Data Detective Christmas Pudding
Our old sleuth departed his favorite inn where he had just dined on Roast Goose with Razzleberry Dressing and Pwdin Nadolig for his Christmas supper; upon returning to his flat, he was greeted by an email from a QuickBooks user asking how to “find information about errors causing the QuickBooks verify to fail”. The Data Detective knows that this user needs to locate the QBWin.log file, and that it’s relatively simple to find if you know where to look.
Locating the QBWin.log file
When you have just performed a Verify Data or Rebuild Data utility you can locate the QBWin.log file showing the results of either of those utilities while QuickBooks is still open to your company file by:
- Pressing the F2 key to display the Product Information window, then
- Pressing the F3 key to display the Tech Help window, now
- Select the Open File tab within the Tech Help window, and
- Scroll down the list of files in the left hand window until you find the QBWIN.LOG file.
- Click once on the file name to highlight the file, and
- Click the Open File button on the right side of the window.
QuickBooks will now open the QBWin.log file in Windows Notepad. You can usually find the information you are interested in near the end of the log. If you scroll to the bottom of the file, and then slowly scroll back toward the top of the log, you will see when the Verify and/or Rebuild utilities start and end.
You can save the QBWin.log from the Windows Notepad if you need to study or print it for corrective purposes, just make sure to always save the file to a directory other than the original source directory of the file.
If you mistakenly close QuickBooks after running Verify or Rebuild before you locate the log, or if QuickBooks crashed during one of these processes, you can still access the log(s). QuickBooks begins a new QBWin.log each time QuickBooks is started-up, and it also stores several of the last few logs it creates. The simplest way to find the log is using the Windows search feature for files with QBWin in the name. Recent files will be named something like QBWin.log.old1 or .old2; be certain to review the data and time of the files to identify the correct file.
Reviewing the QBWin.log file for major errors
When you have either the original or saved copy of the QBWin.log open in Windows Notepad, you can easily identify some major errors by using the Notepad search feature to look for LVL_ERROR; these errors are typically those which cause the Verify Data utility to fail or in some cases cause the Rebuild Data utility to fault. You will need to review each of these errors for details that may assist you in resolving your data problems.
Not all LVL_ERROR(s) are serious and cause problems, some are a routine part of the logging process. You may find that the find feature I just mentioned stops at the very start of the QBWin.log file several times with references to ‘Returning NULL QBWinInstance Handle’. These are not really errors to be concerned about as they correspond to the closing and opening of the logging process. As long as this message is at the start of your QBWin.log don’t concern yourself with it; however, if it occurs elsewhere in the log, it indicates that the ability of the application to communicate with the log has been lost; you can sometimes see this at the very end of the log if QuickBooks crashes.
So the next time your Verify Data utility fails to return the message “QuickBooks found No Problems with your Data”, give the QBWin.log a look to see if you can ‘detect’ the problems with your ‘data’. You may just find that you are the next Data Detective on the force; after all it “is Elementary My Dear Watson”......and may all your Christmas puddings be a delight.