Ask the Expert - File Size and Hardware Requirements - Accounting Software Secrets
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Ask the Expert – File Size and Hardware Requirements

Ask the Expert – File Size and Hardware Requirements

Ask the Expert – File Size and Hardware Requirements

Q – What is a “reasonable” working file size for a QuickBooks data file?  Is a 700MB file too large for a WIN NT network using less than GHz processor speeds? (Submitted by GD)

A – There are many variables that come into play when discussing performance such as file size, computer technology used, how many users are accessing the data at the same time, what type of network connection is used for that access, what processes are being completed, what QuickBooks product is used, etc. 

The file size limitation varies by the accounting software product used.  Based on the last information I have from Intuit, the recommended size for the desktop products (Basic, Pro and Premier) is 100 MB or less.  And, for the Enterprise Solution, the recommended size is less than 250 MB.  So in the situation described here, yes, a 700 MB file is too large.  Although the file size recommendations from Intuit are a guideline, and there are many of our clients that have larger files without any problems, the speed and potential for data integrity loss does increase as the file gets larger.  For example, we just started a new file for a client with a 525 MB file size.  The software seemed to be a little slow, but still functioning, however, it could not be condensed because it would time out and close QuickBooks.  With the add-ons available, starting a new file is not a difficult process: It is possible to transfer the lists from within QuickBooks itself, and with the aid of an add-on it is possible to transfer beginning balances as of a specific date and transactions since that date (with a few exceptions such as payroll).   There is a case study available that detailed this client engagement step by step.

As you already mentioned, is computer processing speed.  In general, the hardware requirements range from at least 350 MHz (500 MHz recommended) Intel Pentium II (or equivalent) computer with at least 96 MB (256 MB recommended) of RAM and 400 MB of disk space for QuickBooks Basic to at least 500 MHz (1.2 GHz recommended) Intel Pentium III (or equivalent) computer with at least 128 MB (256 MB recommended, 512 MB optimal) of RAM, 850 MB of disk space, and 100 Mb/s or faster network.  Depending on the additional software needed, the disk space requirement may be higher.  All products are designed to work with Windows 98 (SE), 2000, or XP operating systems.

Editorial Note: Intuit published a valuable resource a couple of years ago entitled “Pushing QuickBooks to the Limit: 99 Tips Every Multi-User Must Know.”  In a recent search of the site I found reference to the document in two newsletter archive articles, but the link to the special offer for the complete document is no longer available.  For Tips 17-27 that deal with a more productive work environment, visit Intuit”s page on this subject. For Tips 62-71 that deal with multiple companies and locations, visit Intuit”s page on that subject.

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