A reader writes in to ask: "We recently updated our QuickBooks Pro from 2013 to 2015. While using 2013 we mapped a NAS that had our QB database to a Windows 7 Pro machine for hosting with 2013 installed there. Now that we upgraded to 2015 multi-user will not work. I read some comments in that stated QuickBooks doesn't support NAS and Multi-user together but then the QuickBooks support page explains how to map a networked drive. Obviously the NAS is not running QuickBooks so we cannot do anything from there other than mapping the drive. We tried running the QB Database Manager app to select the folder with the database but it knows the mapped drive is not local and gives an error message stating that it wants a local drive. This was working fine with the 2013 version. Did Intuit change this in 2015? Frustrated that only one person can use QuickBooks at a time now. We prefer to keep the QB database file on the NAS as it has redundancy in case of hard drive failure. What can we do?"
In QuickBooks 2015 (all versions) the ‘Network Alternate Set-up mode’ was removed for performance and stability improvements. (You don’t see that option popping up any more when you have network connectivity issues as in prior versions.) In other words you cannot ‘remotely host’ QuickBooks if the file is not located on the same ‘host computer’.
For QuickBooks 2015 there were a number of changes made to the Multi-User functionality including:
Enhancements to the Database Server (Manager) - When QuickBooks 2015 is installed on your server, the database server performs an automatic set of network diagnostics for QuickBooks to function properly over a network. Typically the necessary windows firewall ports will be opened, folder sharing and security checks, and verifying that required ‘windows services’ for QuickBooks to work over a network are started.
(Does it work: "Not really, if you notice carefully, this new feature couldn't even resolve the 'windows firewall' issues.)
Multi-user Messaging Enhancements – If QuickBooks 2015 users experience problems opening their Company file across a network, they should now be prompted with messaging that better explains how to resolve the related network problem.
(Have they helped: "Not really, in fact I haven't seen any real improvement in the messages, they are still as archaic as in the past in my opinion.")
Alternate Set-up Mode Eliminated - In order to optimize performance and stability, QuickBooks 2015 no longer supports the Alternative Setup Mode which was available (but not recommended) in prior versions. (You won’t see that option popping up any more when you have network connectivity issues as in prior versions.) QuickBooks 2015 requires the Database Server to be installed and functioning properly on your server (or computer designated as the QuickBooks Host). In other words you cannot ‘remotely host’ QuickBooks if the file is not located on the same ‘host computer’.
(Will it be missed: "Not by myself, or most other ProAdvisors, who had to resolve 'hosting conflicts' when more than one machine got configured as a host via the 'click of a button' to turn on 'Alternative Mode'. But for people using this mode to host a file on a NAS, you bet they can no longer do that, even though it wasn't designed for that purpose in the first place, NAS have never been supported drives under the QuickBooks system requirements.")
Regarding the Reader's "What's Up" Question:
With respect to your specific case NAS (Network Attached Storage) units or similar devices can no longer be supported under QuickBooks 2015 because the Database Server cannot be installed on such devices since they do not operate under a supported Windows Operating System, and the 'Alternate Set-up' Mode is no longer available. With respect to Intuit's rationale, they say, "without the database server (which is only supported on a Windows OS), opening a Company file over the network is less secure and if the machine that has the Company file on it crashes for whatever reason, your Company file is at much greater risk for data corruption."