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Clean install QuickBooks Desktop

Learn how to completely uninstall (“clean install”) QuickBooks Desktop for Windows to fix company file issues.

Some troubleshooting articles recommend a basic reinstall when the same issue affects more than one of your company files. If that doesn't work, you can do a clean install. A clean install fixes: issues that keep you from opening your company file, display and template problems, and a few other situations. It replaces the QuickBooks Desktop software on your computer and the files used to install it.

Rest assured, a clean install won’t affect your accounting data since your company file and everything it holds aren’t involved at all.

Step 1: Make sure a clean install is right for you

If you haven’t already, follow the steps to do a basic reinstall of QuickBooks Desktop. A basic reinstall usually does the trick, and you should always start there since it’s a simpler process.

If that doesn’t fix the issue, follow the steps below to clean install QuickBooks Desktop on each computer you’re having problems with. Remember, the won’t affect your company data.

Step 2: Gather info and back up your data

  1. Download a new install file for your version of QuickBooks. This way you're sure to get the latest updates for your version.
  2. Have your license number handy. It should be on the original packaging or in the purchase confirmation email if you bought a digital version.
  3. Write down your product year and version.
    Tip: You can get all of this info from your account management portal.
  4. If you haven’t already, back up your company file to save your work.


Step 3: Uninstall QuickBooks Desktop

  1. Open the Windows Start Menu. Search for “Control Panel” and open Control Panel.
  2. Select Programs and Features or Uninstall a Program.
  3. Select QuickBooks Desktop in the list of installed programs.
  4. Select Uninstall/Change and follow the onscreen instructions. If you don’t see this option, sign out and sign back in to Windows as an admin (or a user with admin rights).
Important: If you get an error message while uninstalling QuickBooks, stop troubleshooting. There may be something else going on with your computer and you should contact an IT professional or Microsoft for help.

Step 4: Use the QuickBooks Clean Install Tool

The Clean Install Tool automatically renames your old install folders for you. This allows QuickBooks to add new install files later when you reinstall.

Download QBRefresher

  1. Select the button to download the QuickBooks Clean Install Tool. If Windows asks you to save the file, save it somewhere you can easily find it (like your desktop).
  2. Open the file. It’s called QuickBooks_Clean_Install_Utility.exe.
  3. If Windows asks if you want to allow the app (Clean Install Tool.exe) to make changes to your system, select Yes.
  4. Select I Accept on the license agreement.
  5. Select your QuickBooks version and product version (you got these in the Step 1 section of this article). Then select Continue.This image shows the product version and QuickBooks version selection screen before you run the Clean Install Tool.
  6. Select OK when you see the message "Please install your copy of QuickBooks to the default location.”

When the Clean Install Tool finishes, you’re ready to reinstall QuickBooks Desktop.

Step 5: Reinstall QuickBooks Desktop

Download QuickBooks Desktop.

If you have questions or need guided steps, check out how to install QuickBooks Desktop.