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Quicken 2007: How to Repair A Broken File

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.

First, background:

  • 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:

  1. 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…)
  2. 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.
  3. Periodically, I received that error when downloading stock quotes.
  4. 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.
  5. No worries, right?  I have multiple backups.  I use Time Machine to get an older file.  I launch. Spinning beach ball.
  6. Uh oh. Mild panic.  I tweet.  No one tweets back.
  7. 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.
  8. Good news, the file from November 12 actually works, but all security prices are missing.
  9. Bad news, it’s missing two weeks of data!  A lot of manual re-entry of the last two weeks.  Not too bad though.
  10. On Saturday, I quit Quicken and relaunch as part of a reboot.  Spinning beach ball.
  11. Uh oh. Time Machine backups don’t work.  I tried five of them from the last three weeks.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. I delete Quicken 2007 and all preference files, and try to reinstall + updaters.  No luck.
  15. Tweets return nothing, except strange semi-taunts like, “I hate Quicken too.”
  16. 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?
  17. 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…
  18. 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.
  19. 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

Solution was:

  • 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*.

43 Comments Post a comment
  1. I hate Quicken, too. :)

    Thanks for posting this. I felt your pain as I walked through your step by step update!

    I’m hoping this post can serve as a bit of a talisman against losing my own close to 15 years of Quicken Data. Personally, I’m not holding my breath for Quicken 2010, but one can dream. Oh, and if it could possibly sync directly with Raymond James transactions (currently works only on PC) I would rethink the whole hatred thing.

    Glad you got your file to work!

    November 30, 2009
  2. sjm #

    Thank you for this.

    My only “problem” was I couldn’t update stock prices without throwing the whole portfolio out of whack … even deleting some odd dates didn’t help (that had worked once before). I had been inputting manually, and even that started to “blow up”.

    I used the “Show Package Contents” information and am now able to download stock prices again!

    I’m continuing to work on exporting my 15 years of data to spreadsheets … just to be safe … and am contemplating starting a new data file … and just using my current Quicken for “research”.

    It’s unfortunate that Intuit abandoned Quicken and the Mac version … and it’s unfortunate that the “new” release of 2010 is so limited in how it handles stocks.

    December 5, 2009
  3. John C. #

    Over on macintouch.com, Michael Schmitt describes a technique for identifying whether your Quicken Quotes file is approaching the failure limit (http://www.macintouch.com/readerreports/applications/topic4065.html#d04dec2009). WIth 12+ years of daily quotes and 45+ years of sparse quotes, I am now very interested in this issue, and pass this on to encourage others to check their data files.

    Adam, you have my complete sympathy.

    December 5, 2009
  4. THANK YOU SO MUCH !!!
    I only have complete data back to 2000. I kept getting “unable to save price” error messages. Quicken web site doesn’t even mention that error message. aAn email to Quicken gave a solution to trash Quicken Preferences then do a download of the last five years stock data.

    Do you think trashing preferences would also some how trash the quotes lists hidden in the package???

    I identified with every angst and emotion in your note. Thanks for a solution and more thanks for showing me “the package”

    Can’t thank you enough.

    January 21, 2010
  5. jennifer #

    thank you for this! as i read through your experience log, i mentally was saying “check, check, check” as you described exactly what I was experiencing. Thank you for this helpful play by play. I am back up and running again, and my heart rate has slowed to a somewhat normal rate. Thanks!!

    February 25, 2010
  6. Rachel #

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

    I also have data dating back to late 1999!

    I have not been able to create Quick Reports by selecting a category for about a year now. In fact, every time I tried to access Categories, Quicken crashed. Rebuilding the data file by pressing Command + Option + B did not help. I’ve been walking on eggshells within Quicken for a year now.

    This evening I trashed the Quotes file as you suggested (I do not have Quotes Detail folder). Now Quicken works like a charm.

    I can’t thank you enough. :)

    March 24, 2010
  7. David #

    Thank you — same symptoms here, Quicken support recommended the QIF export/import that I knew would cost me hours of reconstruction of on-line accounts whereas I don’t care about past security prices. Thanks!

    March 25, 2010
  8. RGC #

    Your post was a life-saver! Spent hours trying to resolve this issue – like everyone else, very nervous about losing years of data. Thanks!

    May 28, 2010
  9. Donna Goldstein #

    I found this today after fighting numerous errors over the last week. My financial history goes back to 1989!! Thought I’d lost the ability to track my investments at all with quicken, but now I’m up and running again. Thank you SOOOO much!

    August 28, 2010
  10. Bob #

    Your post appears to be the sole explanation of Quicken’s quirks on the web. Thanks you for shedding some light.

    Like you, I use QfM 2007 – R3 since 1994, although I don’t download or save stock quotes. My problems have been similar: Spinning beach ball for no apparent reason, force quit and the message on reopening Quicken is “Unable to load file” not only for the data file but or all of the backups.

    I too restored a file from Time Machine, opened it successfully, updated the missing information and saved it upon quitting, only to get the exact same “Unable to load file” message. I trashed all of the Quicken preferences, re-installed and updated Quicken…. and got the same result. I even purchased and installed Quicken Essentials, but was still unable to open, much less convert any of the files.

    I followed your excellent description, trashed the “Quotes” folder (there were no “Quotes Details”), but to no avail. Does anyone out there have any other suggestions: It’s late tax filing time and I’m getting desperate.

    By the way, I share one copy of Quicken among three users and it still works perfectly in two of the user accounts…

    Fie on Intuit and Quicken; if I see another Intuit product in that Apple Store I think I’ll throw a fit.

    September 26, 2010
    • Tim D30 #

      thanks,
      I will try your solution

      i have spent many months rebuild file that all of a suddent became corrupt that I think i’d be better off using just a plan spread sheet. my advice People need to be warned of these crashes with a label waning at the point of purchase, on the box, or before purchased on the order forms.

      .
      I don';t unstand y the management at quicken don’t read these notes and fix the problems, make it easy to find solutions. I ‘v e used Quicken since 1998 and I'[ve lost accest to the backl up file with that famous quote”unable to open file, contact quicken support” which I have found to be next to usless. That note should send you to solution, There has to be a better program available that don’t crash as often as quicken.

      March 5, 2013
  11. Bob #

    Please excuse me for using your site as a trouble-shooting forum for Quicken for the Mac, but I thought it only fair to Quicken to share the following good news:

    [I’m very happy to report that I received a quick and very timely response to Friday’s e-mail to Quicken Customer Care. Although the procedure did not resolve the problem for the files located on my hard drive, it did restore a backup file brought in from Time Machine, which fortunately required only minimal manual restoration to bring it up to date, once Quicken recognized it and opened it. I’ve cycled the program through several open/close/manual backup cycles, each time restoring a little more information, and I ‘m happy to say (knock on wood) that every thing works as expected, so far.]

    “Thank you for contacting Quicken Customer Care.

    In this case I would request you to follow the steps mentioned below. These steps should resolve the Unable to load file error.
    • Hold down the Control key and select the file which you are not able to open and click on “Show Package Contents.”
    • It will open up box and then open Contents folder. There you will see “Data File”.
    • Again hold down the Control key and select Data File and click on Show Package Contents.
    • And again it will open up the box and open Contents folder. Again you will see data file.
    • Repeat the process till you do not see “Show Package Contents.”
    • Once you do not see “Show Package Contents” holding down the Control key then try to open Quicken file and it will open your file.

    If this does not work then kindly try to open your back up files.
    Please open Documents folder and then look for Quicken Back up Folder or Quicken data file folder.
    Double click on this folder and then you will see your back up files.
    If the name of your original data file is Qdata.qdfm then name of back up files will be like 1qdata.qdfm, 2qdata.qdfm, 3qdata.qdfm and so on.
    Kindly try to open the data file with prefix 1.
    If it opens up fine then please continue with this data file.
    If not then try other back up files.

    If you have any back up on CD or flash drive then kindly try to restore that back up file.

    You can also contact Chat Support, by visiting this URL – https://quicken.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/quicken.cfg/php/enduser/chat.php
    Chat Support is available 24×7.

    To speak to someone over the phone regarding this issue, you can setup a callback request using the following URL:
    http://www.quickendirect.com/phone. Phone support is available from 5AM – 5PM PST, Mon-Fri.
    Sincerely,

    Ravinder Devgan
    Quicken Customer Care”

    September 26, 2010
  12. Kori #

    I also thank you! I had data from 1998 and could not open it, but your solution worked!
    Thank you!

    October 25, 2010
  13. Paul #

    Adam, Thanks so much for solving the problem that I had spent several hours on. A few clicks of the mouse!

    Paul

    December 3, 2010
  14. JEM #

    Thanks so much. Finding this entry made my night.

    January 27, 2011
  15. Jay Deitch #

    I had a similar problem yesterday. Quicken would “quit unexpectedly” after updating security prices. I restored the file from a backup and exported the security prices. Since things like bonds don’t have ticker symbols, I added symbols like B0001, B0002, etc. for al of them before exporting the prices.

    Once I had the price history in a qif file, I deleted “Quotes” and “Quotes Details” as suggested in this blog. After re-opening the file I tried to import the entire qif file with all the price history. That caused the file to “unexpectedly quit” again.

    I opened the qif file in TextEdit and deleted all but the bond funds. With a clean copy of the Quicken file (without “Quotes” and Quotes Details”) I again imported the prices of just the funds with the temporary ticker symbols I added. That worked fine (and saved me from having to manually enter the price history for all the bonds, etc.). After that, I downloaded 5 years of security prices and I’m back in business.

    Adam, thanks for your great blog!
    Jay

    April 16, 2011
  16. Michael Croft #

    Between you, google, and apple screen sharing, my father thinks I am a genius… Thank you!

    June 2, 2011
  17. Thanks. That totally worked for me as was getting “Cannot Open Quotes File” message.

    June 14, 2011
  18. Ken #

    Thanks so much for this post. I found it by searching for “quicken 2007 for mac file corruption” after several days of thinking it was related to my recent upgrade to Mac OS 10.6.8!

    July 11, 2011
  19. Jim T #

    Thanks so much for your post. There is no way I would have figured this one out. Wish there was a better alternative for all my history back to 1990’s. Looks like the best plan is to save the file at year end and start a new program for 2012.

    October 8, 2011
  20. Kurt #

    Add me to the list of Quicken for Mac 2007 users, as you, with data back to 1994, and experiencing the same problem with stock quotes. The problem showed up in my net worth report, my net worth had dropped by 50% today and I couldn’t blame today’s stock market.

    I’m going to try copying the internal stock data files from a known working backup to see if I can quickly recover my old historical stock data. With fingers crossed…..

    November 3, 2011
  21. Kurt #

    Worked!! Copied the Quote file and folder from a 10-day old known working backup and restored all historical stock quote day. Only have a 6-day gap (discounting two weekends).

    Now to the question of what caused the problem. If it was a data-capacity limit problem then that will be a challenge. I’ll be doing a backup of the Quicken data file prior to each use until I have the confidence that this may have been a one-time occurrence (silly me).

    Again many thanks for the solution to this problem!! My heart rate is almost back to normal.

    November 3, 2011
  22. I can’t thank you enough. I am running Q 2005; I have data going back to 1993. I suddenly began having problems very similar to those you describe. I tried many things and was becoming quite concerned. After several days and many crashes of Quicken, I found and applied your solution. As far as I can tell, it did the trick. Even though I could see on those occasions that I could get it to run briefly that the quotes were flaky, I don’t know that I would ever have stumbled on the cure on my own.

    November 4, 2011
  23. Any advice for someone who’s Quicken 2007 file keeps randomly dropping data. I had my books done through Oct 31 and when I opened in the other day, everything was gone back to 9/1. That’s the second time this has happened in three months. I had to recreate everything the first time. I was hoping there was an explanation. All backup files are identical to the main file. What’s happening???
    Laura

    November 9, 2011
    • Just a guess, but your file may be corrupted, and when you go back to your “backed up” version, you’re not going far enough back to “pre-date” the corruption.

      November 11, 2011
  24. Kim #

    Adam – I have Quicken 2006 version and my file will not load. I tried the removal of the quotes (even though I haven’t used that feature for years), and it will not open my file. I was able to open a version from Dec 14, but have lost three weeks of data entries (and I did a lot over the holidays for all my year end stuff.) Any ideas on how to take a look in the file to see what’s messed up? Thanks for the great blog.

    January 3, 2012
    • Unfortunately, it’s a bit of a detective work. For me, the clue was that it crashed only when I tried to check quotes, and that the security prices were missing. That spoke to something wrong with the way it either stored or accessed quote data.

      From past experience, I hate to say that losing 3 weeks of data is probably a blessing. Better to start from a working file, do the time, add the transactions back. Otherwise, you risk discovering 6 months from now that you based your efforts on a corrupted file.

      I will say that Quicken 2006 automatically backs up the file every time you save. Are you sure you don’t have a more recent file in the Quicken Backups folder? What I would do is save those off, then one by one try to open them to see when the corruption happened. Time Machine is also a life saver in this regard.

      January 3, 2012
  25. Thomas May #

    Adam, Thank you so much for this. I was able to get things up and running after following your instructions and my quotes are working perfectly again.
    Thank you!
    Tom

    January 11, 2012
  26. Carl #

    Adam thanks a million. Appointment with my accountant tomorrow and I couldn’t create a report – getting a “Unable to get transaction” error. After pinning down which transaction was causing it, I used your technique with a text editor to open the package, then open the data file inside it. I deleted the line that had the Payee at the start of it. When I opened the file again the transaction was gone but there was some gobbledygook in the next transaction (things like that happen when you attempt to perform surgery with a chainsaw). However, I was then able to clean it up, salvage the file, and print a report. Hope this helps save someone else’s hair.

    March 2, 2012
  27. more-joy@att.net #

    Oh Adam! I’ve got the dreaded unable to open file message. I’ve tried your fix plus the other ones posted on this blog and nothing is working. I’ve got everything in that Quicken file going back 13 years but what I really need is last year’s records so I can start working on my Taxes. I’m embarrassed to say that I don’t seem to have a backup file any newer than January 2011. I was using TimeMachine but my hard drive kept unmounting. I finally got the drive mounted and there is data on it but TimeMachine doesn’t seem to be able to see it. I am so upset about this and so mad at Intuit for not properly supporting the Mac that I could spit nails, at them! Have you or anyone else reading this blog discovered anything else I can try?
    -Joy

    March 3, 2012
    • It’s just hope, but Quicken for many years has had a feature that automatically backs up the last 10 files you had, every time you quit / save. So do a search for Quicken Backups, and see if you have that folder.

      One time, I had an error in the last 4 copies, but found the fifth one back was fine. Better to have some data than no data.

      Adam

      March 6, 2012
  28. candy #

    This was brilliant! You completely saved me! I thought weeks of entries were gone but I am up and running again – Thank you!

    March 5, 2012
  29. Frank Peebles #

    frank finding this blog is a file saver for me. I have been struggling for two weeks. I too noticed the problem only surfaced when quotes where downloaded. I love Macs and can only hope quicken will make a up to date version. iBank is out there but with data from 1995 it would be hard to change.

    April 10, 2012
  30. Joy #

    Frank,
    Intuit did release a updater application that will make Quicken 2007 work in Lion. The price was $14.95. They haven’t gone as far as creating a full Quicken 2012 for heaven’s sakes but at least they fixed the issue with Quicken not working under Lion.

    April 11, 2012
  31. Bruce #

    Adam, I can’t thank you enough for your easy, thorough explanation on how to get Quicken to download quotes for my investments. I am using Quicken 2006 with Snow Leopard. I started getting the “Can’t add _____, security already exists” message. After clicking OK, a third of all my investments were gone and zeroed out. Eventually, the file would not open, even after restarting. I used Time Machine to get a clean file, brought it up to date, applied your procedure and now I am a happy camper again.

    Utilizing your simple solution I now have a file with up to date investment quotes, but with no history. My back-up file now includes all investment histories prior to 7/1/2012.

    Does anybody have any current success or problems with the 2007 Lion application?

    July 6, 2012
    • Kurt EIchorn #

      I came to find this conversation thread over a year ago when I en-counted the dreaded ‘corrupted stock quotes data’ in my Quicken data file and the info on this thread saved my ‘life’. I have a large Quicken data file dating back to 1994 with extensive income, expense, and investment data entered. I cautiously made the transition from Quicken 2007 on Snow Leopard to the ‘new’ Quicken 2007 on Lion on July 4th (yea it was a slow holiday at home). I first transitioned to the ‘new Quicken 2007′ on Snow Leopard. The first time I opened my Quicken data file with the updated program I again got the ‘corrupted stock quotes data’ error. I deleted the stock data file embedded in the Quicken data file, re-opened the Quicken data file and used the ‘Download 5 year stock quotes history’ feature in Quicken to get at least a 5-year view of my stocks. Two problems I have to live with now, I can not get a net worth view beyond 5-years and I had an annuity investment instrument that I had periodically manually entered the current value. I do have my old Quicken data file and an old eMac still running that I can go back and retrieve monthly values for my annuity and enter into the new Quicken file. I then updated to the new Lion OS with out problems. So far all’s well. All the income and expense data and reports work fine, the only ‘loss’ is the stock data beyond 5 years.

      Don’t forget to make a couple of backup copies of your Quicken data file and store it off the Mac you are converting.

      July 10, 2012
  32. Hi Adam, it’s years since your original post. Are you still holding Quicken 07 hands? I tried QE, but ditched it and went back to Q 07. Today, my MacBook crashed twice (getting old), the second time I was working in Quicken, just entering data into a checkbook. When I went to restart my computer and reopen Q07, it says there is no file. When I went to look for Quicken backups, it says there is no original to support it. Any light to shed…

    December 18, 2012
  33. Karen #

    Thanks for this article. I have a problem where (during download) Quicken is matching two securities to the same one. I deleted the 5 letter Security ticker for both securities but that hasn’t solved the problem. Does anyone know if deleting the Quotes.icn file will fix my problem.

    Alternatively, Would the following procedure work: (1) Export all securities and security prices to a QIF file; (2) Delete the offending securities from this file. (3) Delete the Quotes.icn file; (4) Open Quicken and read in the edited QIF file; (5) Add the offending securities again during download.

    If so, what format is the QIF file? When I load it in the bash terminal it is clear that it is not using the mac return character because I’m getting it as one continuous line with lots of ^M. So I tried both Excel and Word, which both read it well, but I want to make sure I write out the edited file in the correct format.

    January 18, 2013
  34. Alicia #

    Adam-
    Thank you for posting this. Amazing so many of us are still using Quicken 2007 for Lion. You’d think Intuit would realize there is a market out there for more than the new basics they’re offering.
    Any other tips you come across would be appreciated. I recently downloaded a new Quicken file from bank that would not import–found that changing their file name to shorter name worked, imported no problem. Maybe this is the start of my “bugginess.” I’ll check the stock quote file.

    June 30, 2013
    • Joy #

      I eventually found out directly from Intuit tech support that once your actual file gets too big you will start to have serious problems. I think that is what happened to me. No amount of fixing helped. None of absolutely every trick I found on the internet helped me. I had to start over with a new file which is (by virtue of starting completely over) much smaller and has no problems for now. It was also recommended that on a regular basis that I rebuild the file which I’ve already forgotten the keyboard command for. I hope this helps others. Don’t ever let your file get too big. Of course, no matter how many times I asked, “please define too big”, I never got an answer. Your guess is as good as mine as to exactly how big, too big is. Good luck.

      July 5, 2013
  35. JC #

    Thank you for this post. I had this same problem occur to me this same day. I tried with the back up file that I had of my most current file but did not work. I then grabbed a dupe of a back up file from 15 days ago and followed the “cleansing” process AND IT WORKED. My file BTW is almost 13Mb having info back to the 90s… Is that big? small?

    I think you all know that one day this program will cease to work or we will not be able to update info anymore. Truly wonder why Quicken does not support new versions of this great program. I’ll hate when that day arrives!

    July 26, 2013
  36. Annie Fujii #

    Have you ever experience ” the free list is damaged. try rebuilding your list.” when you click “finish” when you have completed your reconciliation? I have not been able to do this since I upgraded to the new Mac Pro and quicken 2007 Lion upgrade.

    March 31, 2014

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