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Best Practices – Upgrading to a new version of QuickBooks

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Whether you plan to do the QuickBooks installation and/or upgrade yourself or hire an IT person to do it for you, below is a list of “QuickBooks Upgrade Best Practices Tips” to help you through the process.

Some might consider these instruction to be an “overkill”; but it will allow you to KEEP your current version of QuickBooks while running tests in the new version – before you make the final commitment to upgrade. It will also alert you to any potential hardware issues that you might encounter. I have installed QuickBooks 2010 on 4 different computers and am having issues with my Vista SP2 Dell Vostro laptop.

Read all of the information about the installation/upgrade procedure that you can get your hands on to make sure that you choose the best installation process for your situation – procedures will vary if you use QuickBooks on a single computer, a network, or via Terminal Services, and that your computers are “beefy” enough to run the new version of QuickBooks. (*see below for requirements)

  • DO NOT attempt to do the install/upgrade on a day that you run payroll, billing, or know that you are extremely busy – that is just asking for trouble!
  • If you use 3rd party QuickBooks integrated software:
  1. CONTACT the company that produces them – if they haven’t contacted you already – and ASK about compatibility updates and/or any special instructions that you should be aware in order to continue using the product(s). We’ve all had a very tight time frame to test/ensure that our software works as expected with the QuickBooks 2010.
  2. As a general rule; if you use 3rd party QuickBooks integrated software, remove them from the Integrated Applications Preference (Edit menu -> Preferences -> Integrated Applications -> Company Preferences tab -> highlight each application individually and choose Remove) – we’ve seen numerous instances where existing integrated application permissions do not upgrade correctly.
  3. Download and install any QuickBooks integrated software updates and follow the instructions provided by the software developer for updating and reintegrating your 3rd party software with QuickBooks.
  • Rebuild your QuickBooks data file using the existing version of QuickBooks that you have installed to make sure that there are no errors within the data file that could prevent your ability to upgrade. (From the QuickBooks File menu -> Utilities -> Rebuild Data). NOTE: Choose the Rebuild Data function rather than the Verify Data option; as the Rebuild function is more thorough and reliable.
  • BACKUP your data at least twice – do not rely on the backup that you will be forced to make during the rebuild function.
  • Start with the computer that will host the QuickBooks data file and install the new version of QuickBooks there; this could be the server, if you are in a networked environment.
  • During the installation process for Quickbooks 2010

at the “Choose Installation Type” window select the Custom & Network option

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from the “Upgrade or Change Installation Location” window select the “Change the installation location” option – this will allow you to keep your EXISTING version of QuickBooks and install the new version so you can run some test data through the new version before making the move final.

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  • After you have installed QuickBooks – Restore one of your backups, saving the QBW file to a new location with a new name if at all possible.
  • Once the file has loaded, go to the Company menu -> Company Information and change the company name temporarily to something like Converted.
  • Rebuild the file AFTER it is restored.
  • Run reports from both year versions of QuickBooks and compare them – Profit & Loss Reports, Balance Sheet, Open Receivable, Open Payables, etc.
  • Take a bit of time and enter the same data in both year versions just to be sure everything is working as you expect.
  • When you are happy with the performance of the new version decide WHICH QuickBooks file contains the most complete and update to date information (delete the other one) – uninstall the old version of QuickBooks and open the correct QB data file.

Hardware & Operating System Requirements as of 9/29/09:
It has been our experience for the best performance ALWAYS make sure that your computer exceeds the RECOMMENDED Requirements listed by Intuit.

Windows Operating Systems

  • Windows XP – SP2 or higher
  • Windows Vista – all editions, with UAC (User Account Control) enabled
  • Windows Server 2003
  • Windows Server 2008

Hardware/Computer Requirements

  • 2.4 GHz Pentium 4 processor for use with Pro/Premier OR 2.8 GHz Pentium 4 processor for use with Enterprise
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 1 GB of disk space with additional space for the data files
  • 4x CD-ROM drive for CD installs
  • 1024 x 768 screen resolution

Disk Space required for Additional Software

  • 232 MB for Microsoft .NET 3.5 Runtime, provided on the QuickBooks Installation CD
  • Google Desktop Search (an in-QuickBooks search feature) – space requirements will depend on the size of the QB company data file and is not unusual for it to need as much as 1 GB

Minimum network requirements

  • 100 Mbps network card
  • 100 Mbps switch or router
  • 40 Mbps network bandwidth

RAM requirements for Microsoft Terminal Services

  • 5 users requires 2-3 GB
  • 10 users requires 3-4 GB
  • 15 users requires 4-6 GB
  • 20 users requires 6-8 GB

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About Your Host:

Nancy Smyth, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Nancy Smyth, Sunburst Software Solutions, Inc.
QuickBooks Construction & Payroll Expert


I've been using and supporting QuickBooks products since the early 1990's. I've worked with thousands of contractors, assisting them with QuickBooks setup, Certified Payroll Reporting requirements, AIA Billing and Weighted-Average Overtime.


QuickBooks is a powerful product, but learning how to use it in your construction business can be difficult. I hope you find resources available here to be helpful.

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