HELP: Most of my categories are gone!

I have been using Quicken for a long time and have created a lot of custom categories to track my spending. Today I opened Quicken and discovered that many of my categories are gone! My last manual backup is from May 31. I restored the manual May 31 backup and the categories are still there in that one. There is an automatic backup from June 28, however that one does not have the categories. I remember my categories being there last weekend as I was entering transactions, so something must have happened after that. I would really appreciate it if I could get them back. Does anyone have a clue what went wrong and if I can restore my categories without restoring from May 31 and re-entering all of my June data?


  • UKR
    UKR SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    Have you tried repairing your Quicken data file using the procedure in Step (2) of

    Troubleshooting 101 - Fixing Software Installation and Data File Problems

    If that doesn't bring back the missing categories and you do not have Manual or Automatic Backups other than the ones from 5/31 and 6/28, I'm afraid, there's nothing that can be done. You will have to restore your 5/31 backup and bring it forward with transaction downloads from your banks and manual entry, as needed.
    To avoid this problem in the future, ...

    How to properly set up Quicken Backup
    How to make Quicken create a backup for you automatically every time you close Quicken
    What Quicken backups are available where?

    For the sake of this discussion it is assumed that your Quicken data file is located in the Default (and recommended) place: C:\Users\username\Documents\Quicken

    Review the backup settings available in Quicken (under Edit / Preferences / Backup).

    In there you will find two types of backup: Automatic and Manual Backup.

    Automatic Backup should be enabled and always goes to a \Backup folder that's part of the folder which contains your current Quicken data file, e.g. \Documents\Quicken\Backup. Set it to create a backup after running Quicken [1] times and to keep [9] (or more, your choice) backup copies.
    The file name for Automatic Backup files contains a date and time stamp as part of the file name, e.g. QDATA-2020-03-22.PM03.45.QDF-backup

    To create a Manual Backup copy of your Quicken data file on an external device (USB-hard drive or USB memory stick recommended), put a checkmark at "Manual Backup Reminder" to enable the function and set "Remind me after running Quicken [xx] times" to [1].

    Click OK to save the changes.

    From now on, when you close Quicken using the red X button, you will get a popup window.

    When you get this window for the first time, on some versions click the radio button for "Backup on my computer".
    Change the Backup File name's drive letter and path to point to your external device so that it looks something like this: E:\Quicken Backup\QDATA-2019-04-01.QDF-backup
    or use the Change button and work your way through the dialog.

    Do not change the filename portion! Just overtype the drive letter and choose a backup folder name. If the folder does not exist, it will be created.

    Also choose the option to "Add date to backup file name".

    Every day when you run Backup or close Quicken, an additional backup file is created. Without the Add Date option you only have 1 backup copy which is overwritten every day ... and that may prove bad in a problem recovery situation.

    Allow this backup to run to save the changes made on the screen.

    Of course, once in a while you will have to go in and delete some of the oldest backup files, at your discretion, to avoid filling up your USB device.

    One can never have enough backups of a Quicken data file. BTDTGTS!

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