How can I install SiteBuilder on Windows 8?

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IMPORTANT: The following instructions are for "Legacy" customers (generally older accounts that were opened before the release of "SiteBuilder Plus".

If you have started/created a site Using SiteBuilder Plus, there will be elements in your site which ARE NOT backwards compatible with the older desktop version of the SiteBuilder.


This process will require you to have some fairly advanced knowledge of your operating system, and familiarity with installing and uninstalling programs.

1. Make sure you have uninstalled any other installed versions of SiteBuilder desktop and deleted the Homestead folder from C:\Program Files or C:\Program Files (x86) AND C:\ProgramData\Homestead. This folder is hidden by default so you may have to type it into the Windows search tool (located under the start button) to find it, or go to the control panel and “unhide hidden files and folders”.

2. If you have unpublished work on another computer which needs transferred, you will need to copy the C:\ProgramData\Homestead Sitebuilder\data\user\Sites folder to another location such as the Desktop before deleting C:\ProgramData\Homestead. After a successful install you will place this folder in the same location.

3. Next, verify that Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 is installed and enabled, which can be done in the Control Panel > Turn Windows features on or off

4. Your PC will need to have the Microsoft .NET 3.5. If the box is not selected, enable it and Windows will download anything it needs to install it, which requires a reboot.

5. For Windows 8, you will need the .NET installer.

The download page on the Homestead site currently does not recognize Windows 8/8.1 . If you are downloading from the Homestead website you will need to scroll to the bottom and use the .NET installer recommended for Windows 7. (see image below).





Direct download links:
ZIP: http://supportdownloads.homestead.com...
EXE: https://install.homestead.com/~site/I...

This process will also require J# which should install automatically. If it doesn’t the installer will throw a vjredist.exe error after SiteBuilder is installed and J# will have to be installed manually. There are two versions, one for 32-bit and another for 64-bit. You can find your version by doing a “Right click” on “My Computer” and go to “Properties” to check your version.



The J# install link sare provide for you here if necessary:
32-bit: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/downlo...
64-bit: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/downlo...

SiteBuilder will normally run fine at this point. If it does not then there may be something on the computer interfering with the program, usually security/antivirus software. Just turning it off does not always prevent it from interfering so you will likely have to find the section in the software to add the SiteBuilde “exes” as program exceptions. Every program (security software) is different so you will need to look for a section to exclude programs from being blocked. If you can’t find it by clicking around in the program just you can Google it.

The exes that need to be added as program exceptions are all the ones in C:\Program Files (x86)\Homestead\SiteBuilder:
SiteBuilderLPX.exe
SiteBuilderLPXLauncher.exe
SiteBuilderLPXLauncherUpdated.exe
updater.exe
ForceUpdate.exe
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Mike F., Alum

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Posted 6 years ago

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Cassandra S

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I also have this issue.  I want to make sure that homestead knows that whether they have an on-line cloud version of a sitebuilder there is a demand and need for their offline version and ASAP!  I followed the directions here to the T and was not able to get sitebuilder working.  I contacted homestead support and had to demand to talk with a supervisor twice before someone was even willing to actually run some type of real tech support with me.  Even then the tech support I got referred back to this exact post to try and troubleshoot this issue.

Unless anyone else has any other methods to try to get it running I'm not expecting any further help at this point the hours I spent doing this and doing it again several times with tech support have probably already run through every thing that can be done until the homestead team actually gets an update/patch that allows it to run in 8.1.  All I really want to do here in this post is to address some issues I see and have with aspects of this issue and the comments in this thread.  You can call it a rant if you want I'll call it customer feedback though.

1. If there is a major issue like this that is known it would have been extremely helpful if homestead could have sent out a notice to customers to let them know that there are potential conflict issues when upgrading to 8.1.  This puts the power and choice on the customer as to how they will proceed.  I didn't need to upgrade to 8.1 I could have gone without the upgrade.  I put it off for months but gave into the annoying windows pop-up that told me I could upgrade for free.  Had I known this issue would possibly ocur I could have chosen to ingore it some more or at least published all my unpublished pages which now instead sit useless as a backed up file that I can't do anything with.  For those who wanted they could have done this and then upgraded knowing they may have to switch to the online editor but would have at least known what possibly coming and prepared themselves for that eventuality.  I and I'm sure many others only come to these forums when we are looking for solutions/answers to an issue/problem we're already experiencing it so it should not be assumed we will know about issues here either.  As it currently stands my only options are to use an on-line editor which will be essentially useless to me, downgrade my computer at great loss to me since I will have to pretty much do a system restore and reinstall everything costing me time and resources, or buy myself a new old computer that can still run sitebuilder.

2.  I understand that companies like Adobe have moved their products to the cloud but that's not an excuse for not really supporting an offline product.  It reminds my of that old saying "If everyone else jumped off a cliff would you?"  While Dreamweaver is in the cloud I can actually access it and work with it offline.  If Homestead wants to move to a similar format they need to make the cloud program available for use off-line and online just like dreamweaver.  Some of us do not work on-line all of the time.  For me I work almost exclusively off-line and only go online when I am actually uploading/publishing.  I simply cannot be on-line whenever I'm working on my site.  I hear people saying that the beauty of plus is that you can use it anywhere which is quite misleading since in reality I can use it anywhere as long as I can connect to the internet.  That's simply not an option for me.  Many places I work do not have access to the internet or internet connections are quite slow or inconsistent with lots of dropped signals.  While I don't particularly want to learn a new interface and such this isn't the biggest issue and learning the new interface of plus would be acceptable if there were an option to use it off-line  but again there is not making it a moot point for me.

3.  For others out there who don't want to give up on sitebuilder the off-line version after talking with tech support they assured me that they are looking for ways to resolve this issue and the issue seems to be related to Java and particularly to J# which they have told me they probably need to wait for Microsoft to make an update for J# to make everything compatible between sitebuilder and 8.1.  I sincerely hope that the homestead team is additionally looking for ways to do something on their end to make it work too though and not simply waiting around for Microsoft.  I hope their reassurance that they are working on the problem is not simply a lip service.  I do appreciate the support I got from Homestead (if you read this at all thank you again Marvin for your hours of time and effort to help me get it up and running) but I also didn't appreciate having to ask for a supervisor twice before getting that kind of help.  I especially disliked dealing with the 2 previous tech support people whose only answer was to switch to plus which as stated above would be almost useless to me.  I've been told there is no projected time line for a fix they couldn't even tell me days, months, or years... Homestead, I really need something to go on here!  My yearly renewal is coming up and I don't want to pay for a years worth of service on something I can't use at all.  Even though I've been with you since you were a free website builder (something like 15 years now) this isn't a smart choice for me if I can't even post a simple update let alone publish all my unpublished pages.  I'd hate to leave but your not giving me many viable options here.  I could hold out knowing there's a fix coming soon but open ended with some people suggesting that work on the off-line builder isn't even going to happen has me seriously questioning my future with homestead and I don't think I'm the only one).  .

4. If you do contact customer support be aware that you will most likely just be walked through the above steps several times as currently there isn't any new solutions.  They will try to run things in compatibility mode and as administrator and uninstall and reinstall and add exceptions and uninstall and reinstall java versions and so and so forth.  It will take a lot of time and will most likely not get you any results that differ from what is listed above.  They will refer you back to this post and have you follow along with the steps in it.

5.  If you are a sitebuilder user and wish to continue with or return to the off-line version make sure you are making it known to Homestead so they do not simply give up on this problem and push everyone into on-line medium with no off-line capabilities.  They need to hear that it is still important to us the customer that it be fixed and continued.  Make sure you keep checking in for updates on their progress if you've experienced the problem be sure to let them know.

6.  Homestead, please, Please, PLEASE continue to keep us updated on any developments for a fix so we know that things are being done or when they are done.  Not knowing anything is killing me and making me seriously consider other competitors.  The grandfathered sort of benefits and long term relationship are the only thing keeping me here and that line is very thin...  I've stuck with you through a lot like not even having a basic spell checker in your earlier years, not having great basic blog options like being able to add a simple share/like on facebook or twitter button, and not having mobile options (and of course dealing with the rather poor mobile options available from the current "solution" of Duda Mobile) but at least I could work around those with some html coding and such but this is different because there isn't really a work around it's just a complete halt in the production of my website.  Don't leave us in the dark, please.
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Cassandra S

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I have finally resolved this issue... unfortunate that the only way I've been able to do so was to replace my computer.  8 months and still no other resolutions for those who upgraded to 8.1.  Still no news about any progress made towards a resolution.  Nothing new at all.  :(
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ken7517

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unfortunately I do not have another pc or laptop laying around that I can resort to.  I'm happy you found a workaround to this continuing, growing problem which Homestead apparently does not care about.  looks like long time customers like you and I are just caught in the cannon fodder of corporate take overs, bottomline, mis-management & malaise.  I did create another post "How about a Windows 8.1 patch or workaround for SiteBuilder" as this is a Windows 8 thread.  btw, the points you posted were spot on. 
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Drew N, Alum

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Did you check step 3 above? When upgrading to 8.1 Microsoft disables the component, that needs to be turned on again. I use Sitebuilder on Windows 8.1 with no trouble. Unfortunately, there are some individuals that haven't been able to make Sitebuilder work on 8.1, but most can once that component is enabled.

What is happening when you launch Sitebuilder?
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ken7517

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I think it's a lot more than &some individuals.  I've googled this issue and have found other forums of a lot of people frustrated with sitebuilder not working in windows 8.1.
if youre referring to Mike F's original post way up top with regards to Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 thats needs to be installed/enabled,, "yes".
I've followed everything he said to do, but it does not work on my pc.  I've posted elsewhere in this thread & also on a new post,, which I see you found and posted to,, "How about a Windows 8.1 patch or workaround for SiteBuilder" ,, what happens in my instance is posted there.
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ken7517

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well, I got sitebuilder to finally work in windows 8.1.
,, this after 2 calls with homestead tech support reps, Drew N., William S. & Mike F. here & various other comments in other forums on this problem & no joy.
I even configured sitebuilder to work backwards compatible to windows 8 & 7 & it still didn't work.
what I did was deleted everything again & this time installed sitebuilder,, not the recommended windows 7 or better version but the older version I was told to avoid.  it asked to instal microsoft VM which I allowed,, a warning appeared saying it was incompatible but I went ahead with the install,, at some point it asked if I wanted to install DirectPlay & I said OK,, everything installed without error messages.
I then restarted the pc,, right clicked on sitebuilder shortcut on desktop then clicked properties then compatibility tab then selected windows 7 then clicked apply & opened sitebuilder for the 30th time except this time ALL my websites loaded!
I've navigated around, made changes & saved, published.  exited sitebuilder, turned off pc/restarted & opened sitebuilder again & it still works fine.
(Edited)
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Paula6092

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I cannot express how much I like you, Mike! I waited a while so I could get the best advice to get my sitebuilder on my new windows 8.1 pc..... Just installed and finished... now I'm updating my site... was much needed! THANK YOU, Love, Paula McGee
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Mike F., Alum

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Thanks for the feedback!!!!

Mike
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Linda3506

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This is November 24th, 2014, I have Windows 8.1 on my new Dell Desktop computer. I am one of those people who has built and had a website in Homestead since the beginning. What is the current Sitebuilder vs. Windows 8.1 situation? I stayed with Homestead because your software allowed me to update and publish how and when I needed to. I never liked Sitebuilder Plus, I don't want to use it. So, what is the current news, has anything been done for compatibility with 8.1?
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Drew N, Alum

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Linda3506,

What happens when you launch desktop? Did you upgrade to 8.1 or is this a new computer?

Drew
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Linda3506

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I stated that I had a new Dell Desktop. Windows updated to 8.1. What is the latest update on this problem? I am updating my site on an old laptop for now. My annual renewal date with Homestead is 6 months away. I need to be able to use my Desktop by then, or will need to cancel.
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joanna2178

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled sitebuilderlite not launching after windows 8 update :(.

i used sitebuilder on n my pc for years. suddenly stopped working stating that launcher stopped working - I don't know if it has anything to do with windows 8 updater but it stopped working at some point after that. PLEASE HELP - I WAS GOING BACK ON TO FINALLY LAUNCH MY SITE & IT WOULD TAKE MONTHS IF NOT LONGER TO REBUILD :(
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Cassandra S

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Yes, I'm sure that's what he meant when he said that.  Unfortunately this is all they can do.  From the many hours I spent with customer service on the phone before apparently there is some issue wit J# when people upgrade from windows 8 to 8.1.  They essentially told me that we have to wait for Microsoft to update J#.  The best you could do is to try uninstalling J# and reinstalling.  If that doesn't fix your issue then chances are you are one of those (like I was) stuck with not being able to use it.  I don't like their on-line sitebuilder and I don't always work with an internet connection so It's not a good fit for me until it can work off-line.  I don't know what you own or how you normally use sitebuilder but I had a workaround where my desktop (still running Windows XP) could still run sitebuilder.  I installed team viewer and used it to remote access from desktop from my laptop.  Unfotunately this didn't solve the problem for me when I didn't have internet access but it did allow me to use the regular sitebuilder when I was online while I waited for a solution.  My guess is they will not develop any further solutions than what is already listed and the only options you really have are to then migrate to their on-line version, purchase a new computer (that already has 8.1 on it) or find a computer operating a previous version of widows in order to use the program.  I know the options suck.
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Kathleen8736

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Are you kidding me? I CANNOT believe Sitebuilder does not work with Windows 8 and 8.1 which has now been released for a couple YEARS! This is crazy. And what else is crazy is that I actually installed Homesite Desktop Sitebuilder on my Win 8.0 laptop over a year ago. Apparently it was a successful install because I made a few minor tweaks to my site after that and nothing else has been required since then. So I haven't been back to Sitebuilder since last summer/fall.

Today, I tried to open the shortcut on my desktop - installed via Sitebuilder's install process - and I kept getting an error message that displayed for a fraction of a second. I had to try to open Sitebuilder several times just to be able to read in that error message that Homesite Sitebuilder was not working and Windows was searching for a fix.

Instead of trying to let Windows repair this or get in the middle of a bunch of tech baloney, I decided to simply uninstall and then reinstall it. So I completed the uninstall but when I arrived back here at my Homestead site mgmt page to download what I thought would be a new version, it was apparent there were the two choices - Sitebuilder and Sitebuilder Plus. Well, that didn't exactly register with me (probably because I've always only used the desktop program for nearly 10 years) so I went to HELP to better understand these two programs and typed in "difference between Sitebuilder & Sitebuilder Plus" - NO RESULTS except many problem threads like this one. I tried "comparison of Sitebuilder and SItebuilder Plus" NO RESULTS. I am ASTOUNDED your HELP files contain NO details about the differences in these two programs. From reading numerous comments on help threads (waste of my time when you should have laid out the differences in your technical help files) I realized that Sitebuilder is essentially downloaded for the desktop and Plus is just a cloud version of the same thing. BUT they are not exactly the same nor are they compatible apparently, my conclusion after reading many of these problem threads. 

I am even more astounded after reading instructions on another thread that apparently you are restricted to using EITHER the desktop version OR the cloud version because the changes made in one might not be recognized or updated in the other version. THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS. If you are going to leave things this screwed up, you should at the very least have a significant help page on these two versions, the difference and issues with them so people know what they are getting into! As far as I can see by searching HELP, there is no such document. As paying users, we are just on our own to flounder about wondering why things do not work, wondering if we are doing something that will cause a problem, blindly screwing things up because no one explains what to do or not to do unless one searches dozens of help discussions! 

And now, I read this post from your tech person on this thread telling me your primary website builder software is unable to do an install onto my desktop because my OS (Win 8.1) is simply too new! OMG, it's over 2 years old now. Are you kidding me? Are you planning to make SItebuilder compatible or are you just trying to force everyone to cloud builder? Do you really believe it's OK to make customers jump through all these technical hoops described by Mike F. above in order to make your software functional on the newer computers being produced for consumers? If I wanted to do all that, I'd take up programming! 

I've kept Homestead for a long time simply because I could get a site to my own design specifications and because it did NOT require me to learn programming or HTML or much of anything technical to get my site up or revised when needed. But this current situation is not acceptable on any level. I would appreciate some candor here about what you are actually selling in terms of capability, compatibility and support (help files - not chat threads dozens of comments long that I must wade through to figure out what is going on).

In the meantime, I am looking at my other options. For all I can ascertain, I am now stuck with a Win 8.1 laptop that apparently will not be able to be have Sitebuilder desktop version installed (unless I want to become a tech geek/programmer and follow the 25 steps outlined in this post). God only knows why Sitebuilder installed on this Win 8 machine and appeared to work for a short time over a year ago. And I am also stuck with a Win XP desktop that still has an older version of Sitebuilder on it from which I could revise my site but at the present time I cannot really sit at the desk to do so. That makes it virtually impossible for me to do anything with my site:  laptop can't have the desktop version software; I can't use the cloud version on the laptop (or I risk screwing up the site if I ever try to use the desktop version again); and I can't physically use the XP desktop. If this isn't a correct interpretation of my situation, you'll need to enlighten me. I'll be looking for Homestead's response on this. 
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ken7517

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hi kathleen,
Ive not read your entire post but I posted here awhile back as I could not get sitebuilder to load and work on win 8.1,, type "How about a Windows 8.1 patch or workaround for Sitebuilder" & look at the last (my) post,, I believe I may have explained how I got mine to work finally.  I figured it out this workaround,, not the Homestead techs,, not sure it will work for you but worth a look perhaps,, good luck!
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William S

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Hello Kathleen,

The reason why we don't actively advertise the use of both websites builder is because SiteBuilder Desktop is the older and legacy SiteBuilder. SiteBuilder Plus is the new version and was designed to be a replacement. New accounts, for example, have SiteBuilder Plus only. Since this is a significant change in builders, we left the option up to the customer to decide if they choose to use our older SiteBuilder Desktop or Plus. You are correct in that the versions have compatibility issues when actively using one or the other. This is because one is meant to replace the other and not meant to be used in conjunction. We highly encourage choosing 1 builder as your primary builder.

You can use SiteBuilder Desktop on Windows 8/8.1. There are no compatibility issues and it is supported. The issue you are running into where you go to launch the program and immediately crashes is a different issue. This issue happens when you have SiteBuilder Desktop installed on your PC and then perform a major upgrade. A major upgrade would be something like moving from Windows 7 to 8, or Windows 8 to 8.1. If you had Windows 8 with SiteBuilder Desktop installed, then your computer upgraded to 8.1, you will get this error. Currently there is no fix for this issue. Uninstalling and re-installing will not fix it, as the Windows upgrade breaks the install in the registry. We are still looking into finding a fix for this, but at time there is no workaround. The only way you could use SiteBuilder Desktop on the laptop is if you did a complete reformat or use SiteBuilder Plus.
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Kathleen8736

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Thank you, Ken. I will be going to look at the thread you referred to for a possible workaround to get me by for awhile. 

Thank you, William S, for confirming the facts about this situation. I still REALLY believe you guys need to have one document on your (help) site explaining this (legacy vs new cloud version) to customers. And since the upgrade to Win 8.1 is apparently what causes the problem ***simply because I had desktop installed prior to Win 8 upgrading to Win 8.1*** don't you think this was Homestead's responsibility to not only document this issue on one page easily found in HELP but also to push notification to all your legacy users about this potential catastrophic issue that CAN BE AVOIDED if a legacy user knew to uninstall the desktop builder BEFORE allowing the upgrade to Win 8.1? That knowledge is what could have prevented my dilemma if I am reading your response correctly, right?

You guys surely know how to bill my credit card annually, why couldn't you send me an email about something this serious? I am really steamed to think you knew but NEVER BOTHERED to inform me of this problem which I could have completely avoided just by uninstalling the desktop builder before allowing the 8.1 update and then apparently re-installing the desktop builder after the upgrade (that is what you wrote, correct?). The irony of this is that I waited for MONTHS before allowing the 8 to 8.1 Windows upgrade specifically because I wanted to avoid early adopter conflicts & issues which are usually worked out by MS & other affected players in the first 6 months after an update like that one. I waited thinking I would be much safer, avoiding issues like this one. I am also astounded that you STILL have not fixed this and say you don't know when you might be able to do so! Is the idea to get all your legacy customers w/Win 8.1 to leave?

LACK OF COMMUNICATION is really not ok when customers are relying on you to provide a seamless ongoing service, especially when YOU KNEW and yet did nothing to prevent people like me - long term customers, for crying out loud - from allowing a disaster to happen out of sheer ignorance. 

I admit, I did not come to Homestead and read for alerts about this issue BEFORE I allowed the Win 8.1 upgrade. But I did do a google search about conflicts & problems with that upgrade and read several pages of results trying to make sure nothing popped out that would be a problem for me. But even if I had come to the Homestead Help section, based on all the searching I did yesterday trying to figure this problem out, I am sure I would have found nothing to guide me, nothing to protect me from screwing everything up. Is this what Homestead was counting on? Let legacy users foul up their desktop builder so they are forced to migrate to Plus -- which is SLOW, or at least it was way back when it first debuted. I know, because I tried it back then. And even if it now has been improved, many of us do not have the fastest DSL simply because it is not available in more rural areas so it can never be an improvement over the legacy version where I can do the work I need to do, start the update/publish process and walk away while it works. That is vastly different than waiting 10x longer for normal responses for every single edit you make in the cloud. 

So what are you going to do for me and for other legacy users like me? Are we just going to be left twisting in the wind or what? What is your commitment to your customers in allowing them to actually use the service you sold them? (Remember I do not have fast DSL, I need desktop or else I need a clone to sit and wait for each edit on Plus.) Your comment "We are still looking into finding a fix for this, but at time there is no workaround." is not really comforting or helpful on any level, especially given that Windows 8.1 was released in Oct 2013, nineteen months ago. Really, after 19 months on this problem, you still don't have a clue? And what about Windows 10? How will you handle that? Are you even working with Microsoft on this issue? If not, why not? Lots of answers needed.
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Kathleen8736

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Ken7517, I finally found your comment in this thread where you explain how you got it working on your 8.1 computer. For some reason the way this discussion displays, it makes it quite difficult to find all the replies (See Previous pops up sometimes, something not) or even find all the pages (sometimes, I see  page 1 & 2, sometimes it only shows page 1 yet I KNOW there is a second page since I initially posted on the 2nd page - very strange, another anomaly).

So anyway, your fix was 3 months ago. I'm glad you fixed yours and shared the detail. The steps do not seem too difficult. I do wonder if that older version of Sitebuilder you installed is still available for install though -- maybe tech William S. can answer that.

At any rate, Ken, could you tell me if it has continued to work properly since then? Have you used it more than just those couple of times when working on this problem back 3 months ago? I guess I'm asking if the "fix" you found has remained in place without more problems or for any other updates on your situation that you could offer.

Thanks for sharing what worked. I missed your fix comment because quite frankly, I was overwhelmed by the magnitude of the issue and the deficit of Homestead applying labor to resolve it rather than have us all jump through tech geek hoops even while we are not qualified to do all that jumping.
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ken7517

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hi kathleen,
sitebuilder has worked like a charm since I made that change.  I've used it many times since,, the last being several weeks back & have had no problems.  also, making that change has not affected the pc, windows or any other programs Ive used.  hope this helps.
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Kathleen8736

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Thanks so much for the feedback, Ken. I appreciate it. I can give your fix a try now with some optimism for a good result. I'm very grateful you have followed this old thread and spoken up or else I'd have missed your fix. Thanks again! 
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Terry9835

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I have just read this entire thread. It is hard to believe that this OS has been in use for so long without a fix for the problem. I was using Sitebuilder on Windows 8.1 until I had a hard drive crash last week. Now I can't get it to work at all. Guess I was just lucky and my luck has run out.
Since there is no fix, has been no fix in over two years, and apprarently will be no fix in the future, I, too, will try Ken's approach and hope for the best. Whether it works or not, you can bet that between now and renewal time, I will be on the lookout for a new place to host my website. If anyone finds a place that lets you edit offline at your leisure and doesn't take two years to adapt to new operating systems, let me know.I'm interested.
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Christie7426

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I was able to get the program to work by uploading Microsoft Visual J# 2.0 for XP (Not SE version) and followed the steps shown on this post. I am running windows 8.1.
(Edited)
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Teofilo3685

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Homestead SiteBuilder LPX launcher.exe doesn ́t function with windows 8,1.

I can ́t use sitebuilder in my laptop because Homestead SiteBuilder LPXlauncher.exe stops functioning when I try to run sitebuilder
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Drew N, Alum

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Try the instructions in this topic. Step 3 might be the only thing you need to do, but if not, then go through the who;e topic. I use Sitebuilder on both Windows 8.1 and 10

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