Having To Start Over (After Decades With Quicken)

After spending around four hours on two recent occasions with Quicken Support technicians, trying to ensure I'm able to sync with Q Web and the Q app on my cell phone, it would appear that I'm SOL. Since my data file is literally decades old, with tons of broken links in transactions and transfers, it is unable to Validate or even Super Validate. Quicken simply stops working. We've even attempted to export data as a QIF format (Yes, we did .QXF first). The problem is that after pulling the data into a clean file, transactions going back more than 10 years will not Reconcile. I can't move ahead and not be able to Reconcile. So, at this point I'm contemplating the horror of starting fresh, basically rebuilding a new data file from the ground up, linking in my bank and credit card accounts to update while also continuing to update my old data file.

I'm thinking that starting over Jan. 1 is a good start. But I'm anxious to know how much data I can pull in (is it 90 days of previous transactions?) to my new, fresh data file. Any historical data will be useful.

Of course, I will have to attempt to rebuild the many reports and the budget I've generated over the years. But on the upside, I will eventually be able to access my data via the web or phone, enabling me to manage and input transactions from just more than my desktop computer installation.

I will continue to update the old data file through Dec. 31 and will also open it to get the reports and data that I will certainly need in the future. But I fear it's about time to move on with a data file that I can rely on, Validate, make year-end copies, etc. The old file was simply way too corrupted to be able to do any of that -- although it functioned OK for daily updates, reports and general transaction analysis. I'm just disheartened that I'm having to take such drastic measures. I've been using Quicken since before Windows when it was a DOS application -- probably going back to the early 1980s.

My gratitude in advance to any and all community participants who have advice and guidance through this process.

I should also add that I found the Quicken technicians, at the call center in Guatemala, to be most knowledgeable, helpful, understanding, articulate and well-spoken. Unfortunately, they found themselves dealing with a data file that was way too broken.

Answers

  • splasher
    splasher SuperUser ✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2020
    If you are intent on creating a new data file, you can do:
    File->File Operations->Copy
    and set a cut-off date somewhere in the past to copy in the old data and re-adjust the opening balances in the accounts to make the current balance correct.
    You could do this now to test the new file and then do it again on 1/1/2021 to get the latest transactions from the current file.
    If your current data file is as screwed up as you think, I wouldn't go back too many years, but you could probably get at least 2020.
    -splasher  using Q since 1996 -  Subscription  -  Win10
    -also older versions as needed for testing
    -Questions? Check out the  Quicken Windows FAQ list
  • Tom Young
    Tom Young SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    "I'm thinking that starting over Jan. 1 is a good start. But I'm anxious to know how much data I can pull in (is it 90 days of previous transactions?) to my new, fresh data file. Any historical data will be useful."
    While 90 days is a common limit, the actual limit is set by each Financial Institution (FI) and it could be more or less that 90 days.  Some FIs might only download "X" number of days of prior transactions but still allow you to go farther back in time by downloading files that can be imported into Quicken.  Look for that sort of detail at the FI's web site or call and ask if earlier information is available.
    "But on the upside, I will eventually be able to access my data via the web or phone, enabling me to manage and input transactions from just more than my desktop computer installation."
    Unfortunately these new abilities seem to be the source of much of the scrambling of Quicken data files, in ways that are mysterious.  I can only suggest that you stay extremely vigilant and not fall into the trap of thinking that all your accounting can be done "for you" with downloads and syncing and having Quicken make entries directly into your registers and transaction lists. Do make daily backups, do your reconciliations, don't let things drift away from you.  You are the Chief Accounting Officer here, not Quicken, not the FIs that push transactions down to you, some of which might be incorrect.
    For myself, I haven't been a regular or routine "file validator" but doing a file validation every once in a while probably is a good habit to get into though even there you need to be careful.  Any time I've done a file validation Quicken always tells me about "missing" stock splits in my file, though those stock splits are correctly entered. 

  • Faroe47
    Faroe47 Member ✭✭
    > @splasher said:
    > If you are intent on creating a new data file, you can do:File->File Operations->Copyand set a cut-off date somewhere in the past to copy in the old data and re-adjust the opening balances in the accounts to make the current balance correct.You could do this now to test the new file and then do it again on 1/1/2021 to get the latest transactions from the current file.If your current data file is as screwed up as you think, I wouldn't go back too many years, but you could probably get at least 2020.

    Thanks for the great idea. I tried it with just 2020 data and, like most other file operations, Quicken crashes (doesn't respond). It's obvious that the file is trashed through and through. I don't know how and why it continues to work even now, but I'm thankful.

    Thank you for your suggestion.
  • Faroe47
    Faroe47 Member ✭✭
    > @Tom Young said:
    I can only suggest that you stay extremely vigilant and not fall into the trap of thinking that all your accounting can be done "for you" with downloads and syncing and having Quicken make entries directly into your registers and transaction lists. Do make daily backups, do your reconciliations, don't let things drift away from you.  You are the Chief Accounting Officer here, not Quicken, not the FIs that push transactions down to you, some of which might be incorrect.For myself, I haven't been a regular or routine "file validator" but doing a file validation every once in a while probably is a good habit to get into though even there you need to be careful.  Any time I've done a file validation Quicken always tells me about "missing" stock splits in my file, though those stock splits are correctly entered. "

    Thanks, Tom.
    I do a full backup nightly (not via Quicken). I download transactions almost daily and I ALWAYS reconcile to the penny. I don't allow Quicken to automatically post transactions to my register. I check each one and assign categories. Downloading transactions from banks, credit cards and brokerage firms are what makes Quicken useful. However, I'll have to agree with you that the Syncing issues, which endeavor to get the Windows application transactions moved over to Q Web and the cell phone app, is causing enough problems as to make it not worth the trouble.

    But, I'm onto my rebuild today. It's going to take a long time, just to go back and assign categories to the 90 days or so of past transactions that Q has pulled into the new data file. And it's going to take some time to rebuild reports. Still, it will be good to clean things up for the future and maybe validate will keep things clean.
  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    OK here are my suggestions.  First off how to get a good QIF export/import.
    Just so I don't have repeat this once again see this comment:
    https://community.quicken.com/discussion/comment/20137178#Comment_20137178

    Have you given thought to why you have been able to use Quicken all these years without such problems, but only recently have those problems?

    The common themes I think you will find with the SuperUsers on this forum is that they all have data going back many years (actually decades), and they all avoid certain functions in Quicken.

    https://community.quicken.com/discussion/7881548/what-features-in-quicken-dont-you-trust
    Signature:
    (I'm always using the latest Quicken Windows Premier subscription version)
    This is my website: http://www.quicknperlwiz.com/
  • Sherlock
    Sherlock SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    Before attempting to restore a Quicken file backup (or open an earlier copy of the Quicken File), I suggest deleting the Quicken Cloud dataset (aka cloud account) associated with the Quicken file.  Note: You need to open another Quicken file to delete the appropriate cloud account.  You may want to review: https://www.quicken.com/support/how-edit-or-delete-your-cloud-datasets-quicken-windows

    The other Quicken file needs to have a distinct file identifier so that we may delete the cloud account associated with the original Quicken file.  For example, you may create a new Quicken file (select File > New Quicken File...) without any accounts, enable sync in preferences so you may view and delete the cloud account associated with the original Quicken file. 

    This is necessary because when we open or restore an another version of the Quicken file with the same file identifier, Quicken is not resetting the cloud account appropriately at this time.  I hope they will let us know when they have addressed this issue, but for now before opening another Quicken file that has the same file identifier embedded, delete the cloud account.  

    Note: Only File > New Quicken File... generates a distinct file identifier.  All other forms of creating Quicken file, copy the embedded identifier from another file.
  • markus1957
    markus1957 SuperUser, Windows Beta Beta
    You could try holding Shift + Ctrl keys then clicking File>File Operations>Copy. That will spawn a window that asks if you want to ignore errors.  It might work around the crash, but then again it might not.  If it works, you will have to determine if what was ignored requires further work to bring your file condition to your liking.
  • Gary
    Gary Member ✭✭
    edited December 2020
    "But on the upside, I will eventually be able to access my data via the web or phone, enabling me to manage and input transactions from just more than my desktop computer installation."

    Not sure you're going to reap the benefit you are anticipating from all your rebuilding efforts . I have found the mobile and web functions the quickest and easiest way to totally screw up my Quicken files. [removed-speculation]
  • Faroe47
    Faroe47 Member ✭✭
    A "theme" seems to be emerging here, especially regarding Sync to be able to use the web and mobile functions. Rebuilding from the start may be a waste of time if, in fact, my decades-old data file -- which won't validate -- will continue to function as it does today. Essentially, it does everything I need it to do. I just don't have those "remote" options that would be nice to have.

    Oddly, I was doing something like making a copy, and Quicken stopped responding. I walked away from the screen for a few hours and when I came back, the procedure had completed on its own. You know, the error message says you can either Quit or Wait. Well, I wonder if Validate or SuperValidate might not complete if I simply let it crank away?
  • markus1957
    markus1957 SuperUser, Windows Beta Beta
    They probably would complete, particularly if you are using an older computer that is stressed for resources.
  • mshiggins
    mshiggins SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    You could try holding Shift + Ctrl keys then clicking File>File Operations>Copy. That will spawn a window that asks if you want to ignore errors.  It might work around the crash, but then again it might not.  If it works, you will have to determine if what was ignored requires further work to bring your file condition to your liking.
    Not sure I’ve heard of this particular keystroke sequence before. Is it Super Copy to go along with Super Validate?

    Quicken user since Q1999. Currently using QW2017.
    Questions? Check out the  Quicken Windows FAQ list
  • Faroe47
    Faroe47 Member ✭✭
    > @markus1957 said:
    > They probably would complete, particularly if you are using an older computer that is stressed for resources.

    I'm not using an older computer, that's the thing. I'm guessing that the old data file is so corrupt that it might take lots of time to repair. Who knows? I may try it again after backing up.
  • Faroe47
    Faroe47 Member ✭✭
    Well, after allowing the SuperValidate to run for a few hours, it never completed. It just kept stalling out. Guess I'll give up, or run it tonight when I go to bed. But I'm not getting my hopes up.
  • markus1957
    markus1957 SuperUser, Windows Beta Beta
    You should be doing the super-validate on the Copy. That file will be in the best condition.
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