Keeping QuickBooks Desktop up-to-date with the latest version is critical for running an efficient accounting system. New QuickBooks releases provide valuable bug fixes, new features, improved security, and better performance.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to successfully update QuickBooks Desktop to the newest version.

Determine Your Current QuickBooks Version

The first step is identifying which version of QuickBooks Desktop you currently have installed. Here’s how to check your version number:

1. Open QuickBooks on your Windows or Mac computer.

2. Click on Help in the top menu bar and select About QuickBooks from the dropdown menu.

3. A dialog box will open displaying important information about your QuickBooks install, including the version number and release year.

4. Take note of the full version number shown here. For example, it may show QuickBooks Desktop 2024 R8.

Knowing your exact version number will ensure you download the correct update to transition to the newest release.

Back Up Your QuickBooks Data

Before installing major software updates, it’s essential to back up your QuickBooks data. This safeguards your financial information and provides a restore point in case anything goes wrong.

Here are the steps to back up QuickBooks Desktop:

1. Go to File > Back Up Company > Create Local Backup

2. Choose a folder location or external drive to save the backup file.

3. Accept the default settings to create a complete copy of your data.

4. Optionally, you can create a portable company file by going to File > Create Copy.

5. Save the backup and portable company files.

For maximum protection, back up to an external hard drive or a cloud backup service like Carbonite. Test restoring from the backup to verify it works correctly before updating.

Download the QuickBooks Update

With your data securely backed up, you can now download the latest QuickBooks update:

1. Go to QuickBooks Desktop Downloads page on  website.

2. Under the Update QuickBooks Desktop section, click the Update QuickBooks Desktop button.

3. If prompted, sign in using your QuickBooks account credentials.

4. Locate the update version that matches your current QuickBooks based on year and release number.

5. Select the correct update and click Download.

For example, if upgrading from QuickBooks Desktop 2023 R8 to the newest, you’ll want to download QuickBooks Desktop 2024 R1.

The QuickBooks update file will download as a .exe file on your computer. Make note of the download location.

Install the QuickBooks Update

With the latest update downloaded, it’s time to install it:

1. Close QuickBooks Desktop entirely before proceeding.

2. Navigate to the downloaded .exe file and double-click to launch.

3. Follow the on-screen prompts to install the update.

4. Accept the license agreement then choose the same install location as your current version.

5. Let the update installer run. This may take several minutes to complete.

6. Once finished, the new QuickBooks version will automatically launch.

You now have the latest release installed!

Verify the QuickBooks Update

To confirm the upgrade was successful:

1. Go to Help > About QuickBooks in the software.

2. Verify the version number matches the newest release you just installed.

3. Open reports, forms, and data tables to check everything migrated correctly.

4. Consider creating a new backup to have a backup of the updated data.

If the version number matches and your data looks intact, the update was successful!

Why Update QuickBooks Regularly?

There are many important reasons to keep QuickBooks Desktop up-to-date:

  • Access New Features – Get new capabilities like income tracking and visual reporting.
  • Enhanced Performance – Faster speeds, improved stability, and optimization.
  • Better Security – Protection against new vulnerabilities and risks.
  • Resolve Bugs – Bug fixes and patches for any errors or glitches.
  • Compatibility – Support for new operating systems, browsers, and hardware.
  • Add-on Support – Use the latest third-party apps and integrations.
  • Regulatory Compliance – Adherence to new accounting regulations and requirements.
  • Ongoing Support – Technical support for current versions.
  • Confidence – Assurance your system meets modern standards.
  • Smooth Operation – Avoid frustrations and headaches from outdated software.
  • Best Practices – Alignment with recommended accounting practices.

When to Update QuickBooks?

QuickBooks Desktop releases on an annual basis. It’s ideal to update to the newest version soon after its release for maximum benefits.

Many businesses update QuickBooks Desktop every 1-2 years. Updating at least annually is recommended to stay current.

You can enable automatic updates in QuickBooks preferences to get notified whenever new versions are available.

Here are some signals it’s time to update QuickBooks:

  • You’re 1 or more years behind the current version
  • Experiencing performance issues or bugs
  • Needing new features not in your version
  • Warning messages to update start appearing
  • Using an older OS that will soon be unsupported
  • QuickBooks notifications of a new update

As a best practice, schedule a reminder to evaluate if an update is needed every 6-12 months.

How to Update QuickBooks Desktop

Now that we’ve covered why and when to update QuickBooks Desktop, let’s recap the step-by-step process:

1. Determine Current Version – Identify the exact version number you have installed.

2. Back Up Data – Complete a full local and cloud backup.

3. Download Update – Get the installer for the latest version.

4. Install Update – Run the installer and update in-place.

5. Verify Successful Update – Check the version number and test your data.

6. Update Backup – Backup your updated QuickBooks data.

Following these best practices will ensure a smooth, headache-free update!

Tips for Updating QuickBooks Desktop

Keep these tips in mind for a successful QuickBooks Desktop update:

  • Update during downtime to minimize disruption.
  • Read Intuit’s release notes before updating to see what’s changed.
  • Review the instructional updating video from Intuit.
  • Update QuickBooks first before other software like Office.
  • Don’t modify your company file during or right after updating.
  • If prompted, install the latest payroll update after updating.
  • Reset custom settings and recreate reports/forms if issues surface.

And remember, always backup your data before updating!

Troubleshooting QuickBooks Update Issues

In some cases, you may encounter issues when updating QuickBooks Desktop:

Installation Problems – First, retry the installation and run the installer as administrator. If issues persist, you may need to manually uninstall then reinstall the new version into a clean folder.

Missing Data – First restore from your backup. If that doesn’t work, try condensing your company file data to recover missing information.

Performance Problems – Try resetting preferences to default settings. If performance is still slow, you may need to optimize your company file’s data, like condensing it.

Software Bugs – Check Intuit’s community forums & contact tech support if you experience software bugs after updating. You may need to rollback or reinstall the update.

Add-on Compatibility – Update any add-ons to the latest compatible versions. If add-on issues occur, disable them and contact the vendors for an update.

Carefully backing up and verifying data will prevent most update issues. If problems do occur, Intuit’s technical support can help troubleshoot.

Updating QuickBooks Desktop annually provides tremendous benefits for your accounting and financial management. Following this comprehensive guide will ensure you seamlessly update to the latest version.

Be patient, back up your data, and verify the update process to avoid any disruptions. Updating QuickBooks should be a routine maintenance task to maximize performance and take advantage of new capabilities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is updating QuickBooks hard?

Updating QuickBooks Desktop is usually a straightforward process. The installer does most of the work seamlessly behind the scenes. Just be sure to backup your data and install during downtime.

Will I lose data when updating?

You should not lose data when updating as long as you complete a verified backup first. Test restoring the backup to confirm it works correctly.

How long does it take to update QuickBooks?

The QuickBooks update itself takes 5-10 minutes in most cases. Total time depends on your computer speed and size of company file data. Plan at least 30 minutes to complete the full update process.

Do I need to update both QuickBooks and payroll?

If you use QuickBooks Payroll, you’ll want to update the payroll service to the latest version after updating QuickBooks Desktop software. Install payroll updates from within QuickBooks.

Can I undo a QuickBooks update?

You cannot easily undo a QuickBooks update install. If major issues occur, restore from your pre-update backup or rollback to your previous version and migrate data over.

Further Reading

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How to Change Your Password in QB Desktop