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Fix “The File Exists” Error Message in “QuickBooks”

During a software or payroll update, the QuickBooks Program encounters the file exists error! To resolve the problem, follow the troubleshooting steps outlined in this article.

QuickBooks Troubleshooting Guide:

QuickBooks Error the file exists

QuickBooks is an excellent software, but it sometimes faces technical issues. In this article, we will discuss a specific problem called “QuickBooks Error the file exists.” This error can occur while downloading payroll updates, making scheduled liability payments, or accessing state or federal forms from within QuickBooks Desktop. If you come across this error, your computer will show one of the following error messages:

The file you specified cannot be opened make sure that it is not currently being used by another program or is a read-only file”

Here is a image of the error message:

What triggers the “file exists Error message” in QuickBooks?

  • While accessing the Payroll employee center.
  • When attempting to download updates for payroll.
  • When trying to access federal forms in QuickBooks.
  • If another user is using the file or it is open on another computer.
  • Frequently, Firewall software blocks certain parts or QuickBooks Services.
  • If the user lacks administrative rights to access or open QuickBooks files.
  • The file is in View only or Read only mode, preventing access.
  • The QuickBooks file is stored on a network drive not connected to the workstation.
  • QBDBMgrN services are not running on this computer.
  • The server computer is either undergoing updates or turned off.

Steps to fix “QuickBooks Error the File Exists” ?

  • Ensure the file is not open on the computer you are using QuickBooks on.
  • Check with other QuickBooks users on the network to see if anyone else is using the same file.
  • Consult your network administrator to verify your access permission to the company file.
  • If you have the required permissions but still get the “the file exists” error, try the advanced troubleshooting methods below to fix the issue quickly.

Method 1: Update QuickBooks to fix “the file exists Error”

When you see the “the file exists” warning error message in QuickBooks desktop, the simplest solution is to update your application to the most recent release available from Intuit.

Here’s How:

  • In QuickBooks Desktop “Select Help” and Click on “Update QuickBooks Desktop”.
  • The “Overview tab” displays whether your “Automatic Updates” are “enabled” or “disabled”.
  • Navigate to the “Update Now section”. To clear all previous update downloads, “check” the “Reset Update checkbox”.
  • To begin the download, click on “Get Updates”.
  • “Restart QuickBooks” once the download is complete.
  • Accept the option to “install the new release” when prompted.
  • Now if you haven’t been prompted to restart your PC then manually “restart your PC”.
  • After restart “Open the QuickBooks program” and “login” to your company file.

If the file exists error does not appear this means the issue has been resolved, if the issue persists then move down to “Method 2“.

Method 2: Turn off UAC Services in Windows to avoid “the File Exists Error in QuickBooks”

If a user without administrative rights attempts to access or open a QuickBooks file while the “User account control” services are active on a Windows computer, the “the QuickBooks file exists” error message will appear.

Imporatnt! It is not recommended to disable this security feature on a Windows Server, especially if you are not a system administrator. Before running this troubleshooting method, understand and learn more about when you should disable this feature and the disadvantages of disabling User account control services on a Windows Server.

Once you have gathered all the information, continue with the following steps to turn UAC services of:

Windows Server 2008 from Microsoft

  • Press “Windows Key” > Select “Control Panel”.
  • Open user “Account settings” > “Turn on or off User Account Control”.
  • Uncheck the “Use User Account Control (UAC) to help protech your computer” and then Click on “OK”.
  • “Reboot” your system for the changes ot take effect.

Windows Server 2008 R2 from Microsoft

  • Press “Windows + R” key to open the run box > Type “Control panel” and Hit “Enter”.
  • Click on “User Accounts” > Select “Change user account control settings”.
  • “Press hold the slider” and drag it down to “Never notify me”.
  • Restart your computer to apply the chnages.

Microsoft Server 2012/2016

  • Click on the “Windows icon” ony our PC.
  • Go to “control panel”.
  • Select “System Security”.
  • Under “Action Center”, choose “Change User Account Control settings”.
  • “Lower the slider bar” on to “select Never Notify”. and “Hit OK”.
  • Reboot your computer apply the changes you made.

Optionally To avoid the file exists Error, on all Microsoft Windows versions that support User Account Control service, use PowerShell to completely disable it.

  • Open the run box by pressing “Windows + R” > “type: powershell” > “Ok”.
  • Paste this link into the powershell prompt: New-ItemProperty -Path HKLM:Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\policies\system -Name EnableLUA -PropertyType DWord -Value 0 -Force
  • “Restart your machine for the changes to take effect”.
  • Then “Open a restricted folder” to make sure “UAC is disabled”.
  • Go to “Start > Run > type: C:\Windows\SysWOW64\Config > Ok”.
  • If you are not prompted for Administrative access, UAC has been “Successfully disabled”.

Method 3: Run Reboot.bat to re-register QuickBooks Files

A (.bat) batch file is a script file that contains commands that will be carried out sequentially.

Program loading, concurrently running numerous processes, or sequentially performing repetitive activities on the system are some typical uses for batch files.

Running the reboot.bat file in Microsoft Windows re-registers QuickBooks related .DLL and .OCX files. Doing this can assist in automating repetitive processes devoid of user input or intervention and fix “the file exists error message in QuickBooks.

  • “QuickBooks” should be “closed”.
  • “Navigate” to the “reboot.bat file’s location” typically found in “C drive:”.
  • WIndows 10 or 11: “Right-click” the “QuickBooks icon” on your desktop and “select Properties” then click on “Open file location”.
  • “Right-click reboot.bat” and “select Run as Administrator”.

    Note: This step is critical; you must run reboot.bat as Administrator.
  • A “Command (DOS) window” with rapidly scrolling file names will appear. Do not close this window manually. The window will close once the reboot.bat file utility has registered the QuickBooks Program.
  • Check to see if the file exist error is gone. Otherwise, “restart your computer”.

Method 4: Unblock QuickBooks Services in Firewall Settings

Sometimes, when using the QuickBooks Program, users may come across “the file exists error”, because the Windows firewall blocks certain parts and services of QuickBooks. To resolve this issue, you can configure the firewall settings to include exceptions for the program files. By doing so, you allow access to the program files over the network, thereby eliminating the file exists error when opening a company file in QuickBooks.

To share QuickBooks Services, send or receive program files between a client server and a workstation over the network, you need to use an IP address and a Port number. The IP address helps identify the destination of a data packet, representing a machine in an IP network. On the other hand, the port number helps identify a specific application or service on a system.

To identify a device on a network, a logical address called an IP address is used. Each internet-connected device is assigned a unique IP address, which serves as its identification. This identification data allows devices to communicate with each other on the network.

Now, let’s go through the steps to set the appropriate port and program exceptions on the Windows firewall.

Windows Firewall Port Exceptions:

  • On the “Client Workstation” open the run box by pressing “Windows Key + R” and type “firewall.cpl” in the run box. The Windows Firewall will appear in a new window.
  • On the left pane, select the “Advanced Settings” link. A popup for Windows Firewall with “Advanced Security settings” appears.
  • Select “Inbound Rules” from the menu.
  • Click “New rule” in the left pane.
  • Select “Port” under “Rule Type” and then click the “next button”.
  • Choose “TCP” and “specified local ports”.
  • Enter the port number; TCP port 135 is the default.
  • Choose “Next”.
  • “Allow the connection” option should be chosen.
  • “Click Next” once more without making any changes to the available options.
  • Give a “specific name” to the “rule” you just created.
  • Click “Finish”.

Firewall Program Exceptions:

  • Go to “Start” > “Run” on the client operating system and type “firewall.cpl”.
  • Select the “Advanced Settings” link from the left pane.
  • The “Windows Firewall” with Advanced Security window appears.
  • Choose “Inbound Rules”.
  • In the left pane, select “New rule”.
  • Click next after selecting “Program” under “Rule Type”.
  • Select the “This Program Route” option from the menu.
  • “Navigate” to the QuickBooks file location [the default location for QB is “C:\Program Files\quickbooks.exe”.
  • Choose to “Allow the connection”.
  • Click “Next” and give the rule a name.
  • Choose “Finish”.

Method 5: Uninstall and Reinstall QuickBooks

In order to avoid technical problems, it is recommended to install the latest version of QuickBooks. This will replace the older version and install compatible files for your operating system. By doing so, you reduce the chances of encountering errors like “the file exists” issue now and in the future. Installing the newest version is usually considered as a final solution to resolve the file exists error and other technical problems that commonly occur in QuickBooks.

Uninstall QuickBooks Program

  • Click on the “Windows start icon” in the “task bar”.
  • “Search” for “control panel” and “open” it.
  • Now select “programs and features” to view the list of software’s installed on the system.
  • Find the “QuickBooks Desktop Version” you want to “uninstall”.
  • “Select Uninstall/change” and then click on “remove”.
  • Click on “Next”, If the QB uninstall wizard windows doesn’t start then sign out restart your computer and log back in with an “Admin account to continue”.

Reinstall QuickBooks

  • Keep your “License number and Product ID” handy.
  • Download the latest version of QuickBooks Desktop.
  • Open the quickbooks.exe file you just downloaded.
  • “Accept the license terms” and follow the “onscreen instructions” to “continue”.
  • When prompted “Enter your license number and product ID” in the right fields.
  • Decide the type of installation.
    • Express Install: If you are the only person using QuickBooks from a “Single computer”.
    • Custom and Network install: If multiple users wants to access a QuickBooks company file from “multiple workstations” connected to the “network”.
  • If you install it for a single user then simply “Select express and then hit next” > “Select Install” > Once instalaltion is complete simply “Open QuickBooks”.
  • If you want to “Setup a Multi-user Network” then “Select Custom and Network install” and then Click “Next” and choose an option on how you intend to use QuickBooks.
  • Next, “Select a location to store the QB installation files”. Typically this would be your “programs folder”.
  • Hit, “Next” to “start the installation”.
  • Once complete “Open QuickBooks”.

Whichever above method you have chosen to install QuickBooks, once you are ready open the company file that encountered “the file exists error”, If you are able to access your company file then ensure that all the other users are able to view and edit the file as well without any problems.

Quick Tips to Avoid the file exists error in QuickBooks

To avoid the “File Exists” error in QuickBooks, consider the following tips:

  1. Choose unique file names: When creating a new file, ensure that the name is distinct and not already in use within the designated location. This helps prevent conflicts with existing files.
  2. Use a logical folder structure: Organize your files in a logical folder structure to avoid confusion and minimize the chances of inadvertently saving files with duplicate names in the same location.
  3. Review file names before saving: Before saving changes to an existing file, double-check the file name to ensure it matches your intended purpose. This helps prevent accidentally overwriting the wrong file.
  4. Enable file versioning or backups: If your QuickBooks version supports it, consider enabling file versioning or implementing regular backups. This allows you to revert to a previous version of a file if needed, reducing the risk of permanent data loss.


In conclusion, we trust that the methods explained earlier have been useful in resolving the “QuickBooks error the file exists” warning message on Windows. As a result, you should now be able to open your company files and access QuickBooks services without encountering any additional errors. These types of problems often occur when the multi-user hosting mode is activated and the file you’re trying to access is located on a network drive or server. Although such issues with your company file should not be a cause for worry, it can be frustrating and time-consuming to search the internet for a solution. Nonetheless, we suggest bookmarking this article and following the troubleshooting steps outlined in it if you encounter the “file exists” error in QuickBooks again in the future.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1: What is the “File Exists” Error in QuickBooks?

The “File Exists” error in QuickBooks typically occurs when you try to create a new file or save changes to an existing file, but a file with the same name already exists in the designated location. This error message is a safeguard implemented by QuickBooks to prevent accidental overwriting of files and potential data loss. It serves as a prompt for you to choose a different file name or location to avoid conflicts.

2: What Should I Do if I Encounter the “File Exists” Error in QuickBooks?

If you encounter the “File Exists” error in QuickBooks, there are a few steps you can take to resolve it. First, consider renaming the file with a new and unique name. If renaming is not an option, save the file to a different location to avoid conflicts. When opening a QuickBooks file, check for references in other areas of QuickBooks and update them accordingly. By following these steps and implementing preventive measures like using unique file names and maintaining a logical folder structure, you can effectively manage and avoid the “File Exists” error in QuickBooks, ensuring a smooth workflow.

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