"Old" Chief user needs advice on upgrade


ChiefUserGingerP
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I'll try to be brief: I've been a Chief user since 1994 starting with V4. I owned two license and upgraded both through V9. When V10 came out I upgraded just one license. With V10, and saw no reason to upgrade. I don't do renderings and other goodies. I produce working drawings for house plans. Chief 10 has all I need. 
Three years ago my dear friend Ellis Rue who was also a long time Chief user was diagnosed with cancer. Near the end, he gifted me his newest version (XI) of Chief Architect. I have never transferred the license because I haven't used it. I was saving it as a "back up". 


I've run my CA V10 under MS Windows 7 OS for years. Windows 7 is no longer being supported and I will be forced to change to Windows 10. No problem except that I am afraid my old reliable V10 Chief Architect software will not work when I upgrade my office computer.

 

My experiment this morning: I have a new lap top computer running Windows 10 OS. I loaded my CA XI on the laptop and plugged in the key. I tried to start the program, but the computer will not recognize the key. I tried for hours to find a new driver for the key on line, but was unsuccessful. This is frustrating. 

I'm sorry if this is not the place to ask for help, but I don't know where to turn. I used the forum often in the 1990s and early 2000s and there are a lot of brilliant people on here. I really can't afford to upgrade my software, as I no longer have a business that will support that kind of investment. 

I am 72 years old and semi-retired from the custom home plan business, but I get occasional calls for my stock plans and the client nearly always requires minor changes. When Version 8 came out in 2000 I lost access to all plans created in previous versions. I cannot afford that again. 

I am reluctant to upgrade to Windows 10 on my office computer and take the chance of losing the ability to open the hundreds of house plans I have drawn over the past 20 years. Has anyone else had this problem and if so, can you give me advice? 

 

Thanks! 

 

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I also started with Version 4. I currently have Versions 7 through 22 functional on my Windows 10 Desktop and Laptop. The key to using dongles or "Hardware Locks" is having the correct software driver for that device. You can go to the Chief Architect Website and obtain information on software drivers there. In some cases you may need to go to the hardware lock makers website where they have drivers for their locks for XP, 7, 8 and 10 versions of windows, that is probably all that you need. Monday through Friday you should be able to gain some help by way of Tech Support, though if your SSA has run out, you may have to pay for the help.

 

DJP

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Win10 has a comparability mode feature for running older software

 

If you should chose to start using Chief X11 you can still access your old plans

 

Chief 8 was the last version capable of opening the older format

but the free Chief Viewer ver 8 is available for download and it can open the files 

then save them as the newer format .PLAN files

 

verify this with CA's customer service before activating the X11 license

there will be a $50 fee to transfer the license to your name

If your friend has passed - not sure what they will require to do the transfer 

 

Chief has added a lot of new features since ver 10

so there would be a learning curve 

but you don't have to learn how to use them unless you need them

 

Lew

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Well... I understand your dilemma. 
I've been running old Quickbooks software that I used to upgrade annually, then finally said enough when they weren't adding anything to improve my use and justify the cost.  That was in 2004. It's been fine since then, but finally I can't seem to install it on my newest Win10 machine.  Strangely enough, it does operate on my old desktop which was upgraded to Win10 with that QB software on it.  I've now got an old desktop hogging up space for the last year mainly so I can keep using that software and my old version of AutoCad. 

Then there's the dilemma of what to hold onto and what to let go.  Just in the last two weeks I finally made the difficult decision to toss out 15 years worth of hand drawn plans on vellum.  I have another 15 years worth of AutoCad files which I have on disk, but I only have an old 2004 version of AutoCad which is on that same old computer.  I surely do not plan to purchase another copy of AutoCAD, so once I toss that computer it's goodbye to all those files for all intents and purposes.  I'll keep them on DVD's since that takes so little space, but I probably won't be accessing them ever again.   AutoCAD does at least have a free viewer that I could use if need be.


I have to say that although it initially hurt to toss all those drawings, it definitely feels good to be rid of it now... it was just clutter.   Unless you really think you'll need to use those files electronically, you might consider saving everything to DVD and printing everything to PDF and maybe even add-in some 3D views so you can go back and look at it again at any time.   This is something I've been wondering about myself since I've now experienced this with the aforementioned software, and realize it will be the case with Chief as well some day.   Here is another thought; Chief offers a free trial period with it's software, so you should always be able to at the very least view your old files anytime in the future as long is it remains backwards compatible.

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4 hours ago, DzinEye said:

Just in the last two weeks I finally made the difficult decision to toss out 15 years worth of hand drawn plans on vellum.

Surely you know Murphy is still lurking around somewhere! Just kidding. I am approaching the same difficult decision. I have almost 25-years of printed CA dwgs that I have kept. Don't know if I will toss them, or get a new wife (married 47 years next month). A new wife probably will give me the same advice though. :)

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2 hours ago, Ridge_Runner said:

Surely you know Murphy is still lurking around somewhere! Just kidding. I am approaching the same difficult decision. I have almost 25-years of printed CA dwgs that I have kept. Don't know if I will toss them, or get a new wife (married 47 years next month). A new wife probably will give me the same advice though. :)

Ha ha... too true!  
Wow... congratulations on 47 years!.. that's awesome.   
Better toss those suckers so you can make it to 50 years!  
 

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20 hours ago, ChiefUserGingerP said:


I am reluctant to upgrade to Windows 10 on my office computer and take the chance of losing the ability to open the hundreds of house plans I have drawn over the past 20 years. Has anyone else had this problem and if so, can you give me advice? 

 

Thanks! 

 

Before you upgrade, copy these plans to an external drive like a USB or external hard drive or external solid state drive  Test a few to make sure they open from the external drive.  Then you can safely upgrade to Win10. Win10 includes DRIVE ONE.  DRIVE ONE is a free Cloud backup for the Documents folders.  Everything in that folder will be backed up to the DRIVE ONE cloud.

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A couple of years ago I hired an intern to open every pre-V10 Chief file in X8, save it and create a PDF of the layout.  The plans are now readable in the current Chief software.  We then threw out the printed copy of the plan.  I scanned all the paperwork for the job into the job folder.  I now have a digital file of of most plans from 1994, and all job paperwork. 

 

I've retained all hand drawn plans pre-94 since I do occasionally work for previous clients. I guess it's time to ditch those!

 

I'd much rather have a digital copy.  I have my archives backed up in multiple locations.  I delete all of Chief's Archives folders and drawings.  It's great to be rid of all that paper!

 

Ginger, download the X8 viewer on your new laptop and open your old files and save them.  You'll then have them for use.  It works well and you will have access to your plans.

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Hello and thanks very much for the advice. I was not aware of the X8 viewer, but I will definitely do that. I want to be able to use the files (make changes, update, etc) and keep them as plan files, not just print to pdf. I have many stock plans that are usable for spec homes and my contractors occasionally want new exteriors. 


I started a project last year to print to pdf all of my hand-drawn plans and I now have about 300 sets on an external hard drive and also printed to ledger size and arranged in binders. I have about 150 more sets waiting to be scanned to pdf. I consider hand-drawn plans "art" and it pains me to have to scrap them. 


I am a fanatical backer-upper. <smile> I have a back-up service (Carbonite) and use i-cloud. I also use an external HD for everyday access to the files and the HD is backed up with the two I mentioned. I'm not worried about losing the files. I'm concerned that my CA software will not open under Windows 10. 
What I'm asking is....do others run older CA software such as V10 or XI run under Windows 10? If it's a problem with the key, can I order a new key from CA? The software and keys work on my Windows 7. 

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16 hours ago, lbuttery said:

Win10 has a comparability mode feature for running older software

 

If you should chose to start using Chief X11 you can still access your old plans

 

Chief 8 was the last version capable of opening the older format

but the free Chief Viewer ver 8 is available for download and it can open the files 

then save them as the newer format .PLAN files

 

verify this with CA's customer service before activating the X11 license

there will be a $50 fee to transfer the license to your name

If your friend has passed - not sure what they will require to do the transfer 

 

Chief has added a lot of new features since ver 10

so there would be a learning curve 

but you don't have to learn how to use them unless you need them

 

Lew

The version gifted to me was X1, and I will transfer the license to my name. I have an e-mail from Ellis Rue regarding the gift. You may remember Ellis from 20+ years ago. I remember you and David J Potter. Ellis Rue was a retired orthodontist who went to community college to learn building design. He was also interested in CAD drafting. He found Chief Architect online and purchased an early version. He and I met in the Chief Architect chat room when I got married and moved to Dunedin, FL. 
Ellis and I worked together in Florida for eight years, me being the space planner and designer, Ellis being the detail man. We were a great team and became close friends. During that time we used V8, V9 & V10. We subcontracted projects from a local builder and consulted with a structural engineer. 
My husband and I moved back to Arkansas in 2008 because I wanted to get back in the home plan business. We kept in close contact with the Rues. Ellis had cancer treatments in 2012 and after beating cancer decided to become a substitute teacher as his newest profession. He was 80 years of age and loved working with kids. He also played brass instruments and marched in a huge community band. He was an amazing and interesting man. 

Because he was no longer doing drafting, he sold his plotter. He called me and asked if I'd like to have his software. I said, "Of course!" 
Ellis Rue passed away at 86 and his wife Nancy joined him two years later. 

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I never had the pleasure of meeting either of you, but certainly wish that I had. If memory serves me his profile was J. Ellis Rue. 

 

Sorry that I can't shed additional light on the migration, It sounds like you've got solid advice.

 

You are in Arkansas & I'm in HSV, Alabama - maybe we can meet in the middle and have dinner in Memphis when the plague has passed! 

 

Glad that you're back!

 

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new keys for old versions are not available from CA 

 

they can be available via donation from other users

 

I have donated a few after verifying with CA that they have a valid license

 

I charge $5 to cover the cost of mailing

 

It is a violation of the license to sell older versions that have been upgraded

 

Lew

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If I might dare to summarize. You were gifted Chief XI. Is that Chief X1 or Chief 11? You also have the hardware key that the older software came with and when you 'plug that in' to we can assume a USB port, the key code that should allow you to run X1 (or XI) will not respond and allow you to open Chief? Is that accurate?

 

If not my apologies, if so what I would do is call tech/sales support at Chief, if you haven't already and get their advice. In my experience I have never been denied using older versions (as David attests to above) and they have no specific policy against that usage but the fact you were 'gifted' the software, meaning you are not the original user, may trigger another policy and lessen the willingness of Chief to offer any assistance. If, as the unoriginal user (is that a phrase?) you can get no help from Chief then trying to unlock that hardware key may be the only option.

 

What that 'trying' looks like is difficult to say. Either way good luck and let us know about any progress.

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On 5/31/2020 at 1:14 PM, Cheryl_C_Crane said:

I never had the pleasure of meeting either of you, but certainly wish that I had. If memory serves me his profile was J. Ellis Rue. 

 

Sorry that I can't shed additional light on the migration, It sounds like you've got solid advice.

 

You are in Arkansas & I'm in HSV, Alabama - maybe we can meet in the middle and have dinner in Memphis when the plague has passed! 

 

Glad that you're back!

 

Hello Cheryl! 
I remember you for your helpful posts in the past. I was Ginger Carter for 22 years and I got remarried in 2000 and became Ginger Patterson. Now I do business as Ginger Carter Patterson. My e-mail address is gcpdesigns@gmail.com and I'd love to hear from you! 
I was happy to see names and faces I remember from the old days still helping folks on the Q & A. 
Yes, J. Ellis Rue was Ellis's "formal" name, and probably the name he used on this site. We were never so formal, he was just "Ellis" to me. 
I didn't realize this was going to be such a complicated quest when I posted. The Chief version is 11, and Ellis sent it to me when he was not able to continue our drafting business. If I am not able to use it, then so be it. 
Drop me an e-mail, okay? Perhaps we can meet in the middle! 
Ginger Carter Patterson
 

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6 hours ago, HumbleChief said:

If I might dare to summarize. You were gifted Chief XI. Is that Chief X1 or Chief 11? You also have the hardware key that the older software came with and when you 'plug that in' to we can assume a USB port, the key code that should allow you to run X1 (or XI) will not respond and allow you to open Chief? Is that accurate?

 

If not my apologies, if so what I would do is call tech/sales support at Chief, if you haven't already and get their advice. In my experience I have never been denied using older versions (as David attests to above) and they have no specific policy against that usage but the fact you were 'gifted' the software, meaning you are not the original user, may trigger another policy and lessen the willingness of Chief to offer any assistance. If, as the unoriginal user (is that a phrase?) you can get no help from Chief then trying to unlock that hardware key may be the only option.

 

What that 'trying' looks like is difficult to say. Either way good luck and let us know about any progress.

 

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Yes, my friend and former business partner sent his version 11 to me when he was diagnosed with cancer in September 2011. Yes, it came with the USB dongle (key). I don't think there is anything wrong with the key, I probably need just a new driver. This will be the case regardless of whether I am using CA 10 or 11. 
I have several projects started (in V10, my old stand-by) and I do not want to upgrade my computer and suddenly find myself unable to open the projects my clients are waiting for. 
 

I've been a legal user of Chief Architect for over 25 years, and I very much appreciate the advice and input by all. 

 

Thanks sincerely, 
Ginger Carter Patterson 
 

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If it is possible for you, post a file of one of your plans to this thread and someone can open it up in X12 to verify it will work. If you are concerned with plagiarism, PM me the plan. According to my wife, I can't remember a thing so your secrets are safe with me.

 

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Ginger,

 

I was able to install V10 to a Windows 10 Pro laptop two years ago.  I could never could get it installed to my Windows 10 Pro desktop.  I believe the dongle installation has to be done in a specific order, so follow the instructions carefully.

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