Only a long time Quicken user will empathize with the trauma of having your Quicken data file fail to open. It happened to me this weekend, and after a couple days of experiments, I finally solved the problem. I’m posting this here on the blog because my Google searches on the topic turned up *nothing*, and the Intuit boards were useless on this topic.
- I’m using Quicken 2007 for the Mac, updated with the R2 updater and the R3 Certificate updater. This is the most recent version.
- I’ve used Quicken since 1994 to keep track of my expenses and investments. That’s right, this file has 15 years of meticulous data in it.
- Quicken for the Mac users at some level are masochists. Circa-2000, Intuit decided that the Mac market wasn’t worth supporting, and effectively ended support for the product. As Steve Jobs brought the Mac back, Intuit brought back support… but very little enhancement to the product. Quicken 2007 is largely the same as the Quicken 1999 product, except far more rickety and long in the tooth.
OK, so here’s the story:
- About 3-5 weeks ago, when downloading stock quotes, I got a very strange error. It said something like “Unable to create INTC. Security already exists.” (Of course it exists, I’ve been tracking INTC for more than 10 years…)
- About 2 weeks ago, I quit and relaunched Quicken for some reason (my machine tends to stay up for weeks at a time.) On relaunch, all of my “manually entered” stock quotes were gone. After a brief panic, I restored a file from Time Machine from a week prior, and all was forgotten.
- Periodically, I received that error when downloading stock quotes.
- On Friday, I restarted Quicken and got a spinning beach ball. I thought it hung, so I force quit it, and restarted. Spinning beach ball.
- No worries, right? I have multiple backups. I use Time Machine to get an older file. I launch. Spinning beach ball.
- Uh oh. Mild panic. I tweet. No one tweets back.
- I go to the “Quicken Backup Folder”, which is created automatically in your Documents folder. I select several of the backups, duplicate them, and try to launch them.
- Good news, the file from November 12 actually works, but all security prices are missing.
- Bad news, it’s missing two weeks of data! A lot of manual re-entry of the last two weeks. Not too bad though.
- On Saturday, I quit Quicken and relaunch as part of a reboot. Spinning beach ball.
- Uh oh. Time Machine backups don’t work. I tried five of them from the last three weeks.
- Double Uh Oh. The only file that seems to work is that one from November 12. But it gives me an error “Unable to save security”. It works, but is missing all security prices. But it’s missing the two weeks of transactions.
- A bit of panic here. I search Intuit boards. No luck. I post a question anyway, even though the community on the boards gives me no confidence of ability to help or desire to do so.
- I delete Quicken 2007 and all preference files, and try to reinstall + updaters. No luck.
- Tweets return nothing, except strange semi-taunts like, “I hate Quicken too.”
- Finally, I realize I may have to create a new file, then export/import all the transactions to create a new clean file. Creating the file works. Trying to export QIF and reimport into the new file leaves totally bizarre numbers and transactions. Seriously, has QIF export ever worked in the past two decades? Will it ever work?
- Desperation. I start seriously contemplating doing all my finances in Mint… except Mint doesn’t actually support managing accounts without online access that well. I like Mint, but I use it differently than Quicken…
- Hail Mary. The Quicken file isn’t really a file, it’s a Mac OS Package. It’s a fancy name for a directory of files that is tagged to act like a single file for the Finder. Looking inside, I find a data file for “Quotes” and a directory for “Quotes Details”. I delete both.
- Salvation. I launch Quicken. No beach ball. Works beautifully. All stock quotes are gone, but a quick click to download quotes fixes that. I manually re-enter the few securities that don’t have ticker symbols. Everything is wonderful again.
So, just to capture some trouble-shooting for you, here is what I saw:
- Launching Quicken with the corrupted file led to a spinning beach ball for over 30 minutes
- When it did finally load, it gave me an error “Unable to open file”
- There was a history of getting errors related to the downloaded stock quotes for securities
- Make a duplicate of your Quicken file (always, always have a clean backup)
- Right-click (or control-click) on the Quicken file.
- Select “Show Package Contents…” from the Finder.
- Double-Click on the “Contents Folder”
- Select the “Quotes” file and the “Quotes Details” folder
- Drag them to the trash, and empty trash
- Relaunch Quicken with the file
Thus, I am still a Quicken user, at least for a little while longer. Intuit, if you are reading, please get Quicken 2010 (which has been promised for two years) out the door. And make sure the import from Quicken 2007 files is *flawless*.