Quicken with dropbox and/or one drive

I have a desktop PC and a MS Surface laptop and use both of them most days. Most of my programs (Word, Excel, Access,etc etc) synchronize fine if I simply store the data files on dropbox or one drive although [removed - another product] does need a bit of tweaking but this is well documented in their help pages).

 I'm not sure how to go about this with Quicken as there seems to be no way to alter the default storage location to dropbox or one drive for the Quicken data file and reading the community posts lead me to think Quicken might have trouble synchronizing even if I could.

Is there a way of simply putting all the data in a cloud/local drive such as dropbox or one drive so that both my desktop and laptop access a single data set in dropbox or one drive? I never use both the desktop or laptop at the same time so don't have issues with accessing any data file with both machines at the same time.

Any help or links to where help is available would be much appreciated.

Many thanks

Gerard

[edited for readability]
Tagged:

Comments

  • Quicken Anja
    Quicken Anja Moderator mod
    Hello @gerardp,

    Thanks for reaching out to the Community with your question.

    While saving Quicken backup files on a cloud-based drive is fine, we actually strongly recommend against saving your main data file on a cloud-based drive as doing so can potentially cause irreversible data damage and/or corruption. For this reason, we recommend keeping your main data file stored on your main computer hard drive.

    For more information on the type of issues/errors you can encounter while having your data file stored on a cloud-based drive, please take a moment to review this support article.

    Additionally, being that you are a new user, I would like to inform you that you do have the option to schedule a one-on-one tour with our Quicken 1-2-3 team. 

    By doing so, one of our Quicken 1-2-3 team members will contact you via phone at your scheduled appointment time. This team has been specifically trained and put together to assist our new customers in getting familiarized with the program and learn how to utilize it to fit your needs, as well as answer any questions and/or address any concerns you may have.

    If this is something that would interest you, then please, click here to select a time slot and schedule your tour! Alternatively, you can also call them directly at your own convenience. The phone number can be found through that same link.

    I hope this helps!
    -Quicken Anja
  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    @Quicken Anja I scanned that support article and it is incorrect/out of date.

    For frequent copying back and forth it suggest using either using Quicken on the Web instead or File -> Copy or Backup File.

    I personally wouldn't use Quicken on the Web (or Quicken Mobile) because of the lack of features, but even more so because it corrupts data files in some cases (the Split transactions missing data is just one example).  And File -> Copy or Backup File no longer works like it use to.

    Before it was a simple copy of the data file.  Now it will take you to this dialog instead of a simple browse of where to store the data file:


    As the article suggests you really don't want to use Backup/Restore frequently.  Each time you use restore it creates a new "Quicken Cloud dataset" and there are a limited amount of them.  Once you exceed that amount you have to call support to get them to delete them.

    Create a copy or template seems like the substitution for the old simple copy, but it isn't.  It removes all the online connections to the financial institutions.  And certainly one wouldn't do that every time they move a file between two machines.

    The "answer" should be one of the following:
    1. Keep the file in a OneDrive/Dropbox folder, but be sure to turn off syncing while using Quicken.
    2. Manually copy your data file in and out of OneDrive/Dropbox folder.
    3. Use a script to do the copy for you.
    Here is an example script file to do this.

    @echo off
    set DATA_FILE=Current.qdf
    set DATA_DIR=c:\Quicken
    set QUICKEN_ONEDRIVE_DIR=%USERPROFILE%\OneDrive\Documents\Quicken

    copy "%QUICKEN_ONEDRIVE_DIR%\%DATA_FILE%" "%DATA_DIR%\%DATA_FILE%"

    IF %ERRORLEVEL% == 0 GOTO COPY_PASSED
    start /wait cmd /C "ECHO %QUICKEN_ONEDRIVE_DIR%\%DATA_FILE% copy of data file failed. && PAUSE"
    GOTO END

    :COPY_PASSED
    "%ProgramFiles(x86)%\Quicken\qw.exe" "%DATA_DIR%\%DATA_FILE%"

    copy "%DATA_DIR%\%DATA_FILE%" "%QUICKEN_ONEDRIVE_DIR%\%DATA_FILE%"
    IF %ERRORLEVEL% == 0 GOTO END
    start /wait cmd /C "ECHO %DATA_DIR%\%DATA_FILE% copy of data file failed. && PAUSE"

    :END


    I personally use a script similar to the one above.  You should paste it into Notepad (changing file names at the top as needed), and save it with a type of .cmd, like Quicken.cmd.  You can store this anywhere you like.  I put it in a C:\bin directory.
    If you right click on Quicken.cmd in File Explorer you can select Send to -> Desktop (shortcut) you can get a shortcut on the Desktop.  If you right click and select Properties, you can change Run: to Minimized so that the script command window will start minimized.

    Note one nice thing about doing it this way is that if you ever make a mistake in editing your data file, you can always go to the system task bar and kill this script window/task and it won't copy the data file back.

    Signature:
    (I'm always using the latest Quicken Windows Premier subscription version)
    This is my website: http://www.quicknperlwiz.com/
  • markus1957
    markus1957 SuperUser, Windows Beta Beta
    I have since last December, been using Quicken as you describe in the OP with a desktop PC and surface tablet. Both machines use the same Microsoft account to login and both use OneDrive. In Quicken, I have SYNC turned Off in Quicken Preferences.

    By default OneDrive takes over the PC Documents folder and subfolders when it is installed. The Quicken folder established when Quicken installs on the PC becomes a subfolder of Documents and is then part of the OneDrive environment.  The Surface after initially logging into the same OneDrive account maintains the same Documents folder and subfolder structure as the PC.

    After installing Quicken on the Surface, it can open the data file and sync to OneDrive after use. It works fine in this configuration as long as only one machine is used at a time and importantly, OneDrive is given the opportunity to sync the data file to the OneDrive cloud storage server after closing Quicken. OneDrive upload is a little slow so you have to give it several seconds to get a large data file up to the cloud before putting the machine to sleep. OneDrive download is fast so when you wake a machine, it will bring the file down very fast.  OneDrive is smart enough to know both machines use the file often enough to keep it resident on the machines and does a good job of keeping the file up to date on the Cloud server with each open and close.

    Other cautions; don't leave the data file open on any machine, that will destroy the sync and likely create a copy file. Not sure how this would work with Mobile Sync On and I'm not brave enough to try it. There appear to be mobile sync caching folders in the Application Data folder on each machine; not sure how they would behave. Actually, not sure how they might behave in a traditional data file copy open on a different machine when Sync is On, but that is a different discussion.


  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited October 5
    I didn't put this in because using one of the three methods I suggested gives the least amount of possibilities of any errors, but time and time again I'm conflicted with telling people what is really happening vs. the "company/forum safe rules/explanation".

    It has been stated the storing your data file in a "cloud folder" will corrupt it.  I have never found that to be the case, and the way it works suggests that it would in fact not happen.

    One might lose data by replacing a more current data file with a copy, but it wouldn't be "corrupted".
    For instance if you had the data file open in two places, changed something in both, then the "last closed" copy would win, losing the changes from the other machine/copy of the data file.  Note there isn't any EASY way to merge two data files.

    But this isn't to say that there wouldn't be problems.
    If you look at the main support article that @Quicken Anja pointed to you will see errors like this:


    When Quicken has a data file open, it has a file lock on it.
    Both OneDrive and Dropbox honor that lock and will not sync the Quicken data file until the lock is released.

    But the problem is that Quicken doesn't always keep the data file open/locked.  When you run Backup, or copy file, or Validate and Repair, or cases like where it runs validate and repair after moving investment transactions, or even switching between normal fonts and "Use Large Fonts", Quicken closed the data file and the lock is removed.

    At this point OneDrive or Dropbox will sweep in and Open/lock the data file.  They keep it locked while they do the sync to the cloud/server.  Needless to say if Quicken just closed the data file so that it can then turn around and open it again to do some other kind of operation like above, then it is going to be blocked from opening that data file by that file lock.  That is exactly what you are seeing described in the error messages above.

    None of this suggests that the data file would be corrupted, but clearly these errors can freak people out.

    I should also mention a real possible source of data file corruption.  Quicken was designed for use on hard drives.  There isn't anything in it for error correcting if there is an error writing the data file to disk.  Given the reliability of disks this shouldn't be a problem as long as there is enough disk space.

    When one brings the word "network drive" into the picture things change.  A network drive can be very reliable or terrible.  You can't tell anything about that from the word network  It can be wired or wireless, it can be a different file system or even a different operating system.  Bottom line is that give any glitch in the network while writing the data file can mean a corrupted data file.

    Note that the policy about "we don't support network drives" is well founded because the above reasons.

    But what also seems to have carried on is Network Drive is equalivant to Cloud Folder.  And as such the belief that the same possibility for corruption is there.

    But these two work completely differently.
    While writing to the network drive it is sending the data across the network to be save on a drive on a different machine.

    Whereas the writing of the data file into a Cloud Folder is totally a local disk write.  Then after that is done and the file is closed and the lock is removed, the "Cloud service" copies that data file to the cloud/server.
    Signature:
    (I'm always using the latest Quicken Windows Premier subscription version)
    This is my website: http://www.quicknperlwiz.com/
  • gerardp
    gerardp Member
    Many thanks indeed for the replies, especially the more detailed ones giving reasons and possible workrounds etc. It looks like I would be able to use Dropbox/One Drive providing I fully understand work round the syncing issues by only running one computer at a time and ensuring the cloud drives were fully synced before powering down.
    I was fan of UK Quicken UK from the 1990's DOS era until they pulled out of the UK and ended up using the 2014 version until around 2018 when I moved to another program which I am not allowed to mention on this forum. However I was intending to move back to Quicken but it would seem that Quicken's policy is to discourage such a move. I am puzzeled at why they should stop the importing of Split and non US$ transactions. If I don't find a way round this then that will be a deal stopper for me. I've got around 18,000 transctions dating back to 1994 and a lot of them are split transaction and the vast majority in UK£.
    I managed to get my data transferred from Quicken UK to the other program more or less intact but it looks like I won't be able to transfer it back again.
    Do you think I should persevere or is my task clearly hopeless? I'm very happy to do things in steps like 1) set up accounts using separate QIFs for each type of account, 2) set up categories using another QIF 3) import each account using a separate QIF etc etc but if I can't import transactions fully then that's it!!
    Many thanks again
    Gerard
  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    @gerardp converting using a QIF file and using Quicken in the UK is quite a different subject.
    I think this thread might be the best for the conversion to Quicken 2013, which is available for free.
    https://community.quicken.com/discussion/7885578/quicken-2004-xg-uk-file-transfer-update-to-quicken-2013-via-qif

    Note you can stay there or then decide to upgrade to Quicken Subscription, but note that Quicken US even though it supports multiple currencies it doesn't support other countries for services like downloading transactions.  QIF importing is still supported in both Quicken 2013, but there are some very big restrictions in Quicken Subscription.  Since the other thread is more appropriate for this subject I think I will just add some new information on that there.

    BTW on the subject of importing split information.  When they created the OFX standard which QFX is a slightly modified version of, they never put in split transactions.  I'm guessing it is true because at least at the time you didn't have splits at the financial institution, and the purpose is only to download transactions.
    Signature:
    (I'm always using the latest Quicken Windows Premier subscription version)
    This is my website: http://www.quicknperlwiz.com/