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Qbox: QuickBooks Primer


In this whitepaper dedicated to QuickBooks desktop, we have attempted to explain some of the most common features Qbox customers use. These were collected from the Intuit forum discussions and presented here just for your convenience.

QuickBooks Database Files

When a company is created in QuickBooks, it creates multiple database files for the company, with different file extensions:

File Extension Description
QBW QuickBooks working file – this is the main Company data file that stores all company accounts and transactions.
TLG Transaction log file – this file contains logs of transactions entered in the QuickBooks Company. Both the QBW and TLG files are synced and shared by Qbox in lock-step. TLG file is used by the QuickBooks backup operation to correct any errors that may be present in the QBW file.
DSN, LGB, ND These are some of the database support files that QuickBooks creates. These files are not synced by Qbox as these are used on local systems only.
QBB QuickBooks backup file is created by the QuickBooks backup operation. QBB file is not synced by Qbox.
QBA Accountants copy working file – this is created when an Accountant’s copy is created. Qbox will not sync the QBA file.

QuickBooks database files are specific to a year – meaning they can only be opened by the QuickBooks application released in the same year. Also, QuickBooks Enterprise version is not compatible with the other versions of QuickBooks: Pro, Premier, or Accountants versions. Users sharing the QuickBooks Company files using Qbox need to have the same year of QuickBooks application installed on their computers.

QuickBooks Backup

QuickBooks has an integrated backup function that can be initiated from the File menu. QuickBooks creates a file with extension QBB, which can be saved in any directory. During the backup operation, QuickBooks does another important task: it analyzes the main Company QBW file for errors and uses the information in the TLG file to correct any errors. Once complete, it reduces the TLG file size. This error correction is done only when the Company file is backed up in single-user mode and saved on a local drive. If the QuickBooks backup operation is not performed periodically, the TLG file will keep increasing in size and may become too large, impeding performance and ability to recover from errors. Sometimes the Company file may have to be ‘rebuilt’ if the TLG file has become too big.

Qbox can be used as a ‘backup’ to restore files in case of computer failures. The file available for restore is only as recent as the last sync. Unlike other backup resources, Qbox will sync the files to the cloud only when the file is closed, so to use Qbox as a backup, please make sure that the file is synced at least once a day. In addition, please make a QuickBooks backup periodically for the reasons stated above.

QuickBooks Multi-User Configuration

QuickBooks desktop application includes support for both single-user and multi-user configurations. The single-user configuration is meant for one user to work on the Company file, which can be located on a local drive, server, or network drive. In the multi-user configuration, multiple users can work on the same Company file concurrently. Each user has a separate instance of QuickBooks desktop application installed on their workstation. The Company file itself needs to be located on a server accessible to the users from each workstation. The server can be another Windows computer, where the QuickBooks database manager will run. If a server is not available, the Company file can be located on one of the user’s computers (peer computer) and the other users can access the file over the network. The QuickBooks database manager will run on the user’s computer ‘hosting’ the Company file.

A network drive (called Network Attached Storage or NAS) should not be used to host the multi-user Company file. QuickBooks will not work reliably and may give H505 or other errors. This is because the QuickBooks database manager needs to run on the same computer hosting the Company file.

Qbox MU can be used if users in one of the shared locations need to use QuickBooks in multi-user configuration. The Qbox folder containing the Company file can be hosted on a server. It can also be hosted on a peer computer by using the Windows drive mapping technique to emulate a network drive on the peer computer, as required by Qbox.

QuickBooks Attachments

While using QuickBooks desktop, documents can be attached to transactions for easy access from within QuickBooks. The attached documents are stored in nested folders inside a master folder named ‘Attach’.

  • The ‘Attach’ folder is created in the same directory path as the QuickBooks Company file.
  • In the Attach folder, a folder with the Company name is created to keep attachments belonging to the company.
  • In this folder, there are two folders created: Txn and Inbox.
  • In the Txn folder, a separate folder is created for attachments belonging to one transaction. These folder names usually start with 8000. Files attached to transactions are stored in these folders.
  • When an attachment is ‘detached’ in QuickBooks, it is moved from the 8000 folder into the Inbox folder. QuickBooks Document center displays the files in the Inbox folder. When a document in the Document center is attached to a transaction, it is moved from Inbox to the 8000 folder.

It is important to note that attachments are not backed up by the QuickBooks backup operation. It is the user’s responsibility to make copies of the attachments as backups. Qbox can be used to sync and share attachments by enabling Attachments. Even with Qbox, it is important that the Attachments are backed up periodically to avoid inadvertent loss. Backups can be done simply by copying the Attach folder, along with its contents into a cloud drive like Microsoft One Drive or a USB memory stick.