People restore QuickBooks backups for several reasons: to get rid of data errors or corruption in their current file, to bring a different computer up to date with the most current version of the data, or to recover from a computer crash.

A common question at restore time is “What should I name the restored file?”

You can restore it to its original name, or to something different.

If you restore to your original name, then if a copy of that file is already resident in your restore location, QuickBooks will ask you if you want to overwrite the existing file. It will make you confirm that decision, because it is an important one.

You see, once you overwrite an existing file with your backup, then the contents of the original file are gone for good. Even data recovery service companies, or so-called file recovery software cannot bring back the original contents once they have been overwritten.

That might sound a little scary, and I have talked to dozens of people over the years who have made a mistake in this process and accidentally overwritten their current data with old data. It’s a tough place to end up.

To avoid that, you can restore your company file and give it a new name. That name might include, for example, today’s date as part of the file name. That way, you are not overwriting what was there before, and it is clear what your restored file is.

But without a standardized name it is possible that you or some other QuickBooks user on your network might get confused later and open a different (and older) version of the company by mistake.

I’ve talked to a lot of people in that situation too; there was more than one copy of their data on their server, and somehow people started opening and using the wrong one and several weeks went by before they realized their mistake. That’s tough too…there’s no straightforward way to merge the two semi-current files together. (You can use third party software to do it, but it costs both time and money.)

You can avoid these potential problems by sticking with one file name and doing a bit of quick work in Windows before you restore your backup.

Your standardized file name can simply be your company name. You’ll always open and work in the file that has that name.

Create a folder under the main folder where you keep your data, and call it Old Copies. Before restoring a backup, make sure that everyone is out of QuickBooks. Then open up My Computer (or your network drive where your QuickBooks data resides) and click and drag your company data file to the Old Copies folder. (Your company data file will have a QBW file extension or file type.)

Then open the Old Copies folder and confirm that the file is there. Then rename your company file to include today’s date (e.g. MyCompany_march_21_2011.QBW)

At that point, your work is unambiguous — you’ve made clear by moving and renaming the file that this file is outdated and not to be used anymore. But it’s still available in case you ever need it.

Then you’re ready to restore. Open QuickBooks and restore your backup. Choose the normal drive and folder where you keep your data. Restore the file to the original, standard file name. It should NOT ask you if you want to overwrite an existing file, because you had already moved the previously used file elsewhere.

If it does prompt you about overwriting, something is wrong — cancel the restore and figure out what is going on before continuing.

With this method, you should be able to avoid potential points of confusion either during the restore process, or afterwards when people are using the file.

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31 thoughts on “Restoring a Backup — Should You Overwrite?

  1. Great article, Shannon. Very clear and easy to follow.

    One added thought:

    I have been using a specific renaming rule for my files. Instead of “MyCompany_march_21_2011.QBW”, I would use “MyCompany_2011_0321.QBW”. That way the list will sort by date (since our months are not alphabetical!)

    Reply
  2. Help. How do I restore my quickbooks back 2 weeks where the problems started?
    I have un done reconciled transactions and now can’t balance. Wrong starting amount??? Help… The statement I am balancing is 20 pages long so it is better to restore back 2 weeks. Is this possible???

    Reply
  3. Susan, if you made a backup either through QuickBooks or some other way two weeks ago, you can restore it and go back. You can check for QBB or QBM files on your computer to see what backups are out there.

    Reply
  4. Hi Shannon,
    my computer crashed and I re installing the O/S. I also re-installed the QB. Now i did my restore but there were problems like corrupt file, conversion from previous version failed, file could not be restored and password for verinfo.txt. All my back up were lost but i recovered them using a 3rd party software. All the recovered data are in .qpb extension.
    What can i do to restore my QB to the day it crashed?

    Reply
  5. Hi Vincent, sorry to hear of your troubles. Damaged backups are pretty much impossible to restore if they are corrupted at all, unless you were using a pre-2006 version of QuickBooks. What version of QB was being used?

    Now, if you can recover some QBW files, even if there is some corruption in them, they might be repairable. See http://quickbooksusers.com/datarepair.htm

    So you might see if you can locate QBW files and go from there.

    Reply
  6. Thank you for this information. Intuit’s help system in quickbooks assumes you are a master accountant for a fortune 500 company! Which is ironic because it was designed originally by Bob Parsons (Godaddy founder) for the small businesses and small accounting firms.

    I have been weary of the “overwrite” many times. I did not know you could rename the file in Windows explorer and not have it mess up the whole thing, this is such a RELIEF!

    Again, this is a great blog!

    Thanks,

    Dwight

    Reply
  7. Hello every one could any one help me.?
    i have problem with quickbook enterprise 10.0 .
    i want to restore quickbook enterprise 10.0 with quickbook 12.0
    but it not work i don’t know how to fix.
    please help me..
    thanks you.

    Reply
  8. I have lost my copy of quickbooks. I believe it was perhaps a 1999 or 2000 edition. Can i open the backup files with the trial version of Quickbooks.

    Reply
  9. Maybe someone help..using quick books pro 2013..i had a computer crash have backup on jump drive..Secretary moved to 2nd computer an started adding paperwork. .now 1st computer came back an she been on it for 2 months, after backing up today on fixed computer jump drive. An did summary 1-1-14 to 9-26-14..I noticed that those 2 months are not in current backup on fixed computer. …but those entries are still in old computer. .how do I merge those months data to add to up to date data?. I think i said this right.

    Reply
    • Hi Charles,

      That’s a problem that is tough to deal with. There’s nothing built in to QuickBooks to allow for the transfer of those months of transactions between the two files. You can either buy and learn to use 3rd party software like Transaction Pro Importer (or hire a consultant to do it for you), or bite the bullet and have someone rekey those two months of data. Sorry to not have a painless solution. Thanks for the question.

      Reply
  10. I always overwrite and never have any self doubts about doing so. My strategies include the following:
    (1) Like the author, move all backup files to their own directory. Keep all but yesterday’s backup file away from the operational files.
    (2) Backup every day. If what I’ve done in the morning or afternoon is important, I’ll backup then too as well as in the evening. Backup takes less then a minute.
    (3) As the author mentions, it is very easy to get confused between different versions of a company file. I make sure that only one version has the current color (orange for me). If I open an orange file, I know it is my current file. If I open up a different color, I know it is either old or someone else has created it; I exit immediately before I damage their file or waste my time. Color coding is the single most important thing that I do for file integrity.

    Reply
  11. Hello, our company computer crashed but we backed up daily to an external hard drive. Its a .DBB file for QuickBooks 2012 but none of them will restore shows 6000, 83. I even tried on QuickBooks Pro 2014 same error any ideas?

    Reply
    • Hi Anthony,

      Sounds like a tough situation. I’m thinking you mean .QBB instead of .DBB? A .QBB is a backup file made from QuickBooks. Is that the only data file you have on your ext. hard drive? You could look for .QBW, .QBB, .QBM files….

      If none of them restore or open without errors, you can send it to us and see if we can repair it.

      Thanks for your question.

      Reply
  12. Pingback: Have Two Copies of Your QuickBooks File? Don’t Get Them Confused! « QuickBooks and Your Business

  13. Pingback: How To Fix Quickbooks Error Restoring A Backup in Windows

  14. I work at a small law firm and only minimally use QB. Just for clarification, if a client or attorney provides us with a .qbb file, is it safe for me to “restore” it, as it has a different name, without harming or affecting our own QB file for our firm? To this neophyte, this article seems to say that it is. Please confirm. Thanks.

    Reply
  15. Hi Shannon, I hope you can offer advice. I always back-up my quickbooks file, from the drop down menu “Create Backup” Recently I needed to restore my last backup, I was asked to rename the file, this I did, but then problems, all my scanned documents were not brought into the new file, either Intuit’s famous support had no idea how to resolve.

    So my question is, can you advise how to backup my files, with my documents attached, so the next time I need to restore a file, I do not have to manually attach all my documents again. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks

    Keith

    Reply
  16. Hi

    What I can do if Quickbook Pro 2016 after I made a restore, show me the following message, Did you move your company file? Quickbook can’t find your company file.

    Reply
    • Hi Norma,

      That probably means that you are trying to open a company file as a ‘previously opened’ company. But that company’s name or place has changed, so QuickBooks can’t find it. So try clicking File / Open or Restore Company… / Open a company file

      Navigate to the folder where you restored your company, find the company, select it and click Open. It should open just fine then. Thanks for your question.

      Reply
  17. Hi Shannon
    I have a quick Books Pro Edition 2003 ( I know, don’t laugh) I am currently buying the 2016/7 edition. A lot of my data has changed since 2003 eg Stock items, customer and supplier names, inactive or lost customers etc. I would like to install only data from 1 March 2013 onto the latest software getting rid of “old” non applicable info and data. I still however want to keep a record of my original data. Is there any way this can be done, perhaps by backing up and making a copy, then changing the name of the copy to eg “new Company” and in some way delete everything on it prior to 1 March 2013 or somehow only restoring info from 1 March 2013? I have the South African or UK Versions which I believe are different to the USA version.
    I have been told that the only way I can do this is to delete entry by entry from the copy restored on the 2016/7 version. Tat would take forever. Any advise, even if it’s not what I want to hear will be appreciated.

    Reply
    • Hi Brian,

      I think you got your money’s worth out of that version! You can try opening a copy of that file (not the only original copy, please) and see what happens. Maybe the stars will line up and it will upgrade to the current version. You’ll have all the old stuff, but better to have too much than too little? No way to mass delete stuff as far as I know in your country edition.

      If it doesn’t upgrade, then I think your only recourse will be to try to export as much info. as you can out of your 2003 file to Excel, edit it, and import it into a new company that you’ve created in 2016/17. Then put in beginning balances and/or open balance transactions. That’s a lot of work, but then you at least have clean lists.

      Chances are that your 2003 version won’t run on computers bought today. So I’d consider just keeping whatever computer it is running on now to be a dedicated “old QuickBooks” computer and using it to run historical reports as needed.

      Good luck with your project and thanks for the question.

      Reply
  18. Dear Sir,
    I Have Quickbook 10.0 Enterprises Solution, before currency was in $ after i amend home currency as Qatari riyal but i am facing some difficulty so, i want to gain make my current as $ so, please advice the solution.

    Reply

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