Generations Tutorial 60 - Using the Sierra Generations releases in parallel with the A&E/Broderbund Generations Family Tree Plus

Note: This is part of the 'Mike's Generations Tips' series, but because of the length and the extended use of screen shots, it seems more appropriate to call it a 'Generations Tutorial.'

Version: 60.0

Modification date: 06 April 2003

This tip will describe how to set your system so that it can run the new A&E/Broderbund releases of Generations in parallel with the earlier Sierra releases. It will also describe how to use the A&E/Broderbund version of Easychart under Windows XP to resolve the box fill color palette problem. I have done this successfully on my Windows XP Professional system. I advise the user to make SURE they have adequate backups of their system, software, and data before proceeding. I cannot be responsible if people have problems because they did not take care, caveat emptor.

One may wonder why a user would want to run the different packages in parallel on the same machine. There are two primary reasons for this. First, the Sierra packages generally came with more databases that the A&E/Broderbund packages and users may wish to continue using these. Second, the only way to have multiple Generations family files open on a computer at the same time is to have different software versions installed and running. The family file format has been kept the same so this does not cause a problem with those files, all changes have been made in the software. [Thank you Sierra and A&E/Broderbund.]

Sierra ceased development work on the Generations software line with the release of the Generations Deluxe DVD release in the spring of 2001. This software carried an 'official' version number of 8.6, but in most respects it had the same functions and behavior as the 8.5.1 releases, either those upgraded from the 8.5 release or the 8.0 releases.

The software line was bought by A&E in the spring of 2002 and new packages are being produced and distributed for them by Broderbund. The new releases have the version level of 8.5a. They are very similar in appearance and function to Sierra's 8.5.1 and if one checks the version from the File menu, System information, the release will display as 8.5.1. Most changes in the software are cosmetic, reflecting the change in ownership and the new individuals involved in the programming and development.

One substantial bug that was addressed by this release was that of the color box fill palette in the Easytree charting program. The Sierra releases open with the incorrect color palette in Windows NT4, Windows 2000 Professional, and Windows XP. This was corrected in the new v8.5a release but another problem was introduced. Printouts done from the chart would come out with only a black box fill palette and the text in gray. A patch fixing this printing problem in the v8.5a releases was released in February 2003 and is available from the http://www.genealogy.com website. Genealogy.com is a subsidiary of A&E and is tasked with supporting the new releases of Generations for A&E.

The various releases of Generations by Sierra could generally be installed in parallel on the same computer, as the path definitions in the Sierra.ini file (see below) were usually unique. The one instance where there was a conflict was that both the U.S. and U.K. releases of Generations Grande Suite 8 used the same definition (see the Generations Tip on the U.K. releases for more details on this point).

Experimentation with installing the A&E/Broderbund Generations Family Tree Plus on a system with a selection of Sierra releases (Generations Deluxe [v4.2], Generations Grande Suite 6 [v6.0], and Generations Deluxe DVD [v8.6]) showed that the Generations Deluxe DVD release had to be uninstalled before Generations Family Tree Plus could be installed. This was prompted by the Generations Family Tree Plus installation software. I have not yet experimented with all of the Sierra v8 and v8.5 releases to see if they also must be uninstalled, but it would not surprise me. Note that the Generations Family Tree Plus software could be installed on the system in parallel with the Generations Deluxe [v4.2] and Generations Grande Suite v6 releases. I also tried reinstalling the Generations Deluxe DVD release and this similarly required uninstallating the Generations Family Tree Plus software.

It is possible to have the Sierra and A&E/Broderbund releases installed on the same computer and it is also possible to take advantage of the fixes in the A&E/Broderbund v8.5a Easychart program. This means that you may use the Sierra releases on Windows XP and have the charts both display with the correct box fill color palette and print out with the correct palette. The fix for the Easychart problem under XP requires that the user purchase one of the A&E/Broderbund releases and download and apply the upgrade patch file from the Genealogy.com website. The patch will not fix the problem in the Sierra releases of Easychart. The patch program upgrades the executable file of the A&E/Broderbund release directly, so it runs a check to make sure that the Easychart program is the correct version.

Sierra.ini

This is an example of the Sierra.ini initialization file found in the Windows directory. This is more complex than the one which would be found in most user's machines, because I have multiple versions of the software on my machine (but by no means all of them). Entries where the values are <...> indicate that personal data has been removed from this example. Software included in this particular file are Generations Deluxe (v4.2 = 'GEN4' in the file); Generations Grande Suite v6 (v6.0 = 'GEN6' in the file); and Generations Deluxe DVD (v8.6 = 'GLXDVD' in the file).

[Config]
MachineID={0856D2BA-D943-4800-92
MIDI=NeoMagic AV FMSynth (WDM)
WAVE=NeoMagic AV Audio (WDM)
CPU Maker=Intel
CPU Model=Pentium II
CPU Speed=greater than 266
CD Speed=DVD
ScreenWidth=1024
ScreenHeight=768
Colors=16777216
WinVer=Windows NT
Language=English
PhysicalMem=261572
[Sierra]
UtilityDir=C:\Program Files\Sierra On-Line
SierraDir=C:\SIERRA
[Gen4]
GenDir=C:\SIERRA\GEN4
CDPath=E:\
CD2Path=E:\
CD3Path=E:\
Win32=1
[Redirect]
UnInstall=C:\WINDOWS\ISUNINST.EXE
Utility=C:\PROGRA~1\SIERRA~1\SUTIL32.EXE
[UserInfo]
FirstName=<...>
LastName=<...>
Address=<...>
Address2=
City=<...>
Province=
ProvinceUser=
State=Utah
Island=
ZipCode=<...>
Country=<...>
Phone=<...>
OtherStore=
EmailAddress=<...>
Store=<...>
Games=<...>
Child=0
Prod=0
Age2=0
Age3=0
Age6=0
Age9=0
Age12=0
Age16=0
InterAction=0
Organization=
MiddleName=
NoSell=Y
[paths]
Generations(r) Grande Suite 6=C:\SIERRA\GEN6
GLXDVD=C:\Sierra\GLXDVD
[GEN6]
GenDir=C:\SIERRA\GEN6
CDPath=E:\
CD2Path=E:\
CD3Path=E:\
HRPath=E:\
NGPath=E:\
MRPath=E:\
Win32=1
Reminder=0
[GLXDVD]
Reminder=0
GenDir=C:\Sierra\GLXDVD
CDPath=E:\
CD2Path=E:\
CD3Path=E:\
HRPath=E:\
NGPath=E:\
MRPath=E:\
HQCatDir=E:\HQ Catalog
Win32=1

Sierra.ini edited to remove the references to the Generations Deluxe DVD release

[Config]
MachineID={0856D2BA-D943-4800-92
MIDI=NeoMagic AV FMSynth (WDM)
WAVE=NeoMagic AV Audio (WDM)
CPU Maker=Intel
CPU Model=Pentium II
CPU Speed=greater than 266
CD Speed=DVD
[Sierra]
UtilityDir=C:\Program Files\Sierra On-Line
SierraDir=C:\SIERRA
[Gen4]
GenDir=C:\SIERRA\GEN4
CDPath=E:\
CD2Path=E:\
CD3Path=E:\
Win32=1
[Redirect]
UnInstall=C:\WINDOWS\ISUNINST.EXE
Utility=C:\PROGRA~1\SIERRA~1\SUTIL32.EXE
[UserInfo]
FirstName=<...>
LastName=<...>
Address=<...>
Address2=
City=<...>
Province=
ProvinceUser=
State=Utah
Island=
ZipCode=<...>
Country=<...>
Phone=<...>
OtherStore=
EmailAddress=<...>
Store=<...>
Games=<...>
Child=0
Prod=0
Age2=0
Age3=0
Age6=0
Age9=0
Age12=0
Age16=0
InterAction=0
Organization=
MiddleName=
NoSell=Y
[paths]
Generations(r) Grande Suite 6=C:\SIERRA\GEN6 [GEN6]
GenDir=C:\SIERRA\GEN6
CDPath=E:\
CD2Path=E:\
CD3Path=E:\
HRPath=E:\
NGPath=E:\
MRPath=E:\
Win32=1
Reminder=0
[GLXDVD]
Reminder=0

Generations.ini

The following is the 'Generations.ini' file from the Windows directory. This is set up by Generations Family Tree Plus by A&E/Broderbund. Note that it uses a different path definition for Generations, but that it uses the same path definitions for the CD locations.

[Config]
ScreenWidth=1024
ScreenHeight=768
Colors=16777216
WinVer=Windows NT
Language=English
PhysicalMem=261572
[paths]
Generations=C:\Program Files\Generations
[Generations]
Reminder=0
GenDir="C:\Program Files\Generations"
CDPath=E:\
CD2Path=E:\
CD3Path=E:\
HRPath=E:\
NGPath=E:\
MRPath=E:\
HQCatDir=E:\HQ Catalog
Win32=1

The following steps should be done to allow the later reinstallation of the Sierra release.

Figure 1. Winzip table of contents for software backup file. This file contains extensive family files, reports, and charts, so do not be concerned by the indicated size for the file.

  1. Save a copy of the Sierra.ini file in the Windows directory (normally C:\Windows or C:\WinNT). Name the copy something like Sierra.org.
  2. Backup your files for the Sierra release you will be uninstalling/reinstalling. It will not be necessary to backup your family files, reports, or charts. It is, of course prudent to back those up on a regular schedule (see Generations Tip 1). I would recommend that a utility such as Winzip be used to do this backup. I have inserted a screenshot of Winzip below. I have included all files in this particular Winzip archive as a matter of convenience. There are a large number of files in this archive because I have several Internet Family Tree reports in the Reports folder.
  3. The Sierra release may now be uninstalled.
  4. The A&E/Broderbund release is then installed.
  5. The patch file from the Genealogy.com website should then be applied to the A&E/Broderbund release, normally found in 'C:\Program Files\Generations'. I would recommend that users accept the option to make backups of the original files.
  6. Now the backed up copy of the original Sierra.ini file (step 1 above), can be copied to the original location and name of Sierra.ini.
  7. The archived copy of the Sierra release can now be restored to the original location. Note that things are now nearly the same as they were originally with regard to the Sierra release except that it will not show in the Add/Remove Programs applet in the Windows Control Panel. Also, you will need to manually re-add a desktop shortcut and an entry in the Program section of the Start Menu.
  8. Now you should go to the Sierra software directory, in my case 'C:\Sierra\Glxdvd', and make a copy of the original Easychart application, 'Chart8.exe'. It should be named something such as 'Chart8 original.exe'.
  9. Go to the A&E/Broderbund directory and copy the 'Chart8.exe' application from that directory. Remember that this is the patched version from step 5 above. Paste this into the relevant Sierra directory. Since the data format for the files sent by Easytree to Easychart has not changed, you will now see that the charts both open up with the correct box fill color palette and print with the correct palette.
  10. Note that there were some significant changes in the arrangement of the support files used by both Easytree and Easychart in the v8 release. Simply copying the Chart8.exe file by itself into the program directory for any earlier release such as Generations Grande Suite 6, renaming it to Chart6.exe (for this example) and trying to run it will cause problems.

The figure below shows a simple 2 generation descendant chart with using the Wshakespeare.uds sample file (from Generations Deluxe DVD) using Chart8.exe from a Sierra v8.5.1 installation.

Figure 2. Sample descendant chart under XP with Sierra version of Chart8.exe

The figure below shows a simple 2 generation descendant chart with using the Wshakespeare.uds sample file (from Generations Deluxe DVD) using the patched A&E/Broderbund v8.5a release of Chart8.exe, installed in the Sierra Generations Deluxe DVD directory.

Figure 3. Sample descendant chart under XP with patched version of A&E/Broderbund Chart8.exe

Regards,

Mike Hobart

(c) 2003 Michael A. Hobart, commercial use reserved.

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