by Steve Lopez

The only way installing ChessBase 8 could be easier would be if the CD flung itself out of the jewel case and into your CD drive the moment you opened the package containing the software. However, some users are uncomfortable with program installations -- in an effort to help there folks we'll look at how to get ChessBase 8 onto your hard drive in this week's ETN.

Before you begin the installation process, make sure you don't have other programs running minimized on your computer. This is because you'll be directed to restart your computer at the end of the installation process.

Most people have Autorun enabled on their computer; if this is the case on your machine, you'll see the following box appear a few moments after putting the ChessBase 8 CD into the drive:

This one's pretty much a no-brainer. You get two choices: "Install" and "Close". Take a wild guess as to which one you should click.

If you don't have Autorun enabled on your computer, just put the CD in the drive, click on the Start button on your Windows taskbar, select "Run", and then click on the "Browse" button. Use the file select dialogue to go to your CD drive and choose the file "Setup.exe". Click on it to highlight it, click "OK" (which goes back to the "Run" dialogue), click "OK" again, and you'll be right here with the rest of us.

After clicking "Install", you'll get a status bar on your screen for a few moments: the usual "Preparing Wizard -- please wait" jazz. Then you get the welcome message, upon which you'll click "Next". The next dialogue you'll see looks something like this:

This is where you'll specify what folder ChessBase 8's program files will be installed into. If you don't like the default folder, click the "Browse" button to designate a new one. Unless you have a particularly compelling reason for not installing it to the default folder, just go with the default and click "Next". This is particularly true for owners of the Fritz "family" of playing programs which have also been installed to the default folders. Using the defaults ensures that all of the various chess engines will be available to all of the programs, including CB8.

[Important side note: There's already some squawking on the Interrant about the word "Proto" in both the folder name and the desktop icon for ChessBase 8, with the predictable complaints about the program being a "prototype" and the usual snide remarks about "unpaid beta testing". Sorry to disappoint the naysayers, but it's simply an oversight on the part of the programmers. Some of us were actually lucky enough to betatest the program and we recall that the icon and folder said "proto". I have the final betatest version on another computer and I can assure you that what is on the ChessBase 8 CD is the full commercial release version of the program, not a betatest version. The reason the folder and icon appear as they do is because the programmers simply forgot to change it.]

If you've upgraded from ChessBase 7 to ChessBase 8, please please please do not install ChessBase 8 to the same folder as your ChessBase 7 program files! This can cause file corruption, file conflicts, premature balding, unsightly warts and blemishes, and is known to contribute to global warming. In one case, it was known to precipitate a plague of locusts. In other words, don't do it.

After you've clicked "Next", you'll see a new, albeit similar, dialogue appear:

This is a dialogue that allows you to specify a default location for the databases and opening trees that you will create in the course of using CB8. Again, this is a matter of preference, but I see no reason to not use the defaults. Click "next" once you've decided on a folder. This will now start the actual installation process:

You'll see the status bar rock on across to 100% which, of course, indicates that the program is now installed. This will be followed by:

...which, of course, you will want to do. So choose "Yes" and click "Finish". Your computer will reboot and when the Desktop comes back up, you'll have a new icon called "ChessBase 8 Proto" on it. If the "Proto" really, really, really, really bothers you, it can easily be edited out of the icon. I assure you that what you now have on your computer at this point is the full release of ChessBase 8.

You can now double-click on that icon and start your ChessBase 8.


ChessBase 7 users who have upgraded to CB8 will be impressed by the fact that there are already icons for existing databases appearing in the Database window -- this eliminates the need to establish icons for them.

First time ChessBase users may want to copy their database of games to the hard drive. Be aware that this will require a bit of room -- the Big Database 2000 is about 285 MB in size, while the Mega Database 2000 is around 325 MB. These can be accessed directly from the CD, but getting them to your hard drive is pretty simple if you have the space. Put the database CD in the drive, go to the File menu, select "Install", and then "Install Database from CD (automatic)". ChessBase 8 then finds the database on the CD and installs it to the folder you designated as the default during the program installation process (see the installation steps above).

There is also a Player Encyclopedia included with ChessBase 8. This contains photos and personal info (birth and death dates, nationality, Elo graphs, etc.) for thousands of players. This, too, can be installed to the hard drive but be forewarned -- it's 650 MB in size. If you want to install it to the hard drive, first create a folder for the files -- do not just dump them into the same folder with your ChessBase 8 files (this allows easy removal of the Player Encyclopedia later if you find that you need the space for something else). I created a subfolder called \Playbase within the \ChessBase 8 Proto folder.

After you've created a new folder for the Player Encyclopedia, make sure you have the ChessBase 8 CD in the drive. Then go to the File menu, select "Install", and then "Players Encyclopedia" from the submenu. ChessBase 8 will then prompt you for the folder where you want the files to be installed. Select the folder you just created (as described in the last paragraph) and let 'er rip. This may take some time -- on a really fast Pentium III, it took around 8 minutes to install all of the files.

Once the program is installed, it's time to start using the danged thing! Even if you're an experienced ChessBase user, please take the time to read the manual that accompanies the program, which will give you basic information on program functions as well as a look at some of the new features. Everything is described in much greater detail in the Help files (accessible through the Help menu in ChessBase 8 or by hitting the F1 key while you're in CB8).

Next week in ETN we'll start exploring the features of CB8. Until then, have fun!

You can e-mail me with your comments, suggestions, and analysis for Electronic T-Notes. If you love gambits and sacrificial play, stop by my Chess Kamikaze Home Page and the Yahoo Chess Kamikazes Club.