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Backup File? Portable File? What’s the Difference?

You can save and restore your QuickBooks company file using either of them, but each has a specific purpose and set of procedures.

Your QuickBooks company file is gold. It may be the most critical file that your company maintains. So clean, frequent backups are absolutely essential.

It’s also necessary to occasionally move that file to another computer, like when you’re switching to a new PC or laptop.

QuickBooks offers two separate but similar tools to facilitate both processes, as a QuickBooks training course will tell you. You should learn to use both at the appropriate times.

Saving Your Data – And Your Bacon

Companies that lose entire accounting data files have been known to go out of business. It’s that serious. At the very least, you’ll lose an enormous amount of time trying to reconstruct your financial framework from paper documents. In the meantime, you’re making your employees, customers and vendors very unhappy.

So if you’re not in the habit of backing up, the beginning of a new year is a great place to start. QuickBooks classes walk you through the entire process, but here’s an overview.

Click File | Back Up Company | Create Local Backup. A window will open, asking if you want to save your file locally or online. Click Local Backup, then the Options button. You’ll see something like this:

QuickBooks training courses go over this window’s contents carefully; you’ll need to indicate your preferences for local backups.

Smaller, But Efficient

Portable files are more compact than backups, and they don’t contain letters, logos, images or templates. You can email or simply save a portable file if you want to, for example, send it through email.

The process for creating one is slightly different from the backup procedures, and it varies depending on your version. For QuickBooks 2011 and later, start by clicking File | Create Copy, then selecting Portable company file and Next. The Save Portable Company File opens. Choose the location for saving (the file name is already filled in).

QuickBooks will close and reopen, and you’ll see a message indicating that your portable file has been created. You can email that file or, if you’ve copied it to a flash drive, restore it on another computer. To do the latter, click File | Open or Restore Company | Restore a portable file | Next.

Here again, you’ll choose the location of the portable file and click Open. Click Next in the window that opens and select the desired location for the restored file. QuickBooks then converts the file into a format that can be read, and it will be available in the location you chose.

QuickBooks classes go over these procedures in greater depth, as well as explaining how to set up Intuit’s online backup service. Whichever route you take, be sure you understand the difference between these two critical procedures.

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