If you ever need to restore a really old backup of your QuickBooks company, you might be worried about how that will work.

Fortunately, most of the time, the old backups restore without any issues. You just do the “Open or Restore Company” command and restore it just like you would a current backup.

Of course, in lots of cases, the old data was originally created with an old version of QuickBooks – a version you no longer use.

That’s OK most of the time. Whenever you restore a backup in QuickBooks that was originally made with an older version, QuickBooks will automatically update the data to the currently installed version. When the restore process is completed, the update process is completed too, and your data is ready to go.

Sometimes, if the jump between versions is really big (restoring a QuickBooks 99 company under QuickBooks 2012, for example) then there can be restore/update problems. And sometimes there is data corruption (unknown to you) in the old file that would prevent the data from restoring and being updated.

In situations like these, data can be repaired and updated for you.

Here’s a hitch we have heard of: You can’t restore an old backup to a computer running an even older version of QuickBooks. For example, trying to restore a backup made with QuickBooks 2009 on a computer running QuickBooks 2008. That won’t work. QuickBooks can restore backups made from prior versions, but not future versions. In the scenario I described, you’d have to get a copy of QuickBooks 2009 or later to restore a QB 2008 backup.

In most cases, however, old data will restore just exactly as you wish it would.

CAVEAT: One final word of caution when restoring old backups — don’t overwrite your current file. People sometimes do this, not thinking about the implications. If you replace your current file with the old file, then all you’ll have available afterwards is old data. People sometimes call me up and say that their company is now missing a couple years’ of records. Many times, it’s because they restored a two year old backup and that’s all they have available now. Sad! Don’t do that!

8 thoughts on “How to Restore an Old QuickBooks Backup

  1. Mr. Tucker, I back up Quickbooks at least once a month if not more often. I’ve had some weird problems with my files and data, in two small companies I have. But, I back up often! Can I restore completely, data to Quickbooks from a backup I did a month ago? I’m pretty sure the files are correct then. Then I’ll just manually enter data back, and when I’m through, back that up, and have a good backup file. Will that work? Thanks

    • Hi Kelly,

      Sure, that sounds like a normal situation in which to restore a backup. I would suggest that you restore it to a different name than your regular file, rather than restoring it over your current file, just in case something goes wrong. Good luck! Thanks for your question.

  2. I’m trying to restore an old backup from 2012 to my 2019 QuickBooks version and I can’t remember my password and it’s associated with an old email I no longer have. Any ideas?

  3. I installed my Quickbooks Pro 2009 on my new 2018 lap top, however, I am not able to update the Quickbooks to the newer version on my 2018 lap top, I keep getting error codes. I’ve read that the 2009 QB can’t be updated on a new lap top?

    I need to restore my old company, created in 2009 QB Pro, revision 15, to my new 2018 lap top….help…any suggestions??

    Thank you 🙂

    • Hi Anji,

      Are you saying that you have QB Pro 2009 company data, and you are trying to upgrade it to QB Pro 2018, and you get error codes? If so, you will need to contact Intuit support for help with the upgrade. Please see https://quickbooks.intuit.com/community/Getting-Started/QuickBooks-Data-Services-Frequently-Asked-Questions/m-p/185915 

      Or if I’m not understanding you, please advise. Thanks for your question.


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