For the last fifteen years, almost every day I’ve been in the office, I’ve talked with QuickBooks users who are struggling with data corruption.

There are common scenarios, common causes, common errors, common end results, and I’ve written elsewhere about those.

But what are the options when one finds one’s self in a data corruption mess? I tried to think of every option..

  • Rebuild your file. Make a backup first. Click File / Utilities / Rebuild Data. This built-in command can fix lots of kinds of data problems. Use with caution though…
  • Restore your last good backup. “Good backup” meaning a backup made before the data corruption occurred. Hopefully it is a recent backup, and not much data reentry will be necessary.
  • Manually fix the file yourself. This is easier said than done, but it is possible sometimes, especially if the corruption is limited to just a few records, and you can find out what those records are.
  • Start over with a new file. This is obviously an option with serious disadvantages, but it is an option.
  • Get the file repaired by a pro. There are options there too…
    • Your local IT pro. Depending on their experience on the technical side of QuickBooks, they might be able to help. Even if they can’t fix the file directly, they are a great resource if you are not comfortable restoring backups (many people struggle with this!)
    • A QuickBooks Pro Advisor. Ditto above. Find an advisor here.
    • William Murphy. An Advanced ProAdvisor (and good guy) who has fixed a lot of damaged files. Details.
    • Intuit Data Services. In my opinion, IDS does a good job, but they are slow in their turnaround. They also only work on currently supported versions.
    • Let us help. Overnight or weekend service, guaranteed results, very high success rate. Details here.

“You fixed the Quickbooks file completely and quickly. My client is very happy with your service because you saved them many hours of data re-entry.” – Peter Salzman, CPA

 

“Great experience, got our file working in one business day. We sent it off to Quickbooks and they are still working on it, after a week and 4 days. I highly… highly… recommend going with Quickbooksusers.com. Thanks guys!” – Hunter Eddington, DATCS

 

“I appreciated how fast everything happened and the few details at the end were followed up on quickly as well.” – Connie Dueck, Tristar Dairy Centre Ltd

 

“Shannon was extremely fast with both our data repair and file condensing. He also answered every question I had in an incredibly timely matter. We couldn’t be happier with the service.” – Blake Selover, Air Designs

 

“Our experience was wonderful. I was having an issue that two phone calls and 4 hours with QuickBooks tech support did not help. You looked after my situation in a few days and all was fixed.” – Carolyn Cameron, Noggins Corner Farm

 

“The best service ever. Delivered what they preach. Will use them again if any problem.” – Patrick Faup, The Restaurant Group

 

“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

 

“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.

Learn about guaranteed data repair services for QuickBooks files here.

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Let’s say there’s a problem with your QuickBooks file. You get an error when trying to save an invoice or other information.

Or your balance sheet is out of balance. Or you verify your file and it says there are errors and you should rebuild.

How do you rebuild your file? What are the risks? Will it work?

Rebuild Data is a built-in utility in QuickBooks that can fix a lot of different kinds of problems.

It sometimes messes things up, however.

Therefore #1: Don’t run it as a routine procedure. (Running Verify Data routinely, however, is great.)

Therefore #2: Run it on a copy of your company data, not your live file. If you are having a data problems, create a copy of your file, or backup your company and restore it to a different name, and run the rebuild on the copy. It will be a test.

How do you rebuild your test copy? Log in to the copy of your company as Admin, then click File / Utilities / Rebuild Data.

 

It will close all open windows in QuickBooks, and then make you create a current backup (QBB file) of your data. (If you are set up to verify your backups, and verify fails, then you can check the “No Verification” option on the backup window. Otherwise, you’re in a Catch-22.)

After the backup is made, the rebuild will immediately commence.

To rebuild a file may take only a few minutes for a small file. But it sometimes takes a long time (hours) with a big file or a badly damaged file.

In older versions, you’d get a message at the end that says that the rebuild succeeded or failed.

With the 2017 version, you see this:

Click the View Issues button to see what happened. It will pop up a window with a report of what it fixed, or didn’t.

If rebuild succeeded and thinks it fixed everything, don’t pop the cork on the champagne just yet. Sometimes rebuild will significantly change account balances, or customer or vendor balances, without warning. So you should print out a balance sheet, a customer aging report, and a vendor aging report, and see if anything has changed.

Since this is a copy of your file, you can run reports from this rebuild copy, and then open your live file, run the same reports, and compare.

Pay particular attention to your balance sheet. Rebuild can change any account significantly, but especially check your inventory account, your accounts receivable and accounts payable accounts, and your bank accounts.

Check out your P&Ls also. They can sometimes get changed in unexpected ways.

Of course, it may be that the balances were incorrect before, and they are correct after the rebuild. But you want to be aware. Sometimes the rebuilt balances just don’t conform to reality at all.

Another fluky thing that rebuild can do, to your detriment, is to somehow disconnect transactions that should be connected. For example, a bill payment can get disconnected from the bill it paid. That reopens the original bill, and it throws off that vendor’s balance. That’s why you should check your aging reports and compare the rebuilt numbers to the original numbers. If a vendor bill got unpaid, as an example, then your aging buckets will be off.

If your review of the rebuilt file is favorable, then hooray! You can likely feel good about making the rebuilt file your main working file going forward.

But sometimes you might see this:

 

If rebuild did not succeed, don’t despair just yet. It means that you’ve got data corruption in the file that is serious, but you still have options. I suggest you approach your options in this order:

  1. Rebuild again, and yet again. It seems a bit strange, but if you run the rebuild command multiple times, it will sometimes fix problems that don’t get fixed in the first rebuild pass. I don’t know why. But many consultants in the QuickBooks world will confirm this by their own experience. Rebuilding three consecutive times seems to be magic sometimes. Again, do this on the test copy of your file, not your live file. And if it appears to succeed, check out the results per the paragraphs above before putting the file into production.
  2. Restore your last recent good backup that was made before the problem occurred. This would be a backup or copy of the file that verifies without errors, where the balances are correct and the transactions are linked together properly, and doesn’t generate any runtime errors. If this backup was made a day or two ago, perhaps it wouldn’t be too inconvenient to rekey a day or two’s data.
  3. If you’re still in a pickle, get professional help. We have provided guaranteed data repair services to Quickbooks users since 2001, and our success rate is high. Intuit and a few other outfits can help as well. The “contact support” link in the rebuild report, per the screen snippet above, will get you into Intuit’s system, if that’s where you want to go.

RELATED: “We Were Told Our QuickBooks File Was Corrupted Beyond Repair”

RELATED: Some Data Problems We’ve Seen in QuickBooks 2016

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I got a nice note last week from Jon Kraut of LogoFit (name used by permission).

He said this about our QuickBooks data repair services:

“Shannon and his team did a great job for us, fixed a difficult database error when Intuit tech support wouldn’t. The communication during the process was very good as well. We recommend them for database repairs.”

I was glad that Jon was pleased with how things turned out. But I was especially happy that he thought we did a good job of communicating during the process.

Customer communication is something we really want to shine at, and it’s nice when the client affirms some success for us in that area. Whether it is communicating by phone or email, we try to be prompt, polite, and reliable. And that applies to initial inquiries, job status reports for working cases, and post-repair follow up.

It just makes things work out better for everyone when the communication lines are open and working. Thanks for the feedback, Jon.

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