Family Historian Installation Problems

  • Skill Level: Advanced and Intermediate
  • FH versions: V5, V6, and V7
  • In Topics: Installing FH 


This advice applies to installation issues. For licence problems see the Family Historian Licence Problems article.

For more details on current installation issues try Family Historian’s own  Frequently Asked Installation Questions.

One common solution to many problems is to right-click on the installation file ƒh icon and choose Run as administrator from the dropdown menu that appears (the exact details may vary with different versions of Windows). You may have to enter an Administrator password. It may also be necessary to temporarily disable your anti-virus software, or to use Windows Safe Mode. Check that the Family Historian program is not running.

Windows Safe Mode

To enter Safe Mode, ensure you are signed in to an Administrator account, and use one of the following methods.

On Windows 8 or later, click the Power button, hold down the Shift key and click Restart, or on Windows 10, use Start > Settings > Update & Security > Recovery > Restart now. Then in Choose an option select Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup Settings > Restart and finally the Startup Settings menu offers Enter Safe Mode via the F4 key.

When finished, Restart the PC as normal.

Windows Control Panel

In several places below, the advice refers to the Windows Control Panel, but if not sure how to access that, use the following methods from an Administrator account, which should work on all versions of Windows.

Hold down the Windows Logo key while you press the letter X key, then select Control Panel from the menu. If that does not work, then enter Control Panel into the Search/Cortana search box and choose the desktop app.

Error 126: DLL Maybe Missing, Corrupt or Wrong Version

Either zlib.dll or mfc100.dll or msvcr100.dll or some other .dll file may be mentioned. It suggests the Microsoft Visual C++ package normally installed by ƒh was not installed correctly or has been corrupted. It may happen if an upgrade is installed while ƒh is still running.

Close ƒh and try reinstalling the ƒh installation file. If unsuccessful then contact Calico Pie for assistance.

Error: This program does not support the version of Windows your computer is running

This may arise, especially with Windows 10, if you have a broken download installation file. So, either clear the browser cache, or use a different browser, and download the installation file again.

To clear a browser cache:

  • Internet Explorer use Tools > Safety > Delete browsing history and tick just Temporary Internet files.
  • Firefox use Menu > History > Clear Recent History select Time range to clear and tick just Details > Cache.
  • Google Chrome use Menu > History > Clear browsing data.

Error: Family Historian Stopped Working

If you get the error message “Family Historian has stopped working. A problem caused the program to stop working correctly” it is probably due to the Data Execution Prevention (DEP) Windows feature. Try the fix explained by The installation works but Family Historian won’t run. On Windows 10 use Start > Settings > System > About > System info > Advanced system settings and apply the fix explained above.

This error message has also been caused by anti-virus software such as BT Net Protect or McAfee. For full details see The McAfee Saga – Family Historian disappears.

If the message only occurs when viewing Diagrams then it may be a printer driver problem. On Windows 10 use Start > Settings > Devices > Printers & scanners, select the Family Historian PDF pseudo-printer, and click Manage button, then Set as default. On earlier Windows use Control Panel > Devices and Printers, select the Family Historian PDF pseudo-printer, and choose File > Set as default printer. If this resolves the error message, then install or reinstall the latest driver for your printer, and reset it as default printer.

Error: Family Historian Not Responding

Sometimes the message Not Responding may appear in the window title bar. If ƒh is busy, such as creating a backup or a report, then just wait for it to complete.

It has been reported that IBM Security Trusteer Rapport can cause this problem intermittently, and the only known solution is to uninstall Trusteer Rapport. See Forum topic FH Not Reponding.

Error: The system cannot find the file specified

This problem is associated with the Microsoft Security feature ‘Controlled folder access’ that blocks unauthorized or unsafe apps
from accessing or changing files in protected folders. It may arise when installing ƒh or when saving a project, especially from a
non-Administrator account. There may also be Windows Notifications identifying the problem.

From a Windows 10 Administrator account use Start > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Security > Virus & threat protection.
Then select Manage settings, and under Controlled folder access, select Manage Controlled folder access where it can be switched
from On to Off. Alternatively, ƒh can be added to the list of permitted apps that are allowed controlled folder access.

Error: Out of Memory

Sometimes, when making considerable use of Media images, the Out of Memory message occurs, and ƒh must be closed, if necessary by right-clicking its taskbar icon and choosing Close window.

The message does not usually refer to physical memory use, but to reserved memory allocation, formally known as the Commit Charge. The Commit Charge Limit is the sum of PC RAM + Page File size, and that limit is being reached. Since RAM is costly and disk space almost free, the best workaround is to increase the Page File size, as follows:

  • In Windows 10, right-click Start (or in earlier versions open the Control Panel) and choose System.
  • Click Advanced system settings top left to open the System Properties dialogue.
  • On its Advanced tab under Performance click Settings to open the Performance Options.
  • On its Advanced tab under Virtual memory it tells you the Total paging file size for all drives.
  • To increase that value, click Change to open the Virtual Memory dialogue.
  • Clear the Automatically manage paging file… tick box, and set the Custom size values in MB.
  • Use the sizes listed lower down as a guide, and finally click the Set button.

Another setting that may help postpone the Out of Memory message is the Thumbnail Images Cache:

  • In ƒh use Tools > Preferences > General tab, click the Advanced… button at the bottom, and set the Thumbnail Images: to Load When Needed.
  • Locate and delete the Thumbcache.dat file within your Project Cache folder, which if the Project name is Example will be found at Documents\Family Historian Projects\Example\Example.fh_data\Cache\.

See Forum topics:

Family Historian Installs But Won’t Run Properly

ƒh may install OK, but when run, a Windows busy icon appears for a second or so, and then nothing happens. This may be caused by some NVIDIA graphics card OEM drivers. Go to the NVIDIA site where there is an option to detect your graphics card and send you the correct drivers.

ƒh may run, but when displaying any Diagram it crashes. Try setting the default Printer to Family Historian PDF, and if this fixes the problem, then your printer driver probably needs updating, especially if it is a Samsung model.

ƒh may run OK, but many links, icons, buttons and tabs do not work. It has been reported that WindowBlinds is incompatible with ƒh and has the above effect. However, it should be possible to exclude ƒh from WindowBlinds.

Windows Security Warnings

If downloaded using Internet Explorer, the installation file may produce standard warnings such as “This type of file could harm your computer” or “The publisher of Family Historian couldn’t be verified”, but these can be safely ignored. You may need to select options such as Actions or More Options or Run Anyway.

Google Chrome may produce a “File ‘…’ appears malicious warning” that can be ignored and the Keep option chosen.

It has been said that Safari produces a similar warning, and the workaround was to use another browser such as Internet Explorer or Firefox.

If the install produces an Open File – Security Warning window due to an Unknown Publisher, then right-click the downloaded file, choose Properties and on the General tab click the Unblock button followed by the OK button.

On Windows 8 or later, when attempting to install a downloaded file, the following SmartScreen message may appear due an unknown publisher. Simply click More info and then Run anyway to continue the installation.



In Windows 11 the messages may be rather different as shown below. In Edge, there is a red x saying it is unsafe, so click the 3 dots and select ‘keep’ and ‘Keep anyway’ to download the installation file.

Install Locks Up when Installing on Windows 8

This problem only affects a small number of Windows 8 installations. Just after the license key is entered the PC locks up. If this happens leave the PC alone for a minimum of 4 hours and then reboot and try again.

This only affects early ƒh V5 CD installs and earlier programmes; the latest download Version 5 does not have the problem.

Save As PDF File Output is Not Enabled

Sometimes, even if it has worked before, the Save Diagram/Result Set/Report As > PDF File options fail. This happens for several reasons such as the Nova PDF printer has been deleted, or the Family Historian PDF (novaPDF…printer) program has been uninstalled, a Windows upgrade of some sort has damaged the printer for the PDF, or its print spooler has stalled. Try the following three options to resolve the problem.

Option 1: Reinstallation

  • Use Windows 10 Start > Settings > Apps & features or Windows Control Panel > Programs and Features and uninstall Family Historian PDF (novaPDF…printer) if it exists. DO NOT uninstall Family Historian itself.
  • For ƒh V5 or later, download and install from Family Historian PDF (novaPDF v7.7 printer) ~ install_fhnovapdf7.7.400.exe.
  • For ƒh V4 reinstall the latest ƒh V4.1.3 free upgrade.

Option 2: Print Spooler

If Windows 10 Start > Settings > Apps & features or Windows Control Panel > Programs and Features lists Family Historian PDF (novaPDF…printer) but it still fails, check and if necessary start the Windows Print Spooler that often fails after a Windows Restart:

  • Open Control Panel > Devices and Printers, then right-click the Family Historian PDF printer and select Troubleshoot that will say if the Spooler is not running, and will start it.
  • Open Control Panel > Administrative Tools and double-click Services, then scroll down to Print Spooler and if not Running, right-click and choose Start.

Option 3: Microsoft Printer PDF

In Windows 10 there is a Microsoft Printer PDF that can be used instead of Family Historian PDF in the Print window for most of the printing to PDF commands.

Copy & Paste Facts Buttons Do Not Work

If in the Individual Property Box the Copy Fact(s) and Paste Fact(s) buttons do not work, then it is possibly a conflict with an Internet browser add-on called Skype ClickToCall. The problem only arises while the Internet browser, such as Internet Explorer or Firefox, is running with the add-on.






Last update: 22 Feb 2024