Best practice for syncing one Quicken file between two Macs (work and home)?

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Hey all, sorry if this has been covered before, but I'm a little confused. I have a MacBook as my home computer and a Mac Mini as my work computer (they are in different locations). So far, I've been using iCloud Drive to sync one Quicken file, but it's been a headache.

I've turned Quicken Cloud off, thinking that might fix some of the issues, but I am now reading you're not supposed to share the same file between two computers.

So, my question is: Do I remove the Quicken file from the cloud, host it locally, and use Quicken Cloud to sync between two files? For example, am I using two different quicken files, one on each computer, and then using the cloud to sync?

Answers

  • splasher
    splasher SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
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    I've flagged your post to be moved to a Mac forum category so that the Mac users will see it.

    -splasher using Q continuously since 1996
    - Subscription Quicken - Win11 and QW2013 - Win11
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  • Quicken Anja
    Quicken Anja Moderator mod
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    Hello @sackadelic,

    While it is possible to share a data file on 2 Macs by storing the data file in a location that is synced to a cloud-based drive, doing so is strongly advised against. Instead, we recommend restoring backups to move data between the two Macs.

    The reason is that when data files are stored on external drives such as cloud-based drives, it puts your file at risk of data damage and/or data file corruption. If/when this happens, you will no longer be able to access your data or it can cause you to lose data over time.

    Please, refer to this support article for more information. Although the article does reference DropBox specifically, the content of the article does apply to all cloud-based services, including iCloud.

    As for using the Quicken Cloud; the Quicken Cloud only has the ability to move data between your Desktop file, the Quicken Mobile app, and Quicken on the Web. However, it does not move data between data files on two different computer. For more information about the Quicken Cloud, please refer to this support article.

    I hope this helps!

    -Quicken Anja
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  • Boatnmaniac
    Boatnmaniac SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
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    @Quicken Anja - I have seen many times that it is recommended to restore a backup file when moving a data file between different computers. But I've always been curious as to why it is recommended to do it this way rather than to simply copy the file and move that copied file between the computers. Can you enlighten me on why that is?

    Quicken Classic Premier (US) Subscription: R57.16 on Windows 11

  • Quicken Anja
    Quicken Anja Moderator mod
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    Hello @Boatnmaniac,

    Copied files are fine, except for moving data between computers, we recommend using backups because with copied files, you will need to reestablish all online connections every time. With backups, the online connections should remain in place. Also, this really only applies to Windows since Mac doesn't have a "Copy file" option. While it isn't impossible to copy a file in Mac, it requires additional steps that Windows does not (i.e.: exporting to a QXF file, creating a new file, and importing the QXF file to the new file). Even with those extra steps in Mac, the online connectivity is also not preserved and will need to be reestablished which is something a restored backup does not require.

    Hope this makes sense!

    -Quicken Anja
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  • Jon
    Jon SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
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    @Boatnmaniac A Quicken Mac data file isn’t as single file, it’s actually a folder with a bunch of files that Mac OS makes look like a single file (these are called packages). When moving these package files around, if you do it via something that isn’t a Mac the package status might get lost & it would go back to being just a regular folder. Passing around a compressed file (which is what the backup is) avoids that.

    Also, because of the compression the backup files can be a lot smaller than your regular Quicken file if you don’t have file encryption enabled. My backups are about 1/3 the size of my unencrypted Quicken file (~50 MB vs ~150 MB).

  • Boatnmaniac
    Boatnmaniac SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
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    @Quicken Anja & @Jon - Thanks to both of you for the explanations. Now I better understand why. (And I had no idea that QMac doesn't have a single QDF file like QWin does. Good to know!)

    Quicken Classic Premier (US) Subscription: R57.16 on Windows 11

  • RickO
    RickO SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
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    I will add a little more nerdy explanation… Each file inside the package has access permissions. When you move the package (folder), the file permissions can get out of sync with the userID of the macOS user account to which it's moved. That can result in macOS denying access to one or more of the files in the package, which will be presented to the user by Quicken as a corrupted or inaccessible Quicken file.

    When you move a backup file, you are actually moving a compressed (zipped) copy of the file. When the file is restored (unzipped), the internal permissions are re-assigned and are always compatible with the userID that owns the local location of the unzipped file. If one prefers, you can move a zipped copy of the Quicken file rather than a backup. That is just as safe.

    Quicken Mac Subscription; Quicken Mac user since the early 90s
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    edited May 26
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    @Boatnmaniac Quicken Mac does have a single Quicken data file. Its extension is ".quicken" rather than ".QDF", but it's a single file. However, as @Jon and @RickO have touched on, the .quicken datafile is a Mac file type called a "package", which is like a wrapper around files and folders made to look like a single file for the purpose of moving, backing up, etc. Inside the package, a Quicken Mac data file contains the actual database file and a number of folders of ancillary support files:

    A user normally never sees these files and folders. But the files and folders have access permissions like any other files and folders, and moving them between Macs can cause permissions to get messed up. For this reason, files being moved should be compressed — which puts a different type of wrapper around the file, and prevents files and folders inside from having permissions change.

    @sackadelic A Quicken Mac data file can be compressed and safely moved in either of two ways: creating a .zip file of the Quicken data file (select the file, and do File > Compress in the finder) or using a Quicken backup (.quickenbackup) file. Both are similarly compressed in size and "wrapped" to prevent internal file permission problems.

    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • Boatnmaniac
    Boatnmaniac SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
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    @jacobs - Thanks for the additional clarification.

    Quicken Classic Premier (US) Subscription: R57.16 on Windows 11

This discussion has been closed.