Restoring data from Quicken Cloud.

Gabnet Member
I understand that Quicken Cloud is not a backup. However, if I signed into my account with Quicken on a new computer, wouldn't the data populate by way of syncing?
I have a license that allows 3 devices. So my computer, iPad and iPhone, use them all up. But I'm away for several months in the winter and use Quicken Web on a laptop which is great. But that doesn't create a backup file. So all the data created during those three or four months is not backed up per sae. But it is on Quicken Cloud. When I get home it updates the app on the computer and I can, of course, back the file up from there. But if say, my computer were stolen or the house burnt down or something, it seems like the data would populate a Quicken app installed on a new computer after setting to sync. Would it? This isn't a spurious question. I'm trying to find out if there is any way or if I need to back up my data after working away (on the web) for two or three months.


  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    You seem to have a few misconceptions.

    First off there isn't any limit on the number of devices you can have Quicken on.  There used to be a three-computer limit before the subscription, but that was talking about computers, not syncing the Mobile/Web.  And with the subscription that limit is gone.

    The way you would get your Quicken Desktop data file from one computer to another is to either copy it there or maybe do a backup and restore.  You need to understand though that Quicken wasn't designed to work on multiple computers at the same time, and as such you would need to do the copy from one computer to the other every time you want to switch.

    Syncing to Mobile/Web is a bit different.  There is a two-way sync between the Quicken Desktop data file and the Quicken Cloud dataset.  The Quicken Cloud dataset is where the data for Mobile/Web is stored on the Quicken servers.  You can sort of think of Mobile/Web as a GUI for this data.  Say you are working in the Quicken Desktop data file and change something.  You would then need to sync it with the Quicken Cloud dataset (maybe as you are closing Quicken).  If you make changes on Mobile/Web that is writing its data to the Quicken Cloud dataset.  Unfortunately, there isn't any real backup for that other than whatever Quicken does to keep their servers backed up.  You can go for pretty long periods of time in this mode, but like you have noted you won't have a backup of your own.  When you get back to the Quicken Desktop and sync then all that data will be downloaded into the Quicken Desktop data file.

    As for backing up the Quicken Desktop data file.  You can run Quicken's backup from inside Quicken Desktop and put that in a place where it is protected like on an iCloud folder.  Or use any other backup like time machine to backup the original Quicken Desktop data file.
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  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    Gabnet said:
    I'm away for several months in the winter and use Quicken Web on a laptop which is great.
    @Gabnet I'd say that's actually not great... and there's a better solution. Since you have a laptop while you're away from your home Mac, the better way to do things would be to move your Quicken desktop data file to the laptop, and run Quicken from the laptop. You could still use the mobile or web interface if you want, but anything you enter to Quicken Cloud would sync to your laptop data file, and that file should be making backups each time you quit Quicken.

    When you move a Quicken Mac data file between computers, make sure you make a compressed copy (File > Compress in the Finder) of your data file. Move only this .zip file between computers, not the original .quicken data file. The reason for this is that a Quicken data file isn't actually a single file; it's a special file called a "package", which is basically a wrapper around a bunch of files and folders. If you move the .quicken data file between computers, there's a good once that at some point, the file/folder permissions inside that wrapper will get messed up, and you may get locked out of your data. As long as you move the .zip file, there won't be any problem with file/folder permissions. Alternatively, you can move a backup generated by Quicken, with the .quickenbackup extension, between computers. This type of file is just a slightly modified .zip file, so it's safe to move and then restore on the other Mac. 

    And you're entirely correct in thinking that if you needed to, you should be able to create a new Quicken data file and pull down the data you have in Quicken Cloud. But you can't. It wasn't designed to do this. There are signs Quicken was working on a way to make it work, but all reports from users who have tried this experimental feature have reported it doesn't, and there's been no sign the developers have worked on it recently. 

    If you're not actually using your laptop while away, or if the laptop is Windows and not compatible with your Quicken Mac, then I'd do this: (1) Before leaving home, make are you have a solid, off-site backup of your Quicken data, somewhere; you could even make the .zip file and email it to yourself. (2) While away, and working solely in Quicken Cloud, there's no way to back that up. But since it's a cloud service, it shouldn't require backup. (Famous last words!) This way, should your home Mac go away for whatever reason, you should be able to restore your home data file onto a new Mac, log into Quicken cloud, and sync the data you've been entering in the cloud.

    That all said, I think almost all the veteran Quicken users on this forum actively stay away from using Quicken Cloud, because we've read too many sad stories of people having problems with duplicate or lost data. Quicken Cloud is great in concept, and seems to work decently much of the time, but it bi-directional syncing can get funky because both your desktop and the Cloud can download data from your financial institutions, and something can get out of sync. I always make sure I have Sync turned off in my Quicken preferences. For that reason, if you have a Mac laptop when you're away from home for long periods, I'd be in favor of moving your Quicken data file there, and using Quicken Mac on the laptop, rather than using the cloud-based interface. (In Preferences, you should both turn off sync and Reset your Quicken Cloud to insure no Cloud data will overwrite any of your local data in the future.)


    While you're away from home, do you have any software which is backing up your laptop? A portable hard drive for Time Machine? An online backup service? Beyond just your use of Quicken, you might want such a backup safety net for everything else you do on your laptop, in case the laptop breaks, dies or is stolen. 

    I have an iMac desktop and a MacBook laptop. I have a hard drive connected to the iMac which is used for Time Machine to create hourly backups. The laptop also runs Time Machine, when it's in the house and on my home WiFi network, connecting through the desktop Mac to create backups on the same hard drive connected to the iMac. So that's my first level of backup.

    My second layer of backup is another external hard drive, which I use to make whole-disk backups of both computers, using SuperDuper! (Carbon Copy Cloner is another, similar utility.) I only hook this drive up periodically, say once every month or two, to update the backups. It doesn't store old versions of files, like Time Machine; it's just a snapshot of my computers at the time I run it. But it's useful because if my hard drive or Mac dies and I get a new Mac, it's relatively fast to restore the entire Mac including software and data, from such a whole disk backup. I used to store this drive in my desk at work, so it would also be off-site, in case of a robbery or calamity at my house. (Actually, I had two such hard drives, and I would rotate them, with one at home and one at work.) After retiring, I didn't have that secondary home for the small hard drive, so that led me to...

    My third layer of backup is iDrive, a cloud backup service I utilize for my off-site secure backups of both machines. Similar to Time Machine, iDrive automatically runs nightly backups of both Macs. That's good because it backs up the laptop wherever I may be traveling, as long as I have Internet service. And it's good because a cloud backup is a safety net in case my home iMac dies, it stolen, or the house burns down. The downside is that if I need to restore my data to a new Mac, iDrive doesn't back up everything (like installed software), and it's painfully slow if you need to restore a large amount of data. (I have about 500 GB of photography and music files.)

    I hope some of that is helpful; maybe more info than you wanted! :) 
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
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