Warning Signs: Is Your QuickBooks File Getting Too Big?
Have you ever had a dream where you desperately needed to run fast (you’re being chased by Sasquatch, say) but your feet just won’t go? Your feet can only go in slow motion?
Performance problems in QuickBooks are one warning sign that your QuickBooks data file is probably getting too big. (How big is too big? We’ll look at that in a minute.)
Another warning sign is when you get random errors or crashes in QuickBooks. It doesn’t crash ALL the time, and you can’t reproduce the problem whenever you want (as if you want to!) But QuickBooks sometimes flakes out and crashes. This is probably related to the file being oversized.
Or maybe there IS one particular process that QuickBooks consistently fails on (backing up, verifying, rebuilding, and upgrading are the most common.) Since we troubleshoot these kinds of database problems all the time, we see lots of QuickBooks data files, and many of the files with these kinds of problems happen to be very large files. In my opinion, that’s no coincidence.
Here are some comments QuickBooks users have made to us about their large files:
- “Speed has degraded over the years and causes systems to lock up.”
- “slow due to too much data”
- “slowness, occasional crashes”
- “Generally slow but the file is so huge that when we try to do a tax report it crashes every time”
- “Cannot upgrade because file size is so big”
- “Data file is really big, very large number of DB file fragments, cash reports take a LONG time to run, some reports won’t export to excel at all”
So, how big is too big?
Some say that 100MB is the effective upper limit for QuickBooks Pro or Premier files. I don’t agree with that; we talk to people with files in the 100-200MB range all the time who are doing alright.
Really, the proof is in the pudding. If QuickBooks is performing well for you – consistently fast and stable – then your file size is probably fine. Especially if it’s under 250MB. If it’s not performing well, then there’s a good chance it’s getting as unhealthy as that poor guy in the “Supersize Me” video.
Enterprise Series is designed for more simultaneous users, more transactions, bigger lists, and larger files. How big is too big for Enterprise? Again, it’s not a hard line, and the most important issue is how well it is performing. I’d say if the file is bigger than 750MB, or is running into performance/stability issues, then you might look at options to bring the file size down.
What options? What can be done if my file is showing warning signs?
You can run the Cleanup command in QuickBooks (aka Archive/Condense). This will bring the file size down some, but in many cases not enough to make a difference.
We can supercondense the file, which can reduce its size by 50%.
Or you (or us, or others) can recreate your file from scratch, creating a blank new file and bringing selective information from the old file into the new file. File size reduction of 90% is common here.
The main thing is this: If the performance or stability of your file is becoming suspect, it is good to be proactive and take steps to address the problem sooner rather than later. “Later” in that scenario often becomes “crisis”.
About the author: Shannon Tucker is an accounting database specialist and the President of AccountingUsers, Inc. You can reach him at 719-395-8750 or firstname.lastname@example.org