Technical QuickBooks

What is the QuickBooks QBDataServiceUser and Do I Need It?

Occasionally I’ll get a query from a security-conscious client who says that they have found a user account that mysteriously appears, called QBDataServiceUser (often with a number appended to the name). They want to know why it shows up and what they should do about it.

Starting with the 2006 release of QuickBooks (in the US edition, later in non US editions), Intuit changed the database system to use a SQL based system called SQL Anywhere, from Sybase.  This is an embedded database system that developers can use to manage their database, limiting direct access (for security reasons) to the program that uses it. The QBDataServiceUser is related to the management of the database.

Why Does This Account Exist?

With QuickBooks you can run the software in two “modes” – single user or multiple user. If you select multiple user then QuickBooks will create a new Windows user account and start a separate copy of the database manager as a Windows service.

Essentially, the QBDataServiceUser account is created to manage the separate database manager service and allow it to provide services to any user that logs in to this Windows system. You should only find it on a workstation or server that is hosting the database – and it is important that only one computer is acting as the host.

QBDataServiceUser

It is not unusual to have a user account set up in Windows by a software system, to be used to manage a database product or a service of some sort. Microsoft will do this, setting up an ASP.NET user account in certain situations. By creating this limited user account (more on that later) the service can be available to all Windows users without providing administrative access to your computer.

Looking at my system configuration, on a system that has just QuickBooks 2010 installed, you can see that there is a QuickBooks database “service” running. This is the multiuser database manager.

QuickBooks database user account

You may see multiple user accounts if you have been upgrading your copy of QuickBooks periodically. For example, the following is a screen shot from one of my test systems that has QuickBooks 2006, 2007 and 2008 installed:

Multiple QuickBooks database user accountsThe user with no number at the end is for QuickBooks 2006, the 17 is for 2007, and so forth. QuickBooks 2010 and Enterprise 10 use QBDataServiceUser20.

Can I Get Rid Of This Account?

Well, yes, you can, but normally you shouldn’t. If this computer is the “host” for your QuickBooks database you must have this user account and service running to provide multi user access to the QuickBooks company file. You can delete the account, but the next time you start multi user access on this computer QuickBooks will set the account up again.

You may also notice, as I’ve shown above, that you have multiple user accounts set up. Also, since this user account must have a folder in your Documents and Settings folder, you may see multiple QBDataServiceUser folders. Why?

If you have installed upgrades to QuickBooks over the years there could be a user account and folder for each upgrade you installed. If you uninstall an older copy of QuickBooks that you no longer need, QuickBooks should remove the unneeded user accounts. However, it most likely won’t delete the folder for the account in your Documents and Settings folder.  Microsoft Windows does not provide a simple way for the program to clean up these user folders.

You can safely delete these left over folders after you have uninstalled. Don’t uninstall the folders that are currently being used.

In some cases you may find additional folders, if you install, uninstall and reinstall the same edition multiple times. You may see folders like QBDataServiceUser.001  and QBDataServiceUser.002, for example. In this case you can delete the lowest numbered folders, leaving the highest numbered one in place.

Is This Account A Security Risk?

This is the usual question that people have when they notice these user accounts. The simplest answer is that this is a normal practice for services like this in Microsoft Windows, and there is no security risk having them there. They are set up as “limited user” accounts that generally have very limited permissions. They can’t be used by another individual or program to log in to your machine.

When rebooting Windows and logging in you won’t see this user account listed in the login screen normally. These are “hidden” accounts that you normally see. This is helpful. Also, it is important to note that this account does not have administrative privileges.

You can see them in your Windows Control panel. The accounts are set up with a password, and we aren’t provided with that password.

QBDataServiceUser Properties

QBDataServiceUser password

If for some reason you have a computer system administrator that doesn’t want this kind of user account set up on a company file server, the only real solution you have is to set up a separate file server just to manage QuickBooks data. That would keep it separate from your main company server – which often is a good idea in any case.

 


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About the author

Charlie Russell

Charlie Russell is the founder of CCRSoftware. He's been involved with the small business software industry since the mid 70's, and remembers releasing his first commercial accounting software product when you had a one-floppy disk drive system, loading the program from one floppy and then replacing that with the other floppy to hold the data. He has a special interest in inventory and manufacturing software for small businesses. Charlie is a Certified Advanced QuickBooks ProAdvisor with additional certifications for QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Enterprise. He also is a Xero Certified Partner. Visit his CCRSoftware web site for information about his QuickBooks add-on products. Charlie can be reached at charlie.russell@sleeter.com

He is also the author of the California Wildflower Hikes blog

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39 Comments

  • We are running Quickbooks Pro Edition 2010. We have had QB since the late 1990’s and have upgraded about every two years. Similar to the above example I have users QBDataServiceUser, QBDataServiceUser18 and QBDataServiceUser20. The OS is Windows 7 Pro 64 bit. Is it safe to delete users QBDataServiceUser and QBDataServiceUser18? This seems like good housekeeping to me if they are not needed by QB 2010.

    Thanks.

  • I realize this is an older thread, but it is still very relevant. Thank you in advnace for any input. We have been running QuickBooks Enterprise for a long time starting with 2009, then 2010, and on up. We are currently on QBE2013 with 30 users. All users are always on the exact same version and the same dot release because I update everyone at the smae time. However, as discussed above I have not only gone in and deleted the old user accounts on the server where we share the files, but I’ve even gone into services.msc and totally disabled all the older ones, leaving only the newest one for the latest version of QuickBooks. But regardless, when the users come in and fire up QuickBooks, which is almost always in multiuser mode, all of the user account folders reappear, all the way back to 19. Baffles me totally since we’re only running QBEnterprise, 2013. Anyone know why? I don’t proactively uninstall an old version when I install a new one, but I QuickBooks usually asks “do you want to run both versions or replace the old version with the new one (summarized)”, so I thought it uninstalled the old one. Any advice? All the accounts show as running in Processes at all times, so I know they are using resources.

  • I hope someone can answer this.

    I am hosting a Quickbooks server for a customer who sells QuickBook services to other customers.
    Everything is working great, but there is an issue with security.

    Since he does host in multiuser mode; the QBDataUser# has access to every Quickbooks data folder.
    Of course we do have security setup so that clients can not open other clients company files but we do not want them knowing which other companies are being hosted on the server.

    this can cause issues on many levels.
    Is there anyway to restrict this?
    Thank you very much

  • I’ve run into a problem with an upgrade of QB Enterprise 2013->2014. I’m running on a 2012 Standard windows member server. All of the settings installed (as current settings) by default. The Workstations with QB-2014 all show no hosting when opening the companies (successfuly). We have an offsite CPA firm, who could open companies via VPN logging on with domain user credentials, that cannot open the companies anymore. They receive an H505 error.
    Everything is the same between the two installations, except for what brought me here to ask the question. The User QBDataServiceUser24 does not exist. 21-23 do. The Service QuickBooksDB24 is set with a ‘Log On As’ user name “.\QBDataServiceUser24″. The ’23’ Service has ‘User23′. The service is running.
    I’ve tried repair and reinstall. There just aren’t that many settings choices to go with. Since I cannot manual create the user (no password, of course) and I cannot point it to the previous user for the same reason, what could I safely set the user to logon as? Local account?

      • Thanks for the quick response Charlie. It’s appreciated. I was hoping you might have run into this, as odd as it sounds. I do have service contract with Intuit, I just wanted to avoid being tethered to a phone for extended time. I’ll try to post back here if I find a resolution to share with y’all.

        • So, I found the missing QBDataServiceUser24 account. Originally, my QB ES installation was on a 2003 Member server. From that server, the installation was apparently able to create Domain User accounts for the DBManager Service. This is no longer the case on a 2012 Member server. ES now creates local accounts for the service.
          That being resolved, I continued looking for the issue. The next issue I ran across is that the installation did not create the Firewall rules for the various ports. I can’t recall if this happened on the ’03 server, but adding them did not fix the issue.
          All avenues exhausted, I installed QB 2014 on my home system with duplicate access settings of the VPN User. I was successful. So, all this work to say it’s user error. I hope the 1st paragraph helps future searchers.

  • please i need help i upgrade from quickbooks enterprise 12 to 15 and the arabic letter in chart of accounts and item list not read good but in the snap shot its ok ?????????

    • I can’t help you, Elsayed. I don’t work with alternate character sets myself – I’ve heard on multiple occasions that more recent versions of QB Desktop don’t support them as well as before, but I can’t say much about that.

  • Hi Charlie,

    We have a company desktop that is acting as a host server. When we upgraded to QB 2015 yesterday it installed a QBDataService21 login on the desktop of one of the local systems (not the host). I called quickbooks support to remove it and they said get IT to do it. He was not sure how it got on the system. How do I remove this desktop login if I don’t see it under a user account or can I just turn if off? I do have some IT experience

    Thank you

  • I understand the accounts are needed. But you said they are hidden. We run QuickBooks 2015 in multiuser mode on Windows 7 Pro 64 bit. All of the QuickBooks accounts appear on the log-in screen. We don’t want to delete them but would like to hide them so a user doesn’t try to log in with them. How do we do we hide them without disabling them?

    • They are always hidden from the login in my system. There are ways to set them to not be hidden (or hide them again) but that involves some fairly detailed work with the accounts, possibly adjusting your WIndows registry, or user profiles. That is far beyond what I can show you in blog comments. Best to talk to a WIndows expert who can get hands on your system.

      These accounts should be password protected so that someone can’t log in with them.

  • Has anyone noticed that QBDataServiceUser accounts have the ability to add themselves to the ACL’s of the folders where the QBW files are located? It’s not immediate or even consistent, but I have observed this behavior on several occasions. In other words, I’ll grant the QBDataServiceUser permission to the QBW folder via inheritance and I’ll return the next hour to discover that the QBDataServiceUser accounts have granted themselves explicit permissions to each folder in the qbw folder path.

    • QuickBooks uses a number of sub folders that it will create in the location where the QBW file exists. It has folders for images, attached documents, restored backups and more. So what you describe doesn’t surprise me.

      • What’s worse, the new 2015 scanner actually SHARES the folder containing your QB files to EVERYONE if you scan your server using the QuickBooks Database Server Manager. This is completely inappropriate use of administrative privilage by a service in my opinion. We spend significant time creating and maintaining appropriate folder and share security on our servers and to have it completely undermined by an Intuit process is shocking. As a result, we rely on the shell commands to scan QB files and avoid the QuickBooks Database Server Manager all together.

  • I have 2 versions of QuickBooks on my laptop. QB Premier Accountant 2012 and 2013. NOT Multi-user. a profile was created (QBDataServiceUser22) and I went to control panel and deleted it. For some reason, upon computer startup it still shows up as an account to select to log in. When I search for actual users as admin there is no user by this name. Any suggestions on how to remove this from the start screen? It drives me nuts.

    • You probably turned on multi user access at some point, which is where that came from. Getting rid of that is complicated, and the details get into some heavy duty Windows stuff that goes beyond what we can talk about here.

      • This QBDataserviceuser24 is not letting me install any update disks because I don’t have administrator rights? We’ve always used QB multiuser in the past and never ran into this problem before… We’ve tried to change to local user being the administator and cpu says we don’t have administrator rights. Can you help me on this

        • It is hard to give specific advice through blog comments, as there are so many variables. You may want to work with someone who can log in to your system to see what is going on.

          What operating system are you using? What is your network configuration? When you say “is not letting me install any update disks”, what exactly are you trying to do and what error messages are you getting? You don’t provide any details…

  • I know this is an older thread but I really hope someone can help me. I am running QuickBooks 2013 and everything was working fine but all of a sudden last week I couldn’t log into anything or update anything because it always asks for the password for QBDataServiceUser23. It’s almost like that has admin properties over the whole computer. I cannot try to add another user or delete a user or anything. Even updating programs, it asks for this password. How do I get my admin rights back. I am running on Windows 8.1.

    • What operating environment do you have? Windows Server? Just a single computer? A LAN?

      Are you logging in to the computer with your own login, and are you an administrator or not?

      • The computer I am using is the host computer for the QB server. We have 2 other computers connected. It was all fine and working until last week. I am the only user on my computer so when I log in I assume I am the admin for my computer but I do not have any admin rights. And also, there was a pop up a couple times that said I was a standard user. When I restart the windows log on screen comes on and I put a password in(which I have done every single time before) and then my computer opens up but I do not have any admin rights. I have searched high and low on the internet as to why QBDataServiceUser 23 is the admin and I cannot come up with anything.

        • Kristi, you aren’t necessarily logging in as the admin to your computer. If you don’t have admin rights when you log in, obviously that isn’t the admin account.

          Things like this are really hard to diagnose through blog comments like this. Fixes are even harder to explain here, as there are so many details. The most likely fix, although I can’t be sure, involves some things that may be beyond your experience or ability, although I don’t know in your situation as I don’t know you.

          I highly recommend that you work with a systems person who understands QuickBooks as well as how to manage Windows user accounts. That would be the best thing.

          Something to try, but this might not be a good enough of an explanation:

          -Open Computer Management>Services (if you don’t know how to find this, it is something that you should ask an IT tech person to help you with, rather than trying it yourself).

          -Scroll down till you find the listing for “QuickBooksDB23″ service.

          -Select that service and then double click it – then select the “Log On” tab.

          -Look for the section that says “Log on as:”. You want the “Local System Account” button to be selected, rather than the \QBDataServiceUser23 account.

          close the window and reboot, see what happens. Again, if this is too technical or not clear, don’t try it yourself, find someone to help.

          There is a reasonable chance that the database service is crashing periodically, which creates a problem like this sometimes. If that is the case, the cause of the crashes needs to be resolved. That is a very, very complicated/technical process.

          • Thank you for the help. I have been in the Computer Management part and I have no options there. Everything is grayed out and I cannot select anything. I contacted Microsoft who informed me I would need to purchase a Windows 8.1 recovery disc for $120 to reinstall Windows unless I can get the password from Intuit. I contacted Intuit who assured me they do not create user accounts on the computer. I tried my hardest to make them understand that this has something to do with multi user configuration but I got too frustrated and hung up. At this point I am thinking I will have to either purchase a new computer or get a Windows 8 recovery disc.

          • Whoever you talked to at Intuit is way off base, of course QuickBooks creates a user account for the DB manager on whatever system is the host for the database.

            I can’t help you beyond this point, but you shouldn’t have to reinstall Windows. And you won’t get the password for the data server user account from Intuit.

            I’m fairly sure that there is a way around this, but without hands on the system I can’t help further. If you email me directly (my email address is in my Author bio) I can refer you to some people who can help (for a fee). Or, you can locate a Certified Advanced ProAdvisor, who will have access to a higher level of Intuit support.

  • Thanks again! I am located in a small town so not sure what if any IT people I will have access to. I am just ready to throw in the towel on this.

  • I Charlie computer keeps coming up with qbdataserveruser21 I haven’t got the password for this and it is stoping me from download or removing any programs how can I reset password

    • You can’t reset the password, you can’t log in as that user, and you don’t want to. I can’t tell what is happening on your system (you aren’t very specific) or what kind of system you have, but it sounds like you need someone to log in and take a look. Something is not set up correctly. I recommended Mario early in these comments, he would be one of several people who could help.

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