QuickBooks 2012 – Best Practices & Tips for Installing an Upgrade

Best practices and tips for installing a QuickBooks 2012 upgrade on a computer that already has an existing version of QuickBooks in place.

QuickBooks tipsRemember, QuickBooks MUST be installed using a Standard User Account when you are running Windows Vista or Windows 7 AND you use QuickBooks integrated 3rd party programs – see Windows, QuickBooks & 3rd Party Apps – The Struggle Within.

If you have Intuit do the upgrade, DO NOT let the Intuit rep install the new version from within your computer’s Administrator account and DO NOT let them choose the “upgrade” option when they do the installation.  Also, make sure that your computer IT person is aware of the requirements and best practices – many do not.

Make sure that you watch and understand what is being done to your computer – don’t let others simply do “whatever”

Installing/upgrading QuickBooks is a fairly straightforward task, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some things that can trip you up along the way.  Below are some “best practice tips”, based on technical support calls from our customers, that will help you to ensure a smooth installation/upgrade:

PLAN AHEAD and make sure that everything is in order – DO NOT install the new version of QuickBooks 2012 on the day that you need to run payroll, do billing, or perform any intensive task that requires access to your computer/company data file.

  1. Perform some basic file maintenance in your current QuickBooks version – backup your file, rebuild the data, check the current file size and number of database file fragments.
  2. If you use 3rd party integrated applications, make sure that you contact the software developer (if they haven’t already contacted you) about compatibility with and update procedures for working with QuickBooks 2012 – Gold and Silver Developers {those who have applications listed on the Intuit Marketplace} did not have access to a final release copy of QuickBooks 2012 until 9/12/2012; for other developers – well they might have access to the new version today.
  3. Start with the computer that houses your QuickBooks data file – paying close attention to the following screens.
  4. On the “Choose Installation Type” window select the “Custom and Network Option
  5. On the “Custom and Network Options” window, select whatever the current settings are on your computer
  6. On the Upgrade or Change Installation Location window, choose the Change the install location option.  This installs QuickBooks 2012 in a new folder and when the installation is complete you will have BOTH your current {old} QuickBooks version and the new QuickBooks 2012 version installed on the computer.
  7. When the installation is complete, you’ll be prompted to reboot your computer.  After the reboot, start QuickBooks 2012 and open your company file.
  8. Rebuild your data file, check your file size and number of database file fragments.
  9. Install the new version of QuickBooks on each of your other computers; repeating Steps 4, 5, 6, and 7.

Once the new version of QuickBooks is installed and running properly on all of your computers, remove the old version by going to your Control Panel -> choosing Add/Remove Programs {Windows XP} OR Programs & Features {Windows Vista & 7}, find the old version in the list of programs and choose Uninstall or Remove.

We hope that you’ve found these best practices and tips for installing a QuickBooks upgrade to be helpful.  If so please take a moment to leave a comment or share it on your favorite social network.

6 thoughts on “QuickBooks 2012 – Best Practices & Tips for Installing an Upgrade

  • Greg
    That’s exactly the errors/problems I encountered during beta testing! I bet your CD is the R1 Release (while I didn’t have any issues I did see where others did). Try downloading the full version with the latest patch go to https://support.quickbooks.intuit.com/Support/ProductUpdates.aspx look for the button that says get download, choose your product and follow any on-screen instructions. This may solve your problem – just be aware that when you download the program it will be saved to the Administrator desktop (even if you are logged in under the Standard User Account) – from there you should move it to Public Downloads and then run the installer from the Standard User Account. Yes, more frustration – I’ve crabbed since Vista came out about this procedure.
    Hope this helps.

  • Greg Smith

    Thanks for your continued support & sympathy!
    The .NET 4 framework, & Intuit’s extensible for it, generate a dialog box as they install as QB installs. I was a bit surprised at this, as I already had .NET 4 installed, and updated with the latest MS patches.
    Interestingly, after QB had installed, Windows Update ran on the restart and immediately flagged additional critical updates – all of them for .NET 4.
    This leads me to believe that QB’s implementation of the .NET4 framework needed some security patches from Microsoft – which were evidenced by the 10 installed (& date-stamped) updates shown in Control Panel.
    Ah, well. Now all I need to do is find a 4-5 hour “hole” in my day/week’s workflow so I can make yet another attempt at this install. I’ll let you know how it goes…
    Thanks, again, for your help & support!

  • Hi Greg
    It seems that you have a good handle on the situation (in spite of it being an incredible pain). Yes, 2012 requires the .NET 4 Framework and will install it if it is not on your system. I ran into that situation early on during beta testing last year on a virtual machine and encountered numerous problems – but by the time it became a final release and I created another new virtual machine it installed without a hitch.

    I feel your pain in having to clean up all of the fragmented files, directories and registry entries – it’s like looking for that needle in a haystack! Things used to be so much easier to clean up under XP.

    Please let me know how you make out.

  • Greg Smith

    Thanks for the suggestions!
    I observed additional problems, as I surrendered and tried to uninstall QB 2012 (I did succeed).
    Quickbooks, when installed with the “network” option, makes additions to the c:\windows directory – by adding an “\intuit” sub-directory. As I recall, Microsoft specifically designed Win7 to discourage vendors from this practice as it tends to foul-up Windows & other programs.
    By adding this directory, Intuit “breaks” Windows 7 System Restore Utility. WIn7 will try to roll back to the System Restore point (I create one manually prior to ANY software install) – but will fail on the re-boot. It gives an error message that the c:\windows can’t be restored as it’s changed\corrupted. This is obvious once I realized Intuit added their sub-directory to c:\windows.
    This Sys Restore error occurs regardless of the UAC used for the system restore.

    Oh, and I tested Sys Restore after I got QB cleaned out. It works fine, under both UAC’s. So I’m very confident this is Intuit’s arrogance causing the problem with their errant sub-directory.

    To uninstall QB, I followed Intuit’s “advice” – uninstall via Control Panel, then run their “clean _uninstall_install” program. This program is little more than worthless, IMHO as it leaves over 600 files, directories, and registry keys created by the QB install! Intuit does provide a list of directories to delete, but fails to mention the c:\windows\intuit directory. Of course, cleaning up the registry requires either using a utility like CCleaner, or regedit, or a combination of the two. IMO, Intuit’s “cleaner” program is little more than worthless.

    So, now I’m back to where I started – without QB.
    However, to answer your questions, I’m running Windows 7 Ultimate, with ALL the latest patches & updates. Interestingly, when QB installs, it makes numerous additions to the .NET 4 Framework, and adds a .NET4 client extensible framework. After these are installed, a check of Windows Update finds numerous patches to .NET4.- which I installed.

    RE: QB 2012 running under a standard UAC. As you most likely know, Quickbooks default automatically starts 5 QB related processes upon system startup – the most significant is the QBW32.exe – the actual Quickbooks program. Intuit has designed QB to start and run in the background until it’s needed. Then, when the user clicks on the QB icon, the program jumps to life – seeming to load instantly! Magical, except that it’s hogging resources when it’s not needed or wanted.
    Of course, because it starts in the background on system start/login, IF there’s a problem with the setup (like mine) two error messages are immediately displayed: 3371 & the qbregistration.dat error.

    Because QB is uninstalled, I don’t know the R# – the program is QB Pro 2012, on disk, purchased through Amazon. It’s a valid program as I even obtained a validation code (another circus act from Intuit.)

    I will try the install again, and utilize your suggestions and see if I can find success. If not, I may just give up and install under a secondary Admin account – or even give up and call India for their tech support. At least I’m now comfortable about stripping it all out, even if it does waste a couple of hours.

    Thanks, again, for your thoughts and suggestions.

  • Greg
    I’m so sorry that you ran into problems – we’ve had hundreds of customers run through this same procedure (since Vista first came out) and I’ve not heard anything like this.

    Unfortunately my advice is going to be limited, because I don’t have access to your computer……but here goes.

    First thing to do is make sure that you have all the Microsoft updates, patches and maintenance releases installed, you may want to do this under the new Admin account as I’ve seen some of the Microsoft updates only install from the Admin account (another oddity.)

    One thing that confuses me though – is that you indicate if you go into the new Admin account, you can see and work with QuickBooks without an issue. Because QuickBooks is already installed on the computer you do not need to install it again through the now Standard UAC.

    Logged into the Standard UAC, click the Start button -> All Programs -> look for QuickBooks here (it should be). Try starting it and see what happens….

    If that doesn’t work and results in an error message – reboot, login under the Admin account, go to Control Panel -> Programs & Features -> and Repair QuickBooks – you might also want to try the repair under the Standard account as well or perhaps even first.

    If you still encounter problems, please post back with the following information:

    • Windows version
    • QuickBooks Version including R?P info
    • PG Smith

      Sadly, this procedure did not work.
      I carefully adhered to creating a new Admin UAC per your suggestions in your blog post “Quickbooks & 3rd party apps….” I then changed my former Admin account to a Standard UAC. I even re-booted between each account modification.
      Yet, when I install QB Pro 2012 under the Standard UAC QB fails to run. I immediately get the 3371 Error about bad license data – which is shortly followed by an error with qbregistration.dat

      Of course, if I log into the newly created (and ONLY) Admin account – QuickBooks runs fine. So the error codes shown under the Standard UAC are related SOLELY to the Standard UAC. This is incredibly puzzling given that QB was installed under that one & only Standard UAC.

      Naturally, the error message links to Intuit are of no help. QB blames Microsoft (really???) and advises rebuilding MXSML and the qbregistration.dat file. Which on its face, is bad advice as both files work fine under the Admin Account.

      Any advice would be welcome, as I do not look forward to undoing the UAC changes, uninstalling QB, and then cleaning up the foul mess QB leaves behind – in files, directories and the registry – as this must be done by hand.

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