We seem to be getting more and more calls from people who have somehow lost their current data file and don’t have a very recent backup.

Some folks try retrieving their lost/deleted current file from their hard drive using special IT tools for that purpose. Most of the time, however, what they retrieve doesn’t actually have QuickBooks data in it — it just has random garbage. I don’t know why that is, but I can tell you that that’s the usual outcome.

But there is another approach that works quite well: Taking a current TLG file and using it to update an old backup and bring the data up to current.

What is a TLG file? It’s the Transaction Log file — an auxilliary data file that QuickBooks maintains along with your regular QBW file. The TLG file has the same file name, and lives in the same folder, as your main file. But it has a .TLG extension on it.

TLG files can be quite large. Sometimes they are bigger than the QBW file itself.

Normally you don’t think or care about the TLG file. But if you somehow lost your main QBW file, the humble TLG file can step up and be the hero of the day.

If you have an old backup and a current TLG file, we can take both files and essentially merge them together, giving you a complete, current data file.

The TLG file has to be current, intact, and have a create date that precedes the date of your old backup.

Just today, we returned some data to a QuickBooks Pro 2009 user with this scenario. His main file had been overwritten accidentally by the restoration of an old backup. We took the old backup, the current TLG file, merged the two, and returned to him a file that was complete and current.

The TLG file was the hero — without it, we wouldn’t have been able to do anything to help at all.

Whenever you make a verified backup in QuickBooks, QuickBooks blanks out the TLG file. I wish it didn’t do that, for the sake of scenarios like the above. If you verify separately, the TLG is left alone. If you backup without verifying, the TLG file is left alone. It’s just the combination of those processes that wipes it out.

That makes me think that smart users should verify their data separately, and when they make backups in QuickBooks, turn off the verify switch.

Have you ever lost your QuickBooks company file? Tell us about it.

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13 thoughts on “A Humble Hero: The QuickBooks TLG file

  1. This verify option and how it acts differently regarding the clear of TLG depending on when it executes is VERY valuable information. This needs to be made better known.

    From and old IMS guy I understand the the importance of Logs. If the Log gets wiped out at the point of last backup I now have a single point of recovery, and that is the last backup!!

    I’m going back right now and changing my backup processes.

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  3. Dear Sir
    We are using Quickbooks Premier Accountant Edition 2008. Accidently We deleted TLG File. Please Tell Us how to create new TLG file Extention.

  4. Muhammad, QuickBooks will automatically create a new, blank TLG file when you open your company, so you don’t have to do anything special to create one yourself.

    Thanks for the question.

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  6. Dear Sir
    We are using Quickbooks Enterprise Solution 2012. Accidently We deleted backup. and now we have no backup data and quick books not open QBW.tlg. Please Tell Us how to fix it.

  7. Hello Kashif,

    If you don’t have any backups at all, then the TLG won’t do any good. If you do have a good backup and a good current TLG, contact us and we can use the TLG to update the backup and bring it up to current.

    Thanks for the question.

  8. Hi Sir,

    We have a Quickbooks Pro 2008. The Current QBB file was corrupted. We have a backup QBB file with transactions dated last nov 2013. We also have a current TLG file. Is It possible to restore the backup to the Current transactions? Thanks.

    • Hi Gerald,

      If the TLG file is undamaged and intact with information since Nov. 2013, and if you are using either the US or Canadian edition of QB Pro 2008, then yes, it should be recoverable. Thanks for your question.


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