Can FTM World Family Tree CD's compatible with FTM 1995-98 still be accessed for use with FTM 2017, or is there another program that can access this data for research purposes.
To read the information on the World Family Tree CDs, you can use the program Family Archive Viewer. Family Archive Viewer 11.0 runs on Windows 95 and higher. I can confirm (see screenshot below) that Version 11 SP2, for Windows 98, ME, and XP, still runs on Windows 8.1. Dick Eastman reports in his article The Demise of CDs and DVDs (posted 31 July 2017) that Family Archive Viewer does NOT work on Windows 10.
You can get a copy of Family Archive viewer as a free download from the UK retailer S&N Genealogy (the retail partner of TheGenealogist.co.uk). It is also available from some shareware download sites, but I think it's better to get it from a genealogy site when possible.
For some history and technical information, see these captures saved in the Wayback Machine:
Have Family Tree Maker? Please note... All versions of Family Tree Maker between 4 and 16 (2006) support both Genealogy.com CD-ROM data and World Family Tree files.
If you have one of these versions of Family Tree Maker you do not need the Family Archive Viewer.
Need help figuring out which version you have? Just open Family Tree Maker and go to the "Help" menu. From there, choose "About Family Tree Maker...". Your version number will be listed in the box that pops up.
Before opening your Family File with the Family Archive Viewer, you should make a backup copy. If you open your Family File in the Family Archive Viewer, your copy of Family Tree Maker won't be able to open the file.
The note at S&N Genealogy says:
You do not need this viewer if you already have the Family Tree Maker program installed (with the exception of FTM2008).
I have kept my older versions of Family Tree maker, but I do not have Family Tree Maker 2017. My memory is that my version of FTM2014 (the last Ancestry version) did not read the World Family Tree CDs. Searching for World Family Tree CDs in the program help doesn't yield any results, nor do I see reading the CDs as an option in the menus. From this I would infer that the feature was dropped in FTM2008 and was not availavble in later versions. I suspect FTM2017 and newer versions won't read the CDs either. It seems unlikely that MacKiev would have added the feature back in.