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QuickBooks Registration: More Hassle Than it Should Be?

It took just a bit more than 10 minutes to register a copy of QuickBooks during a recent client visit because I was forced to use the phone option and wasn't able to register online. The time before that it took me 15 minutes and a call back as I was disconnected. How long did it take you?


In poking around various message boards and watching some Twitter posts, it seems like there is some building frustration with Intuit (the makers of QuickBooks) for making the registration process more hassle than necessary.

I'm not certain of this, but I have noticed a pattern to the registration process when taking care of it for my clients - the first copy that is registered is forced to go through the phone registration process, while registrations for additional users can normally be done via the online method - the online method wins hands down! So if you are in a multi-user QuickBooks environment, you don't have this pain for each user, but if you have just one copy of QuickBooks, it is quite likely you will be on the phone.

In fact, I dread getting the "please call 800-Big-Pain to get your validation code" message. I know that I am then going to be directed to an overseas call center and get the pitch about other QuickBooks products and services, especially payroll and merchant services. In some cases, the pitch can be pretty annoying, depending upon the call center rep who is delivering the pitch.

TIP: As soon as you are asked during QuickBooks phone registration about how many employees your business has, simply tell the rep you have no interest in any other QuickBooks products and services at that time. It does speed things up a bit, as you should be spared the sales pitch, but it doesn't reduce the overall hassle factor of having to register by phone.

Naturally, from Intuit's perspective, forcing a business to speak to a sales rep when registering QuickBooks is a great way to cross-sell other products and services.However, QuickBooks already has enough other pop up windows that appear while using the software promoting their other products and services that we shouldn't have to endure them just to get the software registered.

BONUS TIP: Click Edit > Preferences > General > Turn off pop-up messages for products and services to minimize the pop-up intrustions while working in QuickBooks. I can't say that this completely eliminates them, but it does reduce them.

Maybe QuickBooks 2010 will bring a more streamlined approach to product registration to it. We can certainly hope so!

Are my impressions of the registration process wrong? Has your QuickBooks registration process gone smoothly? Post a comment below...


Scott Gregory is a specialist with QuickBooks Pro, Premier and Enterprise software. He also provides controller services to businesses looking to sharpen their accounting systems and profitability. Connect with Scott @ Bottom Line Accounting Solutions.



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Nothing has changed since 2009.


I feel your pain about the hassles you are having.

A couple of things:

1) You should be able to reinstall the QB software on the new computer. Remember, you will need to have the license number and product code to do that. If it is a version of QB prior to 2009, Intuit may or may not honor your request to register it. I've heard of stories both ways.

2) All computers that will be accessing your QB data file on the network have to be on the same version of QB (i.e. everyone has to use QB 2010). Otherwise, you won't be able to have multi-user access working.

You're right - the reality is you have to upgrade, as they leave you with really no other option if you can't get it registered.

Scott Gregory

God forbid you have to switch an old version of quikbooks onto a different computer. I upgraded a somewhat ancient computer to a windows xp and the install went fine. When it came to registering it said the contact name does not match the previous registration, OK, so I called. When the representative realized I had an older version she told me they don't keep account information for that long. So after 15 minutes of discussing how there's no way to transfer to the newer computer she then told me intuit "encourages" customers to upgrade. Encourage implies that there is another option, you MAKE customers upgrade. Is there a way to run the active version of quikbooks on the new computer if the old one is on a network?

I feel everyones pain. I have been using qb premier contactor edition for a few years and recently switched to a new win 7 computer. It worked for a couple of months and now gives me a registration error. I have uninstalled (gives me the error during uninstall) and re-installed the software 3 times, deleted the files as instructed on QB's website and now can't get my taxes done. I will probably have to try to recover my data on paper and buy another program for my books. Wasted $250!!

Jeff Palmer
Classic Construction

We tried QB2008,2010,2011 all cannot register on 3 out of 5 pcs.

Hi Janet:

Thanks for taking time out of your tech nightmare to post a comment.

Needless to say, I can feel your pain on this issue. It is just short of insanity that you have to get moved up to level 3 support just to get the product you registered so you can start using it.

I am going to relay your post to my contact at Intuit and see if there is anything they can do to help defray some of your expenses on this - can't do much to defray the frustration though. No guarantees, but I'm happy to at least start the dialogue going.

This is precisely why this registration process needs to be addressed and exactly why folks are getting extremely frustrated with Intuit.

I wish you the best in getting this squared away!

Scott Gregory


Thanks for taking the time to post a comment.

There are other options available in the small business accounting software market - unfortunately, none of them other than Peachtree are as full-featured as QuickBooks right now.

Based on some of the newer players in this area, I think that is going to change over the next year or two.


Mine is a much sadder story. I CANNOT register. I have spent $79 for a 30-day service contract just to trouble shoot something that is obviously a problem with the software. Worse than that I have spent over 16 hours (no exaggeration) sitting on tech support calls while they remotely accessed my computer and checked everything over and over. Unistalled and reinstalled at least five times. I was told to ask Microsoft to do a clean install of a netframe program --- had to pay another $49 for that. I even set up a conference call between Microsoft and Quickbooks -- that took a little pressure! Still I can't register Quickbooks -- I can use it, but it will lock up in another 25 days. I have been bumped to "Tier III" tech support, but have not assurance that this will be fixed.




R Graham:

Thanks for taking the time to share your insights about your QuickBooks experience in this post.

Curious - did QB Premier actually cause the need for the computer to be rebuilt? That would seem quite odd if that is the case - normally, just QB needs to be reinstalled.

In most cases, something else goes crazy with Windows and forces a rebuild, but anything can happen!

Scott Gregory

Thank you for your post,

I have had to rebuild my company computer twice with quickbooks premier and this process is absolutely infuriating! The arrogance to take a business owners valuable time simply because they became a customer.

Just imagine if this was required with every software company. Rebuilding this machine required hours of software re-installs and licensing from microsoft to adobe to oracle to sun/ibm to a dozen other smaller players. Intuit thinks no big deal because like all other small-minded people they think only about themselves. If one had to do this with all software, it would be a entire day wasted answering the same questions over and over.


Thanks for taking the time to post your comments on this issue.

Intuit is actively monitoring this dialogue, and your comments help reinforce the frustration felt by those who don't need or want an upsell when they are just trying to register their software.


It was obvious to me that the phone registration was a lure for an upsale. There is absolutely no reason for a "live" registration. No one else does it. I'm a single owner w/ no employees...first was obvious in that their next "planned sentence" turned to an "uhh". I'm not needing credit card payments...another, "uhhh". And, if they can't get you on either of those...surely you need training? "No" they seemed audibly astounded.

Hi Scott,
I'm an Intuit employee. I'm sorry you and others have felt some pain aroudn this issue. Is there anything I can do to help? Would you like to talk about this 1:1 about the situation?
You can reach me at


Dead-on Scott. For us, it was installing a fresh, full retail copy of QuickBooks 2009 Pro Win after suffering through just too many bugs and corrupt DB problems with earlier versions of QuickBooks Mac. Needing quick access to our data on recovering from the latest corruption bug, I ran in to the road-block of needing to call, AND the pop-up for that says call during x-y business hours, not even 24x7! You CAN bypass and have the 30 day period to get this step done. Still, when in a poor frame of mind about the product already, this was the straw that said "time to re-evaluate the competition and other online services".


Thanks for taking the time to post a comment. Good to know what others are experiencing in relation to the registration process.

I saw another pretty brutal Twitter post on this issue late this morning.

Scott, I've been seeing this mostly in upgrades where we are installing on a system that had a prior version. Haven't noticed it on new systems (but I don't do a lot of installations). In my own systems (I have a real mixture of licenses) the phone in usually happens because of issues either with my company name changing, address changing, phone number changing, or there is a lot of install/reinstall happening.

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