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Install QuickBooks Desktop

by Intuit Updated 1 week ago

Learn how to install and setup QuickBooks Desktop (Pro, Premier, or Enterprise).

If you haven’t already, you can download QuickBooks Desktop from the Customer Account Management Portal (CAMPs) or the download site. Save the file somewhere you can find it (like your Windows desktop). Have your product and license number handy.

Find your product and license number

QuickBooks Desktop can be installed:

  • On one computer with no network (one user and one computer).
  • On a network where your data is shared from a server to other computers (multiple users and multiple computers).
  • On a network with a dedicated server (multiple users, multiple computers, and one server to share data but not used as a workstation).

Step 1: Prepare your computers and network for the install

Make sure your computers meet the system requirements

There are 3 ways you can setup workstations and servers on your network. Choose the option that works best for your company.

Note: If you use a Linux server to host your files, check out the Install Linux Database Manager to get more detailed info.

Client-Server network

In this setup you have a central server where you share your company files. You need to install QuickBooks Desktop on each workstation, or client. Clients access the company file on the server.

Peer-to-Peer network

A peer-to-peer network is similar to a client-server network, with one exception, there isn’t a server. You’ll install the QuickBooks Database Manager and QuickBooks Desktop on a workstation to share and access the file in QuickBooks. You’ll install QuickBooks Desktop only on the other workstations to access the company file over the network.

Remote Hosting Services 

Remote hosting can be setup in one of two ways:

  • Local Terminal Server:
    A terminal server is a central server on your local network that your users can access remotely. You’ll install QuickBooks Desktop and store your company files on this server. Your users connect to the server remotely to run QuickBooks Desktop and access your files. You don’t need to install QuickBooks Desktop  on workstations.

QuickBooks Desktop with Hosting:
Intuit uses Rightworks to power hosted versions of QuickBooks Desktop. For pricing info, check out QuickBooks Desktop With Hosting Pricing. Check out How to host a QuickBooks Desktop company file to get more info.

Test your network bandwidth

Your network needs to have a bandwidth of 40 Mbps or higher. Contact your network administrator to learn how to improve your network speed.

To test your network speed:

  1. Find a large data file (150 MB or larger) for testing.
  2. Note the size of your test file in megabytes (MB).
  3. Copy your test file from the shared folder to the computer.
  4. Note the time it takes (in seconds) to copy.

Use this formula to determine your network bandwidth:
File size (in MB) x 8 / copy time
For example 150 MB x 8 / 25 seconds = 48 Mb per second (Mbps)

Step 2: Install QuickBooks Desktop

To watch more how-to videos, visit our video section.

Once you download QuickBooks Desktop, select how you want to set up QuickBooks to see the install steps.

Note: If you’re upgrading or moving your books to QuickBooks Desktop, make a backup of your data before you install. Make sure to keep either your previous accounting system or print outs of your books. The IRS requires that 10 years of records be kept.

  • Use these steps to
    • Install on one computer for the first time
    • Reinstall on a computer

Note: If you need to install or move QuickBooks Desktop to another computer, we'll show you how you can do it with the migrator tool.

  1. Make sure you have an active internet connection.
  2. Open the file QuickBooks.exe.
  3. Select
    1. Express install - This will save all the preferences and install over your previous version of QuickBooks. You’ll need to use custom install to reinstall your previous version to access it.
    2. Custom and Network Options - This lets you install the new version in a different location and keep prior versions installed. Your prior version preferences are not added to the new version. 
  4. Select Next.
  5. Select Install.

When it finishes, select Open QuickBooks.

Use these steps to install QuickBooks on either a dedicated server or computers that access the data on a server. This can also be a Terminal server or a server that hosts both QuickBooks and your company file.

Note: If you want to use a Linux server, check out Install QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise on a Linux server for more info.

  1. Make sure you have an active internet connection.
  2. Open the file QuickBooks.exe.
  3. Select Custom and Network Options and then Next.
  4. Select
    1. I’ll be using QuickBooks Desktop on this computer to install on a workstation.
    2. I’ll be using QuickBooks Desktop on this computer AND I’ll be storing our company file here so it can be shared over our network to install QuickBooks on a server and host files on the same computer. Use this option to install on a Terminal Server.
    3. I will NOT be using QuickBooks on this computer. I will be storing our company file here so it can be shared over our network to install only the QuickBooks Database Manger on a server to host files.
  5. Select Next.
  6. Select Next to start the install. 
  7. If you want to change the installation location, select Change the install location then Browse to decide where to put your QuickBooks folder. Most people put it in their Programs folder.
  8. When it finishes, select Open QuickBooks.

If you need help with your network setup contact an IT professional. After you install, QuickBooks will ask you to activate and update it. If you need help, here's how to activate QuickBooks Desktop.

After you install, QuickBooks will ask you to activate and update it. If you need help, here's how to activate QuickBooks Desktop.

Step 3: Open your company file

Next, you’ll need to setup a folder to create or store your company file in. If your data is shared from a server, you’ll need to setup a shared folder. You’ll need admin rights to the server where your company file(s) are stored and to the workstations to create shared folders.

Note: You can work with an authorized ProAdvisor, or QuickBooks Solutions Provider to set up your company file, add users, and fine-tune their access.

You’ll need to either:

  1. Setup a folder to hold your company files.
    If you have a server to share data, setup a shared folder on your server.
  2. Install QuickBooks on all workstations.
  3. Setup multi-user hosting.
    Turn on multi-user mode on the server:
    1. Start QuickBooks Desktop on the server.
    2. Go to File, then select Utilities.
    3. Make sure you see Stop Hosting Multi-User Access.
    4. If you have only the QuickBooks Database Server Manager installed, you’ll need to scan your company files.
  4. Configure firewall and internet security settings.
  5. Map a network drive to the shared folder on your server.
  6. Open QuickBooks.
    Note: If you need to upgrade from an older version of QuickBooks, check out Update your company files to a new version of QuickBooks Desktop.
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