Thinking about migrating from QuickBooks desktop to QuickBooks Online Edition? What if your file is too big?

There is a way around this obstacle, but first, a little background.

It used to be that if your QuickBooks file was bigger than 200MB, it wouldn’t migrate to QuickBooks Online…too big. You’d get an error when you tried to create the QuickBooks Online export file.

Then the limit changed, and it was a limit on the total number of transactions that your file contained.

As of today’s writing, the limiting factor is on how many “targets” exist within your file. A “target” is basically a line of detail within a transaction. If your file has more than 350,000 targets in it, it’s too big to migrate to QuickBooks Online.

You can find out how many targets your file has by opening your company in QuickBooks and pressing the F2 key.

F2 screen in QuickBooks
F2 screen in QuickBooks

In the screenshot above, the total targets is less than 6,000. This is from a sample set of data, and an actual working set of data — particularly with lots of inventory or jobs transactions — will have a high total targets figure.

So if you have a ton of transaction detail in your file — move than 350K lines — but you want the advantages found in QuickBooks Online Edition, what can you do?

The first thing to try would be the built-in Condense command in QuickBooks. Try it on a copy of your file. If the Condense command is found in your version of QuickBooks, it’ll be in the File / Utilities menu (the command is not in all versions).

Why would you want to run Condense on a copy? Because sometimes the Condense command will freeze and you’ll have to exit QuickBooks abnormally. If that happens, you don’t want it happening on your live data. But when the Condense command works well, it works well, so try it and see what happens.

If the Condense command succeeds, then you can strip out lots of old transaction lines, and possibly bring the file down to the point where you can successfully create the export migration file.

BUT…

If the Condense command doesn’t work, or doesn’t get enough reduction to make the data migration possible, then you could consider getting your file prepared for migration. This is an external process we provide that can reduce your file’s size (and targets) by 50-80%. We remove all but the last 1-7 years of data (your choice), and create the export file (OE.qbw) that is ready to send into QuickBooks Online.

Learn more about the file preparation service here.

What if you upgraded your QuickBooks Pro or Premier data file to QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions and now need to revert back?

There’s a way for it to be done. Here’s what real users have said:

“We used the downgrade service from QB Enterprise to Premier. It worked flawlessly. We got our company file back in less than 24-hours and couldn’t be happier. Thanks!” — Jonathan, Fresh Start Vitamin Co.

This service WAY surpassed my expectations!!  I received the converted file less than 12 hours after I submitted it for conversion.  WELL worth the money spent.  Also made me look like a hero to the nonprofit company we were helping.  Thank you so much!!” — Heidi Jennings, Watermark CPA Group, Inc.

I really appreciate how fast and easy you made the transition from Enterprise to Pro for me.  Thank You!” — Peter Garza, Scantech Utility Detection Service, Inc.

The process is simple. You order the service and upload your file to us. We convert it and email you a secure download link to retrieve your converted data. The file you get back from us is ready to use in Pro or Premier. The data will be as if it had been created and used in your version of Pro or Premier from the beginning. You don’t have to rekey, recreate, or export/import anything…it’s a turnkey service.

Advantages? Money saved on software and support and no mandatory annual subscription fees.

Have you found yourself in a position of wanting to revert from Enterprise to a lower edition?

Ever had data corruption in QuickBooks? What did you do?

Since 2001, many QuickBooks users have entrusted their data corruption situations to us and have spoken up about their experience:

“Contacted them on a Saturday, paid for expedited service and had fixed data on Monday AM. Well worth it. Could not have been happier with service.” – M. Broussard, LeaseAll RentAll Inc.

“Shannon was unbelievably quick and very informative, totally responsive to all questions I had regarding our company Balance Sheet not balancing, (Assets not equal to Liab + OE), and were able to repair our QB file database for corrupt historical inventory items and corrupt bills and received file back at 5AM following morning (sent to them at 5.30pm central time prior night) so we didn’t have to re-key any data. It was much cheaper than all the labor to re-enter 2 days, which we would have had to do had we used the repaired file from the manufacturer (2-3 day minimum turnaround on repair file). The manufacturer’s support group did fix our file as part of our service plan but your overnight fix outside of operational time was invaluable to keeping all our transactional data accurate in company file.” – Dave Bryan, SVSi

“Your service was an amazing answer to our QB nightmare of corrupt data. Without any downtime for our business you were able to clean our files and get us back on track!” – Nydia Flores, Tri-Starco, Inc.

“Shannon and the entire team were so helpful! The service was extremely fast and helped to relieve a lot of anxiety about our corrupted file! Thank you so much. Everything is running great.” – Kate Gillespie, The Green Sheet, Inc.

“We had multiple complex problems with our file, but you were able to get it fixed, and now QuickBooks runs better than ever. Thanks.” – James Couperthwaite, Ecol Services Group

“You guys did an incredible job getting our data back up and running in a timely fashion. Thanks for the great work.” – Blake Richardson, Glasshouse

“Services were delivered exactly as advertised. Extremely quick turnaround and above average customer service left us with nothing but positive feedback. Hopefully we never have an issue with our Quickbooks data again, but if we do, QuickbooksUsers.com will be the first call we make.” – Chris Foreacre, Keystone Displays

“You did exactly what you said you would, exactly when you said you would do it. And you went out of your way to explain things easily to a non-techie. I couldn’t ask for more!” – Kerry McCoy, HRxpress

The best thing to do in a data corruption crisis is to restore an uncorrupted current backup. Sometimes, though, that doesn’t work out. At those times, we’re there for you.

Do you have two different copies of the same company data on your system? Maybe one is an old copy that you use just for historical reporting, and the other is your working day-to-day current file.

There is a potential danger lurking here: You could confuse the two copies and start entering data in the old one instead of the current one. I occasionally get a call from a user who says “All of a sudden, I have a nine month gap in my file — everything from January to September is missing!” This is almost always because they inadvertently started using an old file and putting current information into it. Then they didn’t discover their error until well down the road.

This problem is much easier to prevent than to fix. Basically, you need to make it so that the two copies look quite different from one another, and the old copy is password protected against accidental entry.

So here are the three steps you need to take to prevent confusion.

Let’s say that this is your working, current company file.

 

 

Now, say you have another copy of this company data on your system. And you DO NOT want to make any entries into the copy. You want it to be perfectly clear to your users which is the current working file, and which is a copy that is not to be altered.

So do the following steps on the COPY:

1. Open the COPY of your company and click on Company / My Company. Click the Edit button for Company Information. Change the Contact Name and Address to “DO NOT USE – ARCHIVE” or something of the sort. Save your changes.

2. Click Edit / Preferences / Desktop View. For Company File Color Scheme, change it to Red or some other color that will get your attention, and that is different from your normal color scheme. OK your changes.

It will look like this:

Pretty obviously not the same company, eh? That’s the point.

3. If you really want to lock down the COPY so that no one gets confused and starts entering transactions into it, click Edit / Preferences / Accounting / Company Preferences. In the Closing Date box, click Set Date/Password. Enter a Closing Date that is very far in the future. Then enter a Closing Date Password.

It will look like this.

Click OK.

So what you’ve done here is make it so that in order for a user to enter a transaction in the COPY, they will have to know a special password. Don’t tell anyone what this password is. It is supposed to be unknown, so that no one can make entries to this COPY file.

So between the company name change, the color change, and the transaction lockdown, it should be clear to your user team: this file is not the current working file.

[My thanks to David Warlick, a blog commenter, for the tip on color coding files.]

Do you have any advice to share on avoiding confusion with your QuickBooks files?

You bought a new version of QuickBooks, and you’re about to install it on your computer. But you are a little worried about how to transfer your data from the old version to your new version.

No worries. It should be automatic (but see caveats below).

You install and register your new version of QuickBooks. Then you click on Open Existing Company. Navigate to your company file and open it. QuickBooks will see that your company file exists in an earlier version and needs updating.

It will ask you if you’re sure you want to upgrade your file to the new version. The process is irreversible, so QuickBooks gets your confirmation before proceeding.

Once you confirm, QuickBooks will update your company file to your new version. It might take a few minutes if your file is a large one.

That’s it! Your company file has been revised to work with your new version of QuickBooks.

CAVEATS:

  • Make sure that you make a backup of your data before opening it in the new version. Probably the easiest way to do that is to do so in your old version of QuickBooks, before you install the new version. Just to make things perfectly clear, include in the name of your backup file something like Pre-converted
  • If there is some data corruption in your file, it may fail the process of being converted to the new version. Data repair may be needed.
  • If you are making a jump of many versions (e.g. coming from QuickBooks 2006 to QuickBooks 2014), the chances are greater that the file will have trouble converting.
  • For large files, be patient with the process. It might seem as thought QuickBooks is freezing up, but it might be just “thinking about it”.

RELATED: What to Do When QuickBooks Is (Not Responding)

How to Get Ready for a QuickBooks Upgrade

What If My QuickBooks File Won’t Upgrade?

Should I Upgrade to QuickBooks 2014…Now?

Do you have any experience to share about transferring your company data into your new version of QuickBooks?

Do you want to delete old Quickbooks company files you don’t need anymore? How do you do that?

You do it through Windows, not QuickBooks. If you know where your files are located (press F2 in QuickBooks to see where you keep your files) then you can open My Computer (or equivalent in your version of Windows), and open up the folder where the old company files reside.

It is often in a place like C: / Documents / Intuit / QuickBooks / Company Files

For each of your old companies, you’ll see a few files (QBW, ND, TLG, maybe others). You can select each of those files that has your company name, and press the Del key to delete them.

It would probably be a good idea to backup up those files before you delete them! Just in case!

Afterwards, those companies won’t show up in QuickBooks on your list of available companies. Those files will probably go to your Recycle Bin until you empty it, but don’t assume you can restore them back to good working order. Don’t delete them unless you’re really ready to see them go away for good.

 

 

Did you know that there is a limit to the number of customers you can keep in your QuickBooks Pro or Premier file? It’s a strange sounding number: 14,500.

Actually, the 14,500 limit is a ceiling for the total of all names in your file. Names includes customers, vendors, employees, accounts, classes, sales reps. For most people, though, it translates to a limit on adding new customers to your file.

You can find out how close you are to the limit by pressing the F2 key in QuickBooks when you have your file open. In the right hand column, it will show the total number of names already taken in your file.

So if you’re pushing the limit, what can you do? There are basically three options:

1. Upgrade to Enterprise. For practical purposes, the name limit goes away in Enterprise.

Downside: Much higher product initial cost, higher support costs, higher software upgrade costs.

2. Merge old, inactive customers. This is a manual, DIY workaround. Pick an old customer you don’t need in your data anymore, and rename it to “Unused”. Then rename another old customer to “Unused”. It will ask you if you want to merge the two accounts. Confirm that you do. You just freed up space for a new customer. You can merge as many old customers to “Unused” as you have the patience to do.

Downside: This is a tedious process to do on a large scale.

3. Supercondense your file and have inactive customers removed. This will potentially free up space for thousands of new customers, and as a bonus, will make your file much smaller and faster.

Have you approached the 14,500 ceiling? How did you deal with it?

 

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?

This is a great time of year to prepare your QuickBooks file for 2014.

If your file has gotten too big, slow, or unstable, why not take action now so that QuickBooks will work better for you in the new year? Big files have a tendency to get slower and less stable over time. File size growth is an inevitable progression if left alone.

If you get your file supercondensed, however, your file’s size will drop by 60-80%. You’ll notice that your bottleneck processes in QuickBooks speed up, and that QuickBooks will be less crash-prone.

If you are using QuickBooks 2012, 2013, or 2014, you can try running the built-in Condense command and see what it does. When it works, it works great. We hear from a lot of users, however, who have problems of one type or another when trying to run the built-in condense command. That’s where supercondensing comes into play: We can supercondense files that fail a regular QuickBooks condense.

When we supercondense a file, you upload your file to us and tell us what cut off date you want us to use. We remove almost all of the closed transactions dated before that cut off date. This will reduce the file’s size significantly. The file we return to you is smaller, faster, and more stable.

Your balance sheets and profit and loss statements for the years after the cut off date will be correct and your customer and vendor balances will not change. Your file will be not only small, but healthy: it will pass verify and rebuild without problems, even if your file fails those processes in its current condition.

If you need to run reports or queries for transactions before the cut off date, you simply open a copy of your original file that has been left on your system.

RELATED: Interview/Case Study – User with a Big, Slow QuickBooks File
 Interview/Case Study – QuickBooks User with Large File

Turnaround for supercondensing is over a weekend, so there would be no weekday downtime for your critical accounting operations.

Get more details about having your QuickBooks file supercondensed here.

 

Maybe you’ve found yourself in this situation:

* You use QuickBooks 2012 and your client uses QuickBooks 2013. They want to send you their file for review.

* You have an old computer with an old version of QuickBooks on it, and you want to open up your current QB file on that computer.

* Your computer crashes and dies. You buy a new computer. When you go to install QuickBooks, you can only find your install disk for an earlier version. You install it anyway. You restore the backup you made to the cloud (whew!), but it was made by a later version of QuickBooks.

In all of these cases, you are trying to use an old version of QuickBooks to open a new file.

It doesn’t work.

QuickBooks is backwards compatible — it can open and convert files made from earlier versions — but it is not forwards compatible. If you think about it, there’s no way it could be. The version of QuickBooks you have installed on your system today doesn’t know what future releases of QuickBooks will be like, including their revised data structures.

You see, most new releases of QuickBooks come with internal changes to the database. That’s why the size of your QuickBooks file changes when you upgrade to a newer version. It almost always grows. And that’s why, when you upgrade your file to a newer version, QuickBooks gives you a warning that that change to your file is irrevocable.

So the bottom line is that, unfortunately, you can never use an older version to open a newer file. You can never open a QuickBooks 2013 file with QuickBooks 2012, as one example.

The solution is simple, if not free: get a version of QuickBooks that is equal to or later than the version of the QuickBooks file you are trying to open.