can you use USB drives to run QuickBooksThere are lots of different kinds of storage devices out there. Which ones are suitable for running QuickBooks desktop editions?

Basically, you want to be accessing your data on a local or network internal hard drive or on an internal solid-state drive.

You DON’T want to try to run QuickBooks using data located on…

  • Flash/thumb/USB drives
  • External hard drives
  • CD or DVD disks
  • Online drives (except for those used by hosted QuickBooks providers)
  • Your smartphone (ha!)
  • 3.5″ floppies (haha!)

The read/write speeds associated with these other kinds of media are not fast enough for QuickBooks to reliably do its thing. They are fine for holding  backups of your data, of course. But that’s a different thing from opening and using your data there.

What about RAID drives? Intuit says that QuickBooks will run on them, but doesn’t recommend doing so because of performance effects.

QuickBooks users call us for data repair options as a result of using QuickBooks on these non-recommended kinds of media. And if there is a systems problem, even data residing on recommended kinds of drives can be damaged. So it is always a very good idea to have a working backup solution in place.

Please follow and like us:

19 thoughts on “What Kind of Drives Can You Open QuickBooks On?

  1. Great article Shane!
    I have heard of folks keeping qbw file in drop box which works for single user mode, but there is no way to install the QB database manager on drop box, so not ideal for multi-user mode. I still wouldn’t advise drop box as ideal either.

  2. Steve, thanks for the question.

    QB is designed to have the I/O throughput associated with internal hard drives, on both the reading and writing sides. From what I’ve read, USB 3.0 drives can approach internal HDs speed on the reading side, but not the writing side…too slow.

    Thunderbolt external drives connected with Thunderbolt cables to new PCs that have Thunderbolt-compatible Intel motherboards are fast…much faster than USB 3.0 or firewire connected drives. But they are also quite expensive (at this time, at least).

    Has anyone tried running QuickBooks for Windows on a Thunderbolt drive?

  3. I am a completely mobile service business and have been hand writing my invoices for 20 yrs and coming home and entering the invoice on the computer in my so called spare time…. This is getting old.. I do not want to have my info on you web service that you offer,
    Do I need a small laptop or can I use a tablet? I have my large laptop at the home office, but would like to go mobile,,,, I think your android APP has a monthly user fee that is not cost effective to me….
    Do you have any other thought that can help me? I am getting burned out doing the invoice TWICE…..

  4. Hi Don,

    Sounds like what you want is just QuickBooks Pro (Windows desktop edition) installed on a a Windows laptop. Nothing in the cloud, no monthly fees. Take it with you on your jobs and invoice on the spot.

    Thanks for the question.

  5. Pingback: How to Open QuickBooks When It Won’t Open | QuickBooks and Your Business

  6. I run my data files on a FreeNAS server. Quickbooks is slow to open, but after it is open the speed seems fine. The advantage of FreeNas it is a RAiD and in my case it automatically backs up to another FreeNAS server every 3 hours.

    Most disk drives made today are build on price. They will fail anytime regardless of age. Warranty is of little use when your data is gone.

    Quicken should spend more time making sure there products work with network devices instead of relaying on cheep single hard disk. I have a whole stack of bad disks that prove my point.

    • Randy, did you ever figure out why hosting your QB file on FreeNAS loaded so slowly? I’m having the same experience with QB 2014 and FreeNAS 9.10. I’ve got to believe it’s some samba setting. I had previously hosted the data file on a QNAP, and it loaded just fine. Now, with FreeNAS, it’s completely lethargic… until it’s done loading.

  7. I’m running out of hard drive space and I want to run QB on my SD Card.

    Is that possible? I know that it will fit and realize that I have to reinstall QB and can’t just “move” the program.



  8. Pingback: Why You Should NOT Backup to a USB Flash Drive « QuickBooks and Your Business

  9. Hi,if i wanna install or keep the main file of D drive instead of C drives.may be there any problem? i mean if i change the window should i need to reinstall it.Coz i have license and product key.and did not get the validation code.can i move it with the help of these two to any other system after reinstallation

    • Hi Muhammadullah,

      I’m not tracking with everything there, but if you don’t have all your codes, you won’t be able to reinstall it or move it. If it is currently installed on a D drive and that is a hard drive or SSD then it should work fine. Thanks for your question.

  10. Hi, I partitioned my MacBook Air to run Windows on it. I don’t have enough space on my hard drive to run QB. Can I run it on my external hard drive?

    • Hi Johanna,

      Well, it sounds like you’re kind of playing Jenga with QuickBooks doing it that way, but it might work. You’re supposed to run QB (and its data) all from a local hard drive so that the data throughput will be adequate, but you can give it a try! Thanks for your question.

  11. I’m shopping for a laptop to run QuickBooks Pro 2019 desktop version. Since I can only load it twice, ever, I want to get this right and use it a long, long time. My big question is, should the SSD be the primary drive for QB program, with files stored on the HDD? I read something that confused me, about not needing the speed so much to open it, but more to access the files, as if the HDD (2TB) should be the primary…which the writer stated contradicts popular thiinking. Does Microsoft et al get installed with QB on the SSD? Also, for another $100 I can upgrade from 512 SSD to 1TB, but I don’t know if it would significantly change the experience. Thanks for any illumination.


Leave a reply

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> 


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.