You can save backup copies of your QuickBooks files to protect them against accidental data loss. Backup copies are important insurance—if you lose data for any reason, you can restore the data from your backup copy.
If your company file is synced with Intuit online services,
follow these guidelines to determine your best backup option.
Online using Intuit Data Protect
Locally to a CD, flash drive, Zip drive, or network folder
If you need to email a copy of your company file, use a portable file instead.
How you can manage local backups.
Have QuickBooks back up your company file when you close it without prompting you.
This is the simplest way to back up your files. QuickBooks will automatically back up your data when you close the company file. How often it does so depends on the number you specified.
Schedule automated daily backups to a network drive or external hard drive.
Once you set the schedule and how many backups you want to keep, you're done. Note that at the scheduled time of backup your computer must be on and the company file you want backed up must be closed (however, you can be working in another QuickBooks company file). Be sure to store your Windows password in the backup schedule so QuickBooks can run the backup for you.
Manually back up your data to a CD using Windows XP, or a CD using Windows Vista, or a USB flash drive, Zip drive, or network drive.
This gives you maximum control. You can choose the location where you want to save the backup each time you back up, or you can set these in your backup options to use as defaults. You can even have QuickBooks remind you to back up your company file each time you close it (or at whatever interval is convenient for you).
Set backup options to make managing backups easier.
You can have QuickBooks automatically add the date and time to the backup filename so you don't overwrite previous backups. You can also limit the number of backups stored in your backup folder so older backups are automatically removed when new ones are added.
What gets saved in a backup?
A backup file contains everything you need to re-create your company file and QuickBooks environment, including all of the QuickBooks files (templates, letters, logos, and images) related to your company file. QuickBooks also backs up your
Financial Statement Designer, Cash Flow Projector, Business Planner, and Loan Manager files
if you are using these features. The backup file is saved with a .qbb extension.
Note: Certain payroll forms are restricted from being backed up.
Find out more about payroll forms and backup.
CD using Windows XP
CD using Windows Vista
USB flash drive, Zip disk, or network folder
Back up when I close my company file
Back up daily or on specific days and times
Store my Windows password for scheduled backups
Set a reminder to run a backup
Set a default location for backups
Add a timestamp to the backup filename
Limit the number of backups stored in a folder
Can I back up or restore data for a specific date range?
No. QuickBooks backs up all data within a company data file.
How can I change the company file that I'm backing up?
QuickBooks backs up the company file that you're currently in when you open the backup and restore wizard. To change the company file being backed up, open that company file first and then select Save Copy or Back Up from the File menu.
Do payroll tax forms get saved with backups?
If you tell QuickBooks you will
Save & Close, and you make
a backup of your QuickBooks company file, QuickBooks does not save the form as
part of the backup.
Preferred method: QuickBooks recommends that you print a
copy of your form and fax it to your accountant. If you are subscribed to
QuickBooks Enhanced Payroll, you can archive
a copy as a PDF and e-mail it to your accountant.
Advanced method: If you need your accountant or bookkeeper
to review and edit payroll tax forms you started and told QuickBooks you would
Close & Save, you must send the folder that contains your saved form(s) along
with your backed-up company file.
Follow the instructions
carefully to avoid losing your work and having to create your forms
Go to the directory where you saved your company file. Look for the folder
called " Tax Forms," where
"" is the name of your company file.
For example, in the image below, if your company file is called "Sample
Company", the name of the folder is "Sample Company Tax
Tell your accountant or bookkeeper to place the Tax Forms folder in the
same place on their computer that they put your company file. (QuickBooks will
not be able to locate and open your form(s) if the folder is not in the same
place as your company file.)
When your accountant or bookkeeper returns your company file to you, remind
them to return the Tax Forms folder as well; otherwise, you will not receive
any edits they made to your forms.
Backing up your data
Do I have to go through the entire wizard every time I want to backup?
No. If you've backed up once before and don't need to change any of your option settings, you can click Finish in the wizard at any time to run the backup using the preexisting settings.
When do I use a backup vs. a portable company file?
To safeguard your QuickBooks data against accidental loss, create regular backups of your QuickBooks company file. The backup contains everything you need to re-create your company file and QuickBooks environment, including all of the QuickBooks files (templates, letters, logos, images, and so on) related to your company file.
In case of accidental loss or damage, you can use the backup file to restore your company data. A backup file also includes a transaction log (.tlg file) which Intuit Technical Support can use to recover transaction data if damage or loss occurs. Unlike a portable file, a backup file is very large and cannot be emailed. It is not recommended as a means of moving company data, unless you have a new computer and need to move all of your related files as well. The backup file is saved with a .qbb extension.
To email or move your company data, create a portable company file. A portable company file is a compact version of your company file, small enough to be sent by email or saved to portable media. Use a portable company file whenever you need to copy your company data to another location or send it to another person.
Unlike a backup file, a portable file contains only a compressed version of the company file financial data—it doesn't contain related files such as letters, images, templates, and so on. It also doesn't contain a transaction log (.tlg file) and is not always the best option for a synced company file. The portable file is saved with a .qbm extension.
Portable company files overview
Back up company files overview
Can I merge a backup into another file?
No. Backups cannot be merged.
If you need to exchange data with your accountant, consider using an Accountant's copy instead.
Update a company file from a previous version of QuickBooks
Recommended backup routine
Restore backup files
Troubleshoot a backup problem