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?

228 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.


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