Running Genealogy Programs and Storing Data on Different Operating Systems

A newsletter reader recently wrote and asked if she could run her favorite genealogy program in a server. I thought I would answer here in public in case others have the same question.

Question: “Can I operate my [program name deleted] genealogy program on a server?”

My answer:

Yes, but only if the server is running the operating system that the program is designed to use.

The program you mentioned is a Windows program so it will work on a Windows server but will not work on Linux servers, Macintosh servers, or on other operating systems.

That is one of the reasons I now keep all my genealogy records and genealogy programs in the cloud. They work on ALL operating systems, even with “smart” cell phones, Android handheld devices, iPads, or Chromebooks.

I no longer have to worry about which operating system is in use or worry about installing software. I can even use a public access computer in a local library to access my records, if necessary, without installing any software in the library’s computer. I also plan to someday purchase a new, cheaper, and probably more powerful computer without worrying about operating system compatibility.

In most cases, information stored in the cloud is safer, more secure, and has more backups than do laptop or desktop computers running Windows, Macintosh, or Linux. Admittedly, I also keep backup copies of everything on a hard drive at home and duplicate copies of the backups in a different file storage service in the cloud. I am a conservative in many ways: I also believe in belts plus suspenders.

Cloud computing isn’t perfect but, for me, it works much better than do Windows, Macintosh, Linux, or other desktop and laptop operating systems.

If you are interested in doing the same, you might want to read my Plus Edition article, (+) Are You Ready for the Future of Computing?, at  A Plus Edition user name and password are required to access that article.


What if… I put the entirety of the Mac 9.2 OS on a 1T USB drive (which also includes Reunion 7)… then plug the 1T USB drive w/Mac 9.2 OS into my Windows 10 laptop…? Will I be able to use the Mac (with genealogy info) via the Windows laptop? Or will that render one or both inoperable… or blow up both?

The search engine for Mac 9.2 is too old to run properly, if at all, but I can do searching on the Windows laptop…, but I want to easily keep my genealogy info up-to-date without switching laptops. In my head, I theorize that with all the Mac 9.2 hard drive info on the USB (and/or portable drive) that has Reunion, I should just be able to switch tabs between a search engine page on Windows and the tab with the USB drive with Reunion on another tab. I still love, love, love the ease of using Reunion 7; there’s just no other genealogy program I’ve tried (free or paid for) that runs more efficiently or is easier to use since I can add or delete categories with ease.

I still can’t find it in me to keep my genealogy info on Ancestry. I’m an editor for several trees there, and loathe the new timeline formatting, as well as their penchant for putting census info in a “residence” category – one can change the residence to census category manually, but it’s a time-wasting nuisance, and then there’s the inability of being able to put in a note or a copy-paste from a document that doesn’t even retain basic single or double spacing, but everything runs together in a huge plain text mess. The only way around it is to make a document or an image and then upload that with properly formatted info – more excessive time that shouldn’t have to be done. Yuk! The inefficiency makes my head hurt.


    —> … then plug the 1T USB drive w/Mac 9.2 OS into my Windows 10 laptop…? Will I be able to use the Mac (with genealogy info) via the Windows laptop?

    The best answer is: “No. Macintosh programs will not run on Windows systems.”

    Admittedly, it is theoretically possible to run Macintosh programs on Windows or Linux by use of somewhat complicated virtualization software and then installing Macintosh operating system software in the second computer. However, that process is rather complicated and requires significant technical knowledge of the inner workings of both Windows and the Macintosh operating system. In short, I wouldn’t recommend that for most people.


    Thanks for trying, Dick. I was hoping that if the entire Mac 9.2 HD was contained on the USB server or the backup server/storage it would work via a separate tab. As it is now, finding things via Windows 10 requires saving to a plain text doc then a USB transfer of that to a USB thumb drive, then plug that into the iBook then copy-paste to Reunion. It gets complicated. The part of my brain that thrives on efficiency is thoroughly rattled by it all. Again, thanks! 🙂


Hi there. I’m looking for some a cloud based genealogy programme that other members of my family – who are scattered around the world – can access and up load information/photos they have on family members. But also something that I own and can download. Any thoughts? Thanks


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