Installing Multiple Versions of FME Desktop

Liz Sanderson
Liz Sanderson
  • Updated


Multiple versions of FME Desktop can be installed on the same machine. This can be useful if testing out a beta or if working with workspaces from other versions. In older versions of FME, installing 32-bit and 64-bit FME was also common practice. 

Backwards Compatibility 

Safe Software works hard to maintain backwards compatibility from version to version in FME. Please see FME Versions and Workspace Compatibility for more information on compatibility between versions. 

However, if a license or library is no longer available, these features might not work in newer versions of FME. To see if a feature has been deprecated, please see FME Deprecations. If this is the case, past versions of FME are available for download on our website

Please note that Safe Software does have a limited support window, and cannot provide support for versions of FME outside of that window. 

How to Install Multiple Versions

The FME Desktop installer can be run on a system where another FME version is already installed. The only requirement is that the alternate versions must reside in separate directories. 

Another consideration is which version to associate with files. This will depend on your workflow, but generally, it is best to associate files with the most recent official release, and the version which supports your most commonly used formats. 


In Windows, during the installation process, on the Destination Folder step of the installation wizard, manually change the directory name from the default, which is \FME. As a best practice, add in the full version or the build number. As an example: <installation location>\FME2022_2


In macOS, the default directory will be Major.Minor release, for example /FME 2022.2. If you are looking to install multiple builds of the same Major.Minor release, you will need to manually rename the already installed version in a Finder window. As a best practice, change the default name to include the build number. After renaming the existing installation proceed with the new installation. 

Considerations When Multiple Versions are Installed

Command Line Usage

Calling FME from the command line can be unreliable when there are multiple versions installed. Maintain the PATH environment variable so that it contains only your primary FME installation, and specify the full FME executable path where possible. If there are multiple FME installations in the system path, the first one will be used.


FME_HOME Setting

Unexpected results and crashes may occur if you run FME while the FME_HOME environment variable is pointing to the home directory of another version.


Custom Formats / Custom Transformers

Both versions will look in the C:\Users\<current user>\Documents\FME directory for Custom Formats and Transformers. However, this may cause problems if there are FME transformers used that have changed between the two installed versions (or are not available in the older one).
Any changes made through the Tools> FME Options> Shared Resources Directories interface apply to both 32- and 64-bit versions.
To make version-specific changes, you must use the following command line in the FME folder:

fme APPLY_SETTINGS SYSTEM <Shared Resource Directory>

This will differentiate between 32-bit and 64-bit, but not between 2020 and 2021, etc.

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