Several months ago, Intuit leaked word that there would be a new ‘diagnostic tool’ that would be released to deal with a variety of Company file and networking issues. Preliminary information indicated that this new tool combined the tests associated with both the prior Company File Diagnostic Tool (CFDT) and the Network Connectivity Diagnostic Tool (NCDT). While that early publication made it sound like the tool was ready for distribution when users went to the Intuit Technical Support website, the File Doctor Knowledge Base Article continued to download the older CFDT and not the new tool. An Intuit employee confirmed that while the tool was originally intended to be released at that time it had been quickly withdrawn for technical reasons.
Recently the File Doctor did arrive, and can be downloaded from Intuit technical support. I guess the old saying “The Doctor is in the house” may have some meaning here, but the question is “whose house”? There are few things that I have noticed that are different in this new information from the information in the original site.
One of the most noticeable differences is under a section titled ‘Limits’, wherein the first bullet says: “You must be connected to the internet to upload the file”. The very next bullet in the ‘Limits’ section specifies, “Your company file must be smaller than 2GB to upload through this tool”. Apparently these disclosures concern an option to directly ‘upload your file to Intuit Data Services’ if it cannot be repaired by the new tool. Based upon my testing of the new tool, this ‘direct link’ to Intuit Data Services maybe the only advantage the tool really options in terms of data repair.
In this first part of a two part series on File Doctor we will examine the data file repair functions of the tool. In part two we will review the network diagnostic functions.
Accessing the tool
QuickBooks File Doctor can be accessed the Intuit technical support website. General instructions on using the tool are provided at the same website. You need to be logged in to your computer and/or network with Administrator privileges when installing the tool, as well as when performing any network related diagnostic or repair functions. Intuit also notes that Microsoft Windows UAC (User Account Controls) should be temporarily turned off when installing the tool, and while running any of the ‘network testing’ the tool can perform.
File Doctor will run on Windows XP (SP3, SP2), Windows 7 (32bit, 64bit), and Windows vista. Windows .Net framework 2.0 is also required; however, if it is not already installed on the user’s system, the tool will attempt to install it during the tool installation process.
Believe it or not, the tool will perform ‘file repair’ related tests even without QuickBooks being installed on the computer where the tool is located, as long as the tool can access to the file(s) to be analyzed. File Doctor can perform file procedures on both *.QBW (Company) files and *.QBA (Accountant’s copy) files.
Downloading and Installing the Tool
Click on the blue Download Tool button on the QuickBooks File Doctor website. Once you have downloaded the tool, start the installation process. The installer will guide you through the steps required to install File Doctor on your computer.
Read and accept the License Agreement, then select the Installation Folder for the tool. Upon completion of the installation, the installer will display the screen shown below. Note the instructions at the bottom of the window asking that you perform Windows updates to check for critical updates to the .NET framework.
Using the File Diagnosis and Repair Feature
Double-click on the QuickBooks File Doctor icon on the desktop to begin the file repair process. By default file repair is turned on under the Advanced Options menu.
Use the Browse button to open a windows search dialog box in order to find the file for analysis/repair. Then click the Diagnose File button, enter the file admin user name and password for the file you have selected.
The QuickBooks File Doctor will begin by accessing the company file you selected and then make a safety copy of the file, preserving that file in the same directory as the original file.
Finally the QuickBooks File Doctor will actually start ‘his diagnostic testing’ just like Gregory House, MD.
Near the end of the process, File Doctor will ask you to choose either Yes or No in the Network Access window (if appropriate) and then click Next.
We will look at network testing, diagnosis and repair procedures in the next article in this series.
So What Did the Dr. Find?
There are three possible Diagnoses this Doctor can conclude:
1. No problem was found by the Doctor
In this case Intuit indicates that you should continue to use your file, but if you continue to experience problems you might search the QuickBooks support website or community for additional information. Another option is to restore a backup file and enter any transactions since that backup. As an alternative you can contact either QuickBooks Technical Support or a local QuickBooks ProAdvisor.
2. The Doctor found a problem and was able to ‘fix it’.
Click the Open New File button to open the file the Doctor has repaired.
3. The Doctor diagnosed a problem he was unable to fix it (“probably needs to go back to QB Med-school”).
In this case Intuit recommends that you either restore a backup and re-enter any transactions since the date the backup was made; replace your file using the Auto Data Recovery procedure; or upload your damaged company file to Intuit Data Services (described a little later in this article) for professional repair. There are also several reputable third party services that also can repair QuickBooks files.
Editor’s Note: I’ll list three of the reputable third party services that I am familiar with – there may be others but I’m not familiar with them. Charlie Russell
If you click the Use Copy button at the bottom of this screen, the tool will begin the process of restoring a QuickBooks Company file using the Auto Data Recovery procedure. You may need to enter any transactions since the date and time of the ADR file’s production. Since ADR is available for QuickBooks 2011 and 2012 versions of Pro and Premier only, this option is not available to either earlier users of QuickBooks or QuickBooks Enterprise users (regardless of version). It might not be available to the copies of Premier provided to ProAdvisors, either.
Additional File Repair Settings
There are a couple of special circumstances that the File Doctor can be used to potentially resolve if the proper Advanced Settings are configured. Intuit notes that these settings should be used when recommended by an QuickBooks Technical Support staff member.
-6130 (type) errors – these errors (like -6130, 0) may occur when you are attempting to open or access a Company File, and data damage results in the QuickBooks Database Server terminating as a windows service. If the file refuses to open after restarting the Database Server, the File Doctor may be able to make repairs. Open the File Doctor Advanced Options; then click the Force fix 6130 errors option. Clear all other Advanced Option settings; click Back and then continue with the normal File Diagnosis/Repair process.
Data Sync errors – these are problems related to the QuickBooks Sync Manager and the ability to sync data between the Company file and the copy of the file maintained at the “Intuit Cloud”. To fix these errors, click the Advanced Options button, and then select the Force fix DataSync error option. Clear all other Advanced Options settings; click Back and then continue with the normal File Diagnosis/Repair process.
Using File Dr. to Send Your File to Intuit
If you have high-speed internet service, and your damaged QuickBooks file is less than 2 Gig in size, you have the option of using the File Doctor to send your file directly to Intuit Data Services. Intuit advises File Doctor users that this option will be presented automatically if the file ‘customer’ is entitled to support. There is also a shortcut (CTRL-U) to access the Send File interface.
I must admit that I am somewhat confused over how the support entitlement assessment is made by File Doctor. Could it possibly be determined by the user’s email entered when File Doctor was downloaded? Perhaps it’s determined by the Doctor probing your computer or network to find a ‘licensed copy of QuickBooks’ (even though the instructions for File Dr. indicate you don’t even need QuickBooks on your computer)? Maybe Intuit’s File Doctor bases this decision examining the Realm ID within the QuickBooks file? I am to some degree concerned about the relationship that this tool may build between your file and Intuit’s records.
You must provide basic information and a ‘case number’ (if you have been working with a QuickBooks support agent); once you do so click Send File.
Both an on-screen acknowledgement and an email will notify the user of successful upload of the file. From that point, Intuit Data Services will contact you regarding the status of your file.
My Personal Test Results
I tested the new QuickBooks File Doctor on four files known to have corruptions. One of these files involved some ‘names list corruptions’, the second file contained some of the ‘open sales orders’ errors, another of the files involved ‘item count’ errors, and the final file simply will not open with QuickBooks.
I am sad to report that in the first three cases the File Doctor reported that it found no file errors. In the final case, File Doctor identified an error it could not fix and wanted to send the file to Intuit Data Services. I should mention that I got the same results with previously released versions of the Company File Diagnostic Tool.
So from my testing I really can not tell that the new QuickBooks (File) Doctor in town has got any more skills than the older Intuit diagnostician. Perhaps both need to go back to the Intuit school of diagnostics; “where is Gregory House, MD when your QuickBooks needs him”?
See Part 2 of this series at http://www.sleeter.com/blog/2012/08/quickbooks-file-doctor-finally-on-duty-part-2/