FAQ: Installing SuperMemo for Windows

Downloaded files are easily transferable between computers
(Lauri, Thursday, September 27, 2001 7:24 AM )
I recently ordered a Geography Mix from your library. I do not want it downloaded on my computer as I have ordered a new computer and would like it for the new one. Maybe I should cancel my order for now and reorder later?
You can easily copy the downloaded file between computers. You can use it on your old computer first and later transfer it to your new computer. You do not need to download or order twice

To upgrade SuperMemo, you only need to replace the exe file
If I want to upgrade to the latest build. Is the new version complete or do I need to install it over an existing version?
All newer versions can simply be upgraded by replacing your executable (.exe) file (e.g. replacing sm2008.exe with sm15.exe). This way you will retain all settings and the learning material. Minor upgrades are instantaneous. Upgrades between major versions (e.g. sm98, sm99, etc.) usually involve some changes to the structure of the learning material and are irreversible. It is always wise to backup your data before the change. SuperMemo 15 will always ask you to choose the backup option before upgrading

You do not need to input password again
(niallwilson, Saturday, October 27, 2001 5:30 PM )
I downloaded and installed SuperMemo update and now my registered version is back to being shareware again
It should be enough if you open one of your old collections, and the program will unlock on its own. However, if you only plan to start learning anew (i.e. have no earlier collection backups), or this is an upgrade (as opposed to an update), you will need to reenter the password with File : Installation : Input password (Ctrl+Shift+I). See also: Unlocking SuperMemo. If you still have problems, write to us

You can check if you got the latest version of SuperMemo
I have build 14.05, dated Sep 2, 2010. Is that the latest? It would be useful if the version number was noted when an update is put in the news
You can re-run sm08inst.exe (downloaded at purchase) with the Update option to see if your version is the latest. Early post-release updates might be quite frequent, and would clutter the news. Later on, changes are usually cosmetic and not newsworthy. Only major updates would make news if they included important bug fixes

Always describe your installation problems!
(Craig Tran, Fri, Nov 02, 2001 3:20 )
I just ordered Grammar Mix and I can not make it run on my computer which is running Windows 2000
Please report in detail what error messages you are receiving, what steps are difficult, etc. Detailed installation instructions are available from: Installing SuperMemo (section 4: Installing collections from SuperMemo Library).

Most installation problems can be resolved easily
(valushka, Tue, Dec 04, 2001 5:33 AM)
I have difficulties with downloading English in the Streets. I have tried to download on my desktop and I have created a new folder in my documents. Unfortunately I cannot open either
Check the following: 

  • which version of SuperMemo you have (see: Installation for beginners
  • if  you use SuperMemo for Windows, you should download to the same folder as SuperMemo (e.g. c:\SuperMemo
  • once you download, you only need to run the downloaded file and open the relevant material in SuperMemo (File : Open collection
  • if you still have problems, write back and describe your procedure in as much detail as possible (e.g. software version, download location, error messages, etc.)

You need to input your unlock password to get rid of the registration dialog box (#6827)
(Alexia L M., Fri, Sep 15, 2001 5:20)
The registration pop up dialog is a problem! It keeps popping up, asking me to register
Please click the password button and input your unlock password. You should have received the password with the confirmation of your order along with other installation instructions. If you lost or forgot the password, write to us to have it resent. You can alternatively input the password with File : Installation : Input password or with Ctrl+Shift+I. For more information see: Unlocking SuperMemo

You should avoid installing SuperMemo in system folders
(Liz Ch., United Kingdom, 13/02/02 22:16:06)
SuperMemo has just displayed the following error: 
"Cannot save the layout 
Unable to write to C:\WINDOWS\DESKTOP\bin\layout.ini"

You have installed your SuperMemo in one of MS Windows system folders. This is a very dangerous practice. Depending on the location of files, this may result in data loss as well as in making your MS Windows misbehave or even crash. As a rule, you should never install software in overlapping folders (the least so in Windows system folders). Install SuperMemo in a dedicated non-Windows folder (e.g. c:\SuperMemo or in "c:\Program Files\SuperMemo"). Unless you are an experienced Windows user, you should not attempt to move your SuperMemo files from their present location to another folder. You might move some of system files with disastrous consequences for your system's stability. The best approach would be to leave those files where they are or ask an experienced MS Windows user to clean them up. If you would like to rescue your learning material, you could try File : Copy collection without deleting files populating your Windows folder

Installing phonetic transcription
(M.M., Poland, Mar 22, 2002)
I have a phonetic transcription registry files in a folder on my computer. How do I make SuperMemo use this registry for phonetic transcriptions?

  1. Copy your registry to the [Phonetic] folder in your SuperMemo folder (you must do this operation in Windows, i.e. not in SuperMemo)
  2. In SuperMemo, choose Tools : Options : Language : Phonetic transcription, and select the name of the phonetic transcription you want to use (do not type in the name, SuperMemo will create a new registry if it does not exist)

Beginner's Example: If (1) your SuperMemo is installed in c:\SuperMemo, (2) the registry is kept in c:\backup\transcription, and (3) registry is named English (i.e. its files are named English.rtx, English,lst, English1.reg, etc.) then: copy the registry files from c:\backup\transcription\English*.* to c:\SuperMemo\phonetic\English*.*
* here indicates all existing name combinations, i.e.
will become c:\SuperMemo\phonetic\English1.rtx, c:\backup\transcription\English2.rtx will become c:\SuperMemo\phonetic\English2.rtx, c:\backup\transcription\English1.lst will become c:\SuperMemo\phonetic\English1.lst, etc.

You need to insert unlock password to make use of SuperMemo
(karin m., Sun, Dec 30, 2001 3:51 AM)
I purchased SuperMemo a while ago. I first started to use it a month ago. But, I have recently noticed this credit percentage bar that appears on the SuperMemo screen. Yesterday, I got a signal saying I had exceeded some percentage and then I was invited to register the program. I have already paid for it so what am I to do?
You need the unlock password to use SuperMemo. If you lost the password, please send your data from the original order. If you forgot or lost the order number, send any data that could help identify your order. All installation instructions will be resent

How do I get a nice icon on my desktop?
How do I get SuperMemo icon on my desktop after downloading?
SuperMemo Setup will normally install an icon for you (if you requests so). Otherwise you can do the following: 

  • If you are using SuperMemo 2000 or later, choose File : Installation : Install icons
  • If you are using SuperMemo 98/99, choose File : Registration : Install icons
  • If you are using SuperMemo 8 in Windows 95 or Windows NT 4.0, do as follows:
  1. right-click the desktop (at the place you want the icon to appear)
  2. choose New : Shortcut
  3. click Browse
  4. select the file SM8.EXE (you will find it in the folder SM8 in the same place where you downloaded and ran SM8ZIP.EXE; for example: if you downloaded to c:\download\supermemo\sm8zip.exe, run sm8zip.exe and you will find sm8.exe in c:\download\supermemo\sm8\sm8.exe)

Evaluation copy can be unlocked to become fully-functional SuperMemo
Donald Wijkniet, the Netherlands, Apr 6, 1999)

What is the difference between the evaluation copy I can download from the website and the version I get when I order?
None. If you have an evaluation version of SuperMemo, the only thing you need is to input the password with File : Installation : Input password to unlock the program when it stops working. The version you download is fully functional until it locks and requests the password

I cannot send registration e-mail from SuperMemo
(Michael Duggan, Canada, Oct 7, 1998)
I am having difficulty registering SuperMemo? I get a dialogue box that asks whether I want to send e-mail now. I click Yes. But instead of sending my information to register I receive an error message "Cannot send e-mail - user abort". How do I register?

  1. All users who order SuperMemo are registered automatically. Read more: Unlocking SuperMemo
  2. The error message may result from problems in communication between SuperMemo and your e-mail software. If you respond with No to Send e-mail now?, SuperMemo will generate a text file that you can send via e-mail

You can easily copy SuperMemo to another computer
(Paul Greig, Japan, Sat, Nov 17, 2001 8:20)
I have a desktop to which I was able to download SuperMemo ok but I couldn't download to my laptop. The laptop has Windows 98. How can I use it for the laptop?
Copy the downloaded file to your laptop. All other installation instructions are the same

You do not need two licenses for your computers at home and at work
(Richard Dixon, Tue, May 21, 2002 5:39)
I use a computer at work and one at home. Do I need to buy 2 copies of SuperMemo?
No. You can easily install your SuperMemo on more than one computer. All versions before SuperMemo 2002 fit on a single diskette. However, it is recommended to use SuperMemo in only one location: there where you find more peace for learning. Otherwise you will need to regularly shuttle the learning material between computers. Alternatively, you can learn one subject on one computer, and another subject on another computer. In such a case, no transfer of the learning material will be needed

You can recognize locked SuperMemo by a red bar in the element window
(Max King, Thursday, June 06, 2002 7:44 AM)
I have clicked on File : Installation to input the password, but the Input password option is not highlighted (i.e. not available)
This indicates that your SuperMemo has already been unlocked. For example, you might have opened an unlocked collection, or might have input the password earlier. If you do not see a big red bar with "Click here to register ...", you need no further action. See the picture of the red bar here.

Moreover, even if you fail to input the password now, SuperMemo will at some point prompt you to do so. In other words, you can keep on learning

In case of lost data, you can receive help independent of the date of your original order
(ismail cuneyt guzey, Turkey, Tue, Dec 18, 2001 8:57)
I have purchased SuperMemo 98 long ago and been a satisfied customer. Unfortunately due to a PC crash I lost a lot of data, including the files that had my password to unlock the program. I know that it has been a long time but I hope you can help
You will always receive help in restoring your data. The date of your original order is not important. It is worth knowing though that if your learning material survived, you do not need any help from us. All you need to do is to download your version of SuperMemo again and open your surviving material. Your SuperMemo will unlock automatically

Reinstalling SuperMemo
(PatAnnEvans, Thursday, June 27, 2002 12:08 AM)
Last week I lost write access to my hard drive and had to zero out and start over. I managed to get a copy of my SuperMemo collections, but not the executable code. Is there anyway I can reinstall without having to pay again?
You can always receive full assistance in reinstalling your SuperMemo by writing to us. Please send your order number, password or any identifiable customer data to receive further instructions. There is no charge for this service

What if you do not have Internet Explorer 6.0 or later?
(Robert, Wednesday, June 26, 2002 9:18 PM)
I have recently downloaded SuperMemo. However, I noticed that I don't have Microsoft Explorer 6.0, I only have version 5.5. What should I do?
You can download the latest version of Internet Explorer free from Microsoft website:
Alternatively, you could revert to older SuperMemos. You can receive earlier versions free of charge

SuperMemo keeps its settings in private configuration files
(Tomas Baran, Czech Republic, Jul 12, 2002)
My windows crashed and I had to reinstall most of my software. I was glad to see that SuperMemo survived the crash with all its configurations. However, I lost my phonetic transcription font in Advanced English. How can I reinstall the font?
SuperMemo fares well in similar crashes. It does not rely on Windows registry to keep its settings. Instead, it keeps all settings in private INI files, which you can easily copy from computer to computer without a complex installation process. However, English phonetic transcription font that comes with Advanced English must be installed in Windows to be visible from SuperMemo. If Windows is reinstalled, this font will have to be reinstalled too. If you go to <SuperMemo>/phonetic folder, you will see the font file _SuperMemo_ipa.ttf (IPA stands for International Phonetic Alphabet). If you just rename it to SuperMemo_ipa.ttf, SuperMemo will reinstall this font for you the next time you run it. It will also rename the font back to _SuperMemo_ipa.ttf to indicate the file has been processed

Transferring SuperMemo to a new computer (#11829)
(Edgar A. Quevedo, Colombia, Sunday, July 14, 2002 5:22 AM)
If I buy a new computer how can I transfer all SuperMemo information to the new computer?
The simplest method is to copy the entire SuperMemo folder to a CDR and restore it on a new computer. You can then optionally add two cosmetic touches:

  1. install a SuperMemo icon (e.g. File : Installation : Install icons), and
  2. reinstall fonts (if you installed any with your learning material)

You can safely substitute SuperMemo executable with a newer version (#8223)
(Reinhard Schueren, Sun, Mar 31, 2002 14:57)
I am a user of SuperMemo 2006 (English) and would like to get a password for SuperMemo 2006 (Dutch)
As the main program file does not differ (sm2006.exe), you can safely substitute it in your installation and provide it with the matching password. For example, if you have installed files downloaded from http://www.supermemo.nl/ and later ordered an update from www.super-memo.com, you can simply substitute sm2006.exe in your original installation. This way you will be able to use the password that arrives with your order update

I can't find my SuperMemo
(ridwanto suwono, Oct 08, 2004, 16:47:48)
I have ordered SuperMemo 15 and paid for it, but ... where is my SuperMemo? I can't find it!
Did you remember to download the installation file at ordering (named sm15inst.exe for SuperMemo 15)? If yes, please run it and it will guide you through the installation process. If not, please write back and you will receive further assistance

When ordering SuperMemo 2004 or later, you download only the installer program
I cannot find out how to download SuperMemo 15 on my computer! When I ordered SuperMemo 2002, I downloaded & have been working with it instantly
While ordering SuperMemo 15, you should download the installer file named sm15inst.exe and run it. It shall guide you through the installation process. If you failed to download, write to ask for alternative download instructions. The difference with SuperMemo 2004 or later is that the installer file is far smaller than SuperMemo itself and makes it possible to repeat the download at any time (including the download of updated SuperMemo). All in all, most customers rate the new solution as far more convenient than the old one

Site License for 20 students on 5 computers
(Geoff, Sep 28, 2005, 19:08:12)
Do you have a recommended way of using SuperMemo by 20 students on 5 computers?
SuperMemo has not been designed for multi-access for many users (for multi-access see supermemo.net). 
This means that each student must have his own collection. He or she can use other students' or teacher's collections by copying the material or transferring its portions between collections. 
Lack of multi-access also means that, optimally, each student should always work on the same computer, where his or her collections are stored locally (unless they have to be accessed from a server, which may slow down some operations). 

This would be an exemplary algorithm: 

  1. To each computer assign students in 5 groups (4 students each)
  2. Install SuperMemo on all computers (it takes only 2MB and performs far better when run locally)
  3. For each student, create his own collection: e.g. Tom.kno, Mark.kno, John.kno, Marta.kno. Multiple collections may also be used, if necessary. It is then recommended for each student to keep all his collections in a single same folder. Optionally, students could use a collection access password (defined in Tools : Options : Access : Password). This is not for privacy reasons, but may help avoid student A using a collection of student B by mistake (esp. if the contents of collections is identical or similar)
  4. Occasionally backup all PC (e.g. by copying files in a round-robin circle A->B->C->D->E->A) 
  5. Occasionally run File : Repair collection. The more people use a computer, the more likely a mishap such as a viral infection, crash, accidental folder delete, etc.

see also: SuperMemoPedia

If you want to install SuperMemo on a computer without the Internet, the installation process will differ
I don´t have the Internet on the computer I want to use SuperMemo (yet) so the online SuperMemo 15 installer is useless for me. Could you provide me with a link to download SM15ZIP.exe or send it as an attachment?
If your computer does not have the Internet, you will indeed need to download SuperMemo on another computer, and transfer it on a pen drive (or by other means). To receive the file, include your request in the comment field while ordering, or simply respond to installation instructions mail with a request for an installation procedure that does not require an Internet connection on the target computer

SuperMemo does not install files outside its own folder
(simon jacques, Sunday, May 15, 2005 4:01 AM)
I am deleting suspected spyware and viruses on my computer and I a have come across the following description: D:WINDOWS\System 32\SMSSU.EXE
I dont know if this is something related to SuperMemo (because the first 2 letters are SM)
SuperMemo does not install files outside its folder. Some collections may only install a font that is needed to use them. SuperMemo executable (EXE) can run independently without other DLLs (except those installed by Windows). For best information about various system files, viruses and Trojan, search Google. Incidentally, SMSUU.EXE belongs to files into which Trojan.StartPage.O may be lurking. The best remedy might be to install an anti-virus package (e.g. Norton Antivirus)

You can install Graeca font in Windows XP
(D. Bucholtz, USA Educational, Jan 11, 2006, 00:58:08)
How can I best install Graeca font of the Hellenic Mix in Windows XP?
Use Control Panel : Fonts : Install New Font in Windows and select the folder in which the font has been placed. The font should become visible in Text : Font : New font in SuperMemo, and in other Windows applications (e.g. Character Map).
You can download the font from this location: http://www.supermemo.org/ftp/greek/graeca.zip

You can move to a new computer using a CDR
(Barclay Moran, Jul 27, 2005, 01:49:17)
I am going on vacation. I need to install the program on another computer and I also need to transfer my collection. I have the install files on my computer and I can also back up my collection to CD-RW. Can I simply install the program and restore my collection?
You can install SuperMemo and restore your collection from a CD-RW. You can also copy the entire SuperMemo folder (including SuperMemo and your collection) from one computer to another. SuperMemo does not need any "installation process". It can just be copied. Remember to remove read-only attributes from your collection files after copying from CD-RW

Problem with installing a collection in 64-bit Windows
(Paola, Wednesday, November 10, 2010 3:58 AM)
I bought the "Advanced English Grammar" collection and when I tried to install it, the following error pops out:
"The version of the file is not compatible with the version of the Windows you're running. Check your computer's system information to see whether you need an x86 (32 bit) or x64 (64 bit) version of the program, and then contact the software publisher."
I have Windows Vista ultimate and I usually need to ask for the 64 bit version, is there any way I can get this one for the collection I'm interested in?
Some collections in SuperMemo Library still come with very old installers that may cause problems in 64-bit Windows. In case you run into any trouble, you can always receive a simple non-executive installation file. Via an alternative download or via e-mail. Whichever is your preference

What if I reinstall my operating system?
(Marcin Ostrouch, Monday, November 09, 2009 1:33 PM)
I'm bound to reinstall my operating system before very long. I understand that I will be able to install SuperMemo 15 then without any problem (i.e. download whatever the sm15inst.exe needs to download). Is that so?

If you reinstall Windows on the same computer without formatting the hard disk, SuperMemo 15 should work without reinstallation (some older versions may need to be moved away from \Program Files).

If you reinstall Windows and clean up your hard disk, you can move sm15inst.exe to any folder and reinstall SuperMemo 15 (you need to have access to the Internet).

If you reinstall Windows, and do not have any backup files, you can write to us. Your download instructions will be resent. If you write from a new e-mail address, you may need to identify your original order (e.g. by name, address, order number, etc.).

SuperMemo 2002 not compatible with Windows 7?
(G.K. Shaenan, Wednesday, July 21, 2010 5:05 AM)
I just bought SuperMemo 2002 and a few other things, and I am getting an error message that it is incompatible with Windows 7. Is that true or do you have a fix?
The old installer that comes with SuperMemo 2002 no longer works in new Windows. If you have Windows 7, please write to receive alternative download & installation instructions.