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8 posts from November 2011

I just got a new computer - how do I transfer my QuickBooks information?

So you just got a new PC (or will be getting one soon). Congratulations!

And now the question arises - "How do I transfer my QuickBooks to the new computer?"

Good news - the process is not hard at all. Here's how...


Remember, there are two pieces that work together to form your QuickBooks setup:

  1. The QuickBooks software application (program)
  2. Your QuickBooks data file


Take your QuickBooks CD (or the installation file if you chose the download option when you purchased QuickBooks) and install it on the new computer. Follow the prompts found in the installation wizard, and complete the process.

Be sure to pay careful attention to the prompt that talks about downloading product updates - you'll want to do that also as part of the installation of the QuickBooks program on your new computer.

ALERT: If you are trying to use an older version of QuickBooks software on your new computer, it may NOT work. Keep in mind that only QuickBooks 2010 and newer versions will run and are supported on Windows 7. Don't even bother trying to get an older version to work - you will want to purchase an upgrade to your QuickBooks software first.


Now that the QuickBooks program has been installed and updated, go back to your old computer.

Open QuickBooks on it.

Click File (in the menu bar) > Open Previous Company. This will tell you exactly where you QuickBooks data file is located. Make note of the EXACT name of the file as it is listed.

Navigate to that location and copy the file to a flash drive. Take the flash drive and plug it in to your new computer. Make a new folder on your computer called QuickBooks Data (or other name of your choosing) and copy the file from your flash drive to this new folder.

Finally, open QuickBooks. Click File > Open or Restore Company and locate the new file you created above and you're back in business.

SUGGESTION: If the description above is too technical for you, grab the closest teenager you can find. They'll have it done in a minute or less.

Once you are done with both steps above, you are ready to dig in and use QuickBooks on your new computer! From that point on, don't put any QuickBooks information in your old computer, since the new one will not know anything about it.




Some Hilarious QuickBooks Comments from the Twitterverse

We're taking a break from our normally scheduled QuickBooks tips and insights this time and adding some humor to your day.

I just have to share some priceless comments that I've seen passing through the world of Twitter over the last couple of months. I set up to monitor the #QuickBooks tag in Twitter and these gems passed over the wire. Believe me, there are plenty of additional tweets that can't even be published!


  • "Tonights headache is sponsored once again by Quickbooks but there's light at the end of the tunnel... beer"
  • "I'm going to open a category in Quickbooks called "Ignorance" and label it a revenue stream."
  • "Note to self: Let's not have another dream about QuickBooks tonight, ok?"
  • "Quickbooks is making me pull out my hair. Soon = bald."
  • "I am not an accountant, I only play one on TV."
  • "The intern we paid did everything wrong in quickbooks #awesome I'm now going to re-enter every single transaction since 1/09" (Editors' note: ouch - this hurts bad!)

I am positive I'll be adding to this list again...


Post your favorite tweet about the pain you or your clients' are having with QuickBooks in the comments box below. I look forward to them!



Tip: How toTweak Your Accounts Receivable Report in QuickBooks

Here is a great trick to help make your QuickBooks Accounts Receivable Summary report easier to read.

When the report is first opened (via Reports > Customers and Receivables > A/R Aging Summary), it is visually hard to read - the information is all spaced out within it, as shown in the sample screen shot below (click the image for a larger view):

AR Aging - Before Collapse


Simply look for the "Collapse" button at the top of this report. Go ahead and click it - I think you'll like how the same report looks now:

AR Aging - After Collapse
To put the report back to the original (expanded) view, just click on the "Expand" button on the top of the report!


Do you have a favorite customization tip to share with our QuickBooks community? Please post it directly in the comments box below.




Don't Let Your IT Services Provider Do This to You

I was recently helping a client upgrade the QuickBooks software on their network and wanted to share an important observation from that installation with you.

As part of the tasks to be done, QuickBooks had to be installed on their server, which is perfectly normal. In order to start the installation, we needed the password to the Windows administrator account on the server. That is also normal.

I looked to the client for the password - they had no idea what it was, "because their IT provider took care of it". Uh oh...

So they called their IT provider and left a message to get the password. And we waited. And waited. And waited. Two days elapsed before they responded with the needed information. This is definitely NOT normal.


Situations like this are really infuriating to me and they don't need to happen.

When your business contracts with an IT services provider to set up new hardware or software, they owe it to you to provide a full set of documentation, including all passwords and settings that were put in place as part of the installation. The local IT guys I work with are great at getting this important task accomplished every time they are on site.

Said another way - it's your equipment they are working on and you have a right to know how to access it and how it was set up. Granted, you may never have a need to use any of these details except for the passwords. Then again, you might. More likely, the new IT provider you eventually hire to replace the ones who are not responsive to you would sure benefit from it.


Take a moment right now and consider your computer setup. Do you know the critical passwords for the various software and hardware in place?

If you do, that's great.

If you don't, take time to request that information now and make sure your IT provider gets it to you.

You'll be glad you did!




How Do I Know Where My QuickBooks Data File is Stored?

It is always a good idea to know where your QuickBooks data file(s) are stored. One main reason this is essential is to ensure that the file is being backed up every day (and it should be!). In addition, in the event any troubleshooting of your QuickBooks has to take place, knowing the location can save a lot of time.

If you ask your IT person where your data files are located, you may get some type of cryptic answer that provides more confusion than resolution.

Take control and see for yourself where your QuickBooks data is stored. Simply click File (in the menu bar) and then click Open Previous Company. The information you see here will tell you exactly where the data is stored.

If you see the letters C, D, or E at the beginning of the listing, this likely means that the data is stored on the hard drive of your computer. If you see letters like P, Q or higher, that likely means that the data is stored on another computer (likely a server or other desktop) and you have connected to that computer through your internal network.


When working with QuickBooks for Windows, your data files will end with the letters .QBW. This is shorthand for "QuickBooks for Windows". This is the main data file that contains all the financial transactions of your business since you began using QuickBooks.



Can't Start QuickBooks - It is Already Running. Huh?

Have you ever encountered this problem in QuickBooks?

You think QuickBooks is shut down. Yet, your computer thinks otherwise the next time you try to start QuickBooks and it boldly tells you "QuickBooks can't start because it is already running". Huh?

What's going on here?


Starting with the 2011 version of QuickBooks, a special feature (Instant Start) was built in to allow QuickBooks to start up faster. However, this feature sometimes causes QuickBooks not to shut down properly and then give you the message that it is already running.

You'll find an excellent recap of this problem and the steps needed to fix the "QuickBooks is already running" dilemma from the QuickBooks support site.




How Does QuickBooks Choose What Date to Use on Transactions?

QuickBooks provides you with two options when it comes to assigning a date to transactions that you enter.

If you click Edit (in the menu bar) > Preferences > General and then look at the My Preferences tab, you can either:

Default Date in QuickBooks

  • Use today's date as the default
  • Use the last entered date as default - if you override a date on a transaction within QuickBooks, it will then use that same date on the next transaction that is entered. 


My suggestion is to set this preference to use today's date as the default option. If you have to override a date at any time, it is easy to do. But then, you don't have to remember to reset the date after that back to today's date. I think you'll find it a lot easier to work with this way.




QuickBooks 2012: New Lead Center

QuickBooks 2012 (Pro, Premier and Enterprise editions) bring with them a new feature called the Lead Center.

Designed to provide a "mini-CRM" (customer relationship management) type of application, the Lead Center provides businesses a way to keep track of leads and prospects that have not yet converted to being customers just yet.


The screen shot below will help you get a feel for how this new feature works (click the image for a larger view of it):

Lead Center in QuickBooks 2012

Down the left hand side of the screen, you have the ability to add new leads manually or via an import from an Excel-like interface.

For each lead or prospect you enter, they can be classified as hot, warm or cold for easy segmentation and tracking. In addition, you can track multiple contacts and multiple locations for any lead you enter. You can also track up to five contact methods for each contact listed.


For any entry in the Lead Center, you can also generate a "To Do" item within QuickBooks. Whether that is calling, faxing, e-mailing or setting an appointment, you can easily set up the activity with just a couple of mouse clicks.

In addition, if a lead or prospect does convert to a customer, it can be done with one click.

Finally, you can keep a separate set of notes for each lead that is entered. If the lead later converts to a customer, those notes will follow along - no retyping needed.


A couple of things that you need to be aware of with the Lead Center:

  • From what I have been able to see, you are not able to delete a lead once it is entered. I'm guessing we will see that capability plugged in at some point in time. At least I would hope so.
  • It is unclear to me if entries in the lead center count against the total customer number limit within QuickBooks. It doesn't look like they do count, but I have more testing to do.


The new Lead Center in QuickBooks 2012 will be a great addition for many businesses and be all they need when it comes to tracking leads and prospects.

Some may need more functionality in this area though. A couple of options to consider for advanced CRM capabilities that integrate with QuickBooks would be Results CRM and Salesforce for QuickBooks.


Your comments about the new Lead Center in QuickBooks 2012 are welcome. Please add them to the comment box below!