mode which supports the idea it is a windows problem. So the de-install and re-install looks a good route to follow

Now I've got to find my install discs and reg'n nos after a house downsize :cry: That'll probably take even longer than trying to fix FH :D

Re: Family Historian won't load

Posted: 11 Jan 2018 10:37
by jimlad68
Before you uninstall etc, it could be the old file permission problem (ie newly file NON permission) that might be included in Mike's links above, but also search the forum. Microsoft (and others) increasingly decide what we want/need, especially around 'perceived security' and change things without notice leaving us scratching out heads and wasting hours trying to fix things.

However, if you think there may be any corruptions etc, a reinstall might be a good idea in the long run.

Re: Family Historian won't load

Posted: 11 Jan 2018 11:13
by tatewise
If FH runs OK in Safe Mode, then there can't be much wrong with the installation.

While in Safe Mode try re-installing the latest free download, but right-click on the installation file ƒh icon and choose Run as administrator. That may cure things.

Otherwise, it may be an over zealous anti-virus package that is inhibiting FH in normal mode.
So try making FH an exception in your anti-virus package.

BTW: To perform a full re-install you only need your latest purchased FH installation CD.
Probably the V5 to V6 Upgrade CD, plus the V5 and V6 Licence keys.

Re: Family Historian won't load

Posted: 11 Jan 2018 15:57
by Fred
Hi Folks,

Just tried to use FH and having the same issue as above i.e it won't start. It's been working fine over recent days (last used successfully for long periods over last weekend). I have followed the guidance below i.e. reloading upgrade FH6.2.6 from Safe Mode as an Administrator and all went OK. I was also able to open FH in Safe Mode both prior to and following the upgrade reinstall. But when I return to normal operating mode it stubbornly refuses to start either from the desktop icon, start menu or 'run as administrator' options. I have also followed the guidance on Anti-Virus software and still no luck.
FYI I am operating Windows 7 HP Service Pack 1, 64bit.
Looks like this might turn into a more widespread issue :-(.
Any thoughts, or is it into programme removal and reinstallation territory?

Re: Family Historian won't load

Posted: 11 Jan 2018 16:42
by rfj1001

As you mention, this is now more widespread than just me. I notice we're both on win7x64.

I opened a support ticket with Calico Pie this morning describing the problem but, important for me if I need to re-install, I'll need support as I can only find a v5 reg code (can't find the discs :()

I've not heard back yet but when I do, I'll post their suggested fix here.

Re: Family Historian won't load

Posted: 11 Jan 2018 17:10
by Fred
that would be great, thanks.
Ref reinstallation, if we go down that road I think I might have the same problem as you as my initials disc purchase was v.2.1.6 !!!! :o


Re: Family Historian won't load

Posted: 11 Jan 2018 18:18
by LornaCraig
For your information I too am running FH on a 64 bit machine with Windows 7, but I have not (yet!) had any problems with FH. Attached is a screenshot of the recently installed updates (done today, as you will see.)

Re: Family Historian won't load

Posted: 11 Jan 2018 19:09
by arthurk
I'm also on Windows 7 64 bit, and my list of updates is exactly the same as Lorna's, apart from slight date differences. I haven't run FH for a few days, but this thread has prompted me to check and it seems to be OK.

As I always review Windows updates before installing them, I noticed that this month as well as the Security and Quality Rollup for .NET Framework, there was an optional update to .NET Framework itself. I decided not to get this for the time being, but if someone was updating automatically and got the update, could this have caused problems?

Re: Family Historian won't load

Posted: 11 Jan 2018 20:57
by tatewise
I don't believe FH uses .NET Framework so that should not be a problems.
( BTW: AS does use .NET Framework. )

@Fred, as was said earlier, you only need your latest purchased FH V6 installation media (CD or Download).
No earlier versions are needed, but both the V5 and V6 licence keys are needed.
See Knowledge Base > Family Historian Installation Details.

BTW: Please update your Family Historian Version in the Profile to the right of your posting.
Click your username Fred top right of this web page and choose User Control Panel.
Then on its Profile tab, select your Family Historian Version 6, and scroll down to click Submit.

@rfj1001, if your installation media is a CD then there is little Calico Pie can do, as they were not the retailer.
If you cannot find it, then you may have to buy another FH V6 licence.

Safe Mode
If FH runs OK in Safe Mode, then there is nothing wrong with the installation itself.
Something else, that does not run in Safe Mode, is baulking FH in normal mode.
This could be backup software, anti-virus software, cloud storage software, etc, that does not run in Safe Mode.
When FH runs in Safe Mode is it using the same Project folders as in normal mode?
If so, then it is not a file permissions issue that has arisen before.

Have you recently upgraded to the latest free download FH V6.2.6 that may be the crux of the problem?

Re: Family Historian won't load

Posted: 11 Jan 2018 22:42
by Fred
Hi Mike,

thanks for the reminder - version duly updated!
I think I updated to 6.2.6 about 7-10 days ago and have been using the programme extensively since without problem until today.
With imperfect timing I had a spring clean of the PC before Xmas and got rid of a whole load of downloaded programmes....unfortunately my update to V6 was amongst i can feel a discussion with calico coming on!
Best regards,

Re: Family Historian won't load

Posted: 11 Jan 2018 22:44
by tatewise

Re: Family Historian won't load

Posted: 12 Jan 2018 10:24
by rfj1001

Calico Pie Tech Support has indicated that the latest windows updates have had an effect on some antivirus/security software packages that, in turn, impacts on FH. Bitdefender (my security software) is known to be one of them.

By switching all the BD security features on and off in turn, there appears to be just one that causes the FH loading problem.

Good news is no re-install is necessary (yippeee !!)

I've put the steps in below in case you have BD and, if it is another package you have, you'll at least have an idea of what to do

From the opening screen, go to View Features/Advanced Threat Defense and click on the gearwheel. A window will open up that allows you to exclude trusted applications from Advanced Defense Threat scanning. Adding the fh.exe file, with its path to the whitelist has me up and running again :)

Hope this helps you and others.


Re: Family Historian won't load

Posted: 12 Jan 2018 12:40
by jimlad68
But this begs the question, why FH, and does it affect any other software? Does the FH exe/dll etc need to be uploaded to be added to the various security sites for whitelisting, or can the FH exe/dll etc be amended by Calicoe Pie.

We should not need to resort to whitelisting on our PCs, not in the medium or long term a good practice. I recollect previously we were encouraged to 'whitelist' FH to make it faster to load. There must be something in FH that causes these problems.

Re: Family Historian won't load

Posted: 12 Jan 2018 13:05
by Gowermick
I don’t suppose there is a problem with FH, but rather a problem with the algorithms within BD that makes it decide that FH is dodgy, giving a false positive. Much as you don’t like the idea of a personal whitelist, surely it is better that, than having all these problems everytime they update, and it seems you have the added bonus of speeding things up! Win Win situation as I see it :D

Re: Family Historian won't load

Posted: 12 Jan 2018 13:14
by tatewise
FH is not alone in needing to be excluded from anti-virus scanning.

Also, why would anti-virus packages provide the Exclude feature if it were never needed?
Anti-virus scan signatures are not perfect, so may produce false positives, and that is why the Exclude option is needed.

A Google search for Exclude files or folders from antivirus scanning produces loads of examples.

Re: Family Historian won't load

Posted: 12 Jan 2018 13:16
by LornaCraig
jimlad68 wrote:But this begs the question, why FH, and does it affect any other software?
The other question is why does a Windows update affect some AV software packages? It has been known for a while that some AV software can be over-zealous and block FH, but surely Windows shouldn't affect their algorithms?

Re: Family Historian won't load

Posted: 12 Jan 2018 15:19
by jimlad68
I am a little surprised by the complacency here, I hope it is not just being supportive of Calico Pie and our chosen product. It means that if someone should hijack fh.exe we would never know. The more programs on our personal whitelist the more vulnerable we are. Apart from the obvious 'system type utilities' I have no other programs that I have ever needed to whitelist. If this was extended to many programs on our PCs; that would leave us very vulnerable, especially over the longer term.

I can accept the whitelist as a short term expediency, but the developers affected should either amend their own code, or ensure their programs (with correct crc/hash figures etc) are catered for by the virus etc checkers.

Re: Family Historian won't load

Posted: 12 Jan 2018 15:35
by David2416
Sure it is a false positive?

Re: Family Historian won't load

Posted: 12 Jan 2018 15:49
by mjashby
The fact is that all installed Anti-Virus/Malware software injects code directly into the Operating System (OS); and Windows 10 Updates, especially the major 6-monthly version jumps, continually fight against most applications that work in that way, as the OS is totally replaced by the new version update that performs software compatibility checking. Surprise, surprise, Microsoft's own security application seems to be the only one never to have been directly affected in this way; and most users are becoming increasingly aware that very step-update to Windows 10 almost invariably requires a compatibility update to any 3rd-Party security software installed and sometimes the reinstallation of some other applications after the updates are installed.

Kaspersky, Malwarebytes, Norton, Cylance and all of the other major suppliers have been regularly impacted, along with other 3rd-Party applications that directly alter some part the OS's functionality, including utilities such as VirtualBox. This seems to be largely due to continual efforts to improve OS security, frequently referred to as "Security Hardening", all of which are designed to prevent its functionality from being altered by software that is not on a 'trusted' list and/or not installed by a User with full administrator privileges. I'm not sure why a relatively benign application such as Family Historian should be affected, but it may possibly be because FH is also 'guilty' of injecting 3rd-Party software into the OS on install or when applying updates which could be considered suspect behaviour, i.e. the accompanying PDF software is reinstalled with every update and as that is Printer Driver software it has to interact directly with the OS. In my experience, most software installers which automatically install other 'possibly unnecessary' 3rd-Party software applications appear to end up being black-listed at some time.

Edit: I'm sure Jim is well aware of the number of Software updates that have to be applied whenever MacOS receives a significant update, and most of those updates are full application installations, albeit that most of the work is automated through the MacOS App Store.


Re: Family Historian won't load

Posted: 12 Jan 2018 15:49
by Jane
In my experience reporting a file as a false positive takes a week to get a response from most AV people and at the moment with all the problems with the Windows security patches which break AV programs as well as many Windows 7 PCs it could be longer.

I know Calico run all new releases through Virus Total, but that's not always enough, and it's only 69 virus checkers not all of them.

They are also signed by Calico.

If you don't want to trust the download Calico, simply report the file to your AV supplier and don't use the program until they confirm it's clean.

Another option is to White list it for a week having reported the problem to your AV people and that it off the list.

The real problem with modern virus checkers is that they are fighting a complex attacker and are guessing what might be a problem and they can get it wrong.

Re: Family Historian won't load

Posted: 12 Jan 2018 16:03
by tatewise
The problem reported by the OP is rather different to the later scenarios described.
It was NOT a problem with the download, NOR a problem with the installation process.
Neither of those processes were performed initially, and subsequently they performed OK.
Either directly or coincidental with a Windows Update, the execution of the installed program was inhibited by BD.
There is little that Calico Pie could have done to predict that change in BD after they had distributed the installation files.

Re: Family Historian won't load

Posted: 12 Jan 2018 16:48
by rfj1001
As the OP, the issue was to get FH running again, ideally without a de-install and re-install.

Objective achieved :D

Re: Family Historian won't load

Posted: 12 Jan 2018 17:20
by tatewise
Robin, do spend time finding your missing installation CD and licence keys, as you never know when you will need them urgently.