Running Family Historian on Wine


The advice below applies to these or later stable versions of Wine from Wine HQ.

  • WineHQ Version 5.0
  • Wine Download for Mac OS X Version 5.0
  • Wine Downloads for Linux Version 5.0
  • Mac OSX Versions 10.11(El Capitan) onwards
  • Linux Versions (Ubuntu v20.03 and Linux Mint 19.3 are known to be compatible)

Only the latest versions of ƒh and AS are supported as described below.

Also see Reported Problems.

Family Historian V7

Family Historian V7 has some significant issues running on Crossover. Only install ƒh V7 if you are aware of these limitations.

  • During the install process of V7 into a Wine Bottle it will report errors and may hang whist installing the Nova PDF driver
  • Reports do not work. They display a black screen in preview mode, unlike V6 which prints the report content correctly, V7 will print a black report to the printer
  • Reports cannot be saved to the Mac pdf printer
  • Reports can be saved as RTF files and these will display and print correctly using an external program
  • If a notes field is selected and just a formatting change is made then no save button is displayed. To alter formatting additional text must be added to the note, formatting applied and then the additional text deleted, now a save button will be displayed.
  • Pasting text from a Mac/Linux window or browser must be pasted in as unformatted text otherwise it will not paste into the Note, Text from Source etc fields in ƒh
  • Carriage returns may be stripped from Note, Text from Source fields etc and similar on import into a new project.

{This section needs checking} In Wine run winecfg, and with Default Settings selected under Applications, set Windows Version to Windows 7, and ensure that Drives are set appropriately. Install programs using the wine command to specify their installation .exe file. ( It is not certain whether WINEARCH is required to set a win32 wineprefix for FH which is a 32-bit application.) See Wine User’s Guide part 3 Using Wine.

Install these applications:

Program Configuration

To ensure ƒh Reports display text correctly, set ƒh Tools > Preferences > General > Advanced > Emulator Compatibility Mode.

All the ƒh and AS settings below should specify similar folder paths, usually involving the Documents folder, and all the named folders and files must actually exist.

  • ƒh File > Project Window in the Location field
  • ƒh Tools > Preferences > Startup in the Default Startup File field
  • ƒhTools > Preferences > Backup in the Default Backup Folder field
  • AS Tools > Options > General settings > Folders in all three fields

If necessary, it is advisable to create new folders using Crossover, PlayOnLinux/Mac or Wine rather than within ƒh or AS windows.

Configuration changes are needed as described below in Plugins to allow some Plugins to work.

File paths

  {Needs checking} ~ Example file paths.

Program Updates

The simplest way to update both ƒh and AS is to use their own Help > Check for Updates commands and follow the automated download and install process, although this may not succeed in Wine.

Otherwise use the following strategies for both ƒh and AS program updates.

{Needs checking} After the update has been downloaded, preferably using Firefox, it may be necessary to copy the update file to the virtual C drive and run the update exe file from there and apply it to the existing bottle. –  See thread Upgrading FH to 6.2.3 on a MAC with wine for further advice.


Plugins downloaded from the Plugin Store sometimes will not import using the browser Open With option, although Save followed by an explicit Import command works OK. A workaround in Firefox is to use its Firefox > Preferences settings to associate .fh_lua Plugin files with Family Historian then Open With works OK too.

Plugin Library Modules

Some Plugins require extra library modules not included in the ƒh installation, but their download will fail or be very slow. So download and run the Install Library Modules Plugin shortcut to install these library modules in advance: compat53, luasql, md5, mime, pl, socket, utf8 & zip.

Problems With Plugins

The Plugins listed below may have limitations. Ensure that COMPUTERNAME is set as advised above.

Backup and Restore Family Historian Settings

Version 2.5 or later is almost fully operational in Crossover but fails in Wine. Even in Crossover it only detects the primary Family Historian installation, and NOT any subsidiary installations such as Family Historian Demo 3.0 or Family Historian 6.0 Beta, and it will omit the settings of any custom Named List not mentioned in the current Project.  PlayOnLinux/Mac this plugin is operational in the current version.

Check Installed Plugins Against the Store

This may say all Plugins are Not In Store because Crossover does not support the winhttp service needed to check the Plugin Store. See Forum thread Check Installed Plugins Against the Store – Crossover issue.

This plugin works in PlayOnLinux/Mac, however, on occasions when performing the update ƒh will crash. So manual install is a safer option for plugin updates.

Some Plugins also check the Plugin Store for a later version, but cannot do so for the same reason as above.

Therefore, it is necessary to occasionally check the Plugin Store manually to ensure you have the latest versions.

This problem appears to be partially fixed in Crossover 18.5.0 although automatic Plugin Store downloads still fail, so must be updated manually.

Research Planner

This Plugin also relies on the winhttp service so will fail in Crossover (& Wine? ).

Printing and PDF

All ƒh Print Setup and Print options work with any Mac (or Linux?) printer, even when a Report is displayed incorrectly on screen (see Reported Problems below).

The free PDFWriter for Mac offers a way of creating PDF output via the ƒh Print commands rather than the ƒh Save Diagram/Report As > PDF File (.pdf) commands.

The free CUPS-PDF for Linux offers similar PDF features.

Reported Problems

Avoid using Internet Explorer as it can lead to download issues. Instead use Firefox or Chrome in the native Mac or Linux environment.

Although the Family Historian PDF (novaPDF printer) installs, Wine based emulators do not support Windows printer drivers, so the novaPDF printer does not work.

You can use the wine uninstaller or wine control to remove it if you want to.

Having done so, the ƒh Save Diagram/Report As > PDF File (.pdf) commands say PDF file output is not enabled.

Some ƒh Reports may display text incorrectly, but this is usually cured by using Tools > Preferences > General > Advanced > Emulator Compatibility Mode. See Index for related topics

Use Tools > Preferences > Internet Data Matches > Location to Display Matches: External Web Browser to avoid problems with the internal window.

The ƒh command Tools > Preferences > Backup > <<Select > Make New Folder, and similar commands in Plugins, produce a hieroglyphic error message. The workaround is to create the folder beforehand using Crossover, PlayOnLinux/Mac or Wine, and select the pre-existing folder in ƒh or Plugins.

When changing a Date field and the Invalid Date message opens saying Unknown date. Please enter a valid date. do not change focus to another application as ƒh will freeze and must be closed. This problem may affect other error messages.

If ƒh &/or AS &/or another program are running at the same time, and one program changes the shared GEDCOM file, then the other program(s) correctly report the file has changed, but then may freeze and Force Quit must be used.

Last update: 23 Apr 2021