What if you could reduce your big QuickBooks file’s size without deleting data. How great would that be?

But wait…Can you have your cake and eat it too?

There is a new feature that is built in to the Condense command starting with the 2019 version of QuickBooks Pro, Premier, Accountant, and Enterprise. This new feature will allow you to run the Condense command and ONLY remove the audit trail from the file.

Sometimes the audit trail makes up the majority of a QuickBooks file’s size. So the ability to remove it, and only it, might allow a user to significantly reduce their file size but still retain all other data.

For years, the built-in Condense command has offered users a way to reduce their file’s size. But many users reported that the command froze, or didn’t do much, or messed up the balance sheet.

That’s why for many years users have come to us to have their data supercondensed as an alternative to the built-in Condense command.

But now QuickBooks 2019 has a new take on condensing: Leave all the data except the audit trail. Will this be effective?

The main problem I foresee is that audit trail removal alone may not make the file perform any faster.

At least, that has been our experience. For awhile we experimented with offering a service to remove just the audit trail from QuickBooks files. We could reduce a file’s size by up to 50% that way.

But users complained that it just didn’t help speed up slow files. The process of saving invoices would be just as sluggish as before. Running complex P&Ls would take just as long as before. Verifying a file would still take as long, etc.

So even though on paper the process reduced the file, in actuality it didn’t make any noticeable difference in QuickBooks’ performance. And it’s all about performance, right? So we discontinued offering that service years ago.

I’ll be interested to run some tests on big files in QuickBooks 2019 to see if removing the audit trail speeds up slow files or not. If you try it, let me know your experience.

      RELATED: Why QuickBooks Files Grow (Fast)

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I spoke with someone recently whose QuickBooks data file had grown by 500MB in six months. Why is it growing so fast, they asked?

I’ve heard variations of that question from many people over the years. So here are a few things I’m aware of that can drive rapid file growth in QuickBooks:

* Increasing transaction volume. This makes sense, right? These days, business is good for a lot of businesses. If your business is growing and you’re plugging more A/R, more A/P, more payroll, more inventory transactions into QuickBooks than you have done before, then your file will grow faster than it has previously. This is a good problem…

* New transaction sources. I spoke with a client recently who has started importing lots of daily sales from Amazon into QuickBooks. This is pumping up their file size fast.

* Complicated transactions. The more complicated the transaction, the more file space it will take up. So invoices with a lot of line items will make the file grow more than invoices with few line items. Inventory-related transactions will take up a lot of space. Payroll transactions will take up a lot of space. Why? Because they are complicated and have lots of backend data connections to maintain. That translates to a bigger data file.

* Upgrading from an earlier version to a later version of QuickBooks. Seems like every new version of QuickBooks makes a file get bigger. If you jump up three or four versions at once, the size increase could be substantial.

Perhaps surprisingly, having large lists of customers, vendors, items, etc. doesn’t make the file much bigger at all. (But it might make your file perform more sluggishly.)

If your file is too big, you can have your file supercondensed, or recreated. Contact us if we can help.

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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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A friend of mine recently had her hard drive crash with QuickBooks on it. She thought she had a good backup on an external hard drive, and additionally, a good cloud backup.

Turns out she had neither. All the copies and backups of her file were copies of corrupted data.

Fortunately, an outside bookkeeper had put a QuickBooks backup on a USB stick three weeks earlier. So “only” three weeks of data had to be re-input, instead of lots, lots more.

What went wrong? In a nutshell: One-generation backups. That means there was only one copy of backups to restore from.

In her case, both the external hard drive and the cloud backup were being updated from files on her hard drive. That’s fine as far as it goes.

But when the hard drive went down and was recovered, a damaged QuickBooks company file was then backed up to all the backup systems. And so any previously backed up “good” data was overwritten by “bad” data.

There existed only one generation of QuickBooks data. That’s bad.

It’s true that there were IT protocol errors made in the attempted recovery, but the vulnerability was always there: If you have only one generation of backups, you can get burned.

The best way way to backup your QuickBooks data with current technology is to backup to a cloud-based system. And that system must both automatically backup your QuickBooks data in real-time and keep many generations (meaning days) of backups available.

For example, with Carbonite, you can set it up to maintain a rolling 90 day window of backups. It will make a backup every day for 90 days before the oldest file “falls off”. If you need to restore a backup, you can go back as far as 90 days to look for an uncorrupted file. That’s pretty great.

Have you been burned by one-generational backup systems? Or saved by multi-generational backups? Tell your story.

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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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In the last few weeks, we’ve seen a number of data stability issues in QuickBooks 2016 that have surprised us a bit. I don’t know if these issues are happening because of a particular QuickBooks update release, or a Windows update, or something else. Most version 2016 users haven’t had any problems, but from our vantage point in hearing from users who DO have data problems, there has been a definite uptick in database problems specific to version 2016 in the last few weeks.

  • Problems upgrading older versions. In the last few weeks, I have spoken with a number of people whose data has failed the upgrade from an earlier version to version 2016. I started getting more-than-usual calls about this when the 2013 version was sunsetted last month. That’s when many 2013 users were making the jump from version 2013 to version 2016. There are always some people that have trouble upgrading from an older version to the latest version. But there seems to have been more than usual problems with that lately. And the upgrade process itself seemed to trigger the problem; the users I’ve talked to were not having data problems in the older version. With most of the users I have spoken with in this situation, they are having to revert to their pre-upgraded backup (made in the old version) and rekey from there. That’s a bummer if you upgraded your file a month or two ago. In one case I’ve seen, a user had to remain in their 2015 version for now — the data is simply not upgradeable to version 2016 and they have to stick with version 2015.

RELATED: “QuickBooks Data Repair Services — User Reviews”

  • Broken transaction links. We’ve seen an unusual number of these in version 2016 data recently. Payments get disconnected from bills, and the bills are reopened, as one example. The only solution is to restore the last good backup (made before the problem occurred) and rekey to get caught up, or to manually delete and reenter the affected transactions. Sometimes this is happening to people when they upgrade, and sometimes it is happening to people who have been using QuickBooks 2016 for awhile (without problems).
  • Damaged lists. In some cases, jobs get spontaneously reassigned to different customers, transactions get reassigned to different customers or vendors, customer data gets out of sync on the customer center screen. Only solution: Restore last good backup.
  • Account balances corrupted. Again, this seems to happen during the upgrade, and the only recourse as per this writing is to restore the last good backup that was made before the upgrade.

RELATED: How to Transfer a QuickBooks File from an Older to a Newer Version

  • TLG file corrupted. A TLG file is an auxiliary data file that QuickBooks maintains alongside your working QBW file. We can often take a current TLG, apply it to an older backup, and bring the backup up to current condition.  With the data problems listed above, in version 2016 data, we can’t do that. The corruption affects the TLG file too and makes it unusable for our data repair efforts.

We can repair almost all QuickBooks data problems, including — usually — problems that prevent successful upgrading. Hopefully this particular uptick in unfixable 2016 data problems is a temporary blip.

RELATED: I Can’t Backup my QuickBooks File! Help!

Any of these data issues sound familiar? What do you think triggered the problem in your case? How did you resolve it?

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If you have a gigantic QuickBooks data file, the classic approach is to recreate the file and start over. This approach works, but it takes a lot of effort and it opens the door to lots of data entry or importing mistakes.

One alternative, if your version has the built-in Condense command, is to try that command on a copy of your file and see what happens. Sometimes it works great, and sometimes it doesn’t.

RELATED: These are Large QuickBooks Data Files…and What Users Did

If the built-in condense doesn’t give you satisfactory results, you can have your file supercondensed. Some of our clients describe their supercondense experience:

“We are so pleased with our new Supercondensed QuickBooks file and the quick and professional service you provided. Our file was very large and over 20 years old. We were having many problems with the old file and were told by Quickbooks support to re-create the file and start from scratch. This would have required countless hours and days of downtime for our company. Also, we did not want to lose all of the transaction history and wanted to keep 2 years of history for comparison reports. We were thrilled when we found your service. We sent the file on Friday and the new file was here Monday morning. The instructions to upload the new file were very easy to follow and in no time we were using our new file. We highly recommend your service to other companies looking to condense their QuickBooks file. We plan on using this service every 3-5 years from now on. Thank you so much all your help!!!” — Sue Hamby, Motherlove Herbal Company

“Finished product came back just as advertised. Shannon and QuickbooksUsers.com reduced my file size by 70% and got it done and back to me in less time than expected for a weekday turnaround.  All questions were answered promptly and the process was very professional from start to finish.  Would highly recommend QuickbooksUsers.com and will use them again when my file gets too big again.” — John Clouse, Butler Color Press

“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.

“We went with the weekend supercondense. Shannon explained the process up front and the entire project went exactly as planned – sent the file Friday and it was ready for first thing on Monday. Speed is greatly increased and we would definitely do it again.” — Rob Coleman, RCTENN

“We got our data back much smaller and ready to move to QuickBooks online.  So I was very happy.  Most importantly to me, Shannon was extremely responsive which was key for us.” — Cameron Struthers, Allen Print Ltd.

“100% satisfied. Best investment we made in getting our QB data file under control. We were able to get our supercondense done with no downtime. Very happy we used their service.” — Paul Perry, Precision Services

RELATED: Case Study: User with Big, Slow QuickBooks File

Have you evaluated recreating your company, versus condensing, versus supercondensing? What did you decide?

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First, if you’ve been backing up to USB flash drives, you are to be commended for at least getting your data off your computer and onto a separate, removable backup drive. That’s better than keeping EVERY copy of your data on your hard drive alone. (Why? Because, of course, if all your backups are on your hard drive, and that hard drive goes down, you are in trouble!)

But you need to revise your backup strategy at least a little in order to be safer. Why? Because USB drives aren’t super reliable target drives for QuickBooks backups.

I talk to people all the time whose company file gets badly damaged somehow. They think they are OK — “I’ve got a ton of backups on my flash drive!” But when they plug in their flash drive and try to restore these backups, the backups are corrupted and unusable. Or the USB flash drive itself is dead. That makes for a bad day (and a day when people call me for QuickBooks file repair).

It’s better — more reliable — to backup to an external hard drive or a cloud drive.

But regardless of whether you want to have your backup file on a USB flash drive, external hard drive, or the cloud, do this: Backup to your Windows Desktop, then copy the backup file from Desktop to your ultimate backup destination through Windows.

Why do this extra step? Because writing data to your local hard drive (where Desktop lives) is fast and reliable. QuickBooks is designed to read and write data to hard drives very well. Writing data, especially large files, directly from QuickBooks to other kinds of drives, however, can be problematic. I believe that slower write times leads to file writing errors, which leads to restore problems later on.

RELATED: What Kind of Drives Can You Open QuickBooks On?

And if you make your backup initially to Desktop, it’s very easy to find your backup file when you copy it in Windows to your ultimate target drive, whether in the cloud, external HD or USB flash drive.

Bonus tip: If you try to restore a QuickBooks backup from a USB flash drive and the restore fails, try simply copying the backup file from the flash drive to Desktop, then try to restore the file from Desktop. This sometimes works when a restore directly from the flash drive fails.

Let’s face it….USB flash drives are as common as potato chips, and there is hardly anything more convenient than backing up to a USB flash drive and putting it in your pocket. But don’t rely on a USB flash drive as a mission critical piece of technology. And improve your odds by mediating the process through Windows Desktop.

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Some say “Once in Enterprise, always in Enterprise”. But that’s not so! We convert Enterprise files to Pro or Premier all the time. What do our client/users say?

“We were using a hosted version of Enterprise 15 and decided to go back to 2015 Premier desk top. We sent our file on Friday morning and received the converted file back on the following Monday. The file loaded into 2015 Premier with no issues and all information looks complete and correct. QuickbookUsers.com has a simple and effective process. We are thrilled with the results.” — Jim Work, TCB Interiors LLC

 

“Fast and reliable service!” — Julie Bedard, Vie Luxe International

 

“The conversion from Enterprise to Pro went perfectly. I couldn’t be happier with the service!” — Bruce Coates, Cottages By The Sea

 

“Quick, easy, accurate!” — Denise Doak, The Laurel Group

 

“Quickly converted our data and very simple! Thank you!” — John Burghardt, Bizcompass

 

“Service exactly as described with excellent support after the conversion!” — Tim Kessler, CDLM Technology Services

 

“This is the third time we’ve used you for our clients and you’ve done a stellar job each time. I’ve referred you to others in the National Advisor Network (now Woodard Network).” — Jeff Cecchini, QBPros, Inc.

Learn more about our QuickBooks Enterprise Downgrade Service.

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Here are some files that have been sent to us recently. They are pretty big! (You can find out how big your QuickBooks file is by pressing F2 in QuickBooks.) How does your file compare?

Enterprise 14. 5.7GB. File fails verify and needs supercondensing.
Enterprise 13. 1GB, but 61,000 customers. Sluggish.
Enterprise 14. 1.8GB. Repeat customer, file had grown large again after a couple years.
Enterprise 15. 3.2GB. 30,000 items. Footing errors.
Enterprise 11. 8GB. Sluggish.
Enterprise 15. 700MB. Not big, but unstable.
Enterprise 15 Canadian. 750MB. Bloated lists.

Premier 2014 Canadian. 390MB, pushing the 14,500 limit on items.
Premier 2015 Nonprofit. 2GB. Slow in saving transactions and reporting.

Pro 2015 Canadian. 750MB. Too big to migrate to QuickBooks Online.
Pro 2014. 420MB. Sluggish.
Pro 2014. 300MB. Customer and item list bloated.

And the biggest kahuna of them all: QB Pro 2013, 9GB. File fails verify. That’s right, this is a Pro file! This file had over 30 million transaction links in it — the most we’ve ever seen in any QuickBooks file.

RELATED: Interview/Case Study: QuickBooks User with Large File

What did the users do? They sent us the files to be supercondensed and/or repaired. Sometimes rebuilding and condensing files within QuickBooks works. When it doesn’t we can (most of the time) repair and supercondense a file even when the built-in tools in QuickBooks fail.

Is your file’s size of concern? How about list size? How does it perform?

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