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Using Quicken on two computers - any new updates?

MplsP
MplsP Member ✭✭
I need to use quicken on 2 different computers. I tried Quicken a couple years ago and for some reason it couldn't handle a file stored on sharing service like Dropbox or iCloud. The only way to do it was to download the file, use Quicken, then upload the file again which was a royal PITA so I quit using quicken as a result.

Has anything changed or is Quicken still stuck in a 20 year old file storage paradigm?

Best Answer

Answers

  • MplsP
    MplsP Member ✭✭
    Thanks - that's what I was afraid of. I get that it's personal financial software, but like many people I have 2 personal computers so I'll use something else.
  • Ps56k2
    Ps56k2 SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 2020
    There is also access to a subset of your data via the Quicken Mobile App
    and Quicken on the Web via any web browser...

    Quicken 2020 Deluxe - Subscription - Windows 10
  • UKR
    UKR SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    ps56k said:
    There is also access to a subset of your data via the Quicken Mobile App
    and Quicken on the Web via any web browser...


    ... but you still need Quicken on a Windows or Mac laptop / desktop computer as the home location of your Quicken data file. And you need to periodically (recommend daily) synchronize the file on your PC with the file in the Quicken web server to process any changes you made to either side of the file.
  • I use the same Quicken file on both my iMac and MacBook Pro. The Quicken file folder location was modified to be a folder that is synced using iCloud on both devices. However, a few important points: Quicken must be closed on one device before moving to the second device. Second, make sure that the sync process is complete before opening the file on the other device, otherwise, the file that will be opened will be an older copy. Also i noted the window size changes due to the screen size. I suggest creating a test file to test this before attempting this on your production file,
  • NotACPA
    NotACPA SuperUser, Windows Beta Beta
    What you're suggesting seems  to be a variation of  the tried and true method of backup from one computer and restore to another.
    When I was traveling all of the time for business, that's how I had Q on my home desktop PC AND on my laptop.

    Q user since DOS version 5
    Now running Quicken Windows Subscription,  Home & Business
    Retired "Certified Information Systems Auditor" & Bank Audit VP
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    @Joe W. Brown, CPA  What you describe may work, but is still not recommended. The problem that can rear its ugly head is that file permissions within the Quicken data file can get messed up and lock you out of your data. Your Quicken data file is actually a special type of Mac file called a package, which is basically a wrapper around a group of files and folders to make it look and behave like a single file. But all the files and folders within your Quicken data file have access permissions, and moving the data file to a cloud storage device can occasionally result in the permissions getting out of proper sync (particularly if you have different user accounts on the two Macs).

    You may use it the way you are for years without any problem, but we have seen people post here who have gotten locked out of their data files due to cloud storage. If you have Quicken make backups religiously, and you use a backup service like Time Machine, you may be okay with the risk, since you can always fall back to a recent backup without losing much work.

    The suggested safer methodology is to have Quicken make a backup and move that to the cloud storage service (or make a .zip file by using the Finder's File > Compress command). Before launching Quicken on the other Mac, you copy the backup file from iCloud, and open the backup file. Quicken backup files and .zip files are "wrapped" such that the files within can't get their permissions messed up.
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • MplsP
    MplsP Member ✭✭
    > @jacobs said:
    > @Joe W. Brown, CPA  What you describe may work, but is still not recommended. The problem that can rear its ugly head is that file permissions within the Quicken data file can get messed up and lock you out of your data. Your Quicken data file is actually a special type of Mac file called a package, which is basically a wrapper around a group of files and folders to make it look and behave like a single file. But all the files and folders within your Quicken data file have access permissions, and moving the data file to a cloud storage device can occasionally result in the permissions getting out of proper sync (particularly if you have different user accounts on the two Macs).
    >
    > You may use it the way you are for years without any problem, but we have seen people post here who have gotten locked out of their data files due to cloud storage. If you have Quicken make backups religiously, and you use a backup service like Time Machine, you may be okay with the risk, since you can always fall back to a recent backup without losing much work.
    >
    > The suggested safer methodology is to have Quicken make a backup and move that to the cloud storage service (or make a .zip file by using the Finder's File > Compress command). Before launching Quicken on the other Mac, you copy the backup file from iCloud, and open the backup file. Quicken backup files and .zip files are "wrapped" such that the files within can't get their permissions messed up.

    So when is Quicken going to get with the times and actually allow cloud storage for it’s files?
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    MplsP said:
    So when is Quicken going to get with the times and actually allow cloud storage for it’s files?
    @MplsP  They probably won't. ;) For every user who would like cloud-based storage, there is another user who wants none of their data stored in the cloud. Quicken appears to have a three-pronged strategy to try to satisfy almost everyone:
    • traditional Quicken, still desktop-based
    • mobile app & web interface for Quicken, allowing some online use-anywhere  cloud-based functionality, but still tied to the desktop database
    • the new Simplifi product, an entirely cloud-based platform to compete with Mint.com and others
    The architecture of Quicken Windows and Quicken Mac, along with the many users who want to keep their data out of the cloud, makes it seem unlikely that the traditional Quicken desktop product will migrate to a cloud-based service. Perhaps they'll add more functionality to the mobile/web interface, but they'd need to significantly start over to completely move the data storage online. And for those users who want to be completely online, their answer is a new, separate product that does exactly that. Over time, if Simplifi is successful, I'd expect they'll build in more of the bells and whistles of traditional Quicken functionality into Simplifi, such that it could be a viable replacement for hard-core Quicken desktop users who want to move online.
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • MplsP
    MplsP Member ✭✭
    Shaking my head here. Just because you *can* store it in the cloud doesn't mean you have to, so the 'a lot of users don't want to store in the cloud' argument really doesn't hold water. Beyond that, the three-pronged approach you outline is really worse. Storing data on iCloud, dropbox, box, etc gives you control over your data including adding additional security. The cloud alternatives you mention all appear to involve having quicken store the data. (I tried finding out more about the quicken web interface from the web site and got no real useful information beyond platitudes like "view your balances and transactions from any computer on the web." From the description it would appear that the data file is stored on quicken's servers.

    I don't want cloud-based, use anywhere functionality. I just want a simple way to sync between my laptop and my desktop - something quicken is for some reason apparently steadfastly against.
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    @MplsP  I think Quicken hits its database quite hard, and performance can be adversely affected if the data file is on a cloud service. And the cloud service may not perform file and record locking in the way Quicken expects. And file permissions can get corrupted by the way the could service syncs between the local and cloud data. Could all that be re-achitected to support remote storage of the data file? Probably, but I imagine it would be a major infrastructure change.

    In terms of accessing your data file on two computers, it is do-able today, just with an extra manual step in the way. You can set Quicken to store your backup files on Dropbox or iCloud, so if you set your workflow for using Quicken to always start with copying the latest backup file to your local computer and launching that, you can work on either computer at any time. It's not quite as elegant as just using the data file on the cloud storage device, but it gets the job done with a few seconds of extra work.
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • It would be so ideal if we could use two computers - and then have the files merge, etc.

    Quicken doesn't support it because of the liability of corrupt files or some people could be working on one computer, not use it for a month, then fire up the other computer and "Where is my data?" and then call support to try to figure a problem that wasn't a problem.

    I feel Quicken may eventually support it, but maybe a few years from now. Quicken Desktop is a very complex database and they worked hard to bring integrity back into Quicken. I am impressed.

    SO, what can you do? I decided to install on my Mac desktop with the intention of having it backed up in the cloud.

    I use Splashtop to remote in from my laptop to my Mac and now I am only using one database.

    Eventually, you can move the database from your PC to the laptop if you use it there. There's a lot of flexibility and I will be writing an article on it soon.
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