Occasionally, QuickBooks users find themselves in a Catch-22: They need to restore a backup in QuickBooks, but they can’t get QuickBooks itself to open.

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This can happen if your company file got damaged during your last session in the program. Perhaps the power went off and your computer turned off without closing out QuickBooks first, or there was a network hiccup, or some other kind of hardware problem.

So the next time you run QuickBooks, QuickBooks automatically tries to open that data file. But if the company file is corrupted enough that it can’t be opened, then QuickBooks will give an error and shut down. What do you do then?

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Here’s the workaround if this (unfortunately) happens to you: Simply hold the CTRL key down while you are launching QuickBooks. Doing so will bypass the automatic opening of your company file and put you at the No Company Open dialog box. You’ll then be able to click “Open or restore an existing company” and restore a good backup, if you have one. (If not, give us a call at 1-800-999-9209; we can probably repair your damaged file.)

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95 thoughts on “How to Open QuickBooks When It Won’t Open

  1. Please i have a backup from QBES 6.0 and would like to restore the backup into QB Premier 2014 but i wont work.

    Please help because we just purchased the QB2014 and it cannot be returned

  2. I had to reinstall Quickbooks Premier 2011 on a new computer when my hard disk died. I reinstalled from a download. I can open the sample company file, but when I try to restore from my backup (.qbb) file, the program immediately closes. Any suggestions would be appreciated. When my secretary called tech support, she got transferred to someone with heavily accented English who wanted us to buy a $499 support plan.,

    • Hi Richard,

      Was the backup QBB file on the hard drive that died? If so, it was probably corrupted as part of the hard drive failure. If you can find a QBB, QBW, or QBM file that was not on that hard drive, try restoring that. Thanks for the question.

      • Actually, the backup was on a USB drive which was not attached at the time of the failure. I have tried two backups (.qbb files) from that drive – we make one each month after billing – and both lead to the same problem – the program closes when I get to the point where it asks where to save the new .qbw file.

        • Are you restoring to the new hard drive? Or to the USB drive? QB files can’t really be reliably used directly from USBs…

          Otherwise, it sounds like the QBBs on the USBs are corrupted. Sometimes if backups are made directly to USBs they don’t get saved correctly. Do you have any QBW files that got copied to a USB or other drive?

          • Thanks. I am restoring to the new hard drive. Unfortunately, the only files i have are the QBBs on the USB drive. (I tried to first move one of the QBB files to the desktop and to restore from there, but it did not help.) We lost the only QBW, which was on the hard drive. Is there a tool or service for repairing a corrupt QBB file?

  3. When I try to login, the pop-up box states, “Login fail. This user is already logged in. Try logging in with a different user”. Then, when I try to login with the administrator’s login, it tells me that Multi-user mode needs to be turned off. I am the only one to access to Quickbooks and it is only the the current computer I use. What are my options for logging in without losing all of my data?

    • Hi Danielle,

      Have you tried something as simple as restarting the computer, then trying to log in as Admin? If you are the only user, then I can’t think of a reason you’d need to log in as anyone other than Admin. Thanks for the question.

      • Shannon,

        I did try restarting the computer to no avail. The owner of the company has an admin login but does not use it has been out of town for the past week. This issue came up today and that is the only reason I tried logging in as admin rather than under my own login. When I spoke with our owner he says he has not logged into Quickbooks in a very long time. I just don’t want to lose our company’s information which is seeming like a possibility.

  4. I’m having issues with QB 2015 Premier. It was working fine this morning then kicked me off saying it had an error. Since then I’ve been unable to login. It now doesn’t even go to the login screen. I have 4 users and they’re able to login, but I can’t from my computer, which hosts the company file. I’ve tried all of the recommendations I can find on QB website except their Component Repair Tool. I can’t find that anywhere to download. All “links” to the download don’t go anywhere. Do you have any recommendations or suggestions I could try before uninstalling and reinstalling? I hate to do that if it’s actually a windows error.

    • Hi Renetta,

      So when you are unable to log in, are you trying to log in as Admin or someone else? If you can’t log in as Admin, then your file has gotten corrupted and you’ll want to restore your last good backup. If you are logging in as a non-Admin, then try creating a new user for yourself with a slightly different name (e.g. Renetta -> Renetta1) and then log in with the new name. Thanks for the question.

  5. my quickbooks pro 2015 wont open, tried the control key trick and tried to restore a backup but the software still does not open the file and says there is an error and closes

  6. Help, I am taking an online quickbooks class. I can’t open the company files. I made too many and may have deleted them. It just says to register then goes to a blank page then back to the box with company files in them. It won’t open or restore company files

  7. Hi Jemma,

    If you click on File / Open Existing Companies and navigate to the folder where the companies are, you should be able to open them there. If you deleted them, then they won’t be there, of course. If you have backups, then you should be able to restore them…if you get errors, let me know what it says and maybe I can help. Thanks for the question.

  8. I keep trying to sign in for my QuickBooks on line account and when done on the computers it comes back session timed out. I can sign in on my phone. QuickBooks customer service can not help or solve the problem.. They say it is my computer but I have tried on three different ones and am using a fast network. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Steve,

      That’s a whole other problem than QB desktop not working, and I’m afraid I can’t help except for general advice like clearing your browser cookies for the QBO website, and clearing your browser cache. Surely someone at QBO support could help you if that doesn’t work?? Thanks for your question.


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