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.

TIP: What Kinds of Drives Can You Open QuickBooks On?

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.)

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

  1. I will try this the next time but I swear I have tried this routine before and it did not work. I have had my share (and others’) of problems opening QB after a computer crash. I swear I had reached the “no company open” box and tried opening various companies until I got lucky. And once I was able to open one company, then all the rest opened up. My problem had nothing to do with a corrupted file, I think it is just QB is very moody when dealing with unstable situations.

    Reply
  2. Sometimes the problem is with the file you’re trying to open, if you don’t turn off the Save the Desktop feature. A report was open (and is trying to reload) or a corrupt customized template – in that case, use the Alt key instead of the Ctrl key to force the company file to open without loading anything – then change the desktop preferences to Don’t Save the Desktop.

    Reply
  3. David, thanks for sharing your experience. QuickBooks problems can also be caused by corruption in a program file, the database engine, or a Windows registry entry, though those sorts of things would typically prevent you from getting into the program at all. Not sure why randomly opening one company would clear everything up, but if that sometimes works, great!

    Kathy, that’s a great alternative workaround — thanks!

    Reply
  4. “give us a call at 1-800-999-9209; we can probably …” If one has already used up his/her ONE ‘help’ call, how does one accomplish this – by first paying the $90 fee before talking to someone?

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  5. Hi Peter, the free approach is to restore your last good backup. Unfortunately, sometimes people don’t have one so we offer a data repair option. And yes, there is a fee to repair a damaged file.

    Reply
  6. Shannon, I am not sure why opening a company file (QBW) would work either but if I try opening enough of them then sooner or later QB will finally launch.
    BTW: I just tried the CTRL key function just now (after a computer forced shutdown due to a freeze) and no luck with that. I also tried the ALT function just for the heck of it and no luck either. Yeah, since my computer freezes up sometimes then the core problem is in windows or RAM shortage (although I do have 2gb which should be adequate). But QB seems to be the only app anymore to give me problems upon re-startup. Oh well, am not surprised :-)

    Reply
  7. David, thanks for sharing your experience. Sorry none of that seems to be working for you. I’m going to be posting a new blog entry within the next week that might help with your situation…please check back.

    Reply
  8. Here’s something else that works. Before you ever get a corrupt file, make a copy of the QBs data file (not a backup). Keep it preferably not on the computer you’re working on. When you get a corrupt file and can’t open QBs, double click on the data file copy and then restore the last good backup file to the same location as regular data file. It doesn’t matter how old the data file copy is. It just matters that it’s not corrupt.

    Reply
  9. Quickbooks 2011 will not open.

    I have done almost everything except re-install windows 7. Today I decided after a year of buying QB2011 I was ready to switch to and start using it as my main account app. When I clicked on the icon nothing…I get a dialogue box that has the QB logo and says ‘loading quickbooks………..’ then nothing.

    QB previously worked as I played with it to get familiar before switching.

    I have tried re-installing from the disk and from a download link intuit sent me
    I have used revo to clean all existing files of QB before re-installing.
    I’ve delete registration folders.
    I’ve tried the CTrL and ALT.
    I’ve tried clicking directly on the QBW files including samples.
    I’ve tried booting the system to Safe Mode and then tried QB.
    I’ve tried starting it using the EXE file located in the directory.
    I’ve reboot several times.

    1 – I suspect there is something in the registry so my next move will be to once again uninstall QB then clean the sys of all instances of QB and intuit and then pick through the registry again.

    2 – If that fails I will try installing the demo to see the outcome

    3 – If 1 and 2 fail I will reinstall win7

    Before I venture to the extremes I am hoping someone can help.

    I’m an IT consultant (smh…don’t say it) so my system is well kept no virus, malware, spyware, adware, trojans…nothing new

    Reply
  10. I had the same problem this morning. I believe when I shot-down my PC yesterday, I was impatient and opted to Force-Close applications when prompted by Windows 7, with QuickBooks2008 still running. I finally got it fixed and would like to share the sequence of what I did.

    I tried ctrl-open, alt-open application, but to no avail. Same crash dialog appeared.

    Then I went to the program installation folder and ran the reboot.bat. The DOS window popped up and executed the batch commands. I reran QB, still the same result.

    Warning: This next step involves registry tampering. Perform this step only if you have touched registry before know what to do in case something goes wrong (worst case will render the PC unbootable.)

    I started regedt32 with Admin privilege. Then I delved to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SOFTWARE/INTUIT/Wow6432Node/Intuit/Quickbooks/18.0/Pro. Click on “DataPath” key and removed the value that points to my QB data folder. Close regedt32. Launch QB. Voila! It started with my company file as if nothing had ever happened. Have no idea why this works.

    Reply
  11. When I try to open Quickbooks I get a message: This version requires Internet Explorer 6.0 or later. I have IE8 and have tried several fixes I’v reed about and nothing has worked. Any Suggestions?

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  12. First, schedule a check disk in Windows and click on both “Automatically fix file system errors” as well as “scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors”. Reboot to run fix disk. Then do a defrag.
    Then, to be real thourough (although that will probably fix it), go to “add or remove programs” in the control panel. Click on “change/remove” and choose the “repair” option. This should do it! Then, when QuickBooks does open, do an update for good measure … Help>Update QuickBooks. You’re welcome : ).

    Reply
  13. I went through all the fixes listed in various different help blogs. I finally got it to open by doing a search for the company file. Did this by searching my drives for a *.qbw file. In the results it found my QB company file. I double clicked the file and then Quickbooks opened normally. Wahla! I also did a defrag before this but I don’t know if this helped with the solution or not. Couldn’t have hurt I suppose.

    Reply
  14. Hi Diana,

    In older versions of QB, that used to be an OK way to open QB and your company file, but not in the last few versions…causes problems a lot of the time. But I’m glad it worked for you! Thanks for the comment.

    Reply
  15. I was using Quickbooks 2010 this morning with no problems. I exited out to go run some errands & now that I’m home & have to get back into the program will not respond at all. This happens to me every so often why & how can this problem be resolved

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  16. I’ve used Quickbooks since the days of DOS. Wow, I’m old. Of course I used all the normal tried and true suggestions to no avail. Even after reinstalling Windows. I discovered after reinstalling Windows (and all my basic programs— Excel, Word, Norton Antivirus, etc), I STILL couldn’t open Quickbooks. I discovered that some of the C++ environments that were automatically being loaded when I reinstalled Windows 7 and my older Excel and Word programs actually conflicted with the C++ environment Quickbooks 2013 needed. I systematically uninstalled all C++ (starting with C++2012 and older), then downloaded and RE-installed each C++ from Microsoft. Yes, this meant I had to download and install C++2012, C++2010, C++2008, C++2005. Just because you download the latest version of C++ doesn’t mean your other programs can run with it. If you have a program that needs C++2005, for instance, you need to actually have THAT specific C++2005

    Reply
  17. I’ve been battling this one for weeks, tried everything and then some. Even the sample company files wouldn’t open, just Not Responding no matter how you get that far.
    For the heck of it, after reading a post above about running RegEdit with Admin rights I tried to run QB with Administrator Priviledges and Bam! It opened. Hopefully this helps some people. You can set it to run this way every time from the program icon properties (right click on the Quickbooks icon), under the Compatibility tab. Not sure why it needs the rights. Without it it just thrashes the hard drive forever and makes the machine really slow (and never opens).
    Steve

    Reply
  18. Hi, Shannon. I’ve been using QuickBooks since it came out and have never had any problem opening up a download from my bank. Today, I went to try to open up the first download I have saved, and all if does is spin and never open up.

    Reply
  19. Hi, Shannon. I’ve been using QuickBooks since it came out and have never had any problem opening up a download from my bank. Today, I went to try to open up the first download I have saved, and all if does is spin and never open up.
    (submitting this again so that I can check the box below) Thanks, LuAnn

    Reply
  20. Hi Everyone!

    So I installed Quickbooks to one of our clients. I have 4 xp users, 1 vista user. Result is 3 out of 4 xp users cannot use Quickbooks and the vista user as well. Two different problems. For the xp, it doesn’t continue to open. It just says “Opening Quickbooks….” and then nothing happens. For the vista, the error says “Quickbooks has stopped working..” I really don’t know what else to do.

    Here are the list of actions I’ve tried:
    1. reboot.dat
    2. clean install
    3. ctrl alt
    4. windows xp fix (found it in the internet, I can send you if you want to try)
    5. quickbooks file doctor

    Still no luck for me.

    “I started regedt32 with Admin privilege. Then I delved to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SOFTWARE/INTUIT/Wow6432Node/Intuit/Quickbooks/18.0/Pro. Click on “DataPath” key and removed the value that points to my QB data folder. Close regedt32. Launch QB. Voila! It started with my company file as if nothing had ever happened. Have no idea why this works.”

    Has anyone tried what James Lin said?

    Hope someone replies. :D

    Reply
  21. Hi Everyone!

    So I installed Quickbooks to one of our clients. I have 4 xp users, 1 vista user. Result is 3 out of 4 xp users cannot use Quickbooks and the vista user as well. Two different problems. For the xp, it doesn’t continue to open. It just says “Opening Quickbooks….” and then nothing happens. For the vista, the error says “Quickbooks has stopped working..” I really don’t know what else to do.

    Here are the list of actions I’ve tried:
    1. reboot.dat
    2. clean install
    3. ctrl alt
    4. windows xp fix (found it in the internet, I can send you if you want to try)
    5. quickbooks file doctor

    Still no luck for me.

    “I started regedt32 with Admin privilege. Then I delved to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SOFTWARE/INTUIT/Wow6432Node/Intuit/Quickbooks/18.0/Pro. Click on “DataPath” key and removed the value that points to my QB data folder. Close regedt32. Launch QB. Voila! It started with my company file as if nothing had ever happened. Have no idea why this works.”

    Has anyone tried what James Lin said?

    Hope someone replies.

    (forgot to check the notify box, sorry)

    Reply
    • “I started regedt32 with Admin privilege. Then I delved to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SOFTWARE/Wow6432Node/Intuit/Quickbooks/18.0/Pro. Click on “DataPath” key and removed the value that points to my QB data folder. Close regedt32. Launch QB. Voila! It started with my company file as if nothing had ever happened. Have no idea why this works.”

      The above worked for me with QuickBooks 2011. Thank you

      Reply
  22. internet explorer cannot display the image whwn trying to open quickbooks, i do some research trough web but still the same result. please help

    Reply
  23. I seem to be having the same problem as Hayzel. I’m using QBs Pro 2013 with Windows XP. When I try to open QBs, it says “Opening Quickbooks” for a few minutes, then disappears without ever opening. I’ve never had any issues with opening QBs before. I did do an update last week so I don’t know if that has anything to do with it not opening now.

    Reply
    • I don’t know how or why but I was finally able to open it by following these directions. support.quickbooks.intuit.com/support/Articles/SLN40519 – solution 3 finally worked after I ended processes on all 8 of the QBW32.EXE that were listed under the Processes tab of the Task Manager.

      Reply
      • Hi Cheryl,

        Glad that worked. I wonder if the same thing would have been accomplished if you had restarted your computer? That would have shut down all the processes, of course, and then it would have started just the essential services again when Windows started up again.

        Thanks for sharing your problem and solution!

        Reply
        • I’ve been having the exact same problem as Cheryl with QB Premier on XP. I guess this is just an XP problem so far, because we have an installation on Win7 that worked fine.
          I have uninstalled, cleaned, reinstalled, restarted, etc. at least four or five times, and gone through most of the solutions on support.quickbooks.intuit.com/support/Articles/SLN40519 – nothing has worked so far. Somehow, the Admin password seems to have been “lost” so that solution is out.

          Any other ideas?

          Reply
  24. I an running quickbooks from command prompt using start /d QBW32.exe, How can I open the qbw file direct from the command prompt Can it be possible by passing the qbw filename as an argument to this command. Please reply as it is very urgent.

    Reply
  25. When I try to open QB in Windows 7 it stops working and gives me the following message:

    Problem signature:
    Problem Event Name: APPCRASH
    Application Name: qbw32.exe
    Application Version: 20.0.4017.807
    Application Timestamp: 510c5e5f
    Fault Module Name: MSVCR90.dll
    Fault Module Version: 9.0.30729.6161
    Fault Module Timestamp: 4dace5b9
    Exception Code: c0000005
    Exception Offset: 0003b9f0
    OS Version: 6.1.7601.2.1.0.768.3
    Locale ID: 1033
    Additional Information 1: 4ca7
    Additional Information 2: 4ca75b72fa32288a8f561578a0838043
    Additional Information 3: f347
    Additional Information 4: f3474af77b774ca9020571bc1a02e418

    I was told the registry was damaged. Can this be fixed?? Thanks

    Reply
  26. Pingback: How Do Power Outages Affect QuickBooks? « QuickBooks and Your Business

  27. I lost my quickbooks 2005 and then my computer died. Fortunately I was able to save the quickbooks file, bought quickbooks 2005 pro off ebay. Loaded it, installed my company records and now I cannot get it registered because I dont know the name of whomever purchased it initially. Am I just doomed???

    Reply
    • Hi Candy,

      Well, maybe doomed to buy a new copy. When you register QuickBooks, you have to connect it to some owner information, and if you don’t have that then I don’t know how you can make that work. Sorry. Thanks for asking.

      Reply

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