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Use QuickBooks on a Server? A Must Read Article for You

If you use QuickBooks on a server, be aware of a potential problem that may be lurking just below the surface unless specific action is taken.

In many cases, a business sets up their server and has their internal or external IT group put some type of backup plan in place (i.e. external hard drives, Carbonite or other online backup service, etc.). This is a good thing for sure.

However, QuickBooks needs some additional attention when it comes to backups to ensure optimum performance every day.

Attached to each QuickBooks data file is a file known as a "TLG" file (short for Transaction Log File). You'll see this demonstrated in the screen shot below:

TLG Listing

Without getting too technical, this file just sits in the background and provides some additional insurance just in case a problem arises with your QuickBooks data.

The problem is this - the TLG file size just keeps growing and growing unless specific action is taken. That can lead to very poor performance of your QuickBooks, slow response times, and other bad behavior.


In order to keep this TLG file size under control, all you have to do is - put QuickBooks in single user mode, click File > Create Backup, and make sure you have the verification option set to "complete verification" as shown in the screen shot below:

Backup Verification

If you make plans to run what I call this "internal backup" on a monthly basis (this is in addition to any other backup plans your IT group has in place!), you will ensure that your TLG file doesn't get too big for itself and help keep your QuickBooks file in top operating shape.





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Hi Greg:

Indeed, your comments are spot-on. Sadly, this is an issue that many businesses aren't even aware of when it comes to QB, and they don't find out until the TLG file size jumps up and bites them.

I am not a technical guy by any stretch - are you familiar with how other databases "clean themselves up" like the backup routine does with QB?

I have to believe there are systems out there that are somewhat self-maintaining in this area that don't need the administrative attention that QB does. But maybe I'm wrong too.

Scott Gregory

Hi Janet:

It is best to actually do the backup of the QB data file on the server (but it can be done to other computers if necessary).

However, in addition to that, it is essential that the server then be backed up and a copy of the server data (which includes the QB backup) be stored off the server (i.e. external drive, cloud backup service, etc.)

Hope this helps!

Scott Gregory

Is it ok to actually do the backup with the quickbooks files on the server? I thought I had read somewhere that you needed to copy files to an individual computer.

Scott, this is something that STILL amazes me about Quickbooks...there is no effective way to automate a complete backup and take care of the TLG file.

So even with Quickbooks Enterprise we need to sign in off-hours, switch to single-user mode, and run a manual backup. We actually take a weekend now and call it "Quickbooks Backup Weekend," prepare the remote sessions and run 'em in line for half a day.

It's maddening that there is no automated way to do this in 2012. And no automated way for QB to clean up its own transaction log. And no manual way for us to clean up the t-log while the server is running.

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