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How to Install QuickBooks Desktop

 

Excited about your brand new QuickBooks Desktop software? Installing QuickBooks Desktop is simple and straightforward. Follow along with the video above as our friend Le’ Darien guides you through the installation step-by-step.

 

If you have any questions before you start (or even along the way), check out our tips for a pain-free install below. Trust me, it’s worth taking the time to learn what’s available so you get the most out of your QuickBooks Desktop experience!

 


 

Key points to keep in mind for a smooth installation

 

For new users

 

  • I downloaded the QuickBooks Desktop file but it didn’t automatically open. If the installation doesn’t start automatically, find the location where the QuickBooks Desktop file was saved to your hard drive and start it manually (typically, this is your Desktop or “Download” folder).

 

  • Should I do an express or custom installation? We recommend express for first-time users. If you aren’t setting up a network, most people can go with an express installation.

    However, if you already have a version of QuickBooks Desktop on your system, go with a custom installation to ensure your old file isn't automatically overwritten. 

 

For users who are upgrading existing QuickBooks Desktop software

  • Should I do a backup before I start? We strongly recommend making a backup company file before you start (you’ll find step-by-step guidance here).

    Additionally, we also recommend saving the generated backup file (.QBB*) to a removable hard drive. Personally, I keep instances of all my program files on a separate hard drive, just in case.

    Upon installing the newer version of QuickBooks, your company file will automatically update the first time you open it. If you’re moving files from another computer and installing new software, find out what you need to know about moving your company data file from your old computer to your new computer (link in text).

  • I’ve been using Attached Documents. Will they automatically transfer over? If you’ve been using Attached Documents, ensure that the attach folder and your company file are in the same location prior to upgrading your company file to the new version.

    If the attach folder is not in the same location as your company file, the links within your company file will be broken, and you will need to manually re-attach any documents you previously used.

  • Can I merge multiple company files from multiple versions of QuickBooks desktop? Company files cannot be merged or combined.

 


 

At any point during the installation, you can click the “Explain these options in detail” links at the bottom of each module to get the latest information about your software.

 

Explain.PNG

 


 

 

 

A standard installation goes something like this …

 

1. If you’re running any other QuickBooks Desktop processes, close them before starting the installation.

 

2. Download your regional version of QuickBooks Desktop from the Download QuickBooks Desktop.

 

3. If a “How do I update my data to a new version of QuickBooks Desktop?” prompt appears, click Yes to All to overwrite your files and make them compatible with the newest version.

 

4. Read through and agree to the License Agreement.

 

5. On the next page, enter your License and Product Number. If you misplaced your numbers, click the link, “I can’t find these numbers,” in the window.

If you’re using the US version of the software, visit the license retrieval site here. For all other regions, follow the steps here.

Lisence number.png

 

 

 

6. Now, you have the option to select express or custom installation. If you’re brand new to the QuickBooks and don’t need to set up a network, select express.

Express Installation allows the program to make the recommended choices for you and replace the previous version of QuickBooks if you have one. 

Note: by default, the Accountant Edition does not replace older versions, however, it does replace the original file for other editions. 

 

*If you already have a version of QuickBooks Desktop on your system, go with a custom installation so you can designate a new folder destination. This way, you won't automatically overwrite your original file. Once you know the new installation is complete, you can then decide whether you want to delete the original. 

 


We cover all the steps for custom installations in this article.

 

Install type.png

 

 

7. On the next screen, click Install to initiate the installation. This might take a while, so take a break and come back in a few minutes. When the installation is complete, click Open QuickBooks. Getting excited yet? You’re about to see your accounts in a fresh new light!

 

 

8. The final step is activating your product. When QuickBooks Desktop opens, before starting a new company or opening an existing company file, tap your F2 key to bring up the Product Information screen.

 

Active.png

 

 

 

9. If you need to activate your QuickBooks Desktop, go to the Help drop-down menu at the top, select “Activate QuickBooks Desktop” and follow the steps. If you are running an older version of QuickBooks Desktop or you run into any problems, see Register QuickBooks Desktop.

Activate 2.png

 

 

10. You’re ready to start your bookkeeping! Start a new file, open existing company file and enjoy.

 


 

Bonus tip: Keeping QuickBooks up to date. Once you install QuickBooks Desktop, you’ll be prompted to update to the latest version.

We also encourage you to navigate to the Help drop-down menu and select Update QuickBooks Desktop to check for updates once or twice a week. Doing this on a regular basis will help you get ahead of potential compatibility- or performance lags that can affect your experience.

update.png

 


 Related links:

  • I want to do a Custom Installation. Check out our article here.

  • QuickBooks Desktop Mac Installation. You’ll need to follow different steps if you’re installing the QuickBooks Desktop Mac version. Here’s what you need to know: Install and set up QuickBooks Mac Desktop.

 

Now that you’re done installing, come back to the community any time with your specific questions about the accounting power now at your fingertips.

Best answer 04-11-2018 09:07 AM

Accepted Solutions
Content Leader

Re: How to Install QuickBooks Desktop

@Rustler thanks for the feedback, I will make that more clear in the article.

 

In the piece, we recommend express for first-time users who don't have a version of QuickBooks Desktop, so there wouldn't be an issue with overwrite. 

 

Those who already have a version of QuickBooks Desktop can go with either, though as you said, the latter is a good option to ensure files aren't overwritten. 

 

2 Comments
Established Community Backer ***

Re: How to Install QuickBooks Desktop

@JamesOng

 

  • Should I do an express or custom installation? If you aren’t setting up a network, most people can go with express.

Actually it is best to always use custom.  When you select custom, it allows you to insure that the folder QB installs in is titled for the year of the software being installed.

 

If you do not do that, the express install will overwrite the current version.  That means if something unforseen happens during the install and the new version does not work, the old version is gone too.

Content Leader

Re: How to Install QuickBooks Desktop

@Rustler thanks for the feedback, I will make that more clear in the article.

 

In the piece, we recommend express for first-time users who don't have a version of QuickBooks Desktop, so there wouldn't be an issue with overwrite. 

 

Those who already have a version of QuickBooks Desktop can go with either, though as you said, the latter is a good option to ensure files aren't overwritten.