Upgrading to Family Historian 7

This page describes how to upgrade an earlier Family Historian installation to Version 7, released in December 2020.

Ordering Your Upgrade

Users of registered copies of ƒh6 and ƒh5 may be entitled to upgrade discounts (or a free upgrade from a recently-purchased copy of ƒh6), as described at Family Historian 7 Upgrade page within the Family Historian store using the process described there.  Users of older versions wishing to upgrade need to purchase the full version.

Unlike earlier versions, ƒh7 is only available as a download, and there is no option to purchase a CD copy.

Both full and upgrade versions of ƒh7 require the purchaser to register with a Family Historian account.  This is used for subsequent activation of the product using an activation code that is e-mailed to you with a download link.

Before you order, check that your current operating system is supported (Vista has been dropped from the list of supported environments, so you must be running Windows 10, 8.1, 8 or 7). If running on a Virtual Machine or in an emulated environment then Windows 7 or later is required.  However, remember that only Windows 8 and later are receiving security updates, so any remaining users of Windows 7 should seriously consider upgrading their operating system as well.

Backing Up Projects and Settings

Prior to installing ƒh7, you should ensure that you have full backups of all of your ƒh projects, and of your settings and customisations.  Without these, it is very difficult to fully restore your existing configuration if anything goes wrong during the upgrade or you later change your mind and want to revert to your current version of ƒh.

Backing Up Projects

Backing up project data should be a normal part of your day-to-day usage of ƒh, and is described here.

Backing Up Settings

Settings and customisations (e.g. custom Queries, Plugins or Fact Sets) can be backed up using the Backup and Restore Family Historian Settings plugin.  However, note that this plugin should not be used to transfer settings between different versions of ƒh, due to incompatibilities between versions.

These project and settings backups should be kept in a safe place until you are sure that you will not need them to revert to your old version of ƒh.  You should take particular care to ensure that they are not accidentally overwritten by subsequent ƒh7 backups.

Installing and Activating the Version 7 Upgrade

Step-by-step instructions for installing and activating ƒh7 are given on the Calico Pie website.  Note in particular the requirement to have an activation code prior to starting the installation.  The first time ƒh7 runs, it requests this code, which is then permanently associated with your account.  Any future reinstallation can be activated simply with your user name and password.

ƒh7 continues the Calico Pie policy of new releases overwriting previous ones.  It is not possible to run ƒh7 alongside a previous version, as even the free evaluation version will overwrite your old installation.  Users wishing to trial ƒh7 prior to upgrading will need to run the evaluation version on a separate PC (or in a VM for experienced computer users familiar with running multiple installations).

Using Version 7

ƒh7 will inherit most of your settings and customisations from previous versions, although some minor tweaking may be required.  Calico Pie have provided detailed notes on potential issues affecting upgraders.  The two main areas that will impact the most users are probably changes to the Property Box, where customizations are not restored by default, and in plugins, where all existing plugins are disabled on upgrade.

Both Property Box customizations and plugins can be restored using the procedures described in the upgrade notes referenced above.

When a project from a previous version is loaded into ƒh7 for the first time, the user is informed that it will be upgraded to the new format.  Once this is done, the project should not be used in earlier versions of ƒh, otherwise data corruption is likely.  ƒh6 will recognise an ƒh7 project and give a warning message if you try to load it, but ƒh5 and earlier do not.

It is good practice to create a copy of your main project when first using ƒh7, and use this copy as a testbed to become familiar with the new program.

ƒh7 also comes with an updated set of standard queries, and not all queries from earlier versions will run correctly in ƒh7 (and vice versa). However, existing queries are not disabled when upgrading as queries only read data, and cannot update it. A faulty query cannot corrupt user data, unlike a faulty plugin.

Although multiple versions of ƒh cannot be installed on the same PC, it is perfectly possible for more advanced users to operate different versions on two different PCs and use a local network or cloud storage to selectively synchronise features such as queries, plugins, fact sets, etc. (provided, of course, that any incompatibilities are noted).  However, for the reasons described above, user projects cannot be shared between ƒh7 and earlier versions, and using different default project folders is recommended to keep user data separate.

Last update: 30 Jan 2021