Quicken for Mac OS 10:15:7: "Uncategorized" has replaced completed category entries.

"Uncategorized" has appeared suddenly, replacing many/most previously-categorized transactions of most accounts dating back to pre-1999. How could this happen? Is there a solution?

Answers

  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    Could you indicate what version of Quicken you're using?

    When did you notice this change in old categories? Do you maintain backups of your Quicken data file so you can explore whether you have a version prior to whatever went wrong?
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • 206Giff
    206Giff Member
    Using Q Premier v6.2.1. I first noticed numerous "uncategorized" changes about July 9. Yes, I keep the last 12 Q Auto BU's. Additionally, I have auto Time Machine BU's on an external drive. Q Support cautioned about opening/restoring from BU files b/c of potential corruptions becoming systemic. Do you agree? Can I explore the Time Machine BU's with safety? Thanks for your help, Giff
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    When working with backups, either the automatic ones from Quicken or the ones via Time Machine, always make a copy of a backup file before opening it; that way, if something goes wrong, you have preserved the original backup to try something different in the future.

    Let's review the possibilities... One is that something genuinely corrupted your data file. While nothing is impossible, this would be highly unusual. I'm not aware of any confirmed reports of database corruption such as this.

    Another is some form of "operator error" -- something you did which inadvertently caused these changes. For instance, you could hav e deleted some categories which were previously used. Quicken tries to warn to you prevent this, but it's a possibility. Another is that when editing a transaction, you didn't see Quicken offering to change all existing matching transactions and allowed it to do so. But it seems unlikely you would have changed something to "uncategorized".

    So nothing seems likely to result in what you're describing. Of course, every mystery has unlikely solutions, one of which ends up being true. ;)

    When you review you current category list, are there any categories missing which you feel confident had been used for any transactions. Or do all the categories appear to be present, and just the transactions have changed to uncategorized? Are the uncategorized transactions for a few Payees, or a wide swath of Payees?

    In any case, it seems like going to a backup is likely your only way to repair the damage which has been done. As I said, opening a copy of a backup can't do any harm; if you find it contains the same damage, you just close it and discard it and move on to a different file.

    My approach would be to pick a backup from a month or several weeks ago, perhaps from Time Machine. Start by renaming your current (damaged) data file so it won't be overwritten by restoring any backup. Then pick a Time Machine backup and restore it. Make a copy. Open the copy. If everything appears good, then you can repeat th process with a newer backup; if the damage is in the backup you opened, you can move to an older backup. Hopefully you eventually find the most recent backup which has no signs of damage. Make a copy of it, and then try to download transactions and enter other things which have happened since that backup, keeping a close eye on the categories of your transactions. (To do that, I'd create and print or save as a PDF a Category Summary by Year report; this shows your category breakdown for every year since you began using Quicken. you can easily compare parts of this report among different backup files you open to see if there are changes in the past.)

    P.S. You indicate you talked to Quicken Support, and they recommended caution in opening backup files. So did they offer any proactive approach to fixing your problem?


    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • 206Giff
    206Giff Member
    Thank you SuperUser Jacobs, for your first-rate analysis and help. First lesson learned: Always make a BU copy before opening a new Q file. Yes! And agreed: Probability of operator error is more likely than is the slight possibility of database corruption. Further agreed: Use caution around quick change and renaming rules; they've brought me down before. Current categories list: Nothing seems missing nor amiss. The "uncategorized" appear randomly among accounts and payees dating back to mid-nineties.

    Approach: Am relieved to know I can open BU files with impunity on both internal drive and external drive via Time Machine. I'll start there. Can I/should I really just discard any file that contains the "uncategorized" damage before moving on to a different file? Any purpose served in saving them to a unique folder?

    Did Quicken Support offer proactive support? They tried. They spent 1.5 hrs helping me find an answer or corrective process. But no conclusion other than that I may have to rebuild from scratch into a totally new file. I gave them 5 stars for efforts but with a dozen banking and CC files dating back 25 years, this in not a viable option. Meanwhile my desktop and BU folders are littered with test and rejected files. I'm unsure of how to safely clean house. Is there a specific protocol for deleting irrelevant files? Or can I just trash them?

    Thanks again, 206Giff
  • 206Giff
    206Giff Member
    Further question: How to make a copy of my Time-Machined BU on external drive before opening it? Tried, but if it's possible, it's not apparent HOW.
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    You can simply trash files — both .backup and .quicken — which you know you don't need. Just proceed carefully so you don't throw out something you might need. If you're not completely sure what's what right now, consider creating a folder on your Desktop for "Quicken stuff" and dump all the files in there until you get this resolved and know you can safely get rid of everything.

    206Giff said:
    Further question: How to make a copy of my Time-Machined BU on external drive before opening it? Tried, but if it's possible, it's not apparent HOW.
    It's a good question. The approach I used to use was to rename my current file first, then restore the Time Machine file, os they'd have different names. Then I discovered that if you Control-click on the file in Time machine, there's an option to replace the exiting file or restore the backup without overwriting the existing file. Either approach should work. Since you're dealing with various copies of the same Quicken file, I think you'd want to use some naming to indicate the date and source of the file. For instance, if you file is "ABC Finances", you might want to use naming like "ABC Finances 2021-06-01 TM" (with "TM" indicating you pulled it from Time Machine) and "ABC Finances 2021-06-15 QB" (with "QB indicating you pulled it from a Quicken-generated backup). Do whatever makes sense to you; the goal is just to make sure you keep them straight so you know which file is which.

    I would not throw out any of the original backup files, even if you've tested any found they contain the uncategorized problem, until you get this incident resolved and have a working file from which you're going to move forward. 


    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • 206Giff
    206Giff Member
    Thank you SuperUser Jacobs, for your first-rate analysis and help. First lesson learned: Always make a BU copy before opening a new Q file. Yes! And agreed: Probability of operator error is more likely than is the slight possibility of database corruption. Further agreed: Use caution around quick change and renaming rules; they've brought me down before. Current categories list: Nothing seems missing nor amiss. The "uncategorized" appear randomly among accounts and payees dating back to mid-nineties.

    Approach: Am relieved to know I can open BU files with impunity on both internal drive and external drive via Time Machine. I'll start there. Can I/should I really just discard any file that contains the "uncategorized" damage before moving on to a different file? Any purpose served in saving them to a unique folder?

    Did Quicken Support offer proactive support? They tried. They spent 1.5 hrs helping me find an answer or corrective process. But no conclusion other than that I may have to rebuild from scratch into a totally new file. I gave them 5 stars for efforts. Meanwhile my desktop and BU folders are littered with test and rejected files. I'm unsure of how to clean house.

    Thanks again, Giff
  • 206Giff
    206Giff Member
    Am having success at paring down saved Q files to those with fewest "uncategorized" entries. I'd like to combine the best from each file into one final rebuilt Q file. Question: Is there a work-around to make a batch transaction transfer from one file to another?