How to Fix Error 103 in QuickBooks

Dealing with errors in QuickBooks can be frustrating, but Error 103 is often one of the easier issues to fix. Error 103 means that your company file has encountered a major problem. Don’t panic, though – this can usually be rescued with minimal effort using a few simple steps.

The issue typically occurs when data in a QuickBooks company file becomes corrupted. Luckily, QuickBooks comes with built-in tools to address this and other similar errors. By using the Verify utility and creating a “backup copy” you can restore your company file and solve Error 103.

What Causes Error 103 in QuickBooks?

There is a few common causes of Error 103:

  • Multiple users accessing the company file simultaneously
  • Hardware issues (drive errors, bad network connectivity, etc.)
  • Forced shutdown/powering off your computer abruptly while QuickBooks is open
  • Third-party software conflicts
  • Virus or malware infections
  • Large or complex company files can become corrupted more easily
QuickBooks Error 103

The good news is that no matter what causes Error 103, you’ll be able to fix it with the steps below. Identifying the root cause can simply help prevent future occurrences.

4 Steps to Fix QuickBooks Error 103

Follow these steps to get rid of Error 103 in QuickBooks Desktop:

Step 1: Verify Your Company File

To begin, launch QuickBooks and navigate to the File menu. Choose “Utilities” and proceed to select “Verify Data“.This will begin checking your company file for errors.

Verify Data may detect issues and prompt you to rebuild or condense your data. If so, accept any recommendations it provides.

If no problems are found, your file is fine and you’ll need to back it up next.

Step 2: Back Up Your Company File

Next you need to create a backup of your QuickBooks data file. While there’s a “Backup” Utility in QuickBooks desktop, don’t use that now. Instead:

  • Click “File” and select “Backup Copy Company“.
  • Save the backup file. We recommend naming it “Company_Backup_YYYYMMDD” where “YYYYMMDD” is today’s date.
  • Store this backup file somewhere separate from your current company file. Like on a USB drive or cloud storage.

This backup exists as an emergency Plan B—in case you can’t open your regular company file later on.

Step 3: Restore Your Company File From Backup

After backing up your company file, you need to restore it. This replaces the current file with a fresh copy in one easy step:

  • Go to “File” and choose “Open or Restore Company
  • Select “Restore a backup copy” and choose the backup you just created
  • Click Next, choose “Local backup” and select the actual backup file
  • Allow QuickBooks to restore the company file backup

That’s all it takes! QuickBooks will now load a pristine new version of your company file from before corruption occurred.

Step 4: Review Restored Data and Rebuild

The final step is verifying your data carried over correctly after restoring the backup:

  • Review restored transactions and data to make sure everything looks normal
  • If needed, run the Rebuild utility by going to File > Utilities > Rebuild Data
  • Condense your file too via File > Utilities > Condense data

And that should successfully eliminate QuickBooks Error 103! Going forward, just be sure to regularly back up your QuickBooks data and avoid whatever caused the corruption originally.

Why Does Restoring From Backup Fix Error 103?

When Error 103 strikes, it means something has gone wrong with your working company file that makes it unusable. But rather than tracking down the problem area, it’s easier to just replace the current file entirely.

Your backup is a pristine, uncorrupted copy of your QuickBooks data created prior to the Error 103 incident. By completely replacing your company file from that backup, you basically hit a giant reset button on the issue.

So even though the exact root cause is unknown, restoring from backup lets you neatly sidestep it. Once reset, just be more cautious going forward to avoid further data corruption happening again.

Alternative Fixes for Error 103

In some situations, Error 103 might keep returning even after restoring your file backup. Maybe you lack an available backup that is up-to-date initially.

If such is the situation, there is no need to worry! Here are two alternative solutions you can attempt:

  • Rebuild Your Data – The Rebuild tool fixes corrupted data that causes this and other errors. Go to File > Utilities > Rebuild Data and walk through the on-screen steps to completion.
  • Start a New Company File – As a last resort, you may need to begin a brand new company file and import old data. This ensures no remnants of damaged data carry over.

So while frustrating, Error 103 in QuickBooks has straightforward solutions. Just focus on backing up and then restoring your company file, rebuild data if needed, or start fresh with a new file.