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Back up a company data file to a USB flash drive, Zip disk, or network folder


You can back up a QuickBooks Desktop company data file to a disk drive, a local or shared drive, or online.

The QuickBooks Desktop backup process compresses data. Unless you rename it, the backup file will have the same filename as the company data file, but the file extension will be .qbb instead of .qbw. A backup file must be restored before it can be opened.

You need to be in single-user mode to use the backup feature. 

Make sure that you have inserted any external backup media into the appropriate drive.

For best results when backing up to removable media, Intuit recommends that you back up to your local hard drive first, and then copy the file to your removable media or device. This occurs by default when you back up to a CD drive because QuickBooks Desktop uses Microsoft Windows functionality, which saves the file in a local folder called CD Burning, and then copies it to the CD. When backing up to any other device such as a portable hard drive or USB flash drive, you should save the backup file to your Windows desktop or other folder on your hard drive first, and then copy the backup file to the storage device.

Detailed Instructions
  1. Go to the File menu, and select Save Copy or Backup... This will open the backup wizard.
  2. Select Backup copy in the Save Copy or Backup window. Click Next.
  3. Select Local backup.
  4. If you haven't already done so, click Options to set your backup defaults and choose the location where you want to save your backups. Click OK.
  5. Click Next, click Save it now, and then click Next.
  6. Click Save to use this location and start the backup.
    • QuickBooks Desktop verifies the integrity of your company file based on the backup defaults you set, temporarily closes your company file, and then creates the backup.
  7. When the backup is complete, QuickBooks Desktop displays a message showing the location of the backup file. Click OK.

If you are backing up to a disk that already contains a file with the same name, the following message will appear: The backup file you chose already exists. Do you want to replace it? Your options are Yes or No:

Intuit does not recommend writing over existing backups. It is best to keep multiple backups of the company file.

If additional disks are needed, QuickBooks Desktop will prompt you when it is time to insert the next disk.

Year-end backups

In addition to your regular backup routine, Intuit recommends that you make two separate year-end backup copies of your data using reliable backup media (for example, brand-new disks or CDs), and label them with the year. Keep these year-end backups separate from your daily backup media and protect them from heat, magnets, and other hazards (as with all backup media). Intuit recommends keeping one year-end backup copy at your place of business, and storing the other off-site.

Back up a company data file online

  1. Select the QuickBooks Desktop File menu, and select Save Copy or Backup... This will open the backup wizard.
  2. Select Backup copy in the Save Copy or Backup window. Click Next.
  3. Select Online backup.
  4. (Optional) Click Options to set your backup defaults, such as reminders and verification levels.
  5. Click Next. The company file closes and QuickBooks Desktop verifies the data before opening the Online Backup application.Use the Online Backup application to back up your company file.
If you schedule backups through this service, be sure to leave your computer on, close the company file, and check that your Internet connection is active.
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