Storing Q data file in iCloud

In the past the community and perhaps Quicken (Intuit) cautioned against storing the Quicken data file in any cloud type account. I am wondering about Apple's iCloud specifically.

Best Answer

  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    Accepted Answer
    It is discouraged and not supported. It may work for you -- until it suddenly doesn't, and you may find your data corrupted or inaccessible.

    There is a safe way to use iCloud to store your Quicken data file. It sounds like a pain, but it's really not hard to do. One trick is to store your Quicken backup files in iCloud, but leave your live data file on your Mac.

    But if you're trying o move between more than one Mac, the trick is to move a compressed copy of your data file -- either a .quickenbackup file (from Quicken File > Save a Backup) or a .zip file (from Finder File > Compress) to iCloud, and then move that compressed file to your other Mac to use there. When done using Quicken, do the reverse to move a compressed file back to iCloud. The keys are (a) never moving a live Quicken data file, only a compressed file, and (b) not trying to run Quicken with the live data file on a cloud service. Once you do it a few times, you'll see it adds only a couple seconds when you start and finish using Quicken. 
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993

Answers

  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    Accepted Answer
    It is discouraged and not supported. It may work for you -- until it suddenly doesn't, and you may find your data corrupted or inaccessible.

    There is a safe way to use iCloud to store your Quicken data file. It sounds like a pain, but it's really not hard to do. One trick is to store your Quicken backup files in iCloud, but leave your live data file on your Mac.

    But if you're trying o move between more than one Mac, the trick is to move a compressed copy of your data file -- either a .quickenbackup file (from Quicken File > Save a Backup) or a .zip file (from Finder File > Compress) to iCloud, and then move that compressed file to your other Mac to use there. When done using Quicken, do the reverse to move a compressed file back to iCloud. The keys are (a) never moving a live Quicken data file, only a compressed file, and (b) not trying to run Quicken with the live data file on a cloud service. Once you do it a few times, you'll see it adds only a couple seconds when you start and finish using Quicken. 
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • gwpotter
    gwpotter Member ✭✭
    Your post was not exactly what I wanted, but certainly what I needed and did not properly ask for. My computer is an iMac - hardly portable. But my wife has a MacBook and you gave me a method to put the the current Data file on our portable Mac.

    Question - how unsafe is this approach.

    I quit Quicken on my iMac - that causes an automatic backup to be made.

    I copy the actual Quicken data file - e.g. Potter13.quicken from the ~lLibrary>Application Support>Quicken>Documents location and put that on my wife's MacBook.

    Upon our return home, we reverse the process - Quit Quicken on her Mac, copy the file to my iMac, and fire up Quicken on my computer.
  • RickO
    RickO SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    Copying the actual data file (as opposed to a backup or zipped copy) can result in the same problems (permissions errors) as storing the file in the cloud. That's why @jacobs recommended only moving a backup or zipped copy. 
    Quicken Mac Subscription; Quicken Mac user since the early 90s
  • gwpotter
    gwpotter Member ✭✭
    I understand the permission error issue.

    I also can see how permission errors can happen if a data file is copied while open by its application.

    What I do not understand is how zipping a file prevents permission errors. My question to Jacobs was about copying the data file AFTER quitting Quicken.
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    gwpotter said:
    I understand the permission error issue.
    Actually, I don't think you do. ;) You're asking for a more technical explanation, so here it is: A Quicken data file isn't just a file. It's a special type of Mac file called a package: a wrapper around multiple files and folders which makes it appear to the user as a single file. (To see this, Control-click on your Quicken data file and select Show Package contents; you'll see all the files and folders which comprise your Quicken data file.) In macOS, each User account is assigned a UID, a User ID number, and file and folder access permissions can be tied to the UID. When you move the Quicken data file back and forth between machines where your User account may have a different UID, the potential arises for some of the file/folder permissions to get messed up.

    I don't fully understand how the operating system adjusts file permission settings when a group of files and folders are moved from one computer to another, but macOS doesn't peer inside a .zip file so the settings are preserved; unzipping the file on a different computer makes it native to that computer, such that there aren't permission problems. All we can tell you is what we have: users who have moved Quicken data files have ended up being locked out of their data, and users who have moved .zip or .backup copies of their file have not. 

    Since you're already copying the data file, all you need to do is take 2 seconds to select it in the Finder and do File > Compress, and then copy the .zip file rather than the .quicken file you're moving now. 
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • gwpotter
    gwpotter Member ✭✭
    jacobs - Is there any extra risk/danger is moving the data file from computer #1 to Computer #2 via a *.quickenbackup file? (My memory is the Quicken Backup process really is just a Zip file with a different file extension.)
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    @gwpotter  You're correct; you can move either a .zip or a .quickenbackup file safely. (And yes, a .quickenbackup file is a variation of a .zip file.)
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
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