Why are my new backup files so much smaller? (Q Mac)

Lori Member ✭✭
I backup my data to a thumb drive every month, for the past two months, the size of the files is about 60 mb vs all previous months that were about 150 and growing. I haven't deleted any data or accounts...How can I be sure that all my data is being backed up?


  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    Quicken Mac at one time stored a backup copy of the data file inside the data file. They stopped this years ago, but I believe they didn't completely eliminate the stored backup file from everyone's data files. A more recent update may have fixed this; e.g. checked the data file during an update to see if there was an embedded backup data file, and if so, deleted it. You didn't actually lose anything, as there was never a user interface to access that hidden backup file; it was a preventative just-in-case thing they did during updates a long time back. The reason I suspect they changed something recently is that I have seen a few reports from other users about the size of their backup dropping in half. (The other reason I've seen for users having inflated file sizes is if they stored the data file on a cloud service like DropBox or iCloud; that can cause a variety of problems, and is strongly not recommended.)

    Is all your data being backed up? Sure. A Quicken backup file is simply a compressed copy of your live data file. Want to check it? Quit Quicken, navigate to your live data file, select it, and do File > Compress in the Finder. This will create a .zip file -- a compressed copy of your data file. Compare the size of this .zip file to your .quickenbackup files. They should be similar in size. (But not identical; Quicken's backup process uses slightly different parameters than the Mac's Compress command.)

    In my case, my live data file is about 72.6 MB. My .quickenbackup files are about 26.1 MB. The .zip compressed copy is about 26.4 MB. Your results may vary, as it depends somewhat on the data in your Quicken data file. (For instance, if you have a lot of stored attachments which are .jpg receipts, those won't compress much because a .jpg file is already in a compressed format.)

    The other thing you can do to check is to every once in a while select one of your recent backup files and open it. Of course, you would expect it to look just like your live data file, but poke around to see if your Net Worth is right, all your accounts are there, that you can scroll back to th beginning of your time with Quicken in each account, etc. 
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