How to Back Up Your QuickBooks 2011 Data File

A critically important task that either you or some co-worker needs to complete is to back up the QuickBooks data file. Few items stored on your computer's hard drive deserve as much caretaking as the QuickBooks data file. Quite literally, the QuickBooks data file describes your business's financial affairs. You absolutely don't want to lose the data file.

Fortunately, backing up the QuickBooks data file is rather straightforward. You need to complete only three steps:

  1. Choose File→Create Copy.

    QuickBooks displays the Save Copy or Backup dialog box, which provides three options:

    • Save a backup copy of your QuickBooks file

    • Create a portable company file

    • Create an accountant's copy

  2. You want to save a backup copy, so click the Backup Copy option button and click Next.

    You can create either a full backup file or a portable company file when you copy the QuickBooks file. A portable company file is smaller than a backup file, so it's more convenient to move around. For example, you can more easily e-mail a portable company file. The rub with portable company files is this: QuickBooks must work hard to scrunch the portable company file to a small size. QuickBooks also has to do more work to un-scrunch the file later on when you want to work with it.

    After you click Next, the Save Copy or Backup dialog box appears.

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  3. Indicate whether you want to save your QuickBooks backup file onto your local company server or to a QuickBooks offsite data center.

    Click Local Backup to indicate you want to store the backup copy of your file onto your computer's hard drive.

  4. Click the Options button to choose a backup location.

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  5. Specify to which folder or disk location the company file should be backed up.

  6. (Optional) Select your backup options.

    You can also use the Backup Options dialog box to specify when QuickBooks should remind you to back up and how QuickBooks should back up:

    • Timestamps: To add the date and time of the backup operation to the backup file's name, select the Add the Date and Time of the Backup to the File Name check box.

    • Limiting backup copies: To tell QuickBooks it should get rid of old backup copies, select the Limit the Number of Backup Copies in This Folder check box and then specify how many backup copies you want to keep by using the adjoining text box.

    • Backup reminders: Select the Remind Me to Back Up When I Close My Company File check box and the adjoining text box to specify that you want to be reminded to back up the QuickBooks file every time, every other time, every third time, and so forth, that you close QuickBooks.

    • Data verification: Use the Verification buttons to tell QuickBooks that it should check for data integrity when it backs up your data.

  7. When you finish specifying the backup location and options, click Next.

    QuickBooks displays a dialog box that asks when you want to back up.

  8. Decide when you want to back up.

    Typically, you want to back up when you choose the Save Copy or Backup command. And in this case, when QuickBooks displays the Save Copy or Backup dialog box that asks the "when" question, click the Save It Now button. You can, however, also tell QuickBooks to regularly schedule backups according to some clever scheme by choosing the Save It Now and Schedule Future Backups buttons or by choosing the Only Schedule Future Backups button.

  9. Click Finish to close the Save Copy or Backup dialog box.

    After you've specified how the backup operation should work, click Finish. QuickBooks backs up the current QuickBooks company file and stores that new file copy at the backup location.

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