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?

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

  1. I’ve just bought a new pc running Windinws 8.1 and installed QB2008. But, I cannot load the company file as it is a later version. I am unable to update the QB2008 as I get error message #12007. I’ve checked the Intuit help and changed all the firewall settings it suggested to allow QB access to te update, but still get the same error message.

    Can anyone help or offer any insight / suggestions?

    Thank you.

    • Hi Joe,

      If I understand that you want to open a file with QB 2008 when the file was created with a later version, that won’t work. You can only open the file with a version that is at least as current as the version the file was used in previously. Sorry no magic bullet.

      Thanks for the question.

      • Hi,

        Thanks for the reply, but I think you slightly misunderstood my message. The company file was created in QB2008, both PC’s are usung QB2008, but the older pc had automatic updates applied. The QB2008 on the new pc would not allow online update, so the company file could not be opened.

        The issue has now been resolved, as Intuit sent me a manual update, so all is now well.

      • Joe, what was your fix? I am having the same trouble with QB2009. My computer crashed. I had all of the autoupdates and last used my data on 12/19. It was working fine. Now I can’t even get to my data after installing the program on my new computer.

  2. I bought a new laptop and installed QB Pro 2015 on both my pc and laptop. Now I want a new laptop and want to delete the file from the old laptop – not enough features
    Any hints on the procedure?
    Thank you

  3. Hi, I am a general IT company and a business nearby had a system crash, but the hard drive reads just fine. Is there any way I can back up from just the hard drive itself or does it have to be a running system?

  4. Hi…searching for help to transfer my quickbookpro 2016 to my mac from my window…. is the possible? I went to utilities copied “quickbooks for Mac’ saved it (or it saved the location automatically) then ejected hardrive, plugged into mac and found file then all I saw was a black screen icon with ‘exec’ on it. did I do something wrong?…

  5. HI … again…;->… also… it is saying I don’t have an application to open this. (QB)… this is a business and I lost everything two weeks ago when my hard drive quit… switching to Mac for everything trying to transfer off windows….thank you…again ;-/

    • Hi Debra,

      I don’t know anything specific about QB for Mac (sorry), but I’m assuming that you installed QB for Mac on your Mac, right? And you can open the program just fine on your Mac? But that you can’t then open your company that was saved for Mac? Just trying to make sure I understand your situation.

  6. Dear Shannon Tucker,

    We have purchased quickbook pro 2015 canadian version from the local reseller. it works perfect. lately we purchase another set of Quickbooks pro 2016 canadian version via internet on line download mainly for viewing purpose. we have install it to my laptop. Now my question is how to restore data from quickbooks pro 2015 to Quickbooks pro 2016.

    Please advice.

    Chua kuyjow

    • Hello Chua,

      You can follow the steps in this blog post to backup your QB 2015 data to a USB drive, and then restore it on your laptop under QB 2016. QB 2016 on your laptop will automatically upgrade the data when you restore it, and you will be able to use the data there. Hope that helps. Thanks for your question.

  7. Pingback: Our Top 10 QuickBooks Articles for 2015 « QuickBooks and Your Business

  8. Got a new computer. I use Quickbooks Online. How do I get my new computer to access my program without waiting to receive a code through email?

  9. I transfer quickbooks point of sale 8 to a lenovo laptop, backup all data files and restore on the laptop. A message always pops up when I open Quickboks on the laptop to register and enter a validation code. Do I really need to do this?


    • Hi Dani,

      So do you mean that you register it, but then when you run it the next time, it asks you to registered it all over again? If so, you probably need to check with Intuit support. Thanks for the question.

  10. Hi,

    Is it possible to transfer QB from my older laptop to new laptop without purchasing new license by installing QB in my new laptop then use my old laptop product key? As my current license is already fully used.

        • Hello HSau,

          So you install QuickBooks on your new computer, and use your original install codes. Then when you run the program, it will ask you to register it, and you’ll need to put in your registration info. In US versions, that is the phone number and zip code associated with your account at Intuit. If you have further trouble, you’ll probably need to get in touch with Intuit directly for assistance. Thanks for your question.

  11. We are trying to open a QBW file e-mailed to us from a company we bough. Our Quick Books intuit won’t open it. What needs to be done? We advised the other company they needed to back up their original and email it to us in QBB. Is this correct?

  12. I have a desk unit, Windows 7 Professional, and a laptop, Windows 7 Ultimate, both have QB Premier 2014 installed on each. When I backup my desk unit the backup file is sync to an online service but I am unable to restore it to my laptop – I get an error (-8000, -83).

  13. I am running 2014 Pro on two computers, one running payroll and check writing only and the other running the customer invoices, bills, etc. Is there a way we can merge these two files onto one computer?

    • Hi Jason,

      If you mean, can you merge the two files into one file, then nope, not really. There are some 3rd party tools out there to export/import information, but they tools are not cheap, and the process is not easy. Sorry.

      If, however, you mean that you want to have both files reside on one computer, then sure. Just move the one company to the other computer using the steps in this blog post.

      Thanks for the question.

  14. Is there a way to move/copy my version of QuickBooks to my new computer without the CD and product code? (I cannot locate them) Such as backing it up perhaps? If so, I would need instructions as I tried and failed. Or from originally registering online? Thank you.

  15. HI Shannon, my company has 3 QB Pro 2015. I accidentally bought QB Pro 2016. Can I use the license key and product number of QB Pro 2016 to install QB Pro 2015?

  16. Hi Shannon-

    I have a question. I am on a Mac and have QB 2010 for Mac. If I buy a new computer, would I be able to install the program on my new computer if I have the disc? Thanks!

  17. Hi Shannon.
    I had a crash where I had to reinstall Windows. I was unable to make a backup using Quickbooks before the crash, but I have all of the data files. How would I restore these files to my newly rebuilt system? Can I just copy them to the data folder?

    Hardware is the same, software is the same, but it is a clean install. I am a developer, so I know the ins and outs of services, permissions, and such. Thanks for the help!


    • Hi Josh,

      Ah, bummer. Well, you install QuickBooks on your system. That should create a folder called Intuit/QuickBooks/Company Files. You can then copy your QBW data file(s) to that folder. Run QuickBooks, open existing company, navigate to that folder. You should see your company data there. Open and use.

      Thanks for your question.

  18. Hello Mr. Tucker,

    Can you use two computers on the same QuickBooks, once backed up on a flash drive? If someone else was working on the first computer, will the work merge or will it override the work that was done on the first computer? We have a computer that QuickBooks was installed on where someone else also does works. I used a flash drive to import the work done and put on a second computer and installed QuickBooks, we do not work at the same time, but we do need each others information in one place, if I use my flash drive to update the other computer will work be lost?

    • Hi Dori,

      You can’t merge data in QuickBooks, whether it’s on a flash drive or other kind of drive. You can only replace existing data, if it’s the same books. Sorry no real solution there. Thanks for your question.

  19. Hi Alex
    I have quick book 2011 and I need transfer the item list and customer list by importing and exporting on cd from one laptop to another laptop so can you tell me the steps please Thank you

  20. Sir , I had quick books premier 2006 i took the backup and restored it in 2009 but data is not fully transferred.only upto 2010 data is there the rest is not available in 2009

    • Hi Foorqan,

      It should convert everything in the file. If it is only retaining data to 2010, then probably you restored an old backup. I think you should make a new backup in your 2006 version and restore it in the newer version, and everything should come over. Thanks for your question.

  21. Hi Shannon, do I need to uninstall QB on an old laptop before I can use it on a new device assuming I have just 1 user license or is there a way to make the new device the primary install / ready to use without uninstalling on the old computer?

  22. Trying to install our Quickbooks 2012 sm. bus. MAC edition on a new computer. Old one crashed yesterday. Everything goes well until it asks for a validation number. Called quickbooks, they said that we need to know original person who registered it. We are the 3rd owner of this company. Told them that there was a lady named Lucy from what we hear, but that will not accept that. They want name and email address which we have no way of finding out. Are we screwed? Any advise would be appreciated.

    • Hi Wendy,

      Yes, sounds like you might be out of luck. The info. they want is how they keep a handle on their licenses, to keep them from being pirated everywhere. So if you don’t know the info., they can’t legitimize your copy. And since you are using an old version that is no longer supported, that’s another strike against the situation. Sorry no magic bullet. Thanks for your question.

  23. Hi Shannon. I’m trying to restore a qb2006 backup file, but after clicking the restore button I get an error message that says the destination filename you specified is not valid. I didn’t specify a file, I just used what qb had there by default which was *. QBW. Did I miss a step? Do I need to create a new QBW file before restoring the backup? this is a fresh install on a different computer.

    • Hi Jan,

      Are you trying to restore the backup file with QB 2006? If that’s the case, then I don’t think QB 2006 is going to work under a modern version of Windows, like Windows 10. You’d have to install version 2015 or 2016, and then try restoring your backup (which should upgrade your data too).

      Otherwise, if you are getting that problem under with a new version of QuickBooks, then try changing the default and giving it a full filename, like “my-company.qbw” or something. Maybe that would work. You don’t need to create a company or anything before doing the restore.

      Hope that helps. Thanks for your question.


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