Did you just get yourself a shiny new computer? Or maybe you need to get QuickBooks onto your laptop so you can get caught up on your bookkeeping?

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

  1. Your info is great. I was wondering how to: We have quick books pro on our mac with our pool business in it. ODo we have to add her business to our program and transfer or can we set it up directly on her computer.

    Reply
  2. Carolyn, if QB is installed on her computer, her books can be set up there. Or you could create them on your computer and transfer the file there — either way. Thanks for participating in our blog.

    Reply
  3. I have completed the backup step. However, when I try to restore it to my Quickbooks on the new computer, it cannot find where I want to restore it to.

    Reply
  4. Sonya, do you mean “restore to” or “restore from”? If you mean restore to, that would either be your C: drive or your network drive. If restore from, that would be the drive where your backup is…your CD drive, USB flash drive…

    Reply
  5. I don’t think I got the actual disk. I downloaded it and put it on my laptop and my desktop. Now I want to move it to a new laptop and I simply copied it on a flashdrive and I get the error “this application failed to start because stlport_r50.dll was not found. Reinstalling the application may fix this problem.”

    So how do I get the program moved. I tried downloading the Windows/System32 as a site suggested and it still won’t work. Helppppppppp!!!

    Reply
  6. Merrill, that should still work if you do it correctly: copy the downloaded application to your flash drive, take that to your new laptop, copy the application file to the desktop of your laptop, and run the app from the desktop. Should work OK.

    Reply
  7. What if I no longer have the serial number, I have the disk but the no doesn’t work I phoned Intuit but they didn’t seem to get what I was saying and then after an hour on the phone they said they don’t support Quickbooks 2009 anymore. So how can I get it off my old computer to my new computer without the serial no. If possible, I do have the serial and product no but they do not work. I have tried it a hundred times any advice would be helpful.

    Reply
  8. Hi Colleen, yes that’s tough if you need registration support for a non-supported version. As far as I know, only Intuit can provide you with the registration details you are needing. You may have to bite the bullet and get a supported version (2010 or higher). Or just keep running QB on your old computer 🙁

    Reply
  9. Hi Shannon, I lost the original CD and my old system is about to crash please help me, how can I move quickbooks to a new system.

    Thanks,
    Taufeeq

    Reply
  10. Hi Sharee, you can only install QuickBooks on new computers when you have registration codes. If you don’t have that, you’ll either want to check with Intuit directly (if your version is currently supported) to get your original codes, or just bite the bullet and buy a new copy of QuickBooks.

    Reply
  11. I purchased a new MacBook Pro so I bought the latest version of Quickbooks. It will work with Mac version 10.6 or 10.7. My new computer is 10.7. How do I go about moving my data to my new computer since it’s going to be a new version? Will it matter that it’s a different/newer version or will I just follow the steps above?

    Thanks for any input!

    Reply
  12. I have a 2007 QB version running on my old computer. A low end version, originally installed as Simple Start 2007 Free Starter Edition but bought license and product keys from Intuit back than to unlock it. Ran fine for my small company all these years.
    Now moving to a new computer is impossible without buying expensive upgrades. After installing my Free Starter Edition from the original CD on the new computer I tried to enter my (paid) product and license # as I did in 2007 (Help->Register) to unlock it. The web page where to unlock the product does not exist anymore. Long talks to customer service revealed that this old version is not supported anymore. Hence no unlock webpage.
    So, it’s absolutely impossible to move my legal paid version from my old computer to my new one without shelling out more $. For a version upgrade that I really don’t need.
    I guess I ‘ll have to keep my old computer alive until the end of the year and then switch over to some other product (GnuCash maybe).
    Or is there another solution to keep my Quickbooks version running?
    Thanks, Derk

    Reply
  13. Derk, I don’t think there’s any way you’ll get it to install on your new machine. But what if you had you local IT pro pull your hard drive out of your old machine and put it in your new box as a second hard drive, and just keep running it from that drive? Or, of course, just keep using it on your old computer. I keep an old machine around in my office purely to run old software…

    Thanks for the question.

    Reply
  14. Thanks for the quick response. I guess I’ll have to use my old machine until years end and then going to switch product. Hard disks have a limited live time and when this old hard disk is going to fail I have to buy a new version of QB only to be able to restore my companies financial data from the backups I regularly make. That is not acceptable IMO.
    I gather from previous posts that Intuit stops support for versions that are even only 2 years old (2009). After that there doesn’t seem to be a way to move your paid software product to a different machine without paying for it again.
    I don’t expect extended product support after a certain time. But they could leave the ‘Register Product’ web page up and running for older products. Wouldn’t cost them nothing.
    Again, this policy is not acceptable in my opinion.

    Derk

    Derk

    Reply
  15. Derk, you’re welcome. I understand your frustration. The only thing I can add is that Intuit sunsets QuickBooks versions after three years, not two. They generally do that in May of every year. So the 2009 version will be supported, probably, until May 2012.

    Reply
  16. I was referring to Colleens post above. She said that Intuit support told her that ‘… they don’t support Quickbooks 2009 anymore’.
    However, for anyone who runs into similar problems: I just noticed that after installing my original 2007 Free Starter Edition from CD on my new computer that I am able to read my real accumulated company data from my backup files. So, even though that new QB installation is unusable otherwise, I know that I at least always be able to access my old data.

    Derk

    Reply
  17. Solved:
    It turned out that it is possible and very easy to unlock a new installation of an older version of QB as long as you have the product# and license#.
    Here’s what you have to do (information from the Intuit web site):
    – if you haven’t written down your original product/license# open your old QB installation and press F2, which will bring up a dialog from where you can obtain these 2 numbers
    – install QB from original CD/download (i.e. on new computer)
    – launch your new QB installation and run updates if desired
    – go to menu help->register QB
    – choose buy/unlock QB (or similar) in the dialog
    – choose buy over the phone in the next dialog
    – another dialog will pop up that allows you to enter your product and license #
    – hit ok

    done

    I asked the tech assistant on the phone repeatedly that I only wanted to know where to enter these 2 numbers in my new QB installation. She never told me and instead tried to sell me a new version for $2500. Her supervisor I requested to talk to didn’t tell me either and just kept on pointing out that my version is not supported any more.
    So much for the QB technical assistance.

    Thanks for running this site.
    Derk

    Reply
  18. I have QB set up on two different laptops. Computer #2 has all of the updated information that I need to get now to computer #1. However I have written several (about 200) checks from computer #1. When I transfer the update from #2 to #1, will I lose everything that I have done on #1? Sorry if that sounds confusing. Thanks!

    Reply
  19. Dustin, yes that’s a problem. If I understand you correctly, you can’t simply merge your “master” version of your company into your “200 checks” version or vice versa. You’d have to use something like Transaction Pro to export/import the 200 checks from the one company into the other, or simply reenter them into your main company. Sorry — no magic bullet.

    Reply
  20. Nice blog article Shannon. You and your readers made some great suggestions. I would like to offer one more suggestion if I may. When users register their software they are given a validation code to complete the registration process. If you save that code, at a later date when you need to re-register QuickBooks you can bypass calling customer service and enter the code. It is the validation code that completes the registration process.

    Reply
  21. Shannon,
    Okay, so I have QB pro 2008 and am switching it to a new computer. I paid for MozyPro for the last year (that THEY set up for me over the phone to ENSURE my QB files would not be lost in the backups somewhere) and now find out for the last year, none of my QB files have been saved. So, to add insult to injury,I must save it all onto a USB to transfer over just as you suggested above. I do all of this, but when I go through your steps mentioned above, I “open” the Quickbooks 2008 file, then it switches me to select a subfile folder within that, so the Mozy guy told me to select the “data” file, which I do and when I open that, it says “No items match your search”. But if I open the USB on its own, I can see all of the DAT files in there. What does all of THIS mean now?
    Still Fuming from having paid for a year of back up with Mozy that I didn’t receive………sigh….

    Reply
  22. Hi Wanetta,

    Sorry to hear about your online backup problem…that’s a bummer.

    Well, I’m not quite following the whole train of events there, but if you have a QuickBooks company (not a “backup file”), then you would “open” it (as opposed to “restoring” it). But you wouldn’t want to open it on your USB drive. You’d want to copy the file from your USB drive to your hard drive (by using Windows copy/paste commands), and then open the company in QuickBooks on your hard drive.

    Hope that makes sense.

    Reply
  23. It surely did…I was saving to the USB from my C drive instead of saving from the QB when you close it and is asks you to save it. That was 99% of my problem, I guess because after I read yours, I went back, closed QB it asked me if I wanted to save it/back it up and I thought “?? Hmmmmmm…” and sure enough, when I saved it like that to the USB and followed your above comment, I have a restored QB! Yay!
    Thanks for this helpful forum.
    Now, if there were only one like this that would help me switch my Outlook files, I would be DONE with the new computer set up and turning off the old one…sigh…back to the grind.
    Thanks again!

    Reply
  24. Hi Shannon,

    A quick question.

    Assume one has the QB software, all the necessary installation/product/validation codes and have installed QB on a second PC, without contacting Intuit. Wouldn’t Intuit think that this might be a violation of licence use, as one licence is being installed on 2 PCs? Would Intuit know about this? Would Intuit allow some leeway in such situations? Tks for views on this.

    Reply
  25. Hello VS,

    At least for the US editions, you can install one license on two computers, but you would only be able to use one at a time on a set of data (no multiuser mode without a purchased second license).

    Thanks for the question.

    Reply
  26. Shannon, in regards to VS’ questions, I had a situation exactly like she brings up and received a different answer from intuit. I had QB 2011 loaded on my desktop. I loaded it onto my laptop to take on the road with me. I carried the data file between machines via a portable HDD. Thus I was never accessing the data simultaneously from both ,machine (i.e. only one machine at a time). The Intuit Police called me and asked about the multiple installations. They said that even though I was accessing the data file one ,machine at a time, installing QB on the laptop constituted the need for a second user license.

    Reply
  27. I want to move my qb file to new laptop. Is qb portable backup a good backup. I will be using this restored portable backup file in future. I do not want to be stucked with bad file after working on this new restored portable file.

    Reply
  28. Dear Sir,
    I did all above steps but now ,now my new laptop work as trial version,
    I will stop and uninstall from computer #1 and all work will in computer #2

    thx

    Reply
  29. I have QB pro 2009 on my windows xp desktop without the r13 update. Now I just installed QB pro 2009 on my laptop with the all of the updates. Will the information transfer ok back and forth on the two computers this way?
    I don’t want to update my desktop because when I did the R13 update I had all kinds of problems.
    Thanks!

    Reply
  30. I started out with QB 2008 on my desktop and recently upgraded to Pro 2012. Last week i got a new desktop and want to put my Pro 2012 on the new desktop. I upgraded to Pro2012 online so i only have the installation CD for 2008. How do i put the Pro 2012 on the new desktop?

    Reply
  31. Aud, it should be able to read the file from either side, but it’s generally best to have the same updates on both sides.

    Dglick, you’d want to install 2008 on your new computer. Then copy the upgrade installation file you downloaded to the new computer (via USB drive or CD) and install the upgrade on the new computer.

    Reply
  32. I am planning to move QB Pro 2010 with Enhanced Payroll from a pc with Windows XP to a laptop running Windows 7 Home Premium. I currently have an accountants copy with a dividing date of Jan. 16 out to our CPA. Will I be able to move the program and company file over then add the accoutant’s copy back in on the new system later? Also, I read somewhere that if I am using QB to do payroll I would need to download the Payroll tax table after restoring the company file. How do I do that, or is it included in the Portable back up file?
    Thank you for your time!

    Reply
  33. I have Quickbooks 2002 with a 2008 plus back that I purchased to update it. Now I have bought a new computer (2010) and I would like to transfer my quickbooks over to it. But I keep getting and error message “incompatibility with 64 Bit version of windows”. The program/screen opens on my new computer then immediately shuts down before I can use it. Does this mean I cannot transfer by program or what do I still need to do, short of purchasing a whole new program?

    Reply
  34. Hi Mary, yes QB 2002 isn’t going to like Windows 7 or Vista 64-bit or whatever version of Windows you are trying to use it on. I think you’ll either need to upgrade QuickBooks or install XP on that computer. Sorry no magic bullet…

    Reply
  35. My hard drive on my desk top failed and I now have the dreaded blue screen and cannot get out of it. I do back up QB onto an external hard drive every couple of weeks, but was wondering if I load my QB 2008 on my new laptop do I then just transfer over my back up file from the external hard drive? Also wondering if I will lose anything during the transfer? I am most concerned about my item lists, checks written etc…

    Reply
  36. Becky,

    Ah, the “blue screen of death”, sorry you are seeing that. Yes, you would just reinstall QB onto your new laptop, and copy over the company data file(s) from your external HD to your laptop’s hard drive. Your company file is self-contained, so all your lists, transactions, etc. should come over intact.

    Thanks for the question.

    Reply
  37. my computer crashed and I still had quickbooks 2005. I took the hard drive out and made it an external hard drive. I bought a new pc and installed quickbooks 2011 yet I still can’t open any of my files. What am I missing here????
    I’m sorry old PC had XP and quickbooks Acct. New PC is Windows 7 and QB11

    Reply

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