How to get FreePCB working correctly under Windows10.
pa0nhc 20170815

After my Windows10 PC was updated, the much used freeware PCB design software "FreePCB" was not useable anymore.
It reacted very slow, and files could not be loaded nor saved.

Here my solution to get FreePCB working perfectly fast and reliable under Windows10.

When using the "HERE" links below, you download a subset of original FreePCB files directly from my server
It should make the installation process easier.
I copied the last available version of these files at 20170813.

Suggestion : print this page.

    HOW TO :

FIRST make a backup of :
- your LIB directories (they also contain parts designed by you) 
- your project files

From these backups, later on you have to copy these files into the new installed version of FreePCB.

Un-install FreePCB (using Windows Setup - Apps).

Manually delete the program sub directory "C:\Program files\FreePCB\". (Do NOT delete its parent directory "C:\ Program files").


Do NOT download the automatic "Installer" from FreePCB.com.
With Windows10 it will result in a NOT useable installation.

You must copy files manually,
then use Windows "Compatibility problem solving"
to get it working correctly.

FreePCB must NOT be installed in the directory "C:\ Program files",
NOR  in "C:\ Windows\" !


A safe place to install :

- Manually make a new FreePCB installation directory, for instance "C:\ FreePCB\". FreePCB will be installed and run from here.

Copying FreePCB files there :

Download HERE the "Self extracting archive", and save it in your newly made "FreePCB" dir.
Do NOT save it in in "C:\programs".

- Unpack it.
- Then delete the source ZIP files

Download HERE  "freepcb_1359_combined_update.zip"
- save it into your new "FreePCB" dir.
- UnZIP it.
- Move individual files to their appropriate subdirectories of your "FreePCB" dir.
- Delete the source ZIP files.

The following program file does not contain any debug info, therefore runs much faster than the same named file in "Combined updates", which does contain debug info.

Download HERE the "executable update" for the main program file "FreePcb.exe".
- Move to the "FreePCB\bin" directory, and overwrite (replace) the existing version there.

The following files contain correct hole sizes for various parts. Using them, you will not be confronted by faulty PCB's, in which parts do not fit in to narrow holes.

With the right-hand mouse button, click HERE .
Save "th_header_40_mil_holes" to your "FreePCB-prog\lib" sub directory.

With the right-hand mouse button, click HERE .
Save "th_sip_40_mil_holes" to your "FreePCB-prog\lib" sub directory.

Download HERE "MFC71.dll, MSVCR71.dll" 
- Save it into your new "FreePCB" dir.
- UnZIP it.
- Move both files to your "FreePCB\bin" sub dir.
- Delete the source ZIP files.

For more (all) original download files go to www.freepcb.com

Your project file location :

You now have to decide where your project files are and will be saved. For instance "C:\ PCB\"

In "FreePCB\bin" sub directory, open file "default.cfg" 
- Manually change the line   "parent folder: "..\projects\" " so it points to your new project directory.
For instance :   "parent folder: "C:\ PCB\" "
Save the modified file.

Use a text editor. When saving, the file extension .cfg  should not be changed.

Now get FreePCB running correctly :

        The following menu texts were read by me in Dutch. Pse. look for similar English menu items

Go to your "FreePCB-prog\bin" dir, and click with the right-hand mouse knob on the freePCB program icon.
Choose "Solve compatibility problems"
Choose "Solve problems with this program"
Choose "The program worked in older versions"
Choose "Windows7"

Test the correct operation of FreePCB as follows :
- Open a PCB design.
- Without any change to it, save it.
        FreePCB should start, open and save projects files fast.

- Re-open a PCB design.
- Using the left mouse knob, select the whole PCB design on tour screen.
- Verify that you can move this selection using cursor keys
Screen selections should shift fast an smoothly.

- Shut FreePCB down.

Confirm this solution to be working.

Manually making a start icon :

Again click with the right-hand mouse knob on the FreePCB program icon in your "FreePCB\bin directory".
- Connect it to the task bar.

From now on, start FreePCB from the task bar.

Restoring your designs :

Copy your backup of the old lib directories to the new location "FreePCB-prog\lib".
Copy your backup of the old project files to the new project file location stated in the "default.cfg" file (for instance "C:\ PCB" .

Keep the LIB and PROJECT backups, do not delete them.

Succes, Nico pa0nhc.