Quicken Data File Size

I have been using Quicken for a long time and like to keep my historical transaction record.  My file size has been getting really large.  Is there any way to strip out some of the data but maintain account entries.  For example, can I save monthly security prices and not daily ones?

Comments

  • Tom YoungTom Young SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2018
    I'm quite sure that some of our SuperUsers that have a good idea how Quicken works "under the hood" could come up with a way to do what you are suggesting, but I have a feeling that simple daily quotes isn't a material contributor to file size.  There have been suggestions that "memorized payees" can contribute to file bloat, and paring down that list is something you can do fairly easily.  You can even tell Quicken to only keep memorized payees for a small number of months - 6 or 7 say - and Quicken will winnow down that list for you.

    I have transactions that go back to my early days of "DOS" Quicken and, generally, my file is fairly responsive even though it reports its size at 150453K.  (Click {Ctrl}-About Quicken simultaneously.)  One thing to try is to click on File > File Operations > Copy... and then use the copy as your active file.  That method is considered a way to "straight up" a Quicken file, eliminating some of the garbage that may have accumulated in the data base.
  • Arctic Hare (H&B 2019 Canadian)Arctic Hare (H&B 2019 Canadian) SuperUser ✭✭✭
    edited December 2018
    @Goodloe: I concur with @Tom's suggestion regarding File Copy and I would augment that with a File Validate after the copy.

    You didn't indicate why you were concerned with file size. Is Quicken sluggish? Are you running out of disk space? Is the file too big to back up?

    How big is your QDF file?
  • Rich_MRich_M SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 22
    The biggest contributor to a large file size IMO are account and transaction attachments.  I used to use this feature in versions where the attachments were stored in separate folders, but once Quicken started embedding attachments within the data file I stopped using it.
    Quicken 2017 Premier - Windows 10
  • Arctic Hare (H&B 2019 Canadian)Arctic Hare (H&B 2019 Canadian) SuperUser ✭✭✭
    edited December 2018
    Rich M said:

    The biggest contributor to a large file size IMO are account and transaction attachments.  I used to use this feature in versions where the attachments were stored in separate folders, but once Quicken started embedding attachments within the data file I stopped using it.

    I continue to add attachments in Quicken because, although it bloats the apparent data file size, I haven't noticed any impact on program performance due to attachments. Note: the attachments are not stored in the actual data file. The QDF is a zip file that contains several files, one of which, not the data file, contains the attachments... at least that is my understanding.
  • Goodloe WhiteGoodloe White Member
    edited December 2018

    My file is 135MB.  It's more of an issue when trying to back-up something of that size.  I'm going to try the "file copy" operation to see how that goes.  Thank you everyone for your suggestions.
  • Arctic Hare (H&B 2019 Canadian)Arctic Hare (H&B 2019 Canadian) SuperUser ✭✭✭
    edited December 2018


    My file is 135MB.  It's more of an issue when trying to back-up something of that size.  I'm going to try the "file copy" operation to see how that goes.  Thank you everyone for your suggestions.

    @Goodloe: that is not a large Quicken file. Lots of people have Q files that are ten times that size. These days, there are ready means to backup much, much, much larger files. If I were you, I would re-evaluate your backup approach and not invest too much time into attempting to shrink your Q file. Doing the File_Copy occasionally is a good practice, but I would reassess the backup approach as well.
  • Rich_MRich_M SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2018
    Rich M said:

    The biggest contributor to a large file size IMO are account and transaction attachments.  I used to use this feature in versions where the attachments were stored in separate folders, but once Quicken started embedding attachments within the data file I stopped using it.

    Arctic Hare: I've heard that before and would agree it shouldn't affect performance except for the time it takes to zip/unzip the files.  That also makes me wonder what those several files are and if Quicken is unzipping them into some temporary or hidden directory when you open a data file.

    Like Goodloe White my issue with it is the way it impacts the backup size and the amount of storage you need to hold them.
    Quicken 2017 Premier - Windows 10
  • Arctic Hare (H&B 2019 Canadian)Arctic Hare (H&B 2019 Canadian) SuperUser ✭✭✭
    edited December 2018
    Rich M said:

    The biggest contributor to a large file size IMO are account and transaction attachments.  I used to use this feature in versions where the attachments were stored in separate folders, but once Quicken started embedding attachments within the data file I stopped using it.

    To put this in perspective, a terabyte backup drive can be bought for $50 these days. You could fit almost 7,500 unique backup copies of that file on the $50 backup drive.

    FWIW: my data file is much larger than 135 MB, and I haven't observed any performance issues.

    If you are curious, you can file the QDF file structure using a zip tool.
  • Goodloe WhiteGoodloe White Member
    edited December 2018
    Thank you for all your input.
  • Rich_MRich_M SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2018
    Rich M said:

    The biggest contributor to a large file size IMO are account and transaction attachments.  I used to use this feature in versions where the attachments were stored in separate folders, but once Quicken started embedding attachments within the data file I stopped using it.

    Arctic Hare: Agreed, but I made the decision to forego attachments a very long time ago when that was not true.  I keep all my account level statements and ebills organized in my documents folder separate from Quicken out of habit.  The truth is, I really don't need to do this anymore, because it's all available online and I rarely need to look at anything I have archived anyway. Never had any interest in keeping transaction level attachments, that's way more detail than I care have.
    Quicken 2017 Premier - Windows 10
  • QPWQPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2018
    Rich M said:

    The biggest contributor to a large file size IMO are account and transaction attachments.  I used to use this feature in versions where the attachments were stored in separate folders, but once Quicken started embedding attachments within the data file I stopped using it.

    That also makes me wonder what those several files are and if Quicken is
    unzipping them into some temporary or hidden directory when you open a
    data file.
    They are unzipped to your Windows temporary folder.
    But they are also stored there in Windows' encrypted file system.

    Your account can read them, but no other account can.
  • QPWQPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited January 22
    One thing people can do to get a handle on what is taking up the space is by using 7-Zip (it is free to download/use).

    7-Zip can open the QDF file, which is in fact a compressed file containing all the old files that were in Quicken in 2009 and below.

    A while ago I stripped out all of my attachments.  I really wasn't using them, and my data file had grown to 500MB so you won't see any attachments below, but if you do have them they will in a folder called Attach.  Note in the newest version of Quicken there is an option in the copy that allows you not to copy the attachments.



    The .QPH is the security prices.
  • Rich_MRich_M SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2018
    Rich M said:

    The biggest contributor to a large file size IMO are account and transaction attachments.  I used to use this feature in versions where the attachments were stored in separate folders, but once Quicken started embedding attachments within the data file I stopped using it.

    QPW: Wasn't able to find anything in Windows\Temp, is that where I should be looking?
    Quicken 2017 Premier - Windows 10
  • QPWQPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2018
    On the prices and pruning them.  The big problem would be if you want to trim them down it would be a lot of work to do it manually.  But if you can accept what Quicken would provide then you can use the option under Validate & Repair (Delete and rebuild).

    What you would get in this case is I believe two months of daily, then it switches weekly I think for about a year, and then monthly, but no more than 5 years total.
  • Rich_MRich_M SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2018
    QPW said:

    One thing people can do to get a handle on what is taking up the space is by using 7-Zip (it is free to download/use).

    7-Zip can open the QDF file, which is in fact a compressed file containing all the old files that were in Quicken in 2009 and below.

    A while ago I stripped out all of my attachments.  I really wasn't using them, and my data file had grown to 500MB so you won't see any attachments below, but if you do have them they will in a folder called Attach.  Note in the newest version of Quicken there is an option in the copy that allows you not to copy the attachments.



    The .QPH is the security prices.

    QPW:  Well this was enlightening, I still have transaction level attachments, obviously from a very long time ago.  All are images of receipts and checks.  My data file isn't that large, but the attachments make up almost 20% of it.  I also noticed that I cannot view any of the images in the Attach folder, so I don't know which transactions they're associated with.

    How did you go about stripping out the attachments?
    Quicken 2017 Premier - Windows 10
  • QPWQPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2018
    QPW said:

    One thing people can do to get a handle on what is taking up the space is by using 7-Zip (it is free to download/use).

    7-Zip can open the QDF file, which is in fact a compressed file containing all the old files that were in Quicken in 2009 and below.

    A while ago I stripped out all of my attachments.  I really wasn't using them, and my data file had grown to 500MB so you won't see any attachments below, but if you do have them they will in a folder called Attach.  Note in the newest version of Quicken there is an option in the copy that allows you not to copy the attachments.



    The .QPH is the security prices.

    I also noticed that I cannot view any of the images in the Attach folder
    You can't view them because they are encrypted.

    If you are using the latest version of Quicken they have added this:

    File -> File Operations -> Copy...
    image

    But in fact that isn't how I first stripped out my attachments.

    And it brings up something I forgot to mention, don't try to use 7-Zip make changes to the QDF file, it won't work.

    The way I stripped out my attachments is by using 7-Zip and extracting all the file except the Attach folder, and then used a trick to put them back together.

    If you rename those files from .IDX to MyFile.IDX, and the same for all the other files.
    And then open the MyFile.QDF in Quicken it will think it is an older data file, and it will put them back into one compressed QDF file.

    The one drawback of this method is that the links in Quicken will not go away, and if you click on them you will get an error, and you will also get a warning during a file copy that it can copy the attachments.

    With this new feature in copy though you can clean that up.

    (and people say they aren't improving Quicken at all. :-)  )
  • QPWQPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2018
    QPW said:

    One thing people can do to get a handle on what is taking up the space is by using 7-Zip (it is free to download/use).

    7-Zip can open the QDF file, which is in fact a compressed file containing all the old files that were in Quicken in 2009 and below.

    A while ago I stripped out all of my attachments.  I really wasn't using them, and my data file had grown to 500MB so you won't see any attachments below, but if you do have them they will in a folder called Attach.  Note in the newest version of Quicken there is an option in the copy that allows you not to copy the attachments.



    The .QPH is the security prices.

    P.S. Just in case someone sees this and is wondering how they would keep the Attach folder.

    You would have to of course extract the Attach folder, and then you have to put all the folders under it under a folder named the same as above.

    Like:

    Attach\MyFile\...
    MyFile.IDX
    MyFile.QIF
    ...
  • q_lurkerq_lurker SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2018
    QPW said:

    On the prices and pruning them.  The big problem would be if you want to trim them down it would be a lot of work to do it manually.  But if you can accept what Quicken would provide then you can use the option under Validate & Repair (Delete and rebuild).

    What you would get in this case is I believe two months of daily, then it switches weekly I think for about a year, and then monthly, but no more than 5 years total.

    If you have "private" securities (unit-trust 401k holdings), bonds, or need prices for securities that no longer exist (been acquired), those types of situations will not get their price history rebuilt via the delete and rebuild sequence.  A user might want or need those prices if they are trying to track historical net worth of investment performance.  

    I tend to discourage the "delete price history" option unless it definitively cures a known problem in a specific users datafile.  In such a case, there can be other ways to recover more of the deleted prices, if necessary.
  • QPWQPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2018
    QPW said:

    On the prices and pruning them.  The big problem would be if you want to trim them down it would be a lot of work to do it manually.  But if you can accept what Quicken would provide then you can use the option under Validate & Repair (Delete and rebuild).

    What you would get in this case is I believe two months of daily, then it switches weekly I think for about a year, and then monthly, but no more than 5 years total.

    Good point.
  • Rich_MRich_M SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2018
    QPW said:

    One thing people can do to get a handle on what is taking up the space is by using 7-Zip (it is free to download/use).

    7-Zip can open the QDF file, which is in fact a compressed file containing all the old files that were in Quicken in 2009 and below.

    A while ago I stripped out all of my attachments.  I really wasn't using them, and my data file had grown to 500MB so you won't see any attachments below, but if you do have them they will in a folder called Attach.  Note in the newest version of Quicken there is an option in the copy that allows you not to copy the attachments.



    The .QPH is the security prices.

    QPW:  Well that is a very clever solution you came up with.  However, I did foresee that there might be some unwanted side effects to doing this and now you've told me what they are.

    I was only trying out these transaction level attachments for a short period of time, they're all in my checking register.  From using the 7-Zip utility I learned I have precisely 131 of them.  Afterwards I realized I could just sort my register by attachments to locate and delete all of them manually, if I really want to be anal about it.

    My data file is very small, only 72k, including the attachments, so I think I'm better off leaving well enough alone.

    That was a very interesting discussion, thanks!
    Quicken 2017 Premier - Windows 10
  • Rich_MRich_M SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2018
    QPW said:

    One thing people can do to get a handle on what is taking up the space is by using 7-Zip (it is free to download/use).

    7-Zip can open the QDF file, which is in fact a compressed file containing all the old files that were in Quicken in 2009 and below.

    A while ago I stripped out all of my attachments.  I really wasn't using them, and my data file had grown to 500MB so you won't see any attachments below, but if you do have them they will in a folder called Attach.  Note in the newest version of Quicken there is an option in the copy that allows you not to copy the attachments.



    The .QPH is the security prices.

    QPW: So after going this far with this exercise, I started deleting my attachments in Quicken manually to see how time consuming it is.  I was gonna call it quits, but then I got a rhythm going and before I knew it I was done.  I inspected my data file with 7-Zip afterwards and sure enough the attachments folder was gone.

    It was necessary to do a file operations copy to reclaim all the space, now my data file is down to a mere 58k.

    For someone with a large number of attachments to delete, that new Copy File option you pointed out, might be the one reason to upgrade.
    Quicken 2017 Premier - Windows 10
  • QPWQPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2018
    QPW said:

    One thing people can do to get a handle on what is taking up the space is by using 7-Zip (it is free to download/use).

    7-Zip can open the QDF file, which is in fact a compressed file containing all the old files that were in Quicken in 2009 and below.

    A while ago I stripped out all of my attachments.  I really wasn't using them, and my data file had grown to 500MB so you won't see any attachments below, but if you do have them they will in a folder called Attach.  Note in the newest version of Quicken there is an option in the copy that allows you not to copy the attachments.



    The .QPH is the security prices.

    I think you mean 58MB.  :-)
    A new empty data file is more than 58KB.
  • Rich_MRich_M SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2018
    QPW said:

    One thing people can do to get a handle on what is taking up the space is by using 7-Zip (it is free to download/use).

    7-Zip can open the QDF file, which is in fact a compressed file containing all the old files that were in Quicken in 2009 and below.

    A while ago I stripped out all of my attachments.  I really wasn't using them, and my data file had grown to 500MB so you won't see any attachments below, but if you do have them they will in a folder called Attach.  Note in the newest version of Quicken there is an option in the copy that allows you not to copy the attachments.



    The .QPH is the security prices.

    QPW: Oops ... Absolutely!
    Quicken 2017 Premier - Windows 10
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