Quicken cannot open the data file because it is damaged

Quicken 2020 R28.4 Build 27.1.28.24
Windows 10 Version 2004 OS Build 19041.508

Twice in about a month Quicken was unable to open the quicken file.
I started quicken and an error message popped up saying "Validation has completed."
I clicked OK on that message and another message popped up saying "Quicken cannot open the data file because it is damaged."
As far as I know Quicken had been shut down normally the previous use. I don't see any signs that my computer is having disk problems.

I was able to restore from a backup both times, but it takes me an hour or two to figure out what transactions I need to enter to bring the restored file back up to date.

Since it has happened twice now, I want to try to figure out how to avoid this happening in the future.

Answers

  • Sherlock
    Sherlock SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    If you aren't already, I suggest you access the Quicken file in a folder on an internal drive using a short (8.3) name (for example, QData.QDF).  Do not allow other programs to access the Quicken file while it is open in Quicken (for example, OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive, MegaSync).  

    Also, I suggest you save frequent backups (press Ctrl + B), select the X in the applications title bar to exit Quicken, and, if Quicken terminates abnormally, always restore a backup.

  • John In OR
    John In OR Member ✭✭
    > @Sherlock said:

    > Also, I suggest you save frequent backups (press Ctrl + B), select the X in the applications title bar to exit Quicken, and, if Quicken terminates abnormally, always restore a backup.

    That is absurd. Quicken should be able to work without having to make a backup every time I use it. Backups are for disk failures and other unusual failures. Quicken should be able to recover from an abnormal termination without losing anything other than the transaction that is currently being worked on.
  • Ps56k2
    Ps56k2 SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    John In OR said:  That is absurd. Quicken should be able to work without having to make a backup every time I use it.
    We all agree - we all are just like you.... customers...
    The Quicken software is fragile - it breaks..... As "features" are added, they tend to create self inflicted corruption.  That is why we tend to suggest taking the safest path.
    So.... are you using -
    - Mobile App Sync ?
    - Remote backup server software Dropbox, etc - to backup your Quicken data file ?
    - Windows Defender "protection" for specific folders... like Quicken files ?
    - Any other special things related to where the Quicken file is stored ?

    Quicken Subscription - Windows 10
  • John In OR
    John In OR Member ✭✭
    edited September 2020
    > @ps56k said:
    > (Quote)
    >
    > We all agree - we all are just like you.... customers...The Quicken software is fragile - it breaks..... As "features" are added, they tend to create self inflicted corruption.  That is why we tend to suggest taking the safest path.
    Yes, I know it breaks sometimes. I make backups. When it happened the first time, I just chalked it up to a freak occurrence. But when it happened again just 1 month later, I searched for reasons and when I didn't find anything useful, I posted a query here. But it is better to find the root of the problem rather than just saying backup more. Or restore more.

    > So.... are you using -
    > - Mobile App Sync ?
    No

    > - Remote backup server software Dropbox, etc - to backup your Quicken data file ?
    (edited) No? Maybe? The backup files get synced to dropbox, but the QDF file does not get backed up or synced.

    > - Windows Defender "protection" for specific folders... like Quicken files ?
    No

    > - Any other special things related to where the Quicken file is stored ?
    I don't think so. It is stored on a SSD.
  • Sherlock
    Sherlock SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    > @Sherlock said:

    > Also, I suggest you save frequent backups (press Ctrl + B), select the X in the applications title bar to exit Quicken, and, if Quicken terminates abnormally, always restore a backup.

    That is absurd. Quicken should be able to work without having to make a backup every time I use it. Backups are for disk failures and other unusual failures. Quicken should be able to recover from an abnormal termination without losing anything other than the transaction that is currently being worked on.
    Quicken backups are not for disk failures.  They are actually the easiest and most reliable way to undo an unwanted change.  I suggest you think of a Quicken backup more like saving a version of a document.

    With respect to abnormal termination, Quicken's data store is not implemented in a manner that allows it to reliably recover.  If all intended file changes were not written to persistent disk, the file may be corrupt.
  • John In OR
    John In OR Member ✭✭
    > @Sherlock said:
    > (Quote)
    > Quicken backups are not for disk failures.  They are actually the easiest and most reliable way to undo an unwanted change.  I suggest you think of a Quicken backup more like saving a version of a document.
    >

    From Quicken help:
    When you back up your Quicken data, you preserve your financial information (including reports, passwords, accounts, and attachments). This is a way to safeguard your records in case of computer failure or as a means of moving your data from one computer to another.

    I don't know what you mean by an unwanted change. If you mean backup before and after doing some major change (I'm not even sure what that would be), then sure, I'll agree to that.

    So I had two failures of Quicken. Both times, I restored from backup and I had to go figure out what I had to renter since the last backup. I had to re-enter a few days of transactions and maybe do a reconcile over again. Yes I could have done less if I backup every day. The amount of work is acceptable for the occasional failure.

    Yes it would be less work if I backup after every transaction, but I shouldn't have to do that because Quicken shouldn't be failing once a month. So I want to find out why it failed the same way twice in a month.
  • Sherlock
    Sherlock SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    > @Sherlock said:
    > (Quote)
    > Quicken backups are not for disk failures.  They are actually the easiest and most reliable way to undo an unwanted change.  I suggest you think of a Quicken backup more like saving a version of a document.
    >

    From Quicken help:
    When you back up your Quicken data, you preserve your financial information (including reports, passwords, accounts, and attachments). This is a way to safeguard your records in case of computer failure or as a means of moving your data from one computer to another.

    I don't know what you mean by an unwanted change. If you mean backup before and after doing some major change (I'm not even sure what that would be), then sure, I'll agree to that.

    So I had two failures of Quicken. Both times, I restored from backup and I had to go figure out what I had to renter since the last backup. I had to re-enter a few days of transactions and maybe do a reconcile over again. Yes I could have done less if I backup every day. The amount of work is acceptable for the occasional failure.

    Yes it would be less work if I backup after every transaction, but I shouldn't have to do that because Quicken shouldn't be failing once a month. So I want to find out why it failed the same way twice in a month.
    An unwanted change is any change made to your file that you do not want to keep.  Restoring a backup is often our best alternative.  I save backups frequently and keep multiple backups available (locally and remotely).  Disk space is cheap and the data is valuable to us.  Note: Not all Quicken file corruption is immediately apparent, detectable, or repairable.  And, yes, normal Quicken usage has corrupted the Quicken file in the past.

    Perhaps there is an imbeded corruption persistent in your backup file that may be corrected by following the Copy and Validate instructionshttps://www.quicken.com/support/advanced-data-file-troubleshooting-correct-problems-quicken-windows
  • q_lurker
    q_lurker SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    ...
    Twice in about a month Quicken was unable to open the quicken file.
    I started quicken and an error message popped up saying "Validation has completed."
    I clicked OK on that message and another message popped up saying "Quicken cannot open the data file because it is damaged."
    As far as I know Quicken had been shut down normally the previous use. I don't see any signs that my computer is having disk problems.
    ...
    Since it has happened twice now, I want to try to figure out how to avoid this happening in the future.
    Your opening scenario strikes me as odd.  I do not know of any ordinary circumstance where Quicken automatically validates a file.  The one situation that does come to mind is program updates.  I believe when I upgraded to the Subscription edition, the first file I opened  was validated, I believe automatically by Quicken.  I have not seen that happen with program release updates since then, but I suppose it could take place.  

    With that in mind, are you letting the program update automatically, or are you controlling that process?  (I'd recommend the latter.)

    As to figuring out what has now happened twice to you, I suspect that will be difficult.  Because it has happened, it may be more likely to happen again, and that is what I see as the justification to more frequently backup your data file.  Not after every transaction, but certainly on a daily or as used basis.  

    I would also suggest you validate your file on a more regular basis (weekly?) to see if some sort of pattern is developing.  If all is still fine after a few such efforts, back off is desired.  
  • John In OR
    John In OR Member ✭✭
    > @q_lurker said:
    > (Quote)
    > Your opening scenario strikes me as odd.  I do not know of any ordinary circumstance where Quicken automatically validates a file.  The one situation that does come to mind is program updates.  I believe when I upgraded to the Subscription edition, the first file I opened  was validated, I believe automatically by Quicken.  I have not seen that happen with program release updates since then, but I suppose it could take place.  
    >
    > With that in mind, are you letting the program update automatically, or are you controlling that process?  (I'd recommend the latter.)
    >
    > As to figuring out what has now happened twice to you, I suspect that will be difficult.  Because it has happened, it may be more likely to happen again, and that is what I see as the justification to more frequently backup your data file.  Not after every transaction, but certainly on a daily or as used basis.  
    >
    > I would also suggest you validate your file on a more regular basis (weekly?) to see if some sort of pattern is developing.  If all is still fine after a few such efforts, back off is desired.  

    I went through the copy and validate process. It found 2 errors in a savings account and told me to delete and recreate the transactions. I looked at the savings account and noticed that there were additional transactions that were not correctly categorized. I figured out that the online updates that had run on the financial institution had messed up assigning transfers between accounts. I think online update got confused because I have 2 CDs from that institution that pay the exact same amount of interest on the same day.

    So I deleted all the transactions from the problematic accounts and then entered them manually based on my paper statements. I validated the file again and it did not report any errors.

    In the future I will not online update that institution. I cannot be sure that is what caused the data corruption, so I will validate the file periodically and wait and see if the problem recurs or not.

    Thank you to all who responded for your help.
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