Backup and Restore Family Historian Settings ~ Frequently Asked Questions

When will Settings transfer between Family Historian programs?

The Plugin allows all settings to be transferred between fh programs as follows:

  • When re-installing fh on the same PC.
  • When fh is synchronised across PC using a utility such as Dropbox.

However, this will only be successful under certain conditions:

  • An absolutely identical fh Version MUST be installed on each PC (unless relaxed by the Options). To check the full four digit version, hold down the Shft key while using Help > About Family Historian.
  • It is best if a similar Windows OS is on each PC, but whether 32-bit or 64-bit is not significant. Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7 and Windows Vista should be compatible, and other combinations will work with caveats related to the path name differences mentioned below.
  • The same file path must be used on each PC for any Diagram Background Picture files, or any Box Icon files NOT stored within the FH Program Data Folder Icons sub-folder. These file paths may include the Windows Account username, and at present there is no simple workaround. The Backup Data folder ImageList.txt file identifies which item references which file path.

Sometimes the Tools > Preferences > Default Startup File and Default Backup Folder may need to be re-specified.

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How can settings be moved from PC to PC?

When upgrading from an old PC to a new PC follow the steps below:

  1. Install Family Historian Version 5 or 6 with the same absolutely identical latest version on both PC.

  2. Download Backup and Restore Family Historian Settings from the Plugin Store and install on both PC.

  3. On the old PC use the Plugin Backup tab to Backup all settings to any suitable Backup Data folder (but see the next FAQ).

  4. Use Windows File Explorer to transfer this folder with your Projects via some intermediate storage such as a USB memory stick to the new PC.

  5. On the new PC ensure the File > Project Window > Location: and the Tools > Preferences > Default Startup File and Default Backup Folder are specified correctly as these settings are NOT included in the Backup Data.

  6. On the new PC use the Plugin Restore tab to Restore all settings from the folder (but see the next FAQ).

On some versions of Windows and disk filing systems, Daylight Saving Time (DST/GMT/BST) can cause a 1 hour offset between Program Data and Backup Data date-time stamps, but is automatically accommodated by the Plugin.

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Can settings be restored without writing to the Windows Registry?

There are risks with writing to the Windows Registry, and it is reasonable to be nervous about it, which is why there is a separate Option to enable the Registry Data Keys button, but remember that fh regularly writes to the Windows Registry to preserve many of its settings.

The things that can only be restored by using the Registry Data Keys button are the Tools > Preferences settings and preserved popup window positions & sizes. If you opt out of the automatic Restore, these will need to be adjusted by hand.

The things that can be restored without using the Registry Data Keys button are most customisations of Diagrams, Diagram Text Schemes, Fact Sets, Flags, Icons, Plugins, Property Box Tabs, Queries, Reports, Search the Internet sites, and the Tutorials.

A few things kept in the Windows Registry, can also be restored without using the Registry Data Keys button, but need a little organisation:

  • Records Window Configured Columns can utilise custom Queries as follows:
    Before Backup use Save to Query, and after Restore use Load from Query.
  • The special Core Standard Diagrams can utilise custom Diagrams as follows:
    Before Backup use Diagram > Save Diagram As > Custom Diagram Type, and after Restore use View > Custom Diagram Types and then Diagram > Settings > Save As Default Settings.

See how to Move Family Historian Settings and Projects for further details.

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Are there any limitations to using the Plugin?

  • Diagram Background Picture files, or any Box Icon files NOT stored within the FH Program Data Folder Icons sub-folder may not transfer successfully from PC to PC. This is because the full path for such files is stored in the fh data. If an identical path does not exist on both PC then the Background Picture or Box Icon will vanish from the associated Diagram on the destination PC. The image files and the ImageList.txt file saved in the Plugin Backup Data folder allow the settings to be reselected one by one.
  • Filenames with the format ~fh*.tmp may get created by fh in various error situations. Since fh V6.0 a Map Cache is created of Map Window image files. Such files are NOT saved by the Backup operation.
  • The …AppData\Roaming\Calico Pie\Family Historian\Preferences\prefs.dat file holds the current Colour Scheme settings, but is only restored by the Registry Data Keys button, because fh V6 overwrites the file when it closes.
  • When running within Crossover or Wine, custom Named List column Registry Data Keys are NOT saved by the Backup operation unless the Named List exists in the current Project.
  • Folder and file names must be represented in the ANSI character set. This is unlikely to be a problem, because most programs, including fh, will not handle non-ANSI names correctly. This limitation is in the LUA Filing System library.
  • When copying folders the Plugin will fail if the folder contains 'hard links'. This is unlikely to be a major problem, because fh data folders do not contain 'hard links'. This limitation is in the LUA Filing System library.

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How can Family Historian Beta settings be copied to full version?

While any fh Beta version is being tested its settings are saved independently from the fh full version. When testing has finished, it is often convenient to migrate the fh Beta settings to the full version. The following steps should achieve that objective:

  1. Open the Plugin and on its Options tab use the Open Backup Folder button.

  2. Windows File Explorer should show both a Family Historian and Family Historian *.* Beta folder.

  3. Delete the Family Historian folder, which can be recovered from the Recycle Bin if necessary.

  4. Rename the Family Historian *.* Beta folder to Family Historian and close Windows File Explorer.

  5. Tick the option to Allow the FH Program Version to be later than the Backup Data Version.

  6. Tick the option to Allow Restore Registry Data if that is required.

  7. Use the Restore tab as usual to update the fh full version settings.

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What causes "The Internet appears to be inaccessible" message?

This Plugin checks the Plugin Store for a later version via the Internet. If there is no connection, this message is produced.

While there is no connection, the message is inhibited by all Plugins with this feature, until none of them have been run for 10 hours, or one of them detects the connection is restored.

Also the online Help & Advice pages will be inaccessible.

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