Quicken Data File in Cloud, such as OneDrive

I currently have my data in the Quicken folder but now have a laptop and desktop and would like to have Quicken available on either computer. Can the data file be placed in any folder accessible by both computers, such as a cloud folder? I have regular backups on a flash drive but would rather that not be the method of sharing data files between the two computers.

Comments

  • NotACPA
    NotACPA SuperUser, Windows Beta Beta
    Your backup file can be in the cloud (and then your restore from the cloud to use it and backup to the cloud when you're done) but STORING your file in the cloud is dangerous and a bad idea.
    Q lacks the "Lock", "Commit" and "Rollback" commands that would be necessary to store your file on ANY networked device.  Thus, a single hiccup while your writing to the file could turn your Q data file to toast.
    Why do you not want to move the file via a flash drive?  When I was traveling all of the time for business, that's exactly how I moved my "active" file.
    Q user since DOS version 5
    Now running Quicken Windows Subscription,  Home & Business
    Retired "Certified Information Systems Auditor" & Bank Audit VP
  • splasher
    splasher SuperUser ✭✭✭✭
    You could manually copy the data file into the OneDrive folder so that it is then put in the cloud and copy it on the other computer from the OnceDrive folder to the Quicken folder when you need to.
    This does require that you do the copy, but you could create two short Window Cmd files to do the copying to and back.
    -splasher  using Q since 1996 -  Subscription  -  Win10
    -also older versions as needed for testing
    -Questions? Check out the  Quicken Windows FAQ list
  • splasher
    splasher SuperUser ✭✭✭✭
    NOTE: we recently had a user write in that was doing the backup process to move the data file (a lot of times) and they ran into an error where they had exceeded the limit on the number of data sets and the only thing that Q-support could do was delete the last data set (it is a background sort of thing) and when the user would do the next restore, they get the error message again and have to call support again.
    So, don't do Q-Restores any more than you have to, do copies.
    -splasher  using Q since 1996 -  Subscription  -  Win10
    -also older versions as needed for testing
    -Questions? Check out the  Quicken Windows FAQ list
  • jfclague
    jfclague Member ✭✭✭✭
    I have had my Quicken file on OneDrive (before that on Dropbox) and have never had issues. I just pause syncing while using Quicken and don't open the file at the same time between computers.

    OneDrive & Dropbox keep a local copy on your computer and sync to the cloud.
  • splasher
    splasher SuperUser ✭✭✭✭
    jfclague said:
    I have had my Quicken file on OneDrive (before that on Dropbox) and have never had issues. I just pause syncing while using Quicken and don't open the file at the same time between computers.

    OneDrive & Dropbox keep a local copy on your computer and sync to the cloud.
    The fact that you pause syncing while using Quicken is what has probably saved you from file corruption or other issues.  There is nothing wrong with doing it your way, but working directly from a cloud/network is a recipe for trouble.
    -splasher  using Q since 1996 -  Subscription  -  Win10
    -also older versions as needed for testing
    -Questions? Check out the  Quicken Windows FAQ list
  • Rocket J Squirrel
    Rocket J Squirrel SuperUser, Windows Beta ✭✭✭✭✭
    I eliminate the middleman ("cloud", which is a euphemism for "someone else's computer") and copy my Quicken data file directly from one PC to another on my LAN. I share the source and map it as a network drive on the destination. I use command files to do this pretty trivially.
    Quicken user since version 2 for DOS, now using QWin Premier Subscription on Win10 Pro.
  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    ("cloud", which is a euphemism for "someone else's computer") 
    That is true at a nomenclature level, but level of what is really going on.
    In other words whenever you reduce a lot of different things to using one word, you are bound to not being able to really define what is happening/what you should be doing.

    Currently for the naïve user (person that is was feed this stupid word "cloud") I see three different functions.
    1. Network drives
    2. Synced drives.
    3. Backing up drives.
    The main warning for Quicken is the first.  Whether that network drive be on your local network or on the Internet.  Because networks aren't as reliable as local drives, and there isn't anything in Quicken to correct errors if they happen.  This is especially important for naïve user's that have no idea how to setup a network and might using very unrealizable wireless connection methods.

    The second and third ones for the most part really shouldn't be here, but it is because of the way Quicken handle its lock for the data file.

    #2 and #3 are "local drives", so the reliability is the same as a local drive.  The real question for these is will these processes sync the data file while it is in an inconsistent state, and a follow up of that is will they try to do some kind "merging" that they might do wrong.

    Windows has a "shadow copy" function that can grab a copy/state that can be held while another process like a backup program can transfer that with a slower process to some kind of backup media (which may or may not be local).  With any database this is dangerous.  Databases need to be backup in a known consistent state.  This is usually done in one of two ways.  One is that the person/process in charge of this never starts a backup until it is known that the database is in a consistent state (maybe at a certain time of the night).  The other is that the backup software signals the database to go into a consistent state, and then it gets the snapshot/shadow copy, which is very quick) and then tells it to go on.  Another possible way is some databases are very good for recovering from a crash/inconsistent state and as such can be backed up in an inconsistent state and if the recovery is needed it will be able to get itself back into a consistent state.

    Quicken has none this kind of support so any program whether it be a "disk sync" or a backup program shouldn't be using Windows shadow copies.
    I think early on OneDrive used these, but has changed.

    From what I have seen they all now use "locks", and they "respect locks".

    When Quicken opens the data file it is locked.  And for the most part stays locked all the time that Quicken is open.  So given this programs like Dropbox and OneDrive shouldn't really have any problems with the "active" Quicken data file being in the "cloud folder", because they shouldn't try to sync the data file to the server while Quicken has the file locked.

    But on unfortunately during some operations Quicken closes the data file, releases the lock, and it is at this point that the other programs might step in and lock the data file to sync it.  This causes a conflict with Quicken which always expects to be able to open that data file with no contention from another program.

    Even this really shouldn't cause problems other than the error messages you get in Quicken with saying things like it can't open the data file or going back to the "new user screen", but given the timings all nothing can be ruled out as far as bad things happen.

    Not of course the other part of this is that comes in is if there are more than one machine involved.  If you have two machines with the Quicken data file open and they make changes and sync, at a minimum someone is going to lose their changes.  At worse if the "cloud server" feels it can "merge" the data file, you will have a corrupted data file.  In practice I don't think these "cloud programs" try to merge a binary data file like Quicken's data file.  At most they will make a copy and tell you that there is a conflict.

    But recently there is "new player" in this picture, it is the Quicken server.

    It is clear now that no matter what you do, they are syncing your data file to their server.  And yes they are "merging data".

    This has come to light when people have done this.  They take an existing data file and use any method to copy it, and then treat it as a different data file change thing like what accounts it has, transactions, you name it.

    The problem is that there is a unique Id in every data file that can't be changed.  The only way to get a new unique Id is to use File -> New Quicken File.

    So as a person changes these two "now different" data files Quicken is going to be syncing both of them with the same "cloud account data set" on the Quicken server.  There is no possible way they can do that syncing properly.

    These are the dangers I see that people face on Quicken Windows for their data files as it sits today.

    Clearly if one is only working on one machine at a time, and turns off the sync while using Quicken, and then turns it on after they exist Quicken, and then wait till that syncs.  There is no real difference between that and copying your data file to a location that is "synced" or otherwise copied to another location.

    I will also point out that pretty recently the Quicken developer have added the feature to locate your automatic backups to another location instead of the default of where your data file is located.  This allows you to have it in a "cloud folder" that will sync to a server.  And of course you can do the same with your manual backups.

    But unfortunately yet another problem has shown its head recently.
    In the past one suggestion for how to share a data file would have been backup to a "cloud folder" on one machine and restore from the "cloud folder" on another machine.

    Well it seems that Quicken Inc has decided that whenever you do restore they need to make a hidden copy of that "cloud account data set".  And they have set a limit on the number of those you have!  If you exceed that limit you have to beg Quicken support to delete some of them.

    Now you can just copy .QDF-backup somewhere and rename a .QDF-backup to .QDF and open it instead of restoring, but of course it would be a lot easier just to copy the original data file!
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