using Quicken on two separate Macs error message

I have a Mac computer and my husband does also. My iMac is starting to have problems so I installed Quicken for Mac on his computer. Then I copied my file onto a flash drive and did a restore onto his Mac with Quicken installed and ready to go. And everything works fine on his. But when I went back to see if everything is working on mine, I got a message that I don't understand what it is saying. It says the following:
Only the latest version of a file can use Quicken Cloud.
This is an older copy of a file that is using Quicken Cloud. You can't use connection services with the file unless you reset Quicken Cloud using the data from this file, which will disable Quicken Cloud for other copies of this file.
Do you want to reset Quicken Cloud using the data from this file?

And then I have 3 choices:
Take File Offline, Reset Quicken Cloud, and Decide later.

What am I supposed to do here? I just wanted to have both computers have the same file and be able to download transactions in case my computer goes Caput! I didn't even know I was using Quicken Cloud! I thought I just used the software to download latest data from my particular Banks?
Please advise,
Thank You,
Peggy

Answers

  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    You cannot have two computers using the same file. If you want to switch between the computers, you will have to move the file (in a specific way I'll get to) back and forth between them. 

    Quicken is a desktop database program. It downloads transactions from financial institutions if you set it to do so. It also has the ability to upload your transactions to what it called Quicken Cloud so you can access/enter data using the Quicken mobile app or the web interface. But I'll note that there are lots of stories of problems people run into syncing back and forth between the Quicken Cloud and their desktop, so many of us here recommend using the Sync preference turned off unless you really have to. And, just to make clear, you can't enter data in one Mac, have it upload to Quicken Cloud, and have that data then download to a second Mac. It's just not built to support that type of multi-computer set-up; it's designed to be closely tied to a single database file stored on your desktop.

    Even if you have Sync turned off in Preferences, and you then Reset your Cloud data file in Preferences, Quicken will create a new Cloud data file to associate with your desktop data file. Your transactions and login credentials won't be uploaded to the Cloud file, but there is always a Cloud file associated with your desktop file to support background tasks, like Report a Problem on the Help menu and some other things. I prefer to have this minimal Cloud file — Sync off, and Cloud file Reset — to avoid even the possibility of having out-of-date data in the Cloud, or worse, having Quicken try to update newer data with older data.

    So, back to the issue of using Quicken on two Macs. It's quite doable, and many people do it. It just requires a few steps of gymnastics to do it, and do it safely. And it will take you longer to read what follows than it will to implement! ;)

    You can move a Quicken data file between computers via a flash drive, as you did, or via any other transfer method: uploading to a cloud service (Dropbox or iCloud) and downloading from the other machine, sending via email, transferring via macOS file Sharing, or even Airdrop if the two computer are nearby. The crucial thing is that when you move the data file from one computer to another, you must move a compressed copy and not just the Quicken data file you see in the Finder.

    What's a compressed copy? It is either (a) a file you create by selecting the Quicken data file in the Finder and doing File > Compress, creating a .zip compressed file, or (b) a backup file created by Quicken, which ends in .quickenbackup.

    Why is this important? A Quicken data file is actually not a single file; it's a Mac "package" file, which is like a wrapper around a collection of files and folders to make it appear to users and the Mac like a single file. (Control-click on your data file and select "Show Package Contents" if you want to peek "inside the wrapper".) Every Mac user account has a unique User ID number, and file/folder permissions use those User UD numbers to control access permissions. When you move files and folders around, file/folder permissions can be changed — the result of which can be getting locked out of your data. But moving a compressed file and opening it on a different Mac won't result in permission problems. 

    So here are the basic do's and don'ts about moving a Quicken Mac data file around...

    Do not store your actual Quicken data file on any cloud service, such as Dropbox or iCloud. It will likely lead to problems. Storing Quicken backup files on cloud storage is fine, but your live data file needs to be resident on your local computer. 

    Do not use File Sharing to connect to another computer, and launch the Quicken data file on that other computer. Your Quicken data file needs to be resident on your local computer's hard drive during the period you're using it.

    Do move only a compressed copy of a data file between computers/servers/cloud storage. 

    This may sound like a pain, but it needn't be. After each time you use Quicken, move your backup or compressed file to a location — on cloud storage or a physical flash drive — which you'll start from the next time you use Quicken on either computer. Use the data file, quit Quicken, and again save the compressed file back to the same location. As long as you always start from the same location and replace a file to the same location -- which takes just a few extra seconds -- you will always be assured of working on the most current file and not having permission problems. 

    If you use Dropbox, one relatively easy workflow is to set your Quicken backup location to Dropbox. So every time you quit Quicken, it creates a backup in a location both computers can access on Dropbox. The only manual step is that to start your next Quicken session, from either computer, you need to drag the backup file from Dropbox to your Mac desktop and double-click it to launch it. When you quit Quicken, a new backup is created in the same place. (You also have to delete the working copy from your desktop, and make sure you always grab the most recent backup file on Dropbox.)

    If you don't use Dropbox, you could turn on file sharing on one computer, and then use your "Public Folder" (which exists by default in macOS) to store the .zip copy of your Quicken data file between sessions. Either computer could access the shared Public Folder on your computer to copy the .zip file to the Desktop (or Documents folder), delete the copy on the Public folder (to keep there from being multiple versions around which could cause confusion), and use the file; then quit Quicken, compress the file, copy it to the Public Folder, and delete the copy on your Desktop (or Documents folder). Or if you'll continue using Quicken mainly on your Mac, but want to keep a relatively recent copy on your husband's Mac, you can just periodically (weekly? bi-weekly? monthly?) move a copy of your data file to the other Mac. It sounds like a lot of things to do, but once you see the flow back and forth, you'll hopefully find it pretty easy to keep track of. Compressing a copy and copying it after using will take only a few seconds, as will copying the compressed file to the Desktop to use it the next time. 

    (Side note: hopefully you have something backing up all the data on your Macs, whether it's Time Machine or an online service like iDrive or BackBlaze, don't you? If not, I urge you to spend $100 today to buy an external hard drive and hook it up to one of the Macs so you can have Time Machine back them both up continually. Sooner or late, and often unexpectedly, your computers will die, and you don't want to be at risk of losing anything you have on the computer.) 

    I know that's a very long-winded answer to a seemingly simple question. The need to move your data file back and forth may seem a bit daunting, but once you set-up a system that works for you, and get the workflow worked out, I think you'll find you can make this work spending only a few extra seconds each time you use Quicken.
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • PYeager
    PYeager Member ✭✭
    > @jacobs said:
    > You cannot have two computers using the same file. If you want to switch between the computers, you will have to move the file (in a specific way I'll get to) back and forth between them. 
    >
    > Quicken is a desktop database program. It downloads transactions from financial institutions if you set it to do so. It also has the ability to upload your transactions to what it called Quicken Cloud so you can access/enter data using the Quicken mobile app or the web interface. But I'll note that there are lots of stories of problems people run into syncing back and forth between the Quicken Cloud and their desktop, so many of us here recommend using the Sync preference turned off unless you really have to. And, just to make clear, you can't enter data in one Mac, have it upload to Quicken Cloud, and have that data then download to a second Mac. It's just not built to support that type of multi-computer set-up; it's designed to be closely tied to a single database file stored on your desktop.
    >
    > Even if you have Sync turned off in Preferences, and you then Reset your Cloud data file in Preferences, Quicken will create a new Cloud data file to associate with your desktop data file. Your transactions and login credentials won't be uploaded to the Cloud file, but there is always a Cloud file associated with your desktop file to support background tasks, like Report a Problem on the Help menu and some other things. I prefer to have this minimal Cloud file — Sync off, and Cloud file Reset — to avoid even the possibility of having out-of-date data in the Cloud, or worse, having Quicken try to update newer data with older data.
    >
    > So, back to the issue of using Quicken on two Macs. It's quite doable, and many people do it. It just requires a few steps of gymnastics to do it, and do it safely. And it will take you longer to read what follows than it will to implement! ;)
    >
    > You can move a Quicken data file between computers via a flash drive, as you did, or via any other transfer method: uploading to a cloud service (Dropbox or iCloud) and downloading from the other machine, sending via email, transferring via macOS file Sharing, or even Airdrop if the two computer are nearby. The crucial thing is that when you move the data file from one computer to another, you must move a compressed copy and not just the Quicken data file you see in the Finder.
    >
    > What's a compressed copy? It is either (a) a file you create by selecting the Quicken data file in the Finder and doing File > Compress, creating a .zip compressed file, or (b) a backup file created by Quicken, which ends in .quickenbackup.
    >
    > Why is this important? A Quicken data file is actually not a single file; it's a Mac "package" file, which is like a wrapper around a collection of files and folders to make it appear to users and the Mac like a single file. (Control-click on your data file and select "Show Package Contents" if you want to peek "inside the wrapper".) Every Mac user account has a unique User ID number, and file/folder permissions use those User UD numbers to control access permissions. When you move files and folders around, file/folder permissions can be changed — the result of which can be getting locked out of your data. But moving a compressed file and opening it on a different Mac won't result in permission problems. 
    >
    > So here are the basic do's and don'ts about moving a Quicken Mac data file around...
    >
    > Do not store your actual Quicken data file on any cloud service, such as Dropbox or iCloud. It will likely lead to problems. Storing Quicken backup files on cloud storage is fine, but your live data file needs to be resident on your local computer. 
    >
    > Do not use File Sharing to connect to another computer, and launch the Quicken data file on that other computer. Your Quicken data file needs to be resident on your local computer's hard drive during the period you're using it.
    >
    > Do move only a compressed copy of a data file between computers/servers/cloud storage. 
    >
    > This may sound like a pain, but it needn't be. After each time you use Quicken, move your backup or compressed file to a location — on cloud storage or a physical flash drive — which you'll start from the next time you use Quicken on either computer. Use the data file, quit Quicken, and again save the compressed file back to the same location. As long as you always start from the same location and replace a file to the same location -- which takes just a few extra seconds -- you will always be assured of working on the most current file and not having permission problems. 
    >
    > If you use Dropbox, one relatively easy workflow is to set your Quicken backup location to Dropbox. So every time you quit Quicken, it creates a backup in a location both computers can access on Dropbox. The only manual step is that to start your next Quicken session, from either computer, you need to drag the backup file from Dropbox to your Mac desktop and double-click it to launch it. When you quit Quicken, a new backup is created in the same place. (You also have to delete the working copy from your desktop, and make sure you always grab the most recent backup file on Dropbox.)
    >
    > If you don't use Dropbox, you could turn on file sharing on one computer, and then use your "Public Folder" (which exists by default in macOS) to store the .zip copy of your Quicken data file between sessions. Either computer could access the shared Public Folder on your computer to copy the .zip file to the Desktop (or Documents folder), delete the copy on the Public folder (to keep there from being multiple versions around which could cause confusion), and use the file; then quit Quicken, compress the file, copy it to the Public Folder, and delete the copy on your Desktop (or Documents folder). Or if you'll continue using Quicken mainly on your Mac, but want to keep a relatively recent copy on your husband's Mac, you can just periodically (weekly? bi-weekly? monthly?) move a copy of your data file to the other Mac. It sounds like a lot of things to do, but once you see the flow back and forth, you'll hopefully find it pretty easy to keep track of. Compressing a copy and copying it after using will take only a few seconds, as will copying the compressed file to the Desktop to use it the next time. 
    >
    > (Side note: hopefully you have something backing up all the data on your Macs, whether it's Time Machine or an online service like iDrive or BackBlaze, don't you? If not, I urge you to spend $100 today to buy an external hard drive and hook it up to one of the Macs so you can have Time Machine back them both up continually. Sooner or late, and often unexpectedly, your computers will die, and you don't want to be at risk of losing anything you have on the computer.) 
    >
    > I know that's a very long-winded answer to a seemingly simple question. The need to move your data file back and forth may seem a bit daunting, but once you set-up a system that works for you, and get the workflow worked out, I think you'll find you can make this work spending only a few extra seconds each time you use Quicken.

    OH MY GOSH! Thank you for your detailed response. Frankly, it's a little over my head and I will have to re-read it a few times but I really appreciate it! I feel a little guilty though in not quite being clear on what my issue is. I am not really trying to move a quicken file back and forth at all. I was just trying to create a "Safety Net" if you will, in case my computer fails and it seem it's going to any given moment. (It's going on 8 years old). But now that I tried installing on my husbands computer and saw how easy it was, all I really need to do is just keep a current backup on a external drive of my own and if my computer fails, just get a new computer and install Quicken and load the backup file. Right? So my only problem now is, how do I get my own current computer back and working again given that pesky message I keep getting that won't let me proceed? I have 3 choices:
    "Take File Offline, Reset Quicken Cloud, and Decide later." Which option should I click on? Or should I just delete the whole Quicken app and start again fresh just like I did on my husbands computer? All I want to do is get my computer back and running Quicken again and not lose any of my data. To repeat, I am not interested in moving the Quicken file back and forth to use on both computers. Again, I thank you very very much for your detailed response.
  • RickO
    RickO SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    PYeager said:
    > @jacobs said:
    OH MY GOSH! Thank you for your detailed response. 
    @jacobs did a fantastic job of explaining all the ins and outs, didn't he! (Much better than I would have done.) But I'll jump in here and answer you last couple questions...
    I really need to do is just keep a current backup on a external drive of my own and if my computer fails, just get a new computer and install Quicken and load the backup file. Right? 
    Right. And/or you could keep a backup on your husband's computer but just not restore/open it. Then if you ever need to get "back in business" immediately, you could jump on his computer and use that backup.
    So my only problem now is, how do I get my own current computer back and working again given that pesky message I keep getting that won't let me proceed? I have 3 choices:
    "Take File Offline, Reset Quicken Cloud, and Decide later." Which option should I click on? Or should I just delete the whole Quicken app and start again fresh just like I did on my husbands computer? 

    The option you want to "Reset Quicken Cloud". Before doing this, make sure you have a current backup of the file on your computer. Reset Quicken Cloud will force an overwrite of the cloud date with the data that is in the file on your computer. Then your local file will be back in sync with the cloud and everything will return to working as you are used to. There is no need to delete either the app or file on your computer.

    As an aside, I have this happen all the time. I keep a 2nd copy of my main file which runs on an iMac, on my laptop. I just use it for reference and try to never do any "online" functions with it. But occasionally if I, for example, happen to open the connected services preferences pane, when I go back to the iMac file, it will think the laptop file is more current. All I have to do on the iMac is "Reset Quicken Cloud" and all is well again. 

    The only caution I have is that occasionally when you Reset Quicken Cloud, you could possibly get a few duplicate transactions downloaded. If that happens, you should be able to easily identify them using the "Last Downloaded" filter in the register and delete the duplicates.

    Quicken Mac Subscription; Quicken Mac user since the early 90s
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    I think @RickO answered your question, but I'd like to turn back to the issue of backups. If you have backups being generated and saved somewhere other than your Mac's hard drive, you should be covered in case your Mac gives out. I encourage people to have multiple levels of backups of any data it would be difficult or impossible to replace.

    For Quicken, I assume you have the program automatically generate backups when you quit. For most people, those are stored on the same hard drive, which doesn't protect you if your Mac dies. There are a number of available options you could take advantage of. You could use iCloud, creating a folder where your Quicken backups are automatically saved directly to iCloud. Or the same with Dropbox, if you use that service. Or you could just decide to copy your Quicken file to your flash drive or your husband's computer one a week or every other week, so there's a recent copy saved elsewhere.

    But that's just dealing with your Quicken data file. Assuming you have other data of value on your Mac, whether it's documents, music, photos, email, etc., you really should have some way of backing up all the data on your Mac. The easiest way to do this is with built in software in macOS, Time Machine software. You simply connect a hard drive to the Mac, turn on Time Machine in System Preferences, point it to the hard drive, and that's all there is to it. It will do an initial backup of your entire mac, and then do incremental backups every hour thereafter, with no user intervention required. If you don't have a spare hard drive lying around, you can get a quality 1TB drive for under $100, and it's the best investment you can make in the safety of your data. Better still, you can attach the hard drive to one of your Macs, and have Time Machine back up both Macs to the one hard drive. 

    Another option for backing up your entire hard drive is an external drive with a whole-disk copy utility like SuperDuper ($28) or Carbon Copy Cloner ($40). You can have it run on a scheduled basis, or just when you plug in the drive once every few weeks or whatever interval makes sense for your data. You can partition one external hard drive so you can do whole disk backups of both your Macs, by moving the hard drive back and forth periodically. Having your data backed up on an external drive also gives you the option of storing the drive away from your home in the event of a calamity like a burglary or fire.

    Yet another option is using an online backup service, like iDrive or BackBlaze. These likely won't back up all your software and enable you to do a complete system restore, but they can definitely back up all your data. And since the data is in the cloud, you're protected should something happen at your home.

    For many people, this may sound like overkill. But you're a two-Mac family, just like I am, and if you aren't regularly backing up both Macs, you're at risk; sometimes you get a warning, as is happening with your Mac currently, but sometimes you don't. I'll share a quick story… I currently use Time Machine to back up my two Macs continually; I have two different external drives I use to make whole-disk backups with SuperDuper, with one stored off-site; and I use iDrive for cloud backup — three layers of protection. Several years ago, before I added iDrive to my mix, the drive on one of my Macs failed. I got a new drive and went to my backups. I was surprised when restoring from my first SuperDuper backup drive failed partway through with an error reading the data from the backup drive. I got very scared when restoring from my second SuperDuper drive also failed. I was finally successful getting things to restore from my Time Machine drive. Whew! During this process, I reached out to the developer of the SuperDuper software about the issues I was encountering. He told me he used RAID volumes (backup to two drives simultaneously, for data security) and maintained multiple SuperDuper backups, two Time Machine backups, and two cloud backups! This was from the developer of Mac backup software! His bottom line: "You can't really prevent drive failure, but you can protect yourself against it with more redundancy."

    Sorry to ramble on so long again, but it always breaks my heart when I read stories of people losing all their valuable data due to a Mac or drive failure, so I always try to encourage people to put adequate backup processes in place before disaster strikes.

    Best wishes moving forward!
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • PYeager
    PYeager Member ✭✭
    I'm back in business! YAY! Jacobs and RickO you guys are fabulous! Many Kudos to you!
    Jacobs: I will definitely do as you have advised.
    Thanks again soooo much!