Did you get yourself a shiny new computer on Black Friday or Cyber Monday? Or maybe you just need to get some year-end bookkeeping done on your laptop over the holidays?

If you need to get QuickBooks from one computer to another, it’s not a big deal. Here’s what you do:

1. Computer #2: Install QuickBooks (you’ll need your original install disk or downloaded install file, plus your installation codes that came with the software.)

2. Computer #2: Update QuickBooks: Run QuickBooks and click on Help / Update QuickBooks. That way, you’ll have the same QuickBooks updates on computer #2 that are on computer #1.

3. Computer #1: Backup your company data. You can back it up to any medium that will be accessible to computer #2. That would normally include CDs, USB/flash drives, external hard drives, or online storage services (like Global DataVault.)

The smallest backup you can make is a Portable file. This kind of backup is only about 20-25% the size of your regular QBW company file, yet it contains all your data. (The backup excludes the internal indexing in the file – that’s why it’s both smaller and takes longer to make and restore.)

4. If you made a backup to a physical backup drive, take it to computer #2 and plug it in or insert it. If your backup is online somewhere, download it to computer #2’s hard drive or desktop.

5. Computer #2: Run QuickBooks, and at the opening dialog box select “Open or restore an existing company”, and then “Restore a portable file” (or “Restore a backup copy” if you are bringing over a regular backup copy from computer #1.)

6. Computer #2: Navigate to the drive and folder where your backup is, and select the backup file.

7. Computer #2: Specify where you want the file to be restored to. You can accept the default that QuickBooks suggests, or point to a particular folder that makes sense to you. My Documents is not a bad choice.

8. Computer #2: Finish the restore.

Once your data is restored, everything should be set up for you to work in QuickBooks on your new computer. If you need to take your company file back to computer #1, simply reverse the process for steps #3-8.

What’s your favorite way to move QuickBooks data between computers?

143 thoughts on “How to Transfer QuickBooks from One Computer to Another

  1. When transferring quickbooks back up to new data file why don’t the customer balances transfer as well or am I doing something wrong

    • Gail,

      When you restore a backup, everything should come back, including customer balances. But that’s not really a new data file, so maybe I don’t understand what you mean…



  4. I already have QB installed on my desktop machine and also on my laptop. I am getting a new laptop now and want to transfer the installation from the old one to the new one. Do I need to deactivate the old laptop installation first in order to be able to install QB on the new one as QB single user license can only be installed on 2 machines?

  5. i have a mac osx lion, i recently installed quickbooks 2014. I am in the process of buying my brothers business from them, but they have windows xp with quickbooks 2013 version. I tried transferring the info off their computer with a flash drive. Everything loaded fine onto the flash drive from windows xp, but the information is not showing up on my computer. I followed what the card said in the box about transferring from windows to mac. Hopefully you can help me

    • David,

      So the only thing you need to bring over is the QBW file for the company data. You can copy that from their computer to your flash drive, to the place on your Mac where you want to the file to be. When you run QB 2014, click on File / Open Existing Company, and then navigate to the place on your computer where you copied the file to. It should then show up on the list of available companies.

      Click on it to open it. It will see that it is from an earlier version and ask you if you’re sure you want to upgrade it to version 2014. OK that. It will then convert your file to 2014 format and you’re good to go.

      Thanks for the questions.

  6. We have QB 2002 on our OLD XP computer… well it is dying… and I need to install the QB 2002 on the new XP computer… but the only disks I have are the QB Pro 2002 UPDATE cd’s… I do not have the original installation disks anymore…HELP me!

    • Hi Steve,

      That’s going to be difficult. Ebay? Craigslist? Otherwise, your best bet will probably be to bite the bullet and get a new version, 2012, 2013, or 2014. Theoretically, your data, as old as it is, should upgrade OK to the latest version.

      Thanks for the question.

  7. Can you move a QB Pro 2012 company file from a computer running Vista to one running Windows 8 and QB Pro 2014? From what I have read QB Pro 2012 will not work on Windows 8. Thanks!

    • Hi Doug,

      You’re right, the only versions of QuickBooks that Intuit supports under Windows 8 are versions 2013 and 2014. And you read about problems with that combination for emailing documents and other issues. I’d bite the bullet and upgrade to QB 2013, or put Windows 7 on your new computer.

      Thanks for the question.

  8. Hi,

    I have Quickbooks 2007 and am trying to move to a newer computer 10.6.8 OSX from my older. It will not let me register and therefore since I have moved beyond my 15 opens will not let me open any more.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you!

  9. Hi,
    I have Personal Plus 2013 installed on an old laptop running Vista. I want to transfer it to a new laptop running Windows 8. I upgraded to Personal Plus 2013 on the old laptop using the supplied upgrade CD and have since thrown away the original install CDs (still have the upgrade CD). I am unable to install Personal Plus 2013 onto the new laptop with the upgrade CD. Everything runs fine up to the “Click here to install” which I do and then nothing happens. Do I need the original install CDs? Any advice greatly appreciated.

  10. We have QuickBooks 2004 on a 2006 Gateway computer with Windows XP. Can I load the 2004 version of QuickBooks on to our new 2013 Gateway with Windows 8 and will a backup from the old computer take to the new one?

    Thanks, Marina

        • Marina,

          Theoretically, you can just open your 2004 file under 2014 and it will upgrade it to the new version. In practice, jumping that many versions at once sometimes has problems. If that is the case, we can complete the conversion for you as a data repair.

  11. I have QuickBooks Premier 2013 installed on pc and laptop. I need to install on new laptop. The new laptop does not have a cd drive. I read to download trial of quickbooks and then use my license number, but I cant get the 2013 only 2014. Can I use it?

    • Justin,

      I’ve talked to people who use Windows versions of QuickBooks on Macs by running QB in PC emulation mode. I don’t use a Mac myself, though, so I don’t really know how to do that.

      Thanks for the question.

  12. Hi
    I have an old version of QB around about 2001 or 2002. I still have the set up disc for this and I am currenvly using this verion I also run windows XP on this older PC which is on its last legs :(
    Looks like I need a new PC. I have a pretty new laptop running windows 8 which I am thinking I will use instead of buying a new PC.
    I am concerned that maybe windows 8 will not let me run the old version of QB I have or let me install it from the old disc so that I could just back up and transfer my QB files and data.
    Will I need to purchase a whole new version of current QB software and if so, will I be able to tranfer my files from the much older version of QB I have into the new version on my Laptop if that is the way I need to go.
    Any help appreciated
    Thank You

    • Hi Elkay,

      Yes, your old version of QB won’t work under Windows 8, so you’ll need to get a current version. You can then move your company file over to the new computer per the instructions in the blog post above. *Theoretically*, you should be able to open the file then with your new version and it will update its format to the current version.

      Thanks for the question.

  13. Hello, I used your “how to trans Q/B from one computer to another”, I tried restoring back up file from my desktop to laptop so I could do work while on vaca, it all transferred fine, however every time I closed the program in my laptop and then tried to open again it said password / user was not valid, so i had to make new password/user (I did that 3 times on my laptop, making new password/user). so now that I am back from vaca, I tried to restore the file from my laptop to my desktop and it is saying the same thing about the password/user. I don’t want to have to keep making new password/user ?? please help !!

    what I did to transfer the back up file was – once I had opened the Q/B program I went to “File – open or restore company” then it asked where to save the file, I saved it in the same file as my other back up’s.

    • June,

      I would say it is because of one of these things:

      * You are opening a different copy of the same file. When you make the backup, change the filename so that you know for sure that it’s the backup you are making then. When you restore the backup, restore it to a different name that is distinctive, so there will be no mistake about what file is what. Then when you go back in to open the file, don’t let it automatically open the default company. Click File / Open Existing Company, and select the company with that distinct name.

      * The file may be damaged. Problems with user names and passwords are a symptom of data corruption, especially with version 2014.

      Are you able to open the original file on your desktop computer? If your ‘master’ copy of the file now is unopenable, there is a password recovery tool you can download from Intuit’s website to get into your company.

      Hope that helps. Thanks for the question.


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