We repair a lot of corrupted QuickBooks files. Naturally, people are often interested in the cause of the problem and what can be done to prevent it from happening again.

We don’t have a magic bullet for preventing re-corruption because the causes of data corruption are so varied and are oftentimes unknown.

But if my QuickBooks data file got corrupted, here are the things I would do to to minimize the likelihood of it happening again:

  • IT audit. A lot of times, IT problems cause QuickBooks data crashes. Unless I have an in-house full-time IT pro, I would bring in an outside IT pro to evaluate and bulletproof my network IT, including not only the server, but every workstation, every network component, internet access (which every QB workstation needs), and electrical power.
  • Security audit. This is really a component of an IT audit, but it merits special mention. I would evaluate for malware on every computer. I would also exclude the QuickBooks program and data folders from real-time scans so that QuickBooks can operate without impediment.
  • Consider streamlining the file. If your file is so big (or the lists are so big) that the file is sluggish, that should be addressed. A sluggish file is vulnerable to data corruption. The options to remedy this would be to try the built-in Condense command on a copy of your file (if your edition has the Condense command), or to create a new file and bring over selective information into it, or to get your file supercondensed.
  • Turn on Automatic Updates for both QuickBooks and Windows. If you don’t want to encounter bugs in QuickBooks, you probably want to be using the update that has the least bugs. And that would be the most current update, since Intuit – like every software developer – is constantly fixing bugs in their code. Some consultants recommend only updating Quickbooks once an update has been out there for awhile and has proved itself stable. But that means enduring known bugs that have already been fixed out of fear of unknown new bugs that may not exist. On balance, I want the latest stuff. Same philosophy for Windows updates. The only exception I would make to this strategy is if you are using a 3rd party app with Quickbooks that  might be susceptible to interruption under an untested new QuickBooks update.

There is one kind of data corruption that for some users seems currently unfixable: Balance sheet errors. We don’t know how to keep that from happening or from re-happening. Rebuild Data can usually fix a balance sheet problem, and we can fix it when Rebuild data cannot. But it seems like the problem pops up again – the balance sheet goes out of balance again – once the repaired file starts gets used again. It’s a repeat offender problem. Why? We don’t know. But we’ve talked to a lot of people over the last few months who have experienced this.

If my data got corrupted more than once in a fairly short period of time (e.g. corrupted twice in a month, say), I would do one further thing. I’d make full-verified backups almost constantly. Then if/when the data gets corrupted again, I can restore a very current backup that is quite likely to be undamaged (unless verify doesn’t detect the problem…a possibility, but what can you do?)

How often to make verified backups? Think about the maximum hours or days of rekeying you can comfortably do. So, as an example, are you OK with your team rekeying 8 hours of data? Then make a verified backup every 8 hours. If that sounds too painful, then make a verified backup every 4 hours, or every 2 hours. Identify your rekey pain threshold, and set up a verify/backup schedule accordingly.

That’s no fun, I know! But until you get a good track record for awhile of operating without any new data corruption, that’s what I’d do. Once you get to the point where you feel that things have stabilized, you can relax the protocol some.

RELATED: What Damages QuickBooks Data?

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What if QuickBooks crashed…your data corrupted…and you didn’t have good backups? What if Intuit says your file is unrecoverable? All is not lost…

“We were told by Intuit disaster recovery team that our files were corrupted beyond repair.   In combination with our backup company’s complete failure to copy our data file, we were in dire straits.  I chose the expedited service with AccountingUsers as we needed to know quickly how much trouble we were in.  After sending the files in, and a couple of phone calls, Shannon had our files fixed and back within hours.  We were ecstatic.  Thank you!”

Myrna Bittner, California Closets Alberta

“No down time.  Massive data file repaired and condensed.  We are thrilled that we did not have to start a new company file and were able to keep the data years our CPA recommended.  Best customer service ever!  Did what Intuit and 4 business days of down time could not achieve.  These guys get it done!!”

Ann Mahoney, Bates Air Conditioning & Service Co Inc.

“For a few years these problems have plagued us and we’ve spoken with other “Supposed” support companies who did not have the first clue what to do with us. Shannon was great in contacting me and responding to my questions and concerns (especially since it was difficult for me to explain some of them.) I cannot believe that we do not have the problems anymore and we are so grateful.”

Jennifer Szescula, Allegiance Technology Partners

“The data services and customer service received was excellent. I appreciated the quick responses, communication and turn around time of the file. Thank you for your assistance and efficiency during a crucial time of software repair.”

Marcy Ratcliff, C.N. Copeland Electrical Service

“I likes Shannon’s guarantee, if he doesn’t recover the file, you don’t pay!  I approached him regarding my quickbooks file that was damaged and I couldn’t open.  He was quick to respond and his turnaround time was amazing!  He was able to recover my file which saved me a ton of time re-doing work!  Thanks so much!”

Regina Jensen, J&J Consulting

“This is actually my 2nd time using your service and you’ve exceeded my expectations even more this time around.  I contacted you late in the afternoon PST and you had the file repaired within 8 hours.  That is incredibly fast service!!!  I can not thank you enough for the great service you provide, keep up the great work.”

Ed Lem, GLH Tech

“I am very satisfied with the repair service for QuickBooks Enterprise provided by Shannon Tucker. Our company file was repaired and returned more quickly than expected. It was very easy to restore. Downtime was kept to a minimum. Thank you.”

Nancy McClure

Find out more about guaranteed QuickBooks data repair services here.

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We spoke with Colleen Cravener of Cervis, Inc. about a recent data corruption problem she had with her QuickBooks file and how it was resolved.

AccountingUsers: Colleen, can you tell us a little about your company, and your role there?

Colleen: Cervis Inc. manufactures industrial radio remote controls for the mining industry, overhead crane industry and mobile industry. I am the Information System Specialist at Cervis.

AccountingUsers: What edition of QuickBooks do you use? And what does your office use QuickBooks for?

Colleen: QuickBooks Enterprise 2012 – Manufacturing and Wholesale edition. QuickBooks is used for all accounting processes, and until a few weeks ago was used for years 2004 through 2012 for all inventory, build assemblies, and purchasing. We have since taken inventory and purchasing into Misys.

AccountingUsers: Please tell us what led up to you contacting us about your QuickBooks file. What was going on in QuickBooks?

Colleen: We could not get our QuickBooks file to verify or rebuild. Our file had damage/corruption. Cervis wanted to do a condense data and could not because of damage.

AccountingUsers: What was the process like in getting your file repaired…the steps you took to send your file, the scheduling and turnaround, etc.?

Colleen: All I did was call the 1-800 number and Shannon answered a few questions and immediately sent me a confidentiality agreement. Then I went to their website, filled out a form and paid by Paypal. At the end of Cervis’s business day on a Friday, I made a portable QuickBooks file, which took a long time to make because the file was damaged, and uploaded the file through their website. It was VERY easy! And it was about 9pm before AccountingUsers actually received the file. On Sunday I received an email stating the file was finished and I could pickup the file. Also, the file upload and download process is done via a SECURE connection!

AccountingUsers: How did your repaired QuickBooks file work for you when you got it back from us?

Colleen: First thing I noticed was increased performance. We have 20+ concurrent users, this was a HUGE plus. I had questions about our Profit and Loss numbers and Shannon immediately answered via email – his last email being after midnight! It is obvious that at AccountingUsers customer service is #1! And they know the product (QuickBooks).

AccountingUsers: Anything else you’d like to share about your experience?

Colleen: I am giving your company an A+ in the recovery of the QuickBooks file, the secure website file transfer and the GREAT customer service (EVEN AFTER THEIR JOB WAS REALLY FINISHED!!) Top notch!

AccountingUsers: Thanks for sharing your story, Colleen!

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