Occasionally, QuickBooks users find themselves in a Catch-22: They need to restore a backup in QuickBooks, but they can’t get QuickBooks itself to open.

TIP: What Kinds of Drives Can You Open QuickBooks On?

This can happen if your company file got damaged during your last session in the program. Perhaps the power went off and your computer turned off without closing out QuickBooks first, or there was a network hiccup, or some other kind of hardware problem.

So the next time you run QuickBooks, QuickBooks automatically tries to open that data file. But if the company file is corrupted enough that it can’t be opened, then QuickBooks will give an error and shut down. What do you do then?

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Here’s the workaround if this (unfortunately) happens to you: Simply hold the CTRL key down while you are launching QuickBooks. Doing so will bypass the automatic opening of your company file and put you at the No Company Open dialog box. You’ll then be able to click “Open or restore an existing company” and restore a good backup, if you have one. (If not, give us a call at 1-800-999-9209; we can probably repair your damaged file.)

177 thoughts on “How to Open QuickBooks When It Won’t Open

  1. Please i have a backup from QBES 6.0 and would like to restore the backup into QB Premier 2014 but i wont work.

    Please help because we just purchased the QB2014 and it cannot be returned

  2. I had to reinstall Quickbooks Premier 2011 on a new computer when my hard disk died. I reinstalled from a download. I can open the sample company file, but when I try to restore from my backup (.qbb) file, the program immediately closes. Any suggestions would be appreciated. When my secretary called tech support, she got transferred to someone with heavily accented English who wanted us to buy a $499 support plan.,

    • Hi Richard,

      Was the backup QBB file on the hard drive that died? If so, it was probably corrupted as part of the hard drive failure. If you can find a QBB, QBW, or QBM file that was not on that hard drive, try restoring that. Thanks for the question.

      • Actually, the backup was on a USB drive which was not attached at the time of the failure. I have tried two backups (.qbb files) from that drive – we make one each month after billing – and both lead to the same problem – the program closes when I get to the point where it asks where to save the new .qbw file.

        • Are you restoring to the new hard drive? Or to the USB drive? QB files can’t really be reliably used directly from USBs…

          Otherwise, it sounds like the QBBs on the USBs are corrupted. Sometimes if backups are made directly to USBs they don’t get saved correctly. Do you have any QBW files that got copied to a USB or other drive?

          • Thanks. I am restoring to the new hard drive. Unfortunately, the only files i have are the QBBs on the USB drive. (I tried to first move one of the QBB files to the desktop and to restore from there, but it did not help.) We lost the only QBW, which was on the hard drive. Is there a tool or service for repairing a corrupt QBB file?

  3. When I try to login, the pop-up box states, “Login fail. This user is already logged in. Try logging in with a different user”. Then, when I try to login with the administrator’s login, it tells me that Multi-user mode needs to be turned off. I am the only one to access to Quickbooks and it is only the the current computer I use. What are my options for logging in without losing all of my data?

    • Hi Danielle,

      Have you tried something as simple as restarting the computer, then trying to log in as Admin? If you are the only user, then I can’t think of a reason you’d need to log in as anyone other than Admin. Thanks for the question.

      • Shannon,

        I did try restarting the computer to no avail. The owner of the company has an admin login but does not use it has been out of town for the past week. This issue came up today and that is the only reason I tried logging in as admin rather than under my own login. When I spoke with our owner he says he has not logged into Quickbooks in a very long time. I just don’t want to lose our company’s information which is seeming like a possibility.

        • Danielle,

          I don’t think that losing your data is likely, but I think that you do need to figure out how to log in as the admin. Your own user profile may be corrupt. If you don’t know the admin password for your file, you could try resetting it in QuickBooks. See https://support.quickbooks.intuit.com/support/pages/inproducthelp/core/qb2k12/contentpackage/core/passwords/nf_login.html?family=pro

          Before taking any action, however, I would be sure that I backed up the existing company file. I know you can’t do that in QuickBooks, but you could copy your files through Windows to another location.

          • Shannon,

            Thank you, I will try to back it up somehow. Unfortunately, even the Admin cannot login either as it says it is not set to multi-user.


        • Quickbooks is casing the user profile corruption. I have just installed 2016. During the installation process it deleted all my shortcuts from the start menu.

          Say OK….

          I run it. It runs for the first time. Then the second time I install the updates. Here you go… the fun begins… QB started crashing. Three hours on the phone with the tech support… All what i got is: “you arr the only one who is having this type of issue…”

          Isn’t that a shame?

  4. I’m having issues with QB 2015 Premier. It was working fine this morning then kicked me off saying it had an error. Since then I’ve been unable to login. It now doesn’t even go to the login screen. I have 4 users and they’re able to login, but I can’t from my computer, which hosts the company file. I’ve tried all of the recommendations I can find on QB website except their Component Repair Tool. I can’t find that anywhere to download. All “links” to the download don’t go anywhere. Do you have any recommendations or suggestions I could try before uninstalling and reinstalling? I hate to do that if it’s actually a windows error.

    • Hi Renetta,

      So when you are unable to log in, are you trying to log in as Admin or someone else? If you can’t log in as Admin, then your file has gotten corrupted and you’ll want to restore your last good backup. If you are logging in as a non-Admin, then try creating a new user for yourself with a slightly different name (e.g. Renetta -> Renetta1) and then log in with the new name. Thanks for the question.

  5. my quickbooks pro 2015 wont open, tried the control key trick and tried to restore a backup but the software still does not open the file and says there is an error and closes

  6. Help, I am taking an online quickbooks class. I can’t open the company files. I made too many and may have deleted them. It just says to register then goes to a blank page then back to the box with company files in them. It won’t open or restore company files

  7. Hi Jemma,

    If you click on File / Open Existing Companies and navigate to the folder where the companies are, you should be able to open them there. If you deleted them, then they won’t be there, of course. If you have backups, then you should be able to restore them…if you get errors, let me know what it says and maybe I can help. Thanks for the question.

  8. I keep trying to sign in for my QuickBooks on line account and when done on the computers it comes back session timed out. I can sign in on my phone. QuickBooks customer service can not help or solve the problem.. They say it is my computer but I have tried on three different ones and am using a fast network. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Steve,

      That’s a whole other problem than QB desktop not working, and I’m afraid I can’t help except for general advice like clearing your browser cookies for the QBO website, and clearing your browser cache. Surely someone at QBO support could help you if that doesn’t work?? Thanks for your question.

  9. I have been getting an update message on my quickbooks but my boss said not to update until he had installed an automatic backup in fear of losing our company information. It stalled on me a few a weeks ago and I contacted the customer service and they said it had been corrupted. I then had the other office personel shut down the computer and pull it back up and it all came back up again and worked. Today when I entered work it doesnt show any of my company files at all. What do I do. I pray they have not been lossed.

    • Hi Brandi,

      That sounds pretty stressful. Maybe you could just search the hard drive through Windows for *.QBW. That should pull up a list of all the QuickBooks company files on the drive, and you can see where they are located. Then, in QuickBooks, click on File / Open Existing Company and navigate to the folder where the files are, and you should be able to open them. Hopefully they are still out there. Thanks for your question.

  10. i have installed quickbooks and validated, i restored a back up and log in and before quickbooks is good and ready i get an error message 19844 80301. i have reinstalled, used a different install file, i have used quickbooks repair. i have deleted all intuit volders from my computer and reinstalled (clean install) and still quickbooks logs in half way and then gives me this error

  11. I am freaking out – trying to open my file and it is telling me that it has failed!! Having a heart attack, please help!

  12. I had to restore QuickBooks and I can open my main QuickBook account but I have a secondary account that won’t open I’ve tried to re-restore from a backup and it still wont work. Not sure what to do.

  13. Good Morning Mr. Tucker,
    I have updated the OS of my PC from 8 to 8.1, and now my QBooks will not open. When I was opening my QB, it asked me to update the QB file (due to update the OS of windows) which I agreed. The file is there and goes to all the way opening by asking my password, but then it fails. I have uninstall and reinstalled the QB few times, and it did not help.
    I even tried to open my QBB from my backup from three weeks ago, and it does not open. Please help. Thank You SO MUCH. Mason

  14. I can not even open the Sample from QB. It seems that Microsoft update of the OS has changed something that the QB has a problem with it. Also, what is the best way to cleanup (every history of the QB except the data file), so a new installation will be free of any previous track. Just thought if the new installation still using some parameter from the old installation and make the failing.

    Thanks Again, Mason

  15. Good Morning & Thank You for the info,
    I tried it yesterday (by looking to other people’s suggestions) and just tried it now, and it is failing again.
    I know that my backup from three weeks ago should work (if my latest QB file was affected by the update), but why I can not open any thing even a sample or my backup.
    I would appreciate for any other suggestions. THANKS BUNCH. Mason

  16. Hi,
    Just had a network drive die and am trying to see where I am with my latest backup. With that drive dead, it has been restored to a new network location. Everything seems fine, open the Company file, get my login, but it never opens. Tried it on two separate back ups from different points in time, same exact thing with both.

    The message I get is:
    We’re sorry. Quickbooks could not open your company file.

    We’ll try to fix the problem. Click start to begin.

    If the problem continues, contact support for assistance and report error codes: (-6144, -82).

    –> when i click start, I get a message:
    Intuit Quickbooks File Doctor
    Company file is used by another application

    Click OK

    Then I get the gather information screen and continue, but nothing ever happens.

    Any idea what is going on here? Could it be a rights issue, didn’t seem likely because I get into the directory to start the existing company.

    P.S. I can open a sample company….

  17. Last Friday we had a wind storm that cut off the power. The computer turned off, so I didn’t get to get out of QuikBooks. Today I tried to open QuikBooks and it won’t open. Now what do I do?

    Thanks Russell

  18. Hi there,

    I am running Quickbooks pro 2012 and was working fine now it is asking me to register.
    When I click the registration it says that action is available right now and then closes Quickbooks.

    What Can I do.


    • Hi Julie,

      So it was registered, but now it thinks it’s not? You might try uninstalling and reinstalling. Unfortunately, your version is too old now for Intuit to support it and help you. Thanks for the question.

  19. Reinstalled QuickBooks pro onto rebuilding of office PC (Windows 10,and pro 2012 ) I was able to log into file but won’t let me load a back up . I even let QB do updates and now I can’t even access the file I was on get error. saying I don’t have admin permissions to ,and worked fine before updates.

    • Hi Terry,

      Pro 2012 is not compatible with Windows 10, so that may be a big part of the problem. Are you able to open sample companies in QuickBooks, back them up, restore them? If not, then I’d think even more strongly that you have a Windows compatibility problem. Thanks for your question.

      • Well I able to open an out of date file but it won’t let me open the most recent back up to pull the info the he needs up. But I can open it in 2013 copy on my computer with no issues once it did updates. Is there a way to back it up and port it back to 2012 version. ?

  20. My company file crashed which is Intuit Quickbooks Interprise Solution 12.0 and its saying when i try to enter an invoice “this number is larger than the maximum allowed ” even it 1 dollar, also when i try to recieve a payment it says “this invalid character” and i obviously know that my payment is right and my invoice is used to be ok can you help me solve this

    • Hi Carl,

      The versions of QuickBooks that will work with Windows 10 are versions 2015 and 2016. So I think you’ll either need to upgrade QB, or find a machine with Vista on it to run your old version…sorry no magic bullet. Thanks for the question.

  21. I have quickbooks for nonprofits 2013. Windows did an update and now I get “unrecoverable” message when I try to open quickbooks. I tried to restore a previous backup, but message says I can’t do it that way, I have to open quickbooks first. Tried holding CTRL down when opening, tried reboot, tried restarting computer. Any ideas?

    • Hi Denise,

      Only QB 2015 and 2016 are certified compatible with Windows 10. You could try reinstalling your 2014 version again and see if it works. But you might need to consider upgrading to a version that is designed to work with your version of Windows. Thanks for your question.

      • Just saw this from the email I receive from quickbookusers.com. I am a dolt when it comes to most things computers but try to work through them. That being said.

        I used 2014 Pro version for the past year since my upgrade to W10. Ran with no problems although a bit slow. I just this past weekend upgraded to 2016 but ONLY because of the change on how invoices can be paid.

  22. I have two different files quickbooks 2013 will open one of the files but not the other, I have tried the control key, I have also tried to click on a previous back out and I keep getting a crash report.

    • Daisy,

      That probably indicates that the one file is damaged. You’d probably want to restore your last good backup for that company, or if a good recent backup is not available, to have the file repaired. Thanks for your question.

  23. I am using Quickbooks Online and i am able to go through the login and company selection stages but then it doesn’t open again. This started yesterday afternoon and up till now it is the same issue. I also have the downloaded version on my desktop which i am able to login and view reports but can’t make any entries. Please help!

    • Priska,

      I think you’ll need to talk with QB Online support about that…the reasons for problems there would be quite different than not being able to open the desktop version. Sorry I can’t help much.

  24. Hi Shannon,
    I have QB 2006 unable to login. A login box comes up to login in as admin password it tells me the password is wrong, its not true. I have had the same password for years. Please help.

  25. I’ve not been able to access my QBks Pro 2010 data/client files. I do not have QBB files, I have copies of the QBW files. I have portable files through 2015 YE.

    I cannot create copies of the QBB files because Qbks won’t open.

    I was told by Qbks that the purchase of 2017 will fix this. I’m not so sure. Any information you can offer is greatly appreciated.

    And I’ve LEARNED: Back Up! Yelling it from the mountain tops: BACK UP.

  26. I have QB 11 and everything was working just fine yesterday and when I tried to open it today I get a message QuickBooks has stopped working. A problem caused the program and notify you if a solution is available.
    I have restarted my computer several times and still get the same message.
    I even held down the ctrl key to open it, but when I key in my pass word, I get the same message.
    Can you please help me.

    thank you Samantha

  27. Same here – QuickBooks Pro 2010, Windows 10 installed last year, update last night and upon powering up this morning I cannot open QuickBooks. Have done full shut down and even uninstalled windows 10 update from last night with no change. Tried the control button workaround – no luck.

  28. If I buy an updated version of quickbooks, because I have an issue with QB13 & windows 10, will I be able to get information from QB13 onto the new updated version?

  29. Hi, I am using QB 2014 Premier desktop version. For sometime it is giving a log file error and it says it will continue without log file. Then the QB also stop backing up as I exit from the program so about 10 days ago I have manually backed up the database. Today as I logged in to the machine an error message displays, “There was an error loading the files from the path: C:\Users\Administrator\AppData\Local\Intuit\SyncManager. Please contact Customer Support.”

    Since the license is almost 4 years old I didn’t think Intuit will help me. Then as I tried to start the QB, it is saying that the company file can not open. Then as I tried to start the QB, the following message displays:

    Problem signature:
    Problem Event Name: APPCRASH
    Application Name: QBW32.EXE
    Application Version: 24.0.4011.2403
    Application Timestamp: 572ffd12
    Fault Module Name: StackHash_805e
    Fault Module Version:
    Fault Module Timestamp: 00000000
    Exception Code: c000041d
    Exception Offset: 754f4f69
    OS Version: 6.1.7601.
    Locale ID: 1033
    Additional Information 1: 805e
    Additional Information 2: 805e6724ba9beef3fb95ebd8aaf4bb06
    Additional Information 3: c350
    Additional Information 4: c35043a610aa5f5973bdc1c0c080cb5e

    My choices are ‘Close this program’ or ‘Check online for solution’. So, I closed the program. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

  30. Hi Shannon, I’m hoping you can help me. I am having a similar problem. I, too, operate from Premier 2011 and currently manage two different company files. One of the company files opens just fine. The other, when I switch to it or open it as a secondary file, pulls up but quickly stops working. However, when I hold down either the ctrl or alt keys while opening (as I read from other help comments) it opens just fine. As soon as I let go of the key, it stops working. The same is true when opening a sample file. Any suggestions? Again, it’s just one of the two companies that is having trouble. I greatly appreciate your help.

  31. Shannon, thanks for your reply. After checking out the link you supplied, it appears to be my exact problem. I uninstalled as many of the updates for windows 10 as possible, but unfortunately, it did not resolve the problem. The program still works if I hold down the ctrl or alt key. But the second I let go, QB stops working. All I need is a third hand.

    Thanks again.

  32. after clicking on quickbooks to open, I receive a massage quickbooks stopped working, I can not fill out the form to submit to error to quickbooks. I tried to open my company file’s from my lap top computer trough network and the file opened, but it does not open from my desk top computer

  33. When I try to open quick books premier 2016 edition it the screen goes grey and never gets to point to ask for my password, I have already tried to restart my computer and that didn’t help. I also tried the hold control while opening up the program I read up higher and it still is stuck and then eventually goes to not responding. After this started I had techs look through my PC to ensure that everything is running as it should on the PC and everything is fine on the system according to them. Any advice?
    Thanks Kevin

  34. Hi Shannon,

    I’m using Quickbooks Premier Accountant 2010 on Windows 7 and currently, I can’t launch the application, it was silent without any messages to let me know what went and why? but If I open with an existing company file(.QBW) then it pops up the error screen

    Problem: could not find an installed version of Quickbooks that is compatible with PATH_TO_QBW_FILE.
    Suggestion: If you have recently installed a new version of Quickbooks, start Quickbooks and open file from there. After that, the file will be updated and double clicking should work again.

    Could you please help on how to solve it?

    Note: My Quickbooks Premier Accountant 2010 on that PC used to work properly but I was working on it for the last time and the electricity was cut off while it was opening.

  35. I have QB 2013 for Mac. I have not used it since filing my tax 2016 so have some catching up. I have changed computers, installed the CD and its now asking for a Company password and I don’t recall ever setting one. I can’t open it. Please help as I now need to use it to complete my 2016 tax.

    • Hi Barb,

      I don’t know much about the Mac version, but at some point they added a “Forgot Password” link, which then asks you your “challenge question”. Does your version have that? If so then you can try that. Otherwise, you’ll probably need to contact Intuit support. Thanks for your question.

    my pc was format due to viruses, i reinstalled Quickbooks premier 2009, after installing, when i turn to run the Quickbooks it say program cannot open,

  37. I have been using QB’s for many years, I came into my office this morning and went to open QB’s 2015 on my desktop and all I get is the Green circle on the monitor. First time I’ve had this happen… Shut everything down and rebooted, same thing. I’ve tried the CTRL/open file but that does not work either. I have the tab in the toolbar open and when I hover over it, it just shows an empty gray box. With the CTRL trick it will show the open file box when hovering over but that will not actually open on the screen to make a selection. Been trying for 3 days to get it to open…

  38. I bought quickbooks 2009 and due to bad phone net work I could not register so now yje program has exceded the time limited and I cant use again

  39. I purchased QuickBooks 2009 here in Nigeria and due to phone net work problems I could not register my copy so I am pleading to you to send me the code to restore the software thank you

    • Hi Michael,

      I would if I could, but only Intuit can do that for you, and they are not likely to help with you with an old unsupported version. You might want to consider upgrading to a currently supported version (version 2015 or later as of now) and upgrade your file to the newer version. Sorry no magic bullet for the old version. Thanks for your question.

  40. QuickBooks 2017 will not open, begins opening process, then puts icon on the task bar, and a minimize/maximize/close window on the right side of the task bar (in a shadow), program will not complete opening process. I have 2016 and 2015 programs on same desktop that function normally, as does Enterprise Solutions for all years? I tried opening holding the control key as you suggested, but same result.

    • Hi Dennis,

      Did you try uninstalling and reinstalling? If you did and it still doesn’t work, you probably have issue with QB’s interaction with Windows or some other software, and you’ll need to contact Intuit for help. Thanks for your question.

  41. Hi,
    I have an issue while opening company files.We have Intuit Quick Books Enterprise Solutions 17.0.

    Any user trying to open company file for first time in the day they receive an message “This action requires administrator permissions.”

    I have add QBDataServiceUser27 in to administrator group but still issue exists.

    Please advise.

  42. The easiest way to get QB to show up on your screen when it disappears after initial opening is to hover your mouse over the QB icon – right click on the small rendition of the QB interface and select restore. Works for me every time which is a good thing because QB is beginning to fail in a lot of areas lately. It no longer gives me quick reports, I click and the program just sits there.


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