It was a mid-winter day, and our old sleuth was enjoying a hot chocolate in front of the roaring fire when his phone rang. The caller on the other end was shouting, “I either can’t connect to my QuickBooks file, or I keep loosing the connection and getting an Error.” After asking a few questions, the Data Detective was able to determine that the aggrieved party had recently switched computers acting as the network host for the QuickBooks Company file.
The Data Detective knows that there are many different potential causes for QuickBooks workstations being unable to reach the QuickBooks server; among these causes are network issues, firewall settings and multiple instances of the QuickBooks database server running on different computers (rather than only the host computer).
Differential diagnosis quickly identifies that if the inability to connect to the host exists from every workstation, then the most likely cause is associated with either the host computer, the network connection to the host, or the firewall for the host computer. However, one must take time to insure that none of the other workstations have ‘QuickBooks hosting turned on’. After determining that only the hosting computer has hosting activated, and confirming that the firewall settings were appropriate for the host and all workstations, as well as the fact that the network configuration and hardware associated with the host was not an issue, it was fairly easy to determine that the problem must be with the host computer itself.
If you can run the QuickBooks application on the host and open the Company file in both single and multi-user mode from the host, then more than likely the problem is not associated with the Company file. You can however further confirm this by also opening a ‘Sample Company’ file from the host, and if that file also opens, then more than likely the problem is not associated with either the data file(s) or the QuickBooks application.
Since we have ruled out networking (including necessary network and file permissions), firewalls, and both the data-file(s) and the QuickBooks application, then the likely culprit is indeed the ‘hosting computer’. The likelihood of this is magnified by the fact that this problem only started recently after this new computer was installed as the host. The fact that the file can be accessed from QuickBooks on the host computer almost guarantees that the problem is not associated with actual disk drive of the host computer, so the most likely culprit is now the hosting computer’s operating system and more than likely the preferences and settings that regulate how the operating system behaves.
Because this problem is transient, and doesn’t occur every time a workstation attempts to access the file, our old sleuth is almost certain he knows the cause. He immediately accesses the host computer's 'Windows control panel' and then opens the Power-saver preferences on the host computer to determine ‘how green’ this new machine is configured. Much to our Data Detective's shagrin, the host is as green as a leprechaun in a field of four-leaf-clover. The users (or manufacturer) have configured the computer to be as ‘power conscious’ as possible; this means that the hosting computer frequently enters periods of ‘standby or hibernation mode’. Such settings, and power saver activity can not only disrupt the QuickBooks connection, but actually prevent the connection from being made. Typically you want the ‘highest power performance’ possible, and the least ‘power savings’ that can be configured for your QuickBooks hosting computer. Pay special attention to Hard Disk power saving settings, Processor power management, USB and Network card power saver configurations, and the actual Sleep/Hibernation settings. Even on “St. Patrick’s Day” you don’t want your QuickBooks Host “to be green”.
Returning to his flat, our old sleuth simply couldn’t resist the nearby pastry shop; there is nothing like a delightful pastry to go with your hot chocolate on a cold winter’s day as you curl up with a good book in front of the fire. And what is our Data Detective reading these days, "why that’s elementary My Dear Watson, its’ Sherlock Holmes, of course."
Sure enough, the client reports that after the Data Detective ‘worked his magic’ (by turning off everything green in the host machine), they haven’t had a single instance of inability to connect to the QuickBooks file, or a loss of connection in either single-user or multi-user mode.