If this goes awry…

What happens to QuickBooks if the server crashes?

If the server hard drive physically fails, then your QuickBooks program and your QuickBooks company data files will likely be lost from that drive. Hopefully you have a backup.

If the server crashes, but the drive itself isn’t damaged and the server will still boot up, then you may simply be able to restart your server and your workstations, verify your QuickBooks company to make sure the company file didn’t get damaged, and go on.

Often, however, if the server crashes while QuickBooks was open, then the company file that was open at the time will be damaged. You won’t be able to open it in QuickBooks; you’ll get an error when you try.

Options: You can then either restore your last good backup, or get your data repaired.

Here’s what one client said about his experience:

After our server crashed you saved us from losing years of QuickBooks data!  In other words, you saved us from hours upon hours of re-entering data. It was a great relief in an otherwise stressful time.”  – Frank Orduno, JUST Steel, Inc.

If the data file is too badly damaged to be repaired — which sometimes happens in scenarios like this — then we can take your last good backup and your current TLG file and bring your old backup up to current condition. This is possible even if the old backup is months or a year old. (The TLG file is an auxilliary file that QuickBooks maintains alongside your regular QBW data file.)

RELATED: The Hidden Value of the QuickBooks TLG file

Restoring your last good backup is the fastest way to recover, as long as you have a very current backup. If you don’t, then data repair services are the next best thing:

You were was able to repair my company data file over the weekend and I was up and running on Monday morning. The database has been functioning well ever since.” — David Hayes, Hayes Handpiece Franchises, Inc.

 Read about QuickBooks file repair services here.

RELATED: How Do Power Outages Affect QuickBooks?

What is your experience when the server crashes? What happened? How did you recover?

Quick answer: A lot.

A power blackout can take down QuickBooks. So can a brownout. Or a power spike. Or a nearby lightning strike. A thrown breaker can take down QuickBooks. A user unplugging their power strip can take down QuickBooks.

When QuickBooks closes abnormally because of a power outage, then oftentimes you won’t be able to get back into QuickBooks, or your company, afterwards. That’s because various kinds of files on your computer get corrupted.

If you can get back into QuickBooks, but you get errors in your company file, then your company file probably got corrupted. You can try rebuilding the company and see if that fixes it. If rebuild doesn’t work, then you can either restore your last good backup, or get your damaged QuickBooks company repaired.

If you cannot get back into QuickBooks — you can’t even get to the QuickBooks log in screen — then you can do this trick to try to open QuickBooks anyway. If that doesn’t work, you can try this other trick to reconnect your QuickBooks program to the Windows registry. If that doesn’t work either, you probably will have to uninstall QuickBooks, then reinstall it.

Of course, if your hard drive or motherboard gets fried during the power surge, then you’re going to need to get a new drive (or new computer) and work forward from your QuickBooks backups. (You do make backups, don’t you?)

PREVENTING POWER PROBLEMS IN THE FIRST PLACE

If you can prevent your computer and/or network from going down during electricity incidents, then QuickBooks will be unaffected by those incidents and you don’t have to worry about recovery.

The easiest and least expensive thing to do to protect yourself from electricity-based catastrophes is to put a uninterruptable power supply (aka battery backup) on every piece of your network equipment: your server, every workstation, every router, switch, hub, monitor…anything connected to any of your computers.

Battery backups not only protect your equipment from power surges, but they also automatically engage and give power to your equipment until you can do a controlled exit from QuickBooks and power down your equipment. In other words, they allow you to exit QuickBooks and power down your computer(s) in a normal way.

The problem a lot of people have is that they put a battery backup on their server, and…that’s it. The rest of their network is unprotected. That vulnerability has resulted in the corruption of many a QuickBooks file.

How about you? Have you ever had power problems affect QuickBooks?

 

Short answer: Yes. Here’s what people have said after having sent corrupted QuickBooks files to us.

Sent them a file from a company that called and needed help on their QuickBooks file. Read a lot of forums and reviews and found you people. On Saturday at noon I uploaded this file.  At 2:00 pm I was downloading the fixed file. Nothing was lost and the upgrade to the new version was good.  Thanks!” — John Horsley, Computer Medik

File is much faster and stable now! Thanks!” — Shawn Spears, CFO Network

I’m more than delighted after I tested my database and knew it was back to normal. Our accounting department is very happy with the outcome and performance of the file.” — JC Marin, Trusteecorps

Fantastic!  Thank you so much for the quick turn-around.  Well worth the money for the peace of mind seeing my data again!!!” — Jill St.Aubin King, Monarch Gardens LLC

Thank you for your help on this! You guys did a great job.  Everything looks perfect.  I wish I would have used your service first.  I will definitely recommend you to others.” — Brett Jensen, CDFA

Of course, the best course of action when a file gets corrupted is to restore yesterday’s backup and move forward. But sometimes good backups aren’t available, or the problem doesn’t become immediately known. In that case, data repair services can be handy.

looking towards 2013I’m cautiously optimistic that when Enterprise 13 comes out, it will fix some of the problems that a number of people are finding in Enterprise Series 12. I’ve talked with a number of clients experiencing…

* Problems in inventory: their file will not verify or rebuild
* Problems in sales orders or estimates: they can’t verify the file or make verified backups
* Corruption in the user list: their file fails rebuild
* Failure when they try to condense their file: condense freezes or gives fatal errors

We can repair the vast majority of these files, but it ain’t easy sometimes. Some of these problematic files are 3GB+ or have a kazillion inventory items and/or lots of corrupt assemblies.

Some of the files that clients are sending us to be supercondensed won’t verify and/or rebuild when they are sent in. We have to repair them first to get them healthy enough to work with.

Seems to me that there shouldn’t be this many files with these kinds of problems. We’ve been in the accounting data consulting business for a long time — since the 80s — and have seen and repaired thousands and thousands of sets of damaged accounting data. But it’s been awhile since I’ve seen a version that has clustered so many data integrity issues, many more than we saw under ES 11 or 10. (Actually, old version 6 had a ton of problems too; that was the first version that used the new underlying database system.)

So I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a lucky Enterprise 13, and wishing the best for Intuit’s development and testing teams…

Other consultants and QuickBooks advisors, what do you think? Does ES 12′s stability seem about the same to you as prior versions? Or a bit more problematic?

Sporadic errors are the trickiest to troubleshoot.

A nice lady in Canada called us this spring, reporting an error when she opened her company snapshot….SOMETIMES. She needed her data file fixed so it wouldn’t do that anymore.

She uploaded her file to us. We could not reproduce the problem, but did address some minor issues in her file and did a deep rebuild on the file. We sent it back to her.

She called us the next day. The error was back. We hadn’t fixed it. Darn! But she wasn’t angry, she was pleased!

“I can wholeheartedly recommend AccountingUsers, Inc. They spoke to me on the phone, which was a nice touch, and it put me at ease. Unfortunately my file was one of the 5% that are not recoverable, but they did give it a heck of a try, and they got my file back to me quickly. My credit card was NOT charged (as promised), so you have nothing to lose with giving this company a try! I hope I never have a Quickbooks data problem again, but if I do, AccountingUsers will be the first call I make.”
— Christine Kok, Always On Call Ltd.

It turns out that her problem started when she had converted from QuickBooks 2011 to 2012. So she did some uninstalling and reinstalling, and restored her pre-converted backup. The problem went away. Not the best solution, but not a catastrophe either.

How do you feel about doing business with “satisfaction guaranteed” companies versus the “pay no matter what” kind?

Here’s what one QuickBooks user said about their recent data corruption experience:

“After our Quickbooks file became corrupted and we lost our backups, we were in a panic.

I found QuickbooksUsers.com via a web search and contacted them regarding repair. With expedited service our file was repaired within 24 hours (on a Saturday!) and we were back up and running on the next business day.

Fantastic and friendly service that I would use again without hesitation, even though I hope I never need to!” ~ Dillan W., Texas

Thanks, Dillan! Glad we were able to help.

taipei skylineUntil 2010, Taipei 101 was the tallest skyscraper in the world. How do you build a structure like that to be safe in a land of earthquakes and typhoons? You hang a big ball inside the top of it.

Taipei 101 uses a device called a “tuned mass damper” to minimize the motion of the building during adverse conditions. This device is a ball. It weighs 660 tons, is made of steel plates, and hangs by steel cables inside the top of the building.

If, for example, a typhoon came roaring over Taiwan, the gales would push against the skyscraper. The big heavy ball would resist the push and, in effect, push back. It would reduce instability.

I visited Taipei 101 last summer, and bought a ticket to ride the (world’s fastest!) elevator to the observation deck. And by simply walking down a couple flights of stairs from the top, you can behold the big ball. It was painted sparkly gold and almost looked decorative unless you knew of its engineering function.

There was a second aspect of the tuned mass damper that impressed me. It was how they used the big ball to brand their skyscraper.

Damper Baby, or Taipei 101
Damper Baby in front of Taipei 101's Tuned Mass Damper
Truly! They had designed a ball-bellied character to represent the tuned mass damper. They call it “Damper Baby” and it’s all over Taipei 101. It’s kind of the building’s mascot. In the skyscraper’s gift shop, they sell Damper Baby calendars, fridge magnets, wind-up toys.

To the left is a picture of “Damper Baby”, and behind it you can see just part (it’s big) of the real damper. The pistons you see are part of the “push back” system.

Why am I telling you all this on a QuickBooks-oriented blog? Because we want to be, in effect, like a Damper Baby for your QuickBooks. That’s right.

There are lots of things that push against the stability of your QuickBooks data file: the data traffic on your network, your electrical system in your office, your computer hard drives, Windows, your security and firewall settings…lots of things can influence how QuickBooks performs.

There are two ways we can help “push back” if one of those elements goes awry. One is to reduce your file’s size to a level that will make it more stable. The other is to repair or reconstruct your file if it somehow gets corrupted. We’d be glad to help in either case; just give us a ring.

So…anyone else been up to the top of Taipei 101? What did you think?

Since we specialize in accounting database consulting, we’ve seen tens of thousands of data problem cases over the years. You can boil them down to three categories:

1. Lurking data problems. In these situations, everything looks OK to the user in their daily use of QuickBooks. They can enter bills, run reports, do payroll, and backup their company without incident.

But there is a hidden data corruption problem lurking in their database. It won’t be uncovered until a process is attempted that systematically accesses their whole file; in particular, when they try to upgrade to a newer version. That’s when it fails — when QuickBooks basically touches every piece of data in the file.

Running verify and rebuild can detect many of these kinds of problems in the file. When rebuild cannot fix the corruption, most of the time the file can still be repaired.

2. Function-specific data problems. In this scenario, there is one part of QuickBooks that fails, and it fails every time you try it. For example, there was some data we repaired recently where if you accessed one particular invoice, QuickBooks would crash. (It turned out to be a problem with an “inventory loop” in the data and there would have been other ways to crash the file, but the user hadn’t encountered them).

Some people think that they can limp by in this scenario and they basically try not to provoke QuickBooks into crashing; they avoid the problem area. That is living a bit dangerously, I think. Better to either restore a backup made prior to the problem occurring (sometimes difficult to do) or else get the data repaired.

3. In-your-face data problems. These are obvious. You cannot open your file. Or you open it and as soon as you try to enter any kind of new transaction, it errors out and closes the program. Or your customer or vendor list simply vanishes.

This situation usually results in a crisis if there are no good current backups available. And this often (it seems) happens at the worst possible time — when payroll is supposed to be run, for example. Nothing like a bunch of employees coming by your desk to pick up non-existent paychecks to get your adrenaline going!

If you have a good current backup in that situation, you can restore it and go on with your business.

Have you encountered any of these three kinds of data situations?

So you are getting a fatal error in QuickBooks…

* Error -6000
* QuickBooks reports “Connection to database lost”
* Your file is “not a QuickBooks data file, or is damaged…”
* Customers or vendors are missing or scrambled
* Your file fails one of these: Backup, restore, upgrade, verify, or rebuild

How can you repair these situations?

If you have a current backup made before the problem occured, you can simply restore your backup.

But if you don’t have a current backup, you still have options:

1. Run the Rebuild command on your company file (if you can open the file). Click File / Utilities / Rebuild Data. Some people claim that running the Rebuild command several times can fix problems that running it once cannot. I don’t know why that would be, but it wouldn’t hurt to try it if the first rebuild doesn’t solve your problems.

2. Create, and then restore, a portable file (File / Create Copy / Portable Company File) . This is a known fix for certain kinds of problems in the customer, vendor, or account lists. When you restore a portable file, it recreates some of the indexes in the file, and that can solve certain problems.

3. Run the Verify command (File / Utilities / Verify Data) and then examine the QBWIN.LOG file. To access the QBWIN.LOG file, open your QuickBooks company, press the F2 key, then press the F3 key. Click the Open File tab, select QBWIN.LOG, and click Open File. Scroll down towards the bottom of the log. See if you can locate the transactions that are causing it to fail. Edit or delete those problematic transactions if you can. This method doesn’t work as well in 2006+ versions of QuickBooks as pre-2006, but it still might be worth a try.

4. If the above don’t fix the problem, contact us at 1-800-999-9209 for guaranteed data repair services. In 95% of the cases, we can recover 100% of the data.

p.s. If we can’t repair the file either (which occasionally happens if the original file is full of garbage and there is no good TLG file), there is one last recourse: check with your CPA to see if they have a more recent good copy of your data than you do. Better to rekey two or three months’ worth of data than to have to start over from scratch.

I’ll bet QuickBooks is a mission-critical application for your office. What would happen to your business if QuickBooks went down? Here are 7 ways to avoid that:

1. Maintain your network. Actually, get your IT guy or girl to do it. Nothing can take down QuickBooks like a flaky network.

Keep your server defragged and your whole network optimized for speed. Use the highest-performing server you can afford. Use the same kind of routers and connectors across your network. Have plenty of memory on every workstation accessing QuickBooks.

2. Be careful with your imports. Importing bank or other transactions into QuickBooks is a tremendous time saver. Except when they’re messed up. If you are getting ready to import transactions from a new source, make sure you’re well backed up first. After you import, check the results immediately. If there’s a problem, restore your backup. Otherwise, it can be really difficult to undo the effects of badly imported transactions, especially if there are hundreds of them.

3. Back up often and effectively. Global Data Vault is a great online backup service. Many small businesses have been greatly inconvenienced because their backups weren’t what they assumed.

4. Verify/Rebuild. Run these commands periodically to get early warning on data problems.

5. Schedule data work for weekends. Sending your data off to be supercondensed, repaired, recreated, or something else? Schedule it for a weekend so the wheels don’t stop turning at your office on weekdays.

6. Send Accountant’s Copies. Taking advantage of this QuickBooks feature lets you get your data to your accountant for corrections without you having to pause in the use of QuickBooks — you can keep working at the same time your CPA is reviewing your file.

7. If down, get up. If your file becomes unopenable or has fatal errors, get overnight data repair services to be up and running by the next morning.

Do you have another suggestion to avoid QuickBooks downtime?