QuickBooks has an impressive market share with our customers – Small and Medium Enterprises – worldwide and within Nerds On Site we applaud their leadership in making the financial management part of a business understandable by us non-accountants.
But, if you’ve used QuickBooks any length of time or support customers that do, you are afraid of a screen that looks like this (screenshot thanks to @jtrainer):
Corrupted QuickBooks file - a screen you never want to see
We encounter corrupt QuickBooks data way too often, and we have on several occasions requested QuickBooks to provide us with API access to the backup system so that we can apply more intelligent backup strategies outside of QuickBooks.
QuickBooks has a built-in backup feature that backs up its files that end in .QBW to files that end in .QBB. In many instances, both files are corrupted and have been corrupted for many backup revisions. In such instances, only QuickBooks themselves can repair the files. Due to the proprietary nature of QuickBooks databases, third parties are not able to do this effectively.
In addition, QuickBooks fees range from $250-$750 for repairs, so it appears from an outside perspective, that there’s a huge problem here:
Fact #1: no outside software can monitor and initiate backups, never mind hot-backups (backups while the software is in use)
Fact #2: QuickBooks has a significant revenue stream (in some cases more than the licensed software itself) in data recovery services
Clearly there is no motive for QuickBooks to do things differently. So, if you have had problems with QuickBooks data, please comment here and message them on twitter.com/quickbooks and let’s build some predictability with this great piece of accounting software!
Thank you for listening, QuickBooks (if you are).


  1. Thanks to @jtrainer for this follow-up on twitter with respect to his specific problem and solution: @DavidatNOS Fixed my problem: 1. Quit QuickBooks. 2. Deleted transaction logs file 3. Double-clicked on file to open vs opening from QB.

  2. Scott G says:

    This situation reinforces the need to ensure a data verification is done periodically (via File > Utilities > Verify Data).
    This verification process at least attempts to provide a “heads-up” that trouble may be brewing in the data file and then forces a rebuild to try and fix it.
    Granted, it is not a foolproof solution, but a good one to get in a habit of doing. Also, there are other services out there besides Intuit that offer data repair solutions.
    QuickBooksUsers offers very professional and speedy service:

  3. Jason R says:

    What is the best alternative to quickbooks? I have a client whom has been working with QB Support for 9 DAYS while their file is not network accessible!!! I’ve now taken over and Level 3 support is still working on the issue .. time to get away from this product.

  4. The trouble with this approach is that it requires manual intervention. Typical end-user customers do not want to deal with these types of housekeeping tasks, so they just don’t. This is why we’re coming across so many of these situations over and over again.
    It is why we are asking Intuit for better API access to perform these kinds of data verifications and additional delta backups on a fully automated/monitored basis.

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