How to mitigate very poor responsiveness and performance on the program.

I have been a loyal Quicken user for over 20 years.

In recent years and more in recent months, the performance and responsiveness of Quicken on Windows (I have a Premier subscription) has degraded to a point where it is borderline unusable. I have a blazingly fast computer - 4Ghz 8 core CPU with 64 Gig of RAM.

After a long conversation with a phone support technician at Quicken today, he suggested I write in this forum to get perspectives. His opinion is that the likely culprit is likely a very very large quicken file that has grown over decades. But the overwhelming majority of my Quicken Data File is made up of Investment accounts and transactions, which cannot currently be archived because there would be a loss of fidelity on gains and losses.

I have over a dozen investment accounts currently and probably twice that many now closed (but with the transactions still part of the quicken file).

When I open quicken to the home screen and wait for everything to paint, and then click on one of my more complex investment accounts in the Account List, it might take as much as 20 seconds for Quicken to render that register. Adding a transaction to that register takes PAINFULLY long.

I get that complex files may be difficult and take a lot of processing power to process. But I also feel that Quicken has not provided users like me with the tools that might simplify these files.

The phone support technician I spoke to suggested that maybe I could get back to reasonable performance if I "manually" archived my file, by starting a new file and only putting in current accounts and adding the necessary transactions by hand. I understand how that might (in theory) yield a good result in this regard, but I estimate that this process would take me full-time days, and would be very error-prone as I would be hand-typing copies of transactions. Not really to be considered.

I have offered the feedback in the past that says "Hey can't you Quicken programmers provide us with a tool to extract necessary investment transactions into a new data file maintaining cost basis information?" As a programmer myself, I know this would be possible. What I don't know is whether Quicken will ever make this a priority.

But it would be great to hear from someone officially at Quicken something like "Investment Power-Users are not what we are aiming for strategically, and you would be best to seek management software elsewhere" or (even better!) "We have a road map to address this pain point on the part of Investment Power-Users and we think it will be released in another three months". (Or whatever is true).

I would be curious to hear from the community insights about improving performance and any knowledge of Quicken's strategic road-map for the future in this regard. I have a lot of time and expertise invested in Quicken and am not anxious to make the jump to a competing product. The current performance nightmare, however, is simply becoming untenable.

Suggestions, solutions, experiences, insights, all welcome......

Answers

  • Rocket J Squirrel
    Rocket J Squirrel SuperUser, Windows Beta ✭✭✭✭✭
    Have you tried the "Archive Transactions" function found in the Action (gear) menu of investment registers? Click it and it will explain what it does.
    Quicken user since version 2 for DOS, now using QWin Premier Subscription on Win10 Pro.
  • TheGolux
    TheGolux Member ✭✭
    Hi @"Rocket J Squirrel" - thanks. I have tried the Archive. The problem is that Archive (by its own description) does not exclude investment transactions specifically. The terminology says "Quicken will only remove non-Investment Reconciled Transactions". In my case, the overwhelming number of transactions dating back 20 years are investment transactions, which will not be removed. And I think I understand why - those transactions form the information necessary to calculate cost basis on security holdings, and security lots. But I would also add that it would be technically possible to write a tool that would maintain the cost basis information and security lots. It would be difficult, but possible. And I have not seen any information to suggest that Quicken is embarking on that path.
  • Rocket J Squirrel
    Rocket J Squirrel SuperUser, Windows Beta ✭✭✭✭✭
    You are getting that verbiage from Year-End Copy. Investment transaction archive is a completely different animal.

    Quicken user since version 2 for DOS, now using QWin Premier Subscription on Win10 Pro.
  • TheGolux
    TheGolux Member ✭✭
    Again to @Rocket J Squirrel - in re-reading your comment, I am seeing you speak about not File->FileOperations->Archive, but InvestmentRegister->Gear->Archive, and I now see these are two differing things (with frustratingly similar names). I am excited to try your idea. I am also a little shocked that a handful of both support phone technicians and support chat technicians have never made this suggestion and I was unaware of the feature. Stand by while I try it.
  • Rocket J Squirrel
    Rocket J Squirrel SuperUser, Windows Beta ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited June 30
    Good luck. Let us know whether it helps. Be prepared for it to take a long time.
    Quicken user since version 2 for DOS, now using QWin Premier Subscription on Win10 Pro.
  • TheGolux
    TheGolux Member ✭✭
    @Rocket J Squirrel - Many thanks. This process is not a panacea, but it is helpful. After this "other" version of archival, it would appear that like-for-like operations might take half the time. So when access to an investment register took 20 seconds in the past, now it might take 10. On investigating how it works and what it does, it seems to me it will have the largest effect on accounts where one has cycled through numerous securities, many of which may no longer be held in the account. If the account has numerous long-held securities for which there have been numerous acquisitions and sales and reinvestments over the years, it will have less of an effect.

    But this is a great tool, and for that I thank you. A LOT. I owe you a beer.

    I am NOT quite ready to call this "Answered", only because the vastly improved responsiveness is still pretty poor performance and could still use mitigation, and there is still a potential technical solution that Quicken could develop if they decided to prioritize it, and I'm still curious about a Quicken road map to a real performative solution.

    Two additional observations:

    1. Given that the new account generated is called AccountName-Archive, I wonder what happens when you archive it again in a year or two. Is the new account generated from AccountName called AccountName-Archive2 or AccountName-Archive-Archive? Or will the system figure out that AccountName already has an archive and transfer transactions into it?

    2. It is sad that this operation needs to be done on an account-by-account basis. If you are doing (like I am) 13 accounts, the operation requires that you backup quicken, then verify, and then archive an account 13 times. Not only is it time-consuming but you end up with 13 backups (if you don't overwrite them.... if you do overwrite them you will end up with only one, but it won't be the one you want, namely the one you started with.....)
  • Rocket J Squirrel
    Rocket J Squirrel SuperUser, Windows Beta ✭✭✭✭✭
    The process allows you to skip performing backups. It's the validations which take forever.
    I like beer.
    Quicken user since version 2 for DOS, now using QWin Premier Subscription on Win10 Pro.
  • Rocket J Squirrel
    Rocket J Squirrel SuperUser, Windows Beta ✭✭✭✭✭
    This is hypothesis, but it might help to do File > File Operations > Copy after all the investment transaction archives are complete. This is the only operation that does a record-by-record database copy, which could prune the DB of excess cruft.
    Quicken user since version 2 for DOS, now using QWin Premier Subscription on Win10 Pro.
  • TheGolux
    TheGolux Member ✭✭
    That sounds plausible - I'll let you know how that goes after I do ALL the archives, which might take me a day or two. Thanks.
  • q_lurker
    q_lurker SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    I have not experimented with the Investment Archive procedure, so I cannot comment on its effectiveness.

    When I have had any one investment account bog down (perform and react slower than others), I have used the Shares Transferred function to effectively start a new account.  I have done that twice now for a reasonably active 30+ year old account.  For my expectations and my current system, that bog-point is when transactions in the active account reach 8-12,000 transactions.  I see the degradation mostly related to transaction count in the account though there are likely other factors as well (number of securities, number of lots, etc.)  I do not see overall file size or size of other accounts as being a factor in the degradation of some other account. 

    After that step, you might choose to 'close' the prior version of the account, or hide it or take some similar action (I choose to keep it readily available for access and reporting but I rarely access it.

    Hope this gives you another tool to evaluate and possibly use.  I've been short with my description.  Post back if you have follow-up questions.   
  • TheGolux
    TheGolux Member ✭✭
    Thanks @q_lurker. I think I understand your process pretty well, and I understand how it might work. Does it maintain cost basis information properly? I'm thinking it probably does. I'm still in the middle of the prior set of ideas, but once done with that I will try this for sure!
  • q_lurker
    q_lurker SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    The Shares Transferred function removes shares for the old account and Add Shares to the new account.  One Add Share transaction for each lot of each security with the correct basis and acquisition date for those lots.  So yes, to answer the question.  Short positions and cash need separate treatments from the long position actions.   
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