quickbooks goes to sleep
What if QuickBooks takes a nap?

Has this happened to you? I’m guessing you’ve seen it before: You’re trying to update your company, or make a backup, or verify your company, or run a big report.

QuickBooks gets off to a good start, but then seems to stall. You make a couple of clicks and Windows pipes up: “(Not Responding)”. Oh, great.

What do you do then?

Sometimes users panic, and Ctrl-Alt-Delete / Task Manager / End Task their way out of QuickBooks. That’s not a very good choice, because if you force the application closed, there’s a good chance that your data file won’t get closed down like it’s supposed to.

I guess an even worse choice, for those who maybe don’t know about Task Manager, is to turn off the computer. “Reach for the big red handle”, as we used to say in the old days. That’s not good either.

Either of these actions has a high likelihood of causing data corruption, meaning that your next step after that would be to restore a backup and rekey to get caught back up, or get your data repaired.

INTERVIEW/CASE STUDY: QuickBooks Won’t Verify or Rebuild

So what to do? Most of the time, the best approach is both the hardest and easiest: just wait.

A lot of times, QuickBooks isn’t really “frozen” or “locked up”; it’s just “thinking”. Give it some time, particularly if you are trying to do something in QuickBooks that is systematic: backing up, restoring, verifying, rebuilding, resorting, etc. Those functions in QuickBooks have to touch a lot of your data, which might amount to millions of pieces of information.

That can take some time. I don’t know why QuickBooks doesn’t have a more elegant, less stress-inducing way of communicating that to users. I never like to see Windows intervene in an application. I want my QuickBooks to respond, not to not respond!

So if you see QuickBooks do that, maybe that’s your cue to take a break. Go outside and get some sunshine, or go to your nearest coffee bar and get caffeinated. Hopefully QuickBooks will be ready to go again by the time you get back to your workstation.

TIP: How to Open QuickBooks When It Won’t Open

Then, for the future, here are some things that might help it from having to take so many naps:

* Close some of your open windows, in QuickBooks and in Windows itself.
* Reduce your file’s size
* Configure your internet security software settings so that it ignores your QuickBooks folder
* Rebuild your file to make sure that there is no data corruption in it
* Defragment your hard drive so that QuickBooks will be able to access everything as quickly as possible
* If you are using Enterprise 11, turn off the Search feature (Edit / Preferences / Search / Company Preferences / Uncheck “Update automatically”.) Then backup your data with full verify turned on. This will blank out the TLG file (which might be huge), and relieve QuickBooks of having to constantly update its search index on the fly.
* Create and then restore a portable copy backup of your file. This will reindex your file and probably enhance performance — at least temporarily — of a large file.

Have you seen the (Not Responding) message? What did you do about it?

57 thoughts on “What to do When QuickBooks Is (Not Responding)

    • When I do a back up it goes smoothly through to 99% and then I get ‘not responding’. This lasts for hours! It’s been 5hrs so far. Last time I left it overnight and it still didn’t finish until late the next afternoon. I’ve defragmented the computer. The file size is 588092K. Any suggestions? It can take me up to 3 days to rebuild and backup data.

      Reply
      • Ann-Marie,

        That probably means, unfortunately, that your data file has gotten corrupted. You could confirm that by running the Verify company command on your file in QuickBooks. If that is the case, then you won’t be able to backup your company file as it is. You’ll have to restore your last good backup or get your current file repaired.

        Thanks for the question.

        Reply
        • A client is having the same issue with the backup failing. They are using Enterprise v13. The .qbw file is huge at around 6GB. I read on Quickbooks support that this file should not be over 1.5 GB for Enterprise. Did Intuit develop this software to only be used for a few years or low volume? Or is there some daily / weekly house cleaning that administrators should be performing to keep this file under the 1.5 GB? Even with the Condense tool I don’t think it will remain under 1.5GB forever. Lastly how do you repair a corrupted file? Thanks in advance. Also, great Blog!

          Reply
          • Hi Kevin,

            You raise a number of good questions…

            * I am guessing that with a 6GB file, you have an inventory-based business, and lots of transactions involving a lot of different items. If that’s so, you might consider using a third party inventory add-on to do the heavy lifting for inventory functions and reporting, and then let QB handle everything else.

            * The built-in condense command, when it works right, is a good tool to keep the file size down. But it often crashes or freezes or does funny stuff to your balance sheet. An alternative is to get your file supercondensed occassionally. See http://quickbooksusers.com/file-shrink.htm

            * To repair your file, you can try the built-in Rebuild Company command, and it can fix a lot of different kinds of problems. If it doesn’t work, we can repair your file for you, guaranteed. http://quickbooksusers.com/datarepair.htm

            Glad you like the blog. Thanks for your questions!

  1. Shannon – great article! I wish QB would just say (Working) or even (Trying my best) :) All of those suggestions are ones we all should remember for the health of our QB files as well as our computers.

    Reply
  2. Great tips, Shannon. I have learned that patience is a virtue when it comes to computer software – not just QuickBooks. Sitting in front of the computer and watching the progress bar inch along does not make it go any faster. Sometimes I let processes run overnight – for example, complete virus scans and burning DVDs with HD home videos (which literally takes hours).

    Reply
  3. Hey Dustin! Yes, I agree; that’s kinda what I meant about waiting being both the easiest and the hardest approach. Technically easy but sometimes emotionally difficult (who likes waiting?) Thanks for the comment.

    Reply
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  5. I also remind my clients in Seattle to shut down all the windows in their QuickBooks company data file before performing any operations such as back up and so it can open up quicker as each module window requires a certain amount of memory.

    Reply
  6. This has happened to me regularly when I back up. Thanks for the good advice – that’s what I usually do. I’ll make a phone call or work on something else and Voila! When I get back I have this nice message saying Quickbooks has successfully backed up! It sometimes takes a while, but it usually eventually ‘responds’.

    Reply
  7. Jason, yes, that is a possible outcome. There’s no alternative then but to force your way out with the Windows Task Manager. Not good. If you have to do that, see if you can open your company in QuickBooks afterwards. If you can, try rebuilding it (Utilities menu in QuickBooks). There’s a good chance the file will be messed up, and if rebuild doesn’t work, you’ll need to either restore your last good backup or get your data repaired.

    Reply
  8. I am having issues “Not Responding” just printing invoices. I’ll type in an invoice and it will take forever after hitting the print button just to get to the print screen and then printing … it will freeze on the tab that says “Printing Page 1″ and just sit there for about 10 to 15 seconds before actually printing. Does rebuilding the file fix that??

    Reply
  9. My file size is 66000K – is that big? QB has been acting “squirrelly” since end of 2011. I’ve rebuilt a few times, but still it behaves strangely. As an example – yesterday I tried to access “all employees” instead of “active employees”. I could not get the drop down menu to cooperate. By closing and reopening QB, I could access it. Today I could not access the Bank register. Closing out and in again resolved that. Wondering if file size is creating these issues?

    Reply
  10. Since the fall of 2011 we have been experiencing freezing up, hanging, non-responding…. whatever your vernacular…. with qb enterprise 12.0. Working with intuit, searching the web for solutions, consulting with numerous IT guys. We tried everything piece of advice we were given and nothing worked.
    UNTIL….. Intuit suggested re-doing our invoice template, and any other template we were using. Or since that was such a big task for me, they suggested just making a copy of the template with a new name to distinguish it from the old one, start using the new one, and make the old one inactive. We did the copying suggestion and INSTANTLY those performance issues went away and have not been back. So I guess rebuilding data when it is corrupted does nothing for a template problem, because we had rebuilt data many times.

    Reply
  11. Hi Pam, that’s great advice. I was aware that corruption in the templates didn’t really show up on the verify or rebuild’s radar, but I hadn’t heard before that it could directly cause those kinds of behaviors in the software.

    Thanks.

    Reply
  12. Whenever I try to load my company file (28.7 MB), QB loads it successfully but then I get the ‘Not Responding’ message. I tried waiting, but nothing happened. I even let it run in the background while I did other work and after about an hour I still got nothing. I tried uninstalling and reinstalling, defragmenting, playing around with my security software, and have yet to work out any problems. You wouldn’t happen to have any advice for me, would you? I tried calling tech support, but I ended up spending ~4 hours on the phone to no avail.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Reply
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  14. This was more helpful than the website. I have to use QuickBooks student trial for the last class I need for my Accounting Assistant 1 certificate and it apparently it has decided that it will refuse to open any file unless I save them to a flash drive.

    Reply
  15. Aaargh! Waiting on QB is not acceptable! I’ve sometimes waited for hours to no avail. Is this the best Intuit can do?

    I don’t have time for this. I may a different solution.

    Reply
  16. Hi Kurt,

    Hours? There is a certain kind of data corruption that can put QB into an endless loop; maybe you experienced that. That’s different than the ‘not responding’ scenario described here.

    Thanks for your comment.

    Reply
  17. Thanks. Maybe it is data corruption, but it doesn’t always happen, but seems to happen more often when I leave QB open for long periods.

    Reply
  18. Kurt,

    OK. Do you mean that you have QuickBooks open but you walk away for awhile? I wonder if your computer’s power settings are such that your computer then goes to sleep? And then when you ‘wake it up’, it’s lost its active connection to your data and it either hangs or gives an error… I’ve seen that before.

    Or if you are on a wireless network, perhaps you are otherwise losing connection for a millisecond or two over the course of several hours in QuickBooks. That disconnecting/reconnecting is enough to shut it all down and/or corrupt a file.

    Thanks for the extra details.

    Reply
  19. I am also experiencing trouble with backups recently on QB PRO2010. When backing up it gets stuck at 19% verifying data. I believe my file size is around 278,000mb (not at work now to confirm). So I did the ESC to Cancel after a very long wait and QB’s miraculously begins backing up.

    How can I know that the backup is OK and not corrupted? There were no errors when it finished and this has happened on the last three backups.

    Thanks

    Reply
  20. I’m getting the Not Responding often and today, it won’t even open. All I get is “Not Responding.” It’s been over 15 minutes and still “Not Responding” when trying to open QB. I have QB Pro 2011 running on Win 7.

    Reply
  21. I share a computer and when I sat down in front of it today QB was already open and there was a dialog box that says “Rebuilding data file (pass 1 of 2).” and “Transactions – Links (10000)” I’m new to QB and our records so I don’t know what to that will be least harmful to our file.

    Reply
  22. Hi DC,

    Sounds like somebody ran the Rebuild Company command on your file, which is OK. Hopefully it will finish without errors. It might take awhile to finish, though, if your file is large, so you’ll need to be patient with it.

    Thanks for the question.

    Reply
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  24. Tried all the above as applicable for our version (2012 Pro) but still suffered long delays opening company files, and frequent ‘not responding’ messages.

    Also tried Intuit’s recommendations for setting up open ports in Norton Internet Security, which took ages to set up and achieved no improvement in QB performance.

    Finally, at wits end, we uninstalled Norton Internet Security (2013 version) completely, and the problem is completely solved, with QB once again running acceptably and no more ‘Not responding’ messages.

    I’m sorry to see Norton go, but it’s a great relief to be able to use QB efficiently once again after months of painfully slow processing. Now using Microsoft Security Essentials for the time being, which should provide adequate protection being that this PC is not used for email or web browsing.

    Reply
  25. Hi Headly,

    That’s interesting. I had heard about configuring Norton to exclude the QuickBooks folder and subfolders from scans — which is supposed to help — but not exactly a story like yours. Thanks for sharing it.

    Reply
  26. Update on April 15 post above:
    Hi Shannon! You’re welcome – I hope it helped somebody.

    That said, after a few days of using Microsoft Security Essentials (which presumably gave it chance to configure itself to recognise QuickBooks’ various processes) the slowness has returned to QuickBooks and we started getting the ‘Not responding’ message again.

    I tried configuring Security Essentials to accept all QB activity but to no avail. So, you guessed it, I uninstalled Security Essentials and once again Quickbooks’ performance was back to normal. Very quick launching, opening and closing files, and processing data. No more ‘Not responding’ messages either.

    I’ve given it a few weeks since then just to be sure, and Quickbooks has remained perfectly stable and running at full speed with daily use on this Windows Vista system without a single hiccup. How nice that is!

    Hence, I think we can safely deduce that Quickbooks is extremely sensitive to the presence of firewall and anti-virus applications.

    A word of caution:
    Whilst there is no doubt that removing the security software has provided the definitive answer to all our QuickBooks performance issues, I am clearly not going to recommend this approach as a blanket fix for all users, for obvious reasons. Running your PC without a firewall, malware, spyware and virus protection will leave your system vulnerable to attack and is not a good idea if the workstation is networked, used online or used for sharing files. In our case this doesn’t matter because the system was declared clean prior to uninstalling all protection, and is now completely isolated and used only for internal accounting. We do however have Norton on a second internal boot drive so can routinely scan the entire system for peace of mind.

    If the presence of security software is an underlying problem with QuickBooks on Windows installations generally, there’s little wonder that Intuit haven’t offered an explanation, let alone an admission. I just wish they’d provide a definitive solution to this widespread and long-standing issue so we can all work ‘normally’.

    Great program otherwise though!

    Reply
  27. Hi
    I get the verifying data crash every time after i have submitted a VAT return online.
    i have left it overnight and its still stuck with that box on 90% and all i can do is go to task manager and force a shutdown and then i restart QuickBooks and all is well.
    Also QuickBooks gives me the runaround when i Email an invoice, i have to do the following
    1 press Email document
    2 Go to printers and devices
    3 Click on QuickBooks PDF converter and bring up print the que
    4 Delete whats printing
    And after all that QuickBooks finally sends the document to outlook, What a performance!! But I’m so used to it now it only takes a few seconds.
    Do you have a fix for that, it would be nice if it worked properly
    Sid

    Reply
    • Hi Sid,

      Sounds like a UK version issue and unfortunately I am not familiar with that. As to the problem with emailing an invoice, there have been PDF creation problems in QuickBooks for a long time. The last couple of versions, however, have addressed it in some new ways, so if you are using an old version and have been thinking about upgrading anyway, this might be another possible benefit to doing so.

      Thanks for the question.

      Reply
  28. I am having trouble with QB Enterprise 10 and it not responding only when logging on as one particular user. Two other users have no problems using Quickbooks. When I logon with my account it does not respond. Logging on with admin user account from my computer works fine. Logging on with my account causes the problem. Even using different Windows user accounts causes the same problem. I’ve had the data rebuilt and the same problem exists.

    Reply
      • I was going to create a new user and delete the old to see if that helped. I didn’t think I had to rebuild in between but it is probably a good thing to do. Thank you for the reply.

        Reply
  29. My QuickBooks Enterprise does not complete it’s start up. In other words, I double click the icon, you see the program begins to open and then it just hangs freezing the entire PC. I can’t click on start or open task manager, nothing at all. So far I’ve had to use the power button to restart my PC,

    What could be the possible cause of this?

    Reply
  30. Hi Guys,
    My issue with QuickBooks pro 2013 is that it will freezes when I leave my computer idling for more then 15 minutes, and will stay frozen until I force shutdown.
    Please help

    Reply
    • Hi Gerard,

      You might want to check your power saving settings on your computer, and make sure that the sleep setting is set so that your computer won’t go to sleep while QB is open. It seems that QB needs an active connection to its database maintained while QB is open. Thanks for the question.

      Reply
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