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What to do if you can't open your company file in QuickBooks Desktop

Learn how to fix general problems when your company file won't open.

If you're having trouble opening your company file in QuickBooks Desktop, we're here to help. You may not see an error message or any warnings about the issue. But don't worry. Here are several fixes for common issues.

Step 1: Update QuickBooks

If you haven’t already, update QuickBooks Desktop to the latest release.

Step 2: Check the file you’re opening

There are a lot of file types in QuickBooks Desktop. You need to open a company file (QBW) with a .qbw extension at the end of the filename.

You can't open other file types, like backups (QBB) and portable files (QBM), the same way.

Step 3: Figure out what's causing the issue

Let's figure out if your company file or QuickBooks program itself is causing the issue.

  1. Open the Windows Start menu.
  2. Type “File Explorer” into the search and open File Explorer.
  3. Search for and find the QuickBooks.exe file. It’s usually in your QuickBooks folder.
  4. Hold down CTRL on your keyboard and double-click QuickBooks.exe. Don’t let go of CTRL until QuickBooks opens.

After QuickBooks opens, open your company file. If you can't, try a second test. Open QuickBooks but don't open your company file. Instead, select Open a sample file.

If QuickBooks or the sample file don't open, or you see an error, the program is causing the issue. It's probably not your company file. Here's how to fix QuickBooks if it doesn’t open.

If the sample file opens normally, move on to Step 4.

Step 4: Turn off hosting on your workstations

If your company file isn't hosted on a network and you don't use Multi-User mode, you can skip this step.

The Host Multi-User Access option should be turned off on your workstations. These are the computers connected to your network that don’t host your company files. Your server computer should be the only one hosting.

  1. Open QuickBooks on one of your workstations.
  2. Don't open your company file. Instead, select the File menu and hover over Utilities.
  3. If you see the "Host Multi-User Access" option, don’t select it. Move on to the next workstation. This one isn’t causing the problem.
  4. If Stop Hosting Multi-User Access is an option, select it.
  5. Repeat these steps on all of your workstations.

After you check your workstations, move on to your server computer. This is the computer that normally hosts your company files.

  1. Open QuickBooks on your server computer.
  2. Open the File menu and hover over Utilities.
  3. If Host Multi-User Access is an option, select it.
  4. Toggle the setting. Repeat the process and select Stop Hosting Multi-User Access. This resets Multi-user Mode.
  5. Repeat the process one more time and select Host Multi-User Access.

When you’re done, move on to Step 5.

Step 5: Move your company file

Your company file’s location may be causing issues. Move it to your Windows desktop and open it from there.

Note: If your company file is saved on a network, make sure everyone is logged out of it before you start. Then follow the steps to move your company file and the associated .TLG files to your local hard drive.

Open QuickBooks and the company file you moved. If it opens, there may be an issue with your network configuration. Use QuickBooks File Doctor to fix your network.

If you still can't open your company file, continue with these steps.

  1. Open the Windows Start menu.
  2. Type “File Explorer” into the search and open File Explorer.
  3. Search for and find the folder with your company file. It’s usually in your QuickBooks folder. It looks like this: [Your company name].qbw.
  4. Right-click your company file and select Copy.
  5. Right-click anywhere on your Windows desktop and select Paste.
  6. Right-click the copied company file and select Rename. Give the file a name that's easy to identify, or add the word “Test."
  7. Open QuickBooks. Then go to the File menu and select Open or restore company.
  8. Select the company file you copied to your desktop and select Open.

If you can open the copied company file, the file location is the issue.

  1. Move the copied company file from your Windows desktop back to the original folder. Use this as your main company file from now on.
  2. Find the original company file you copied. Right-click it and select Rename. Add the word “old” to the name so you know not to use it anymore.

If you still can’t open the copied file, move on to Step 6.

Step 6: Turn off the save when closing feature

If you have a large report or several windows set to open automatically, it can freeze QuickBooks when it starts on startup. To prevent them from opening:

  1. Open QuickBooks Desktop.
  2. In the No Company Open window, select your company file on the list. Hold ALT on your keyboard and then select Open. Don’t let go of ALT until the file opens.
Note: If QuickBooks asks you to log in, enter your password. Then press and hold ALT and then select OK.

Once you open your company file, turn off the save when closing feature:

  1. Go to the Edit menu and select Preferences.
  2. Select the Desktop View tab.
  3. Select the Don't save the desktop option and then OK.
  4. Close and reopen QuickBooks and open your company file again.

If everything opens, you're good to go.

If you still can’t open your company file, move on to Step 7.

Step 7: Rename the TLG and ND files for your company file

TLG and ND files help QuickBooks run properly. Rename the files so QuickBooks creates fresh versions of them:

  1. Open the Windows Start menu.
  2. Type “File Explorer” into the search and open File Explorer.
  3. Search for and open the folder that has your company file.
  4. Find the TLG and ND files that have the same name as your company file. They should look like this: [Your company file name].qbw.tlg and [Your company file name].qbw.nd.
  5. Right-click one of the files and select Rename. Add the word "Old" to the filenames. Do this for both files

When you're done, open QuickBooks and your company file. This automatically creates new TLG and ND files.

If you still can't open your company file, rename your company file and the TLG file for it. Don't rename your ND file:

  1. Reopen the folder holding your company file and TLG file.
  2. Right-click each file and select Rename.
  3. Change both the company file and TLG file names to something that's only three letters long. Don't change the original file extension (.qbw and .tlg).

Then open QuickBooks and your company file.

If you still can’t open the copied file, move on to Step 8.

Step 8: Check your file properties

  1. Open the Windows Start menu and open File Explorer.
  2. Search for and find your company file. It looks like this: [Your company name].qbw.
  3. Right-click the company file and select Properties.
  4. Select Advanced.
  5. Select to uncheck the Compress and Encrypt checkboxes.
  6. Select OK.

Open QuickBooks and your company file.

If you still can't, move on to Step 9.

Step 9: Run a repair

If possible, move your QuickBooks company file to another computer and open it there. If it opens on the second computer, there's a problem with the first one.

Go back to your first computer and try to open your company file after each step:

  1. Run the Install Diagnostic from the QuickBooks Tools Hub.
  2. Run a repair of your installation files.
  3. Clean install QuickBooks Desktop.

If you still have problems opening your company file, reach out to our support team so we can help.

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