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.

Hopefully this doesn’t happen to you. But it does happen to many: You try to open your QuickBooks file, and it won’t open. It either hangs up, or you get a fatal error.

What then? You generally have two options.

1. Restore your last good backup and rekey some work to get caught up. This is the normal method. You might want to explore an online backup option, if you don’t have confidence in your current backup plan.

2. Get your damaged data repaired. This is not cheap, but it is easy and fast. And at least with our data repair services, the repair is guaranteed successful, or there is no charge.

Here is what a couple of our data repair clients said about their experience:

“I am an IT Director for a large Florida company that has offices throughout the state.  We have been a long time QuickBooks user on an enterprise level for as long as I can recall.  I experienced nothing but frustration when dealing with Intuit and as an organization we were very close to moving away from QuickBooks totally.  We may have outgrown what QuickBooks offers but there is a lot to be said with familiarity, user training and deployment of a new system companywide.

When we encountered numerous issues and problems with our large company file,  Shannon provided the fix overnight by repairing errors within our file and markedly improving performance.  It is great to have him and his team as a resource and as our go to expert.  Don’t waste your time going anywhere else.” — Keith Lucier, Girard Environmental Services, Inc.

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“One of my customers had a QB data file that was totally unusable.  And they had not been performing their backups like they should.  They were in big trouble and were going to have to recreate everything.  They did have an old backup from over a year ago.  That along with the transaction file allowed AccountingUsers, Inc. to save the day.  They restored everything and we were back in business.  No re-entry required, at all.  THANKS FOR A FANTASTIC JOB!!!” — Dan Gray, DGE Automation, Inc.

As a business person myself, I understand that finding one’s self with a bad data file is no fun. So I hope it doesn’t happen to you. But if it does, we’re here to get your accounting department back to work ASAP.

There’s a certain kind of data corruption that can happen to QuickBooks data files that prevents you from being able to add new users, or change existing ones.

We’ve seen this the most in version 2012 and 2013 files. The scenario plays out like this:

* Errors when trying to add new users
* Errors when trying to save changes to existing users
* One user can perform functions in QuickBooks, but another user with equivalent privileges cannot.
* One user cannot log in (but others can)
* One user cannot save customer credit card information, or employee social security numbers, or vendor tax IDs

All of these are symptoms of  corruption in the user data in the file.

The options are to restore a pre-corrupted backup of the data, or to get the file repaired.

Have you run into this problem? How was it manifested?

The short answer: Yes. Here’s what people say who have had their file converted recently.

We converted from Enterprise to Pro a month ago & the file is working great. I don’t think that the conversion could have been more seamless. Thanks!” — Daniel Moss, Olympus Packaging LLC

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.

Thank you very much! Just had our bookkeeper compare the data this morning, and she said everything matches and transferred well as far as she could see. Great job and done in a timely manner!” — Raj Phangureh

There are only two scenarios that prevent a file from being converted from Enterprise to Pro or Premier: 1) If the file has more than 14,500 names in it (press F2 in QuickBooks to see how many names your file has) or 2) If your version of Enterprise is higher/later than the version of Pro or Premier you want to convert to. In other words, we cannot convert an Enterprise 13 file to Pro 2012.

Otherwise, your Enterprise file should be convertible. For details and service ordering information, see this page.