Have you ever had a QuickBooks problem where all the normal troubleshooting techniques don’t work?

Maybe your computer got infected with a virus or a trojan program. You got that cleaned up and you reinstalled QuickBooks. But now QuickBooks just won’t launch, or it’s operating at a snail’s pace, or something that used to work just fine now won’t work.

You might get the wonderful error, “QuickBooks has experienced a problem and needs to be shut down. Error ….” or “Unrecoverable error …”.

If the relationship between QuickBooks and Windows gets messed up, QuickBooks will be messed up. If something alters or corrupts your Windows registry settings for QuickBooks, just uninstalling/reinstalling QuickBooks often won’t help.

[NOTE: This has nothing to do with registering your installation of QuickBooks with Intuit, by the way.]

Here’s a tool you can use that might help, and it’s already right there on your computer. The REBOOT.BAT file gives you a one-click way to re-register your QuickBooks program files to the Windows registry.

QuickBooks reboot file
When reinstalling doesn't help...

The REBOOT.BAT file (sometimes seen as just REBOOT in your Windows folder view) can be located simply by right-clicking your QuickBooks icon on your computer’s desktop.

If a menu item then appears saying “Open file location”, click that and it will take you to the folder where REBOOT.BAT lives. If you don’t see “Open file location”, click instead on “Properties” and under the Shortcut tab, look at “Target”. Don’t change the contents of “Target”, but make a note of the path it specifies. Then open My Computer and open the folders to drill down to that location on your computer.

Then double-click REBOOT.BAT (or REBOOT) and your QuickBooks program files will be re-registered to Windows. You’ll see a command prompt-style window open and a number of commands execute. When I ran this on my computer, one of the commands took several seconds to complete. Be patient. When it runs through all the commands, the window will automatically close. Your computer will NOT reboot (I think this command is badly named.)

Then run QuickBooks again and see if REBOOT has cleared up your problem.

NOTE: This troubleshooting tip won’t help solve company data file problems in QuickBooks. Data corruption issues have to be handled in a different way.

On purpose!

It was actually my wife’s laptop.

This laptop had been having issues for months. The issue that worried us the most is that it couldn’t install new Windows Service Packs. The computer would install smaller updates, but not SPs. None of the troubleshooting advice we found worked. It would download the SP update, but fail in installing it — without providing much helpful error diagnostics.

So it was time to wipe the slate clean. The first step was making sure that all the data was backed up off the laptop. I’ve talked to plenty of people over the years who reformated their drive and/or reinstalled Windows, then realized that they had not pulled critical files from the drive beforehand (e.g., QuickBooks company files.) Didn’t want to do something like that.

This laptop was running Windows Vista. I know a lot of people don’t like Windows Vista, but I do. I like how it watches out for your security better than XP, yet has fewer compatibility issues than Windows 7.

So I dug up my Vista install DVD, and popped it in the DVD drive. After failing to get a good reinstall, I figured out that you have to boot up from the DVD to be able to format the hard drive and reinstall fresh. That makes sense — if you booted up Windows from the hard drive, then it can’t destroy the copy of Windows that is running.

So while the laptop is turning on, you have to press the F12 key (on this particular laptop) to get into the startup selection screen. There, you can specify where you want the laptop to boot from.

So it booted up from the Vista install DVD, and I specified to format the hard drive. I didn’t want any residual problems from the previous OS installation to carry forward.

Success. Windows Vista reinstalled and booted up fine. Now, there was only one problem: The wi-fi on the laptop didn’t work anymore. I had wiped out the device driver for it, of course, when I reformatted and reinstalled Windows.

So I had to get on a different computer and download the wi-fi driver from the manufacturer’s website. I installed the driver on the laptop and…it worked! Whew!

Now, with internet access, I downloaded Windows updates to the laptop and installed them. All 80 of them. Without a hitch!

At this point, the laptop is lean and clean, free of crapware, registry problems, and whatever else was giving problems in the previous OS installation.

Reformats/reinstalls always take longer and have more problems than you think they will, but sometimes you gotta bite the bullet and get it done.

Have you ever gotten to a point with your computer where you had to wipe the slate clean and reinstall Windows? How did it go?

Posted in IT.

Do you know which version of Windows you are running? A lot of non-technical users don’t. But it’s easy to find out.

Click the Start button in your lower-left screen. Then click Run, or All Programs/Accessories/Run.

At the prompt, enter winver and click Enter.

How to Find Out Your Version of Windows

Windows should then pop up a window which shows what version you are running, and which if any service pack (SP) is installed.

If you need to know which versions of QuickBooks work with which versions of Windows, here’s a chart.

Posted in IT.

Take care of your computer, and it will take care of you. Here are five easy and inexpensive ways to bullet-proof your PC.

1. Have each computer you use on a battery backup. Electric surge protection is not enough. If the power goes out when you have critical files open and your computer blinks off, you have a big problem. Battery backups are not that expensive.

2. Have every computer you use do Windows auto-updates. Access the settings through your Windows Control Panel. Auto-updates will make sure that you get critical service-packs, security updates, and Windows bug fixes.

3. Have every computer running security software. Symantec and McAfee are the big dogs for subscription-based solutions. But you can still get some free solutions, like AVG’s free edition. You’d have to be crazy to have a computer connected to the internet these days without some basic protection.

4. Be smart with your passwords. Don’t use your name or your address or your phone number, etc. Use numbers, upper and lower case letters, special characters, and nonsense words.

5. Don’t ignore warning signs. If your computer starts making funky noises, or getting intermittent bootup errors, or hanging up a lot, don’t wait around for it to get worse. Unlike the human body, computers aren’t self-healing. Get your IT pro to diagnose/repair, or just go get a new computer before the big crash.

Any other suggestions?

Posted in IT.

Here are four ideas to be more successful with QuickBooks for the balance of this year:

1. Make a good backup plan, and implement it. Talk to your local IT pro or give us a call for practical advice on this. Everyone knows they should have good regular backups. Studies show that 90% don’t follow through. But you go ahead! If your computer crashes later this year, you will thank me. Yes! You will.

2. Get your versions of QuickBooks, Windows, and your hardware all lined up. Don’t run QuickBooks 2005 under Windows 7. Or run QuickBooks 2010 on a PC you bought in 2005. Hardware, operating system, and applications work together best when they were produced around the same time.

3. Make QuickBooks work harder for you. It can do more than just pay your bills and reconcile your bank account, you know? Have you ever showed your QuickBooks reports to someone who can interpret them for you and tell you how you could tweak your business to make it way more profitable? That’s where some hidden accounting beauty lies…in the potential bottom line. Talk to your CPA, to a virtual CFO, or talk to us to get connected to one. You’ll spend a little, but maybe save or make a lot.

4. If you are using QuickBooks 2010, check out some of the optional services/apps. Online document management, online check depositing, email marketing…there are lots of new services to consider that can help save time or create new revenue.

Are you going to try anything new with QuickBooks this year?