QuickBooks is a crucial tool for businesses. It helps organizations manage their money, pay their employees, and pay their bills. But QuickBooks is also a fairly complex application. This complexity means that QuickBooks is prone to having problems.

I do a lot of work on QuickBooks and have gathered some of the common issues I deal with almost daily. These tips may help you solve those issues before you lose your hair or your money.

Note: This article is also available as a PDF download.

1: Updating the data file fails

This can be very tricky. When you are upgrading QuickBooks from one version to the next, sometimes the earlier version’s data file can’t be read by the newer version. Because of this, the data file must be updated. Usually this will happen during the installation process and will require you make a backup first. However, to avoid any issues with the data file, make sure you run a verification on that file before you uninstall the old version or install the new version. Better yet, install the new version side by side with the old version so you will always have a fallback.

2: Rebuilding the data file fails

Sometimes, that verified data still will not upgrade to the newer version. In this case, you will have to go back to the older version and do a rebuild of your data. For some users, this is an easy task. But when dealing with the file that holds the keys to the company’s financial kingdom, others will hesitate. If you do find yourself in a situation where you have to rebuild the data, do it in this order: Back up your data file, verify your data file, rebuild your data file. If the rebuild simply won’t work, you might want to make sure that data file is located on the local machine. QuickBooks is insistent that the data file be located on the C:\ drive. That means even if your data file is on the Q:\ drive (and that Q drive is on the local machine but shared, so QuickBooks THINKS it’s on a different drive), QuickBooks could have an issue with the rebuild. So before the rebuild, copy the data file to the C:\ drive, do the rebuild, and move the data file back where you need it.

3: You lose the connection to the data file

This is probably the most common issue, as well as the most challenging to troubleshoot. QuickBooks is finicky about the network connection to the data file. If there is the slightest hiccup in the network, your connection can be lost. If you’re sure QuickBooks is set up correctly, you might want to use the QuickBooks Connection Diagnostic Tool to help you figure out what’s going wrong. Also, make sure your firewall and your antivirus are allowing the connection through.

4: The reinstall fails

If you need to reinstall QuickBooks, there is a little something you might not hear about from Intuit: The clean uninstall. Before you do your reinstall, go ahead and uninstall using the standard Windows uninstall methods — but then go back and delete the C:\Program Files\Intuit\QuickBooksXXX directory (where XXX is the release number), as well as the C:\Windows\Users\Documents And Settings\Program Data\Intuit\QuickBooksXXX directories (again, where XXX is the release number). As with any time you are dealing with QuickBooks, BACK UP YOUR DATA FIRST!

5: QuickBooks run slowly in multi-user mode

This one is tricky because there can be a number of issues (as with any slowdown). If you have ruled out hardware, you might be facing issues in your data file. The fastest route to solving this is to use the Clean Up Company Data tool found in File | Utilities. If this doesn’t give you much of a speed boost, you can always turn off the Audit Trail feature.

6: QuickBooks client machine can’t locate the data file on the server

The first thing to do here is to make sure that the Server Manager is installed on the server machine and that it’s running. If that doesn’t work, map the drive to the server from the client and try to connect that way. Most likely, if you can see the server from the client, the issue is that the Server Manager is not running.

7: You can’t find the licensing information

If you’ve lost your documentation and can’t find your license/product numbers, you can always locate them by hitting either [F2] or [Ctrl]1 when QuickBooks is open (and you’re logged into your data file). But you can’t find your validation code. If you have to reinstall, you’ll have to re-register (unless you wrote that validation code down… HINT HINT!).

8: A new printer won’t print

This one is simple but still flummoxes users all the time:

  1. Close QuickBooks.
  2. Search for the file qbprint.qbp.
  3. Rename qbprint.qbp to qbprint.qbp.old.
  4. Restart QuickBooks and printing should work.

9: You’ve lost the admin password

Shame on you for losing your admin password. It does happen, though. Or maybe you’re a new administrator coming into a tricky situation where the old admin didn’t leave the password. Fear not; you can recover that password by using the QuickBooks Automated Password Reset Tool. It’s not 100 percent foolproof, but it works most times.

10: You can’t copy or move the QuickBooks data file

Have you ever tried to copy that QuickBooks data file from your hard drive to a removable drive (for backup or migration purposes), only to find out the file is locked? This is a simple one. QuickBooks Server Manager and Directory Monitor have that file locked down. Close out QuickBooks, click Start | Run, enter services.msc, look for the QuickBooks services, and stop those two. Once the services are stopped, you should be able to copy and paste that file.

More tips?

These 10 quick tips will make your QuickBooks administrative life much easier. Have you come across a QuickBooks tip you’re dying to share? If so, tell your fellow TechRepublic members about it.