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?

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

  1. I currently run QB Pro 2014 for windows and just bought a mac. I use enhanced payroll and really don’t want to add another subscription to the mac while I’m still using the 2 other pc’s I have. Is there anyway around this like somehow connecting my windows subscription to the mac?

    • Hi Jenn,

      A lot of people run Windows versions of QuickBooks on Macs, using Windows emulation mode. I don’t know much of the details of that, but I think that you should be able to run it from there and use your subscription. Thanks for the question.

  2. Hi, I have been using Quickbooks Pro 2010 on my netbook for 3 years, and due to my netbook slowing down, have recently purchased a more powerful HP15. I have successfully installed the files on the new Windows 8.1 OS, but I have a problem when trying to Update Quickbooks.
    My Quickbooks Pro 2010 CD was Maintenance Release 2, but has automatically updated to Release 4. When I try to Update on my new HP15, the latest Release will not update, and says “Error 15271 A File Cannot be Validated”.
    Thus it will not restore my backup which is Release 4, on to Release 2 files.
    I have restarted and turned off the Antivurus and the Firewall but to no avail. Can you suggest anything to help please?

  3. Okay. I typed the Error 15271 in to the Intuit support site, and they advised right clicking on the desktop and selecting Run as Administrator to gain the latest Release 5 update. I have loaded my Quickbooks Pro 2010 R2 in the CD drive, updated and restored my file successfully. It’s only easy when you know how.

  4. I have QB 2004, my hard drive crashed. I bought a new desktop and installed QB 2004 on it.
    Can I copy all of the .qbw files over to my new computer to retrieve my data. I have no backups and my old hard drive is crashed.

    • Hi D,

      That’s a tough place to be. No backups and the HD crashed….you can try getting your hard drive recovered, but chances are quite low that you’ll end up with usable data, and it usually costs hundreds of dollars for the attempt. Sorry no magic bullet.

  5. Hi..I have always used QB pro 2004 w/ XP, but just bought a new computer w/ W7. The disc will install fine, but installing the old company to the new computer asks for user name, and password which is wont recongnize. I can create a new company but not open the old one. Any suggestions for getting the password to be recognized?
    Thanks! Tina

  6. I have a multi-user quickbooks license for 2 users. One of the PCs that serves as the primary PC is used to host the company’s QKs files. The second PC (secondary PC) taps into the primary PC to access the company’s files and make transactions. My situation now is that I need to replace the secondary PC with a newer PC. How can I setup the new secondary PC to access the Main PC for Quickbooks Transactions? All the suggestions that I have read online only pertains to a single-user files transfer to a new computer, but nothing so far on a multi-user, secondary PC Quickbooks files transfer.


  7. Hi, my old dell OptiPlex mother board died whilst I was using QB. I managed to get the hard drive into an enclosure and have retrived a lot of my data. I couldn’t find find the original QB cd so I bought Pro 2015, installed and run it. I have managed to restore an old backup, but cannot find the data for the past year or so that I was working on when the dell died. Can you help?

    • Hi Paul,

      That’s a shame. Do a search on *.QBW on your old drive. Your file should show up. If you find it but it seems like old information, then it’s an image of your file from an older time, and not much you can do about that. Also search for *.QBB and *.QBM, which are (hopefully current) backups. Thanks for the question.

  8. We have a QuickBooks 2014 on our Foundation Computer and a copy on my home computer. I’m no longer going to be handling the QuickBooks file for our Foundation, so I want to remove it from my computer so the new Treasurer of the Foundation can install a copy on her laptop. Do I simply uninstall it from my computer (after backing up of course) and then she will be able to install a copy on her computer? Or do I need to contact Intuit to let them know we are switching where we are installing our 2nd copy?

  9. If I have QB 2013 on an XP PC will I then be able to open and manipulate those files on a laptop running windows 7 or 8 with QB 2013 installed on it?

  10. My Windows XP crashed on my old computer. (On the exact day I was planning on transferring to a new computer which is Windows 7…how convenient). I have a 2007 Quickbooks install disc. I had upgraded it online to 2012 quickbooks and that is what I have backed up on my flashdrive is the 2012 version. 2 questions: How do I upgrade my new computer back to the 2012 I had paid for? I’m assuming that the restore is not working because my backup is 2012 and the version available on my desktop is 2007, is this correct?

    Any help is greatly appreciated!
    Freaking out at Tax Time!!!

    • Hi Amanda,

      Sorry to hear of those troubles.

      So it seems that you had downloaded QuickBooks 2012 and installed it..but then that computer crashed. If you have your install/registration codes from when you downloaded it before, you can download QuickBooks 2012 from http://support.quickbooks.intuit.com/Support/ProductUpdates.aspx . Then when you install it, use your codes.

      Yes, if your data is in 2012 format, version 2007 program won’t know how to restore it. You’ll have to get QB 2012 or later on your system.

      Good luck, and thanks for the question.

  11. The method mentioned in this article probably does not work for real-world QB files. In general, QB strips all the linked documentation from an export file. So, if your QB file on Computer 1 has documentation attached to each transaction, as it should for your auditor, how do you move this documentation and links to Computer 2? I can make the documentation movement myself manually, but this is extremely labor intensive. I’d like to hear how others have moved linked documents from one computer to another.

  12. I have QB Pro 2008 for windows on my desktop. My employer would like to move it to his Mac laptop. Do I undersyand correctly that 1) he needs to purchase the latest QB for Mac, and if I give him a backup flash drive he will be able to import the data on to his computer?

    • Hi Michelle,

      You can either get the QB for Mac version, or a lot of people run QB Windows versions on their Mac in Windows emulation mode. I don’t know the implications of converting over that old of a Windows version to a current Mac version. If it is upgraded to the latest Windows version, theoretically it should upgrade fine.

      Either way, as far as getting the file over, you should be able to give him the file on a flash drive and he can bring it onto his machine.

      Thanks for the question.

  13. I have been a long-time QuickBooks user (over 15 years). I am currently running QuickBooks Pro 2014. Our new treasurer has installed QuickBooks Pro 2015. However, he is not able to read my data files … He is getting error -6201 and -772. Has to do with the Sync Manager that is in 2014, but not in 2015. The Sync Manger is NOT set up to sync any files. I have edited the company preferences to not allow any applications to access this company file, yet he still gets this error. I am at a loss as to what to do to transfer this data file. Can you help?

  14. Hi,

    I have both Quickbooks Pro 2008 and 2014 installed on two computers sharing one license each. I have purchased two new computers that run Windows 8.1 as my current computers are dinosaurs. From what I understand Quickbooks Pro 2008 is not going to install on such a new computer with Windows 8.1. Can I install the Quickbooks Pro 2014 software only and then import the 2008 info as a “new company file” and then switch between the two companies? I only need the 2008 info as a reference. Thank you and I hope that makes sense!

    • Hi Tarek,

      You can bring the company over to the new computer, where QB Pro 2014 is installed. Once you open the company, it will automatically convert it to the new format and be good to go. Thanks for the question.


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