Updated April 2015

It’s always fun to get a shiny new computer, but there’s a bit of planning and effort required to implement a seamless transfer of your programs to the new computer.  This tip explains how to install and set up Historian*  on a new computer. This tip has been made available free to members and non-members. Some links on this page may be to member-only content. To become a member, or find out more about pixels2Pages membership, click HERE.

NB It is no longer possible to install Memory Manager on a new computer, as there is no way to activate the program. You will need to purchase and install Historian, if you are moving to a new computer. To purchase Historian click HERE

We also have a tip on moving Artisan to a new computer HERE.

Create a backup before doing anything

  • First of all, you will need a backup copy of your media vault. Here’s hoping you have done your backups regularly.  There are some tips HERE to help with that. A backup is important, just in case anything goes wrong in the copying process.
  • Make a note of the Historian activation code on the old computer. You will find this in your online Forever account, in the email you received when purchasing Historian, or in the software on the old computer under Help > About > Product Key.

Make a copy of your Media Vault

  • To move your media vault to a new computer, you will need to copy it to an external hard drive (or similar device).
  • You can find where your media vault is from the welcome screen.


  • To copy the media vault, open File Explorer (Windows 8 & 10) or Windows Explorer (Win 7). Navigate to the folder containing the media vault – in the above example, it would be a folder called “Shelley’s Media Vault” located on my I Drive. Do not open the folder. Copy the entire folder to your EHD.

Install Historian on the New Computer

Note: This tip covers the process of moving Historian from one computer to another. The same steps apply if you are moving from Memory Manager on the old computer to Historian on the new computer.

  • If you already own Historian, you will need to download a fresh copy to the new computer. To do that, you can log in to your account at Forever, and find your original download link, or download the free trial version. You will be able to activate the software with your original activation code.
  • If you are switching from MM to Historian, click here for more details.
  • If Historian  is still installed on your old working computer, you will need to uninstall that eventually as the license is for one installation only. However, wait until everything is safely installed on your new computer before you remove it from the old one.

Copy the Media Vault (called Memory Vault in Memory Manager)

  • Plug your EHD into the new computer.
  • Copy the entire  media vault folder to the location on your new computer that you have chosen for your Historian media vault.
  • To copy the media vault, open File Explorer (Windows 8 & 10) or Windows Explorer (Win 7). Navigate to the folder on your EHD that you previously copied your media vault to. Do not open the folder. Copy the entire folder to the new computer in the location of your choice. Make note of that location.
  • For more information on using an EHD click HERE.
  • Open Historian and go to File > Open.



  • Navigate to where you have saved your media vault on your new computer. 

The media library will now open with all your Categories, Tags and more importantly all your photos, intact.

Alternate option: Restoring from a Shadow Copy

If something goes wrong with the copying process, or if you are installing on a new computer because your old computer died, you may need to restore from a shadow copy. You will find full instructions  HERE.

Using your Media Vault from an EHD

  • Instead of copying your media vault to the new computer, you can opt to keep your media vault on an EHD. This way, you can also use the same vault on two computers. 
    • NOTE: you must purchase a copy of the software for each computer as Historian is for single computer use only.
  • From Historian, select Open another vault.
  • Navigate to your EHD, making sure you select the folder that the media vault is in, or the drive letter if it’s in the main directory on the EHD.


  • Click once to select the media vault, and then click Select Folder.
  • Your media vault will open.

PLEASE NOTE: Your Historian program must always be installed on the internal drive of your computer. It cannot be installed on an EHD.

Set up a New Shadow Copy

  • Now you will need to set up your shadow copy on the new computer using this tip and you’re all set to go.

Have fun with your new computer.

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53 Responses to Historian Tip: Moving Historian to a new computer

  1. Laura Barkman says:

    Hello. Hoping the Pixie’s can help. I just got a new PC and my husband is moving my Historian to the new computer. He followed the above instructions but when I open Historian I’m getting the following errors:

    “Unable to connect to the remote server (1)”

    We can select OK and when we do this error follows:

    “Facial recognition service error encountered. Server activation error.”

    Again we can select OK and when we do the program seems to open normally. I’m up-to-date with my application updates. Any ideas what this is referring to?

  2. Penny Andler says:

    Success installing Historian and locating Media Vault on my EHD. Question about the Shadow Copy:
    I have had the Shadow Copy on an EHD (separate from my vault). When I set up the Shadow on the new PC, I browsed to that EHD; only 1 file needed updating. I did a Troubleshoot just to cover everything. Shall I assume all is well with my Shadow Copy, or is it worth it to set up a brand new one on the EHD (overriding or erasing the original one)?

  3. Suzy says:

    Hi Shelley –

    The link in the last section about setting up the shadow vault on your new computer is dead. I get a 404 error.

  4. Beth Fisher says:

    Help! I have a new computer. I installed Historian on it but when I try to access my memory vault I get a error message Unable to obtain access to this vault. It may be open by another user at this time.
    the only place my memory vault is is on my EHD Is it because the letter name on my EHD ar different?

  5. Sharon says:

    I have Historian installed and activated on my new laptop. I made a copy of My memory vault on EHD and on my new laptop. I can open the memory vault in Historian from the EHD but not the one on my laptop. I get an error message “unable to obtain access to this vault. It may be open by another user at this time.” No other user has access and I’ve doubled checked the file path. Any idea?

    • Sharon says:

      This issue is now resolved. I made new backup copy of My Memory Vault and moved it to my new laptop and I was able to open it in Historian. Apparently, it did not like that I had accessed the file from my EHD. Anyway, a new unopened copy was the key. (I think!)

  6. larkinmom larkinmom says:

    I am trying to move my Historian to a new computer. I have my content on an EHD and also backed up to a different EHD. I have downloaded the Historian program to my new computer. When I open up my program and try to direct it to my vault, it tells me that it requires activation. I put my activation code in which I found in an e-mail, and try to click “use my existing forever account”. That link does not appear to be active so I don’t go anywhere. What am I missing?

  7. Barbara Mealey says:

    Thank you, Shelley. You’re fabulous! I was able to get back my Media Vault…quickly and easily…thanks to the above information.

  8. Karen Lovell says:

    Question…. I just purchased a new computer with windows 10. I moved my photos 14,000 to Historian and when I looked at the photos that I had moved I had lost all my facial recognition and tags. Did I miss a step or do I have to redo all the facial recognition?

  9. Suzanne says:

    Just had my computer reimaged, so having to re-install everything. So thankful for these wonderful instructions!! My vault is copying as I type, and next up is the Artisan content!

  10. Nancy Archer says:

    I am trying to install Historian on my new computer but I’m not able to activate it because it is still on my old computer. Since I don’t want to uninstall Historian on my old computer until I have moved everything over, what do I do?

  11. Nanette Shipman says:

    I am trying to prepare for a new computer and was preparing to copy my media vault, but I am seeing some discrepancies. My media vault is on an external drive and the properties value shows 35,017 files. Historian is only showing that I have 19,197 items. The second EHD where I have also made a copy shows 39,480 files. The Historian Shadow Copy shows 21,391 files. I am thoroughly confused at this point. I have removed some photos from Historian from time to time so I don’t know if that has any effect. I assume I should copy the files from the location on my computer where my media vault is located. Any idea why the numbers are so wildly different?

    • Shelley says:

      The file count is different to the number of images. Your image count only counts each image once, whereas if you have multiple revisions they will count as that many files. There are also thumbnails, images in the recycle bin and other miscellaneous technical files, so you really can’t compare the two numbers at all. I would definitely copy the current media vault folder in its entirety.

      • Nanette Shipman says:

        Thank you Shelley. That makes sense. So those numbers could change even by emptying the recycle bin or any revisions that I make? Since the numbers on the 2 copies I have on the ehds are different, I’m inclined to use the one with the higher numbers when I reinstall. Does that make sense? I’m just wondering if you can recommend any particular automatic back-up program that just backs up according to recent changes and updates?

        • Shelley says:

          Yes, exactly. For automatic backup I use Crashplan. It is not expensive, and it runs in the background all the time and I can sleep better at night! I believe Carbonite and BackBlaze are very similar.

  12. bllaka says:

    I have partitioned my mac with Parallels & Windows 8.1, installed Artisan & Historian on the windows partition, copied my media vault to EHD & uninstalled Historian from the previous computer. I have a problem with opening my vault in Historian: when I click on the vault in my EHD & select the folder I get the following message—“Unable to obtain access to this vault. It may be open by another user at this time.” Can you advise? Thanks!

    • Shelley says:

      Try rebooting Windows (i.e. close windows, close Parallels) and then restart the Mac and try again. If it still isn’t working, you might need to contact panstoria support at support@panstoria.com

      • bllaka says:

        After multiple hours involving numerous emails with Panstoria support (who conferred with the software developers) & phone support with both Microsoft & Apple, I have a solution to the “Unable to obtain access…may be open by another user” message.
        On the Parallels website: FAQ-Troubleshooting Guide-Issue 4-suggestion 2 is “Isolate Windows from Mac.” I asked Apple Support for help with this & the following worked: on the upper right of the Windows 8.1 desktop, click the Parallels icon (2 red bars)>Configure>Security & check “Isolate Windows from Mac.” I think the computer needed a restart here for the changes to take effect.
        I can now open my Historian vault on the EHD!

  13. Joni Beugnot says:

    Hi. Due to some computer problems I am planning on moving all my programs off the laptop temporarily and reset the laptop to factory settings. I currently have MM4. Do I need to buy Historian after I do this? What should I copy/ backup?

    After I do all this, can you direct me with how I can breakup my vault, I have almost 15,000 images (about 28 GB) and would like to separate either by years or events.

    • Shelley says:

      Yes, you will need to switch to Historian as it is no longer possible to activate Memory Manager. The only thing you need to back up is your memory vault. The easiest way to do that is to back up the entire vault to an External Hard Drive. Here is a tip on that.

      I’m not a fan of splitting memory vaults. If you are running out of space, an EHD is your best option. My memory vault currently has close to 75,000 images in it. Splitting memory vaults negates a lot of the great sorting functions of Historian, like the timeline, or using multiple tags for photos. Switching between vaults is time consuming, and makes backing up, or just finding a particular image much more work. However, if you really want to, this tip shows how to export whole categories to Windows, then you could create a new MV and import those photos into the new MV (and then delete the originals).

      • Joni Beugnot says:

        Thanks for the information. My EHD went bad also (one month after the waranty expired) that is why I was thinking of splitting up the vault so it would not be as big and could easily put on flash drives. I have done a full back-up on CDs. I also thought I saw on some of the training where they encouraged the vaults to be split like for vacations, etc. Since the EHD went bad, I hesitate to invest in another one like it. I had a Seagate. Is there a brand you recommend?

        • Shelley says:

          I do create separate memory vaults for overseas trips, because those photos stand alone and don’t relate to my general family photos. But apart from that I keep all my images together. I understand your thinking, but I believe you will create more problems than you will solve that way. I currently have my Shadow copy on a portable EHD, and I also back up onto a larger EHD that lives on my desk. As well I have a cloud based backup. I have used Seagate EHDs for a long time, the other brand I have is Western Digital. They are usually pretty stable – seems like you were very unlucky. And actually Flash drives are probably less reliable (and much easier to lose!) than an EHD. One option you might consider is a Forever.com account. They offer permanent storage for your images.

  14. annette says:

    I am watching Carbonite restore my C:\ drive onto my NEW computer. Will Artisan and Historian come along with the restore process? Or will I need to re-install them?

    • Shelley says:

      Good luck Annette. This really depends on what you backed up with Carbonite, and what your personal settings were. I am not a Carbonite expert, but it is common not to back up programs, as the installation process is more complex than just copying files. I guess you will need to wait and see. A very slow and frustrating process! The good news is that if you do need to reinstall the programs, that is a fairly straightforward process.

  15. Karen Warner says:

    I just bought Historian and want to move my vaults from MM3. I looked at my vault on my computer hard drive and It listed the pics all jumbled up under items and under backup it shows incremental files numbed 100-0001 through 100-0008 but the files are empty and say containerx and can’t be opened. Sorry to say I never paid attention to learning to organize my vault. The shadow copy I made on an EHD looks exactly the same way. I saw on one of your articles you’re vault organized by folders with titles. How do I do that? I’m in the process of separating the pics not in folders into titled folders. when I get done should I just redo my vault or are you creating separate vaults for each picture folder to create an organized vault. Also I was doing incremental backups on CD’s to have copies to give to family members to print off of and I successfully burned up to CD 100-0005 and then I stuck a DVD in to finish up and it said it did it but I checked the DVD and it was blank. I haven’t figured out how to get MM3 to let me go in and reburn the rest of the pics. Do you know how to do it?
    Karen Warner
    ka warner51@gmail.com

    • Shelley says:

      Karen you need to stay away from those folders in Windows. All work in MM or Historian needs to be done from inside the program. Those folders are organised in a mysterious way, but if you move anything in those folder you risk damaging the whole structure and MM won’t work at all. You don’t need to move your vaults to Historian, just open them in Historian. This tip explains. Once you have done that we have a vast amount of information on organisation in MM & Historian.

  16. pamela smith says:

    i am trying to load mm back onto this computer . I have mm3 disc and email with mm4 upgrade.
    What link can i use? the cm link is no longer there.

    • Shelley says:

      Pamela you won’t be able to get the MM4 upgrade now. The CM digital center no loner exists. If you have the software, you can activate it with Panstoria until December 31. But you cannot download the software itself from them. It might be time to purchase Historian, which is the newer version of MM4.

  17. Caroline says:

    I am moving my MM4 to a new computer. I have used the MM4 Upgrade CD to install and then entered the MM4 Upgrade serial number followed by the MM3 Upgrade serial number and now it says it needs a 10-digit activation code. The 10-digit Installation ID from my MM4 does not do the trick. What do I do now? Thanks.

  18. Joni Beugnot says:

    Hi. I am in the process of moving to a new laptop, and just wanted clarification of the above comment. What I understand is that Ionly have to download the Memory Manager 4.0 upgrade version from Creative Memories, and do not have to load MM3 at all. But I do need the activation code from MM3. Is that correct?

  19. LynetteF says:

    1) I am moving onto a new laptop going from MM 3.0 upgrade on old laptop to MM 4.0 upgrade through digital download on the new laptop. I also have the CD from MM prior. I assume I use the MM 3.0 upgrade serial code from the CD case? What is the installation code and where do I find it?
    2) my old laptop is close to crashing and won’t let me shadow copy or backup. I know, scary. That’s why the new computer. I just say a prayer and follow your steps?
    3) my vault is on a portable EHD. Do you recommend I cont. that like Option 3 w/ the laptop for shadow copy or follow Option 1 and use the laptop now and an EHD for shadow?
    thank you!

    • Shelley says:

      1. Yes, you will need the serial code from the MM3 box when you install the MM4 upgrade, but you don’t need to actually install MM3 first. The installation code and the serial code are the same thing, and you’ll find them on the CD cover.
      2. Say a lot of prayers!!
      3. The main advantage of option 3 is if you want to access the Memory Vault fon more than one computer. If you only plan to use the laptop, I’d put the MV on it, and shadow to the EHD. However either way works, it is really up to you.

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