Last week during the Sleeter conference I sat in an Intuit 'focus' group of about 18 people and I am NOT going to discuss the subject, but during the session one of the Product Managers made reference to a tip that could be used when files don't open properly. Suddenly everyone was asking him to repeat the tip, and I thought to myself, these are some the top ProAdvisors in the country and they don't know about this tip already, I learned this years ago.
I was at the NAN Dallas Chapter presenting tonight, and just before leaving for Dallas I decided to add the two tips to my presentation. Sure enough only a couple of people at the meeting had ever heard the tips either. Driving back home from Dallas I decided, I guess I will write a short little article on these two tips. I find myself thinking that perhaps they were taught so long ago that a whole new crew of ProAdvisors has come along and never heard these tips before. In either case it never hurts to review.....
The first tip involves the CTRL (Control) Key. If your QuickBooks file will not open, it could be the result of either your file or QuickBooks, so use this step to help you diagnose the cause. Hold down the CTRL key while double-clicking the QuickBooks icon; keep holding down the CTRL key until QuickBooks opens completely, QuickBooks will ignore the last file opened and should open to the "No Company Open" screen.
If QuickBooks does not open, then the likely cause is with the QuickBooks application itself. In that case start by running the 'repair' of QuickBooks under the Windows Repair/Uninstall utility found in the Control Panel.
If QuickBooks opens properly you should attempt to open your file in single-user. In order to do this, select the 'middle button' to Open or Restore a Company file, when the windows dialog box opens, navigate to your company file; however, be certain to 'un-check' the check-box at the bottom of the window that reads 'Open QuickBooks in multi-user mode." Sometimes this is all it takes to open your company file.
But there are numerous forms of corruption that can keep a company file open, especially if the desktop preference to 'save the desktop upon exit' has been selected. For example if a report was open and became corrupted due to an improper shutdown or disconnection, when QuickBooks attempts to recreate the report the corruption will prevent completion of the task and the resultant failure will cause QuickBooks to simply not open the file. The same thing can happen when list records are modified 'in part' when the prior shut-down occurs, or even transactions that are incomplete. In these cases we need to know how to tell QuickBooks to open without recreating the desktop as it was at the time the program closed previously.
So the second tip involves the ALT (Alternate) Key. From the No Company Open Screen, proceed through the steps above to open QuickBooks in single-user mode; however, before clicking OK to open your file, hold down the ALT key and then click OK. Keep holding down the ALT key, if your file is password protected, release the ALT key, enter the password and then hold down the ALT key again before clicking OK. Unless your company file is severely damaged it should open, however, none of the prior 'windows' within the program will be open.
Of course if your company file does not open, then you likely have a corrupted file that will require professional file repair; but you can also download the QuickBooks File Doctor and attempt to open the file using that tool (but that is a discussion best left for another time.)
At the very worst, I have refreshed your mind about these two useful commands to open damaged files, and at the very best I have taught you two new tips. I could wish you the best that you never have to use these procedures, but sooner or later I will be that you do, so good luck in resolving your file issues.