QuickBooks 2011 and QuickBooks File Manager

| September 15, 2010

QuickBooks File Manager is a tool that is available in the Accountants Edition of Premier and Enterprise, and can be used to manage multiple client files. It will help open client files in the correct version of QuickBooks, save login and password information, help you upgrade multiple files, and more. If you are an accountant, bookkeeper, ProAdvisor, or someone who works with multiple versions of QuickBooks with multiple files, this will be a helpful tool.

 PLEASE NOTE that much of this is based on information from an early release of QuickBooks 2011 – it is possible that some features may vary from what is described here.

You will see a QuickBooks File Manager icon on your desktop, as well as an option in your Accountant menuin QuickBooks.

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Selecting either option shows you this overview screen.


The first time you use it, there is a “wizard” that will help you locate your client files stored on your computer or server


After you have located your files, you can assign them into Clients.  A Client can have one or more company files associated. You can move files to the proper client, “merge” clients, and more.


Taking this further, you  can create Groups and assign your clients to these groups. This allows you to place similar clients into groupings for your convenience.


 Inventory is a group that I created. I’ve added two Clients to the Group. 

QuickBooks File Manager also creates some groups for you, based on product year.


Password Vault

The Password Vaultis an important feature. It allows you to store the login and password information for each client file in a secure list. This allows you to easily access your client files without having to write login information in an unsecured file or notepad on your desk. Note that some features available through the Password Vault may only work with client files that are upgraded to 2011.


Batch Upgrades

The Batch Upgradeoption allows you to upgrade files to QuickBooks 2011 format simply. Your files are listed, along with the version of the file. You can select one or more of the files to convert.


If a file cannot be converted for some reason you are given a text file that lists the files and the reasons for failure. I have not tested this extensively due to limitations of the field test version and my testing situation.

Please note a few things about this feature:

  • If you want to convert both Enterprise and Pro/Premier files, you need to have both Enterprise Accountant Edition 11 and Premier Accountant Edition 2011 installed on this computer. If you are a ProAdvisor, that should not be a problem. If you only have one edition installed you can only convert files for that edition (which makes sense).
  • Conversion takes a LONG time – this utility isn’t any faster than the normal process as far as I can tell. It is more of a convenience if you are doing a lot of files at one time. I don’t usually have that situation, so I’m not sure what the value of this is.

This feature is an attempt to address some of the concerns that ProAdvisors, accountants and bookkeepers have when dealing with multiple files for clients. It has some useful features, but I’m not sure if it goes far enough. We’ll see how they improve the feature. I would like to see some more help for dealing with Accountants Copies of files, and perhaps a feature to handle mass backups of files (using the QuickBooks backup feature). Also, some things are still slow, although that is due to the underlying structure of QuickBooks itself.

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Category: Program Updates, QuickBooks 2011

About the Author (Author Profile)

Charlie Russell is the founder of CCRSoftware. He’s been involved with the small business software industry since the mid 70’s, focusing on inventory and accounting software for small businesses. Charlie is a Certified Advanced QuickBooks ProAdvisor. Look for Charlie’s articles in the Accountex Report blog, as well as his California Wildflower Hikes blog.

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Comments (23)

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  1. Lella says:

    Thanks for doing the research on this feature – I’m really looking forward to this as I have clients from 2008 to current residing on my pc and I’m constantly having to “hover” over the file to remember which version they are using – looking forward to trying this!

  2. I love this new feature. As with anything else that is newly designed, I am sure it will improve in future program changes.

    I have not mass upgraded any of my actual files yet in QB 2011, but when I do, I plan on using this, probably at the end of the day and letting it run. It will be so much better than updating each one, one at a time.

    Great post as always, Charlie. I can tell you are excited over the changes this year.

    • Charlie says:

      If you have a lot of files, it is very slow to do the mass upgrade. And I’m not sure what happens if you have a file that has a problem and won’t upgrade. Are you told? Will it stop the process? I’m not sure I would use that myself.

  3. Ron Acher says:


    Quick question: for years I have had client files from versions as far back as 2004 on my PC, and have always been able to open them with the correct version of QB by simply double-clicking the file.

    Beginning with the dreaded 2009 release, I started to have some trouble doing this, but haven’t yet figured out whether the problem is QB, or my particular installation (each version of QB updates the QB Launcher used to open files when double-clicking the data file).

    Does this new functionality address those problems, or is it intended to be a replacement for the old method?


    — Ron

  4. Well I updated four files in the client manager and I have to say, it was slow. Probably the same amount of time as if I did each one manually doing them one at a time (at least it felt that way). One file, I purposely changed the password to not match client manager to see what it would say and it told me that the password did not match and the file was not updated.

  5. Charlie says:

    Ron: I didn’t have a lot of old company files in my test system when I was testing QB 2011 – it identified all of the ones that were there correctly (in the final release). Note that you must have that version of QB installed for it to open the file from File Manager, just as you would if you did it from Windows Explorer. It SHOULD resolve your issue, but I won’t guarantee it because there are a number of factors involved.

    The nicest part of this is going to be the management of passwords, I think. And it provides you some nice ways to organize your company files. I expect that we’ll see a number of improvements in the future as people start to use it and give feedback. It is the first version, after all.

  6. Charlie says:

    Lynda – that is pretty much what I would expect. There isn’t anything special about what File Manager is doing in the conversion that you can’t do manually the old way – it is just an organizational convenience.

    Some people are really excited by this, and I think it has a lot of potential. I won’t be using it that much as I don’t manage a lot of client files here (actually, I don’t really manage ANY here). But I do like the ability to create groups, as I have many different test files around.

  7. William "Bill" Murphy says:

    I kept ‘harping’ to Intuit during Beta Testing, and even before in a couple of development on-line sessions, that simply having the ‘QB Version’ (year) was not sufficient on the various file display windows, they needed to display the ‘release number’ for each file such as QBES-2009R7 so you could ‘batch’ update the files to new releases or new versions.

    This feature also has path/file name limitations, that are much ‘shorter’ then Windows limitations. I experienced several problems with the scan function locking up when it encountered QB files that were burried deep into multiple sub-folders with long file names. When I reported this they told me that I was the first to have encountered that problem, but I suspect that many other users will find that this limitation may preclude them from ‘scanning’ in all their files until they ‘modify’ their file structure to accomodate the limitation of QB File Manager.

    William “Bill” Murphy

  8. Charlie says:

    Thanks for the info, Bill. I don’t manage a multitude of client files (not being an accountant or bookkeeper) so I didn’t run into those particular issues.

  9. Mary says:

    Is there a way to start the wizard again? I opened the first time without adding clients thinking I could get back into it. Surely this can be started manually. Any ideas? Thanks

  10. Charlie says:

    Mayr, select “Clients” and then “Update Client List”

  11. Wendy says:

    Are there reports that can be printed?

    Also my FM isn’t recognizing the newer versions of QB, it says unknown QB version. Why?

  12. Charlie says:

    Wendy, what kinds of reports would you want? I don’t see any reports, I’m not sure what you would want. If you have a suggestion, I know that the Intuit people would like to hear back from you. Keep in mind that this is version 1…

    “Unknown Version” – I don’t see that now – in beta testing some people saw that but I don’t know what the resolution was. Did you install Premier 2011 or Enterprise 11? Perhaps if you installed Premier but not Enterprise, it might not recognize Enterprise files. I’ve seen issues in the past in Windows Explorer where the system couldn’t detect the version of the file, perhaps that is an issue here.

  13. I tried to use the QB File Manager last week. Seemed OK. It took a long time to load the list of clients. Seeing the QB version is a good feature. So I opened it again today and it had to reload all of the clients! Huge waste of time. Any idea of what went wrong? The help file seems to say this only should happen once.
    Another error is that the last modified date is wrong for many files. They show a date of this morning when I turned on the computer, but I know some of those files haven’t been opened in months.

  14. Charlie says:

    Stephen, I’ve not had the reload problem you mention, so I can’t comment on that. Haven’t seen it happen.

    On my test stystem, the last modified date is working correctly as well. But all my files are on my local system, not on a server, so that could be a difference.

    For the dates, take a look at the files in Windows Explorer and see what the last modified dates are there.

    Also, make sure you are using the R3 release, as it fixes some File Manager bugs (but I don’t see those items you report as being on the list of issues addressed)

  15. Josie says:

    Can anyone explain why File Manager cannot detect the version/year for some files? This would be a much more useful tool if we could at least update the version/year field.

  16. Make sure that the 2011 version is on it most current release then repair and reboot the application then try to open the file manager and click on the option client refresh make sure you select all the file on the list then choose refresh clients.

  17. Charlie says:

    Thank you, Raymund.

  18. Ticked Off says:

    I like the idea behind the QB file manager, but it is way to paranoid and restrictive. I mean, a complex password for a small business? Really? Oh so I set a password when it was first installed, only to find out that the password vault will open only 2011 QB files– nitwittery! Okay so now I want to remove the password where I can use the mamnger to easily access QB files without using the vault function of auto login– no can do had charger, once you set it, you always have to use it and by the way they force you to change it every so often, too (very annoying). So, intuit actually believes I am going to recommend conversion for all of my QB clients just to use this so-called “value added” feature? I think not!

  19. Charlie says:

    Well, keep in mind that this is “version one” of the feature. Send feedback to Intuit about what you like, or don’t like. They’ll be making improvements, I’m sure. It is a bit complicated – some places require that they have a complex password, and it is hard to make it flexible enough for all kinds of users.