It’s ironic: A command in QuickBooks that you think will keep it healthy sometimes makes it sick.

I refer to the Rebuild Data command. You access it through File / Utilities / Rebuild Data. But wait, don’t click and launch it just yet!

Sometimes, in our opinion, the Rebuild Data command can damage a QuickBooks file to the point of being irrepairable.

The specific problem to avoid is one where the rebuild command disconnects payments from invoices or bills. This changes balances and is really hard to correct afterwards. See details about this problem here.

RELATED: Help! Paid Bills and Invoices Have Gotten Unpaid!

The Verify Data command, on the other hand, is harmless. You access it through File / Utilities / Verify Data.

The moral of the story is to verify often, but rebuild only as needed. And when you rebuild, check the results afterwards to make sure it didn’t make something worse (particularly A/R and A/P accounts).

Some users run the Rebuild Data command as a frequent, routine procedure on their file. We do not recommend that. But verifying your file frequently is a great idea.

RELATED: How Can I Keep My File from Getting Redamaged?

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6 thoughts on “DO: Verify Often. DON’T: Rebuild Often

  1. Hi Shannon,

    I have acquired a new client that has been using QuickBooks Premier since 2007. Under the guidance of their previous CPA, they have run the condense several times in the past. Recently, I discovered that their A/P Aging in out of balance with the balance on the Balance Sheet.

    I’ve asked the client to run verify and rebuild. She did it several times. The rebuild did not correct the out of balance condition.

    I’ve asked the client to check the two balances at different dates in the past. She reported to me that the out of balance amount varies depending on the dates compared. So, that tells me there are several transaction links that maybe broken or corrupt.

    I think one way to troubleshoot it is to narrow the time frame to the exact date where the date or dates the differences occurred. Then, either delete the bill or payment, or unlink the bill or payment, and relink them.

    And, keep doing this until we’ve corrected all of the transactions that are causing the out of balance to occur.

    Or, shall I just have the client set up a data repair through your company.

    I really appreciate your newsletter and awesome tips and tricks.

    Thanks and keep up the good work. The QB community really appreciates you.


    • Hi Danny,

      Yes, that situation can sometimes be manually corrected by the method you describe: Deleting both the original bill and the payment(s) associated with it. Then reenter the transactions. It’s tough though if there are many affected transactions. We’ve seen situations where hundreds or thousands of transactions are affected, and then of course a manual fix becomes impractical.

      We don’t have a way yet of repairing those through our data repair service, unfortunately.

      Thanks for your comment.

  2. Hi Shannon
    Thank you for your article about DON’T: Rebuild Often
    here is my question if qb fails to verify and is asking you to rebuild what is it you should do then ?
    thank you

    • Hi Joel,

      Good question. The answer is: Make a backup, do the rebuild, and then check it out and see what it did. If the rebuilt file’s P&L, Balance Sheet, and AR and AP aging reports look OK and the file passes verification, then go with it – it should be fine. If it still fails verify or if it messed up your financial reports, then restore your pre-rebuild backup and look at other options (like contacting us).

      Thanks for your question.

  3. I have a question, how can you retrieve a backup file from Quickbook Pro 2001 version Canada? if using 2006 to retrieve how can I require the older version of Quickbook that is Canada and what was the reasoning behind it having different versions when you can just put an option to change versions?

    • Hi John,

      To restore a backup that was made with QB Pro 2001 Canadian, you can try using any Canadian version from 2001 on. Of course, the earlier the Canadian version you have, the more likely you’ll be able to successfully restore it.

      If I’m not responding well to your question, my apologies….please help me understand what you are asking.


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