Changes for Family Tree Maker Support When Used with Windows XP

Anyone using Family Tree Maker as their genealogy program probably has already seen this warning that now pops up when you launch the program:

We’re making updates that may impact your Family Tree Maker experience. Starting in October 2014, Ancestry Web Search within Family Tree Maker software will have reduced functionality or may not be supported by Microsoft Windows XP, Microsoft Windows Vista or Internet Explorer 8 or 9. Moving forward, Microsoft Windows 7 or 8 will be required for Ancestry Web Search functionality to work properly.

That can be jarring to anyone who uses Windows XP, Vista, or Internet Explorer version 8 or 9. However, I cannot blame Ancestry.com, the producers of Family Tree Maker. I think it is a wise move. I suspect many users of Family Tree Maker will disagree with me, however.

Windows XP was released in August, 2001. That’s 13 years ago. Windows XP has now been replaced three times (Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8), not counting the minor updates along the way. Windows XP is now three major releases out of date. In other words, it is ancient.

In fact, Windows XP was supported longer than any other operating system ever produced by Microsoft. Now the end is here.

Microsoft no longer supports Windows XP. If Ancestry or any other company encounters a programming problem or any other problem with Windows XP, Microsoft will no longer support them. That’s high risk for any business. Nobody wants to release and/or support a program when the underlying operating system’s producer will not back them up.

I would not want to be the CEO of a company that was selling software and trying to support it for an operating system that is no longer supported by the producer. That could be a headache for any software producer. We have already seen numerous programs outside of genealogy products announce that they will no longer support use of their product on Windows XP. We should not be surprised when we see similar announcements from a genealogy software producer.

The announcement does not say that Family Tree Maker will cease operating on Windows XP. In fact, Family Tree Maker probably will continue to operate well on the old operating system for a long time yet. The new announcement simply indicates that if a Family Tree Maker user who is running the program on Windows XP ever encounters a problem, Ancestry.com cannot guarantee a fix for it. Since Microsoft is not guaranteeing fixes for Ancestry.com, it makes sense that Ancestry.com cannot guarantee fixes for its customers who use the obsolete operating system.

It is a somewhat similar story with Internet Explorer but with one difference: the older versions of Internet Explorer are buggy and have security nightmares. Microsoft is terminating support of version 8 in January, 2016. I don’t know when version 9 will become unsupported. In my opinion, nobody should be using any version of Internet Explorer. It has proven to have too many security problems for years and years. Better and safer web browsers are available: Firefox, Chrome, and Opera. Pick one. Any of those three is a better choice than Internet Explorer and all of them are also available free of charge.

In the computer world, as in almost everyplace else, nothing lasts forever. Admittedly, things change faster in the computer world than in most other places, but change is inevitable.

20 Comments

Yes, Windows XP is obsolete. However, I have a large 11″ x 17″ scanner that works on Windows XP, but for which there are no drivers for Windows Vista, 7, 8, etc.

I have a high-quality $750 Nikon CoolScan negative scanner that likewise only works on XP. A lovely Intel Play electronic microscope that only works on XP.

I have an old XP PC dedicated to these peripherals that (I hope) will be around for a while.

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Maybe it is time for Family Tree Maker to go too. I’ve used it since Ver. 3. However, after one or two merges with Ancestry.com it gobbles up memory and crashes if I don’t Exit and restart it. A real pain. Support just says to reduce the people in my file. :(

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    Isn’t that the main goal of genealogy? To reduce the number of people in your file? They’re morons (if I can say that without it being edited) for even suggesting that.

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My experience with engineering software was that “not supported” meant that no one would talk to you on the telephone or respond to email questions beyond “you need to upgrade.” With some luck your current version of FTM will continue to run along merrily on Windows XP. I have a genealogy friend who still bemoans the fact that FTM version 16 won’t run on her computer. That version of FTM is almost as old as Windows XP. It did run in Windows 7 but you had to jump through a few hoops to get it to print and write report files.

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I have Windows 7 IE 11.0 something, and FTM 2012. They have blocked my access to seeing Ancestry beyond the first two selections when you are on ancestry in FTM. So, it does not matter if you have up to date equipment, FTM still does not work. I get around it by selecting open into new window.

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If this happens then Ancestry needs to let Chrome access its website. I can’t get anything to move or let me in with Chrome so have to use IE. I have told them about this-who knows what happened to that request
carol

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I agree with Carole, I wish tha FTM would allow Chrome as an internet choise….Len

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I was told yesterday by Ancestry that regardless of what browser you use, Internet Explorer is imbedded in Family Tree and you have no other choice to change your brower. Their recomendation was to do your search thru ancestry.com and upload your changes into FTM.

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    Interestingly, I get different results on identical information, using Chrome (or Firefox) compared to FTM searches. There are also data that can only be accessed thru online trees. Simple stuff, like someone in a census. Must be a gigantic pain trying to make a massive data base searchable with consistent results.

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Your OS discussion centered on XP only, but the announcement you quoted also said that Vista would not be supported. I agree on XP, but not on Vista. Microsoft still supports Vista and it is very similar to Windows 7. Likewise virtually all peripheral and other software manufacturers still support Vista. To stop supporting Vista is a bad move.

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Patricia K. Anderson August 19, 2014 at 4:11 pm

I bought to latest version of Family Tree Maker. I installed it in my new computer that has Windows 8.1. It doesn’t work – you can’t even open it. HELP!

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I’ve used Chrome for at least 3 years with Ancestry and FTM. No problems I’m aware of. I bought a Chromebook last month and still have no problem with Ancestry. Of course, no FTM on the Chromebook.

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If I understand this correctly, I think the folks at Ancestry.com have done everyone wrong. From what I can tell, FTM 2014 was released in 9/10/2013. Microsoft’s support for XP ended in 4/8/2014. So, at the time the application was released, they did support XP and should support it fully. Now, this doesn’t mean that I would expect them to continue to support long after it was eclipsed by future version of FTM, just as I don’t expect Microsoft to support XP after future OSs have eclipsed it. The “done us wrong” comes from the reduced support for their current version for an OS the originally did support when the application was purchased. If you want to drop support for an OS, you do it in the next version, not the current one, which will still be current when the make the change in October.
Now, if a bug was found in the application that was caused by something in the OS that Microsoft isn’t willing to fix, I can understand that, but from what this article says, they are reducing search functionality. How is that caused by a bug that Microsoft won’t fix in the OS unless that bug opens up a security hole and the only way to patch it is to remove certain functionality that exposes it.
The good news is that the purchase of this application is well within the return time so that option will be exercised but I plan to spend my two cents on their forum with the hopes that I get a reasonable explanation.

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    I will not purchase anymore of the FTM’s until they give you full support of the functions of FTM. Taking current functions away is ludicrous. I have found a way around it, but when I pay for something to work one way, I expect it to continue working. I use Windows 7, and the function of looking at the actual item is what will not work. It went away when they started adding Familysearch and the Library of Congress little flags that show up all the time now. They lost my business in sales, and I am sure others will no longer purchase or upgrade anymore either with this loss of functions, which is the reason I purchased this product in the first place. I would have gone with Legacy instead.

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I love Win XP, and run FTM v.16 on it. I also own FTM v.2012. When I tried FTM v.2012, it sucked up my FTM.16, until I stopped it. I didn’t like the interface it was using (call me old fashioned). Still use .16 and haven’t had any problems yet. When Ancestry stops the ability to find records just by clicking the link under a person’s name, I will just open Ancestry.com by signing in. I will use XP as long as I can, I have a back-up service to help, take regular back-ups, and make CD’s of it. I have used my husband’s Desktop Vista OS, and his laptop’s Windows 7, and I (and he) don’t like either of them. So onward I go until a better OS comes up that I can afford and enjoy.
That being said, how can I use FTM v.2012, while still using FTM.v16? Is there a way to do that on the same XP??

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Leonard Middlebrooks August 31, 2014 at 9:53 am

This is another case of not reading the Ancestry statement…Starting in October 2014, Ancestry Web Search within Family Tree Maker software will have reduced functionality…. It is the Web search function that is discontinued; the rest is meaningless as Ancestry has not supported the XP versions for some time. My opinion is that Ancestry spends more time supporting new bloated software that supporting its customers. This is why nearly all of our 50+ genealogy club members are moving to Legacy. One would think that Ancestry would have learned after the post version 16 program changes.

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    By “some time” to you means, “9/10/2013″? That isn’t that long ago that this version was released and claimed to support this version of the OS. I really don’t care what they spend. If they say they will support a version for an OS then do it. We all knew when XP was going to become end of life, Why didn’t they just say FTM 2014 wouldn’t support it? Don’t switch support during a specific version. You just don’t do that.

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    I am on Windows 7 IE 11.something, and I cannot use the function. I think they have just blocked it out completely, and are just flat out lying.

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