Watch out for this easy-to-do disaster when synchronizing your machines

I use Quicken for Windows mainly on my desktop "tower of power" machine, and also on a laptop for portability. I keep the machines synchronized from time to time, especially before and after travel, using a common but powerful syncing program.

This AM the power was out, and I was using my laptop. I wanted to look something up on Quicken, so I started it, opened up an old version of my main QDF file, and ran a quick search. No transactions or any other meaningful data was changed.

 Later on, I was preparing to sync the machines when I noticed in the pre-run sync file register that the program was planning to overwrite my tower PC's QDF file with my laptop's version. Why? Because the laptop's QDF file date had updated JUST FROM DOING A SEARCH. Luckily I was able to manually set "skip" for that file, but If I had simply not noticed, or allowed my sync software to just sync and run automatically, I could have lost weeks or months of newer Quicken data.

I use several parallel backup methods, so in reality, I would have only lost the time to my most recent backup, but even that can be an incredibly painful loss. Lesson learned: Simply opening a QDF does not change its file date, but almost ANYTHING else you do can cause Quicken to update the QDF file in the background, with no notification to you. And then you can have a QDF with a more recent file date, but with very old transactions, which can easily be used to overwrite your latest ones.

Comments

  • NotACPA
    NotACPA SuperUser, Windows Beta Beta
    SO, you're saying that your synch software didn't know that you didn't want to synch ... and tried to do so anyway.
    AND FOR THIS, you blame Quicken?????
    Q user since DOS version 5
    Now running Quicken Windows Subscription, Home & Business
    Retired "Certified Information Systems Auditor" & Bank Audit VP
  • Michael Kapala
    Michael Kapala Member ✭✭
    The sync software just overwrites older files (by file date) with newer files. That works very well for just about every other type of file, but Quicken and databases in general are not run-of-the-mill files. I'm not blaming Quicken for anything. I'm only trying to be helpful to others by pointing out the potential for a very exasperating situation that is very easy to fall into, especially for people who may not exactly be "tech geeks". I am not in any way saying that Quicken's product is bad, although it would be nice if users could select what kinds of changes would trigger a file date change. And by the way, the very condescending tone of your response to my input is not appreciated. Who the hell are you, the Quicken Police?
  • splasher
    splasher SuperUser ✭✭✭✭
    Quicken might upon opening a data file do some file restructuring which would be seen as a change, so your are not safe to just open and then close Quicken and think nothing has changed.
    -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 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Simply opening and closing Quicken always updates the modification time of the QDF, the OFXLOG, and the SyncLog. For me, this has always been true.
    Quicken user since version 2 for DOS, now using QWin Premier Subscription on Win10 Pro.
  • Michael Kapala
    Michael Kapala Member ✭✭
    > @splasher said:
    > Quicken might upon opening a data file do some file restructuring which would be seen as a change, so your are not safe to just open and then close Quicken and think nothing has changed.

    Thanks for that. Yes I'm aware of that now, and I only wanted to helpfully share that awareness with others. I actually suspected that could be case, so I was extra careful to check my pre-run sync register before synchronizing (which I usually do anyway, but sometimes we get in a hurry, don't we?) People who don't know any better and just think that Quicken files are like any other files, can easily be forced to learn the hard way.
  • Michael Kapala
    Michael Kapala Member ✭✭
    > @Rocket J Squirrel said:
    > Simply opening and closing Quicken always updates the modification time of the QDF, the OFXLOG, and the SyncLog. For me, this has always been true.

    Thanks for your input. I tried that twice today actually. The first time (on my laptop) it appeared that the file modification date did not change, but possibly it was just the file explorer info did not self-update immediately? The second time (on my desktop machine) the file mod date did change, as you say. Anyway, it's something that doesn't happen with most other types of files until the user consciously instructs the software to save it. That "normal" expectation is what makes the Quicken files so easy to accidentally overwrite unintentionally, and the reason that I created my post in this forum.
  • Sherlock
    Sherlock SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    Just one more reason not to attempt to synchronize Quicken files...

    I suggest you consider using a Remote Desktop client on the laptop to access the Quicken on the desktop.  
Sign In or Register to comment.