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.

Is your QuickBooks file too big, sluggish, slow? Did it use to be lean and quick but now has a paunch?

As you use QuickBooks over the years, the transactions build up more and more. For transaction-heavy businesses, this results in large data files that take longer and longer to update in real-time across a network. As a result, it can take QuickBooks many seconds to post a new invoice or run a report.

Archiving data in QuickBooks has two disadvantages:

1. You lose historical reporting ability
2. It often does not really trim down the size of the file, especially if you track inventory in QuickBooks.

The answer? Supercondense your data. We invented this process, and it can result in a 50% or more reduction in your QBW file size, and faster QuickBooks performance on your network.

Instead of removing transactions from your data, we remove the audit trail and do some other housecleaning on the file. None of your transactions, accounts, or balances change. But your data file gets lean and mean.

We can analyze your file for free and let you know how much we can shrink it. No obligation. Contact us today at 1-800-999-9209 to schedule your analysis.

Part of your QuickBooks company data is the TLG file. It’s not something you normally are aware of, but in some situations it can be a very important file.

The transaction log file (TLG for short) is maintained automatically by QuickBooks as part of your data. The file resides in the same folder as your main QBW file, and has the same file name. But it has a .TLG extension. In transaction-intensive businesses, the file can become quite large — 1GB or bigger.

Whenever you post a transaction in your company file, the TLG file is updated. And that is why it is sometimes a very valuable file.

We sometimes talk to people who have lost their current data file — it either got deleted somehow, or is so badly damaged it is unusable and unfixable.

But if they have a good backup — even if it is old — and a good current TLG file, we can take the old backup and bring it to current status by applying the missing transactions we can get out of the TLG file.

It’s one method we use for QuickBooks data repair.

I am working with a customer today who has this exact scenario, so I thought I’d briefly write about it.

p.s. We occasionally hear of users being instructed to delete their TLG file. Don’t ever do that without copying it to a different folder or drive first. You might need it sometime!

Have you ever seen a screen like this?

I hope not!

But if you ever do find yourself unable to open your company, or it fails when you try to do certain operations in QuickBooks, there are three possibilities for recovery:

1. Restore your last good backup. Hopefully you have one that is pretty current.

Just make sure that you copy off your bad version of the data before you restore. Sound strange? Once you restore, your backup will overwrite your current data — that’s a permanent thing. So copy your bad version of the QBW file to a different location before restoring, just to keep all your options open.

If option #1 is unavailable or impractical for you…

2.  Upload your damaged file to QuickbooksUsers.com for repair. We have corrected over 10,000 damaged accounting databases since the 1980s, and our success rate with damaged QuickBooks data files is 95%.

If your QBW file is hopelessly corrupted, or is somehow even missing…

3. Upload your last good backup — even if it’s old — and your current TLG file.  The TLG file is your transaction log file and has the same name as your QBW file, but has a TLG extension. We can take your old backup and your current TLG file and bring your old backup up to date.

Most users never encounter this problem. But if you do, at least you have some options.

There are some QuickBooks data situations that have good endings, and some that don’t.

RECOVERABLE:

  • -6000 errors. If you get a 6000 error when you try to open your company file, most of the time if means that your data is corrupted, but most of the time, it is also repairable.
  • “Connection to database lost” errors. Ditto above.
  • Errors triggered when accessing particular accounts or transactions. Same.
  • Failures during upgrades, backups, verifies, rebuilds. We can fix these.
  • For pre-2006 QuickBooks versions, c-342, c-43, c-44 errors are almost always repairable.

USUALLY UNRECOVERABLE:

  • -6150 errors. This error usually indicates hopeless file corruption. A critical area of the file has become damaged that is not reconstructable. Although this error indicates that the QBW file is unrecoverable, we can still help you if you have an old but good backup and a current TLG file.
  • Files recovered from damaged or reformatted hard drives. This situation is common, but unfortunately, does not usually have a good outcome for data repair. Files recovered from damaged or reformatted HDs, or undeleted from drives, often have random contents — not the original QuickBooks data that was there in the first place. I don’t know why that is, but I’ve talked to a lot of users and IT people over the years with this situation, and that seems to be the case about 90% of the time that people contact us.

A quick way to test the recoverability of a file recovered from bad media is to zip the recovered file with WinZip or Windows folder compression. In a lot of cases, the file will zip up 99%. For example, a 100MB QBW file will zip down to 1MB. That indicates that the original contents of the file did not get recovered properly, and you ended up with a QBW file full of zeroes.

    I icefish for trout on high mountain reservoirs here in Colorado. One of the downsides of ice fishing is the potential danger of going through weak ice. Every ice fisherman has that in the back of his or her mind, especially early and late in the icefishing season when the ice is thinner.

    So I thought this video was great. It teaches you how to survive if you happen to go through the ice.

    And it got me thinking about what QuickBooks users should do if they crash. Some of the principles are the same as going through thin ice into frigid water.

    1. Don’t panic. A great danger to people who break through the ice is that they panic, hyperventilate and drown.

    Kinda the same with a QuickBooks crash. People panic and start clicking things and doing things frantically to fix it. They restore files without thinking, delete files without thinking, reinstall things frantically. Don’t do that. Go get a glass of water and calm down.

    2. Backup. If you are trying to get out of the water back onto the ice, where should you go? Back where you came from — that ice supported you before, and should support you again.

    If QuickBooks crashes, backup, then and there. I know, I know, your data may be corrupted…but back it up anyway. Just copy your company QBW file to your desktop or somewhere where it will be easy to find. (Of course, don’t overwrite any of your previous backups!) Copy your company’s TLG file also (same location, same name, .TLG extension.)

    Reason: You may need those files later, even if your data is corrupted. Once you restore a backup, your current data is gone, and you want to keep all your options open.

    3. Restore. Once you are back up on the ice, roll back the way you came.

    If QuickBooks crashes, roll back to your last backup. Hopefully it is in good condition and not too old.

    4. If you need help, call for help fast. Someone can throw you a rope and help you if you can’t get out by yourself.

    If your backup situation isn’t as it should be, give us a call. We can take your corrupted current data and fix it for you in just a few hours. Or we can take your old backup and make it current with your current TLG file. 1-800-999-9209

    What do you think? Anybody have a story to tell?

    If you are like most small businesses, you don’t have a systematic method or procedure for backing up your business data. I know this because I have talked to literally thousands of people over the years who find themselves needing a backup they don’t have.

    So here’s a habit to get into that is not too hard to do, and that potentially can keep catastrophe away from your door. Backup on Fridays.

    Now it’s true that it’s better to have a daily or nightly backup. And there are ways to do that that I’ll post about sometime. But don’t let perfection keep you from better. The best backup plan is one that will actually happen.

    So if you aren’t making regular backups now, decide to make Friday your backup day. That way, your worst case scenario in case of a data disaster would probably be to rekey one weeks’ worth of data. For most businesses, that would be inconvenient but not a total nightmare. (Have the nightmare scenario? Click here.)

    One critical element to this plan is to get your backup off your hard drive, and take the backup offsite.

    Why? If you backup to your hard drive and your computer gets stolen, burned up, flooded, or just plain crashes the next time you turn it on, your backup is useless if it’s still on that computer.

    But if you backup to a flash drive (aka USB drive, thumb drive, memory stick), CD, external hard drive, and you take it home or keep it in your purse or pocket, then you’re covered regardless of what happens to your office computer. Just common sense, eh?

    A lot of flash drives have built in security, so you can password-protect your information.

    You should backup not only your QuickBooks data files, but any mission-critical files, or files that otherwise would be inconvenient to lose (e.g. your /documents folder.)

    So put it on your calendar for every Friday: BACKUP TODAY. It’s easy, it’s cheap, it’s important.

    What is your backup plan or procedure? Does it work well for you?

    What version of QuickBooks am I using?

    What edition of QuickBooks am I using?

    What update patch do I have installed?

    How big is my data file?

    How fragmented is it? (And thus, how potentially unstable is it?)

    Where is my data file located?

    Where is my license number information?

    All these questions and more are easily found simply by pressing the F2 key when you are in QuickBooks with your company opened.

    If you find yourself needing support, through QuickbooksUsers.com or otherwise, this will probably be information you are going to need.

    The update patch is shown right after your version. In this screen shot, it shows R5P.

    If your file size is large (250MB or more for Pro or Premier versions, 750MB or more for Enterprise) and your DB file fragments are high (20 or more), then your file is potentially more likely to get corrupted. You can get those numbers down with supercondensing or a company recreate.

    One other nice number from the F2 screen: free memory. QuickBooks likes to have lots of elbow room.