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Fixing QuickBooks Installation Errors


Intuit releases updates to supported versions of QuickBooks quite often, and this is the time of year when we seem to see a lot of updates. That means it is a good time to talk about fixing QuickBooks installation errors. Nothing warms the heart more than seeing “The update installer has encountered an internal error” as you are getting ready to close out the year in QuickBooks!

I’m generally pretty lucky with QuickBooks installation on my own computer, it is rare for me to run into problems. That is odd, because my primary computer is a very “dirty” system. I have all kinds of odd programs installed. I use this system to develop software, so there are odd bits of code floating around. I also have many different versions of QuickBooks installed, from 2010 through 2014 for both Premier (Accountant) and Enterprise. It is a mess! Why I don’t run into more installation problems than I do, I don’t understand (sheesh, you would think that I am looking for problems?). Unfortunately, when installing the manual web patch for the QuickBooks 2014 R4 update for Enterprise, the installer failed. Here’s my tale…

QuickBooks Installation Errors

As I said before, my computer system probably isn’t typical. Well, in some ways, maybe it is, since most client computer systems that I deal with are usually very “dirty”. Lots of junk, lots of programs that have been installed and uninstalled, little effort in cleaning things up. Who has the time for that!

I had installed the new releases of both Premier 2014 and Enterprise V14 recently, which put them at the R1 level. What about the R3 release? I hadn’t installed it here yet, as I was doing most of my work with 2014 in a separate “virtual” machine (more on that below). Now that R4 was out, I wanted to jump straight to that. I downloaded the web patch files (the “manual update” files) from the Intuit support site. First I updated Premier – no problem there. Then I tried to update Enterprise – and ran into errors.

Cascading Error Messages

First up, a 1328 error:

Fixing QuickBooks Installation Errors

What do you do here? What I should have done was to search for 1328 errors in the Intuit support site. That would have saved me a few steps.

What I did do was what I usually do when I run into issues with QuickBooks. I’m curious as to what is going to happen, so I started clicking buttons. Retry and Ignore just made the installer throw up more 1328 errors. Abort closed this window and moved on to the next error, a more generic 1603 error:

Clicking OK here made the installer roll back the installation, leaving me where I was before.

This is an example of a “cascading error”, which can lead you down the wrong path sometimes. I ran into the 1328 error first, that is the “real” error, the first one that occurred. This is what I should focus on. However, as often happens, I started clicking buttons, and I got another error message that might be just a side effect caused by the earlier failure. That can be misleading. What you want to do is pay attention to the first error, the one that relates to the first, real problem, but what you often do is pay attention to the last error you saw, which might not be the real problem.

Now I was stuck, so I went to the QuickBooks support website and searched for 1603. I found a number of support articles for this error number. Based on these, I tried a number of tools that Intuit provides (many that I’ve talked about before in my article on Fixing QuickBooks Problems).

  1. First I tried the QuickBooks Install Diagnostic Tool. That makes sense because I ran into the error when installing, and the KB article talks about 1603 errors. Unfortunately, this didn’t fix the problem. I get the same errors.
  2. Next I tried the QuickBooks Component Repair Tool. I was a bit nervous about this one, because it makes some big changes to your computer system. It also takes a very long time to run. Unfortunately, this didn’t fix the problem (but it didn’t create any other problems for me).

None of this was working. Fortunately, my friend Alex at Intuit pointed out that I was looking at the wrong error, and he recommended that I try the QuickBooks Clean Install Utility. First you uninstall QuickBooks, then you run this utility. I was, again, a bit nervous. I have 10 versions of QuickBooks on this system (actually, 9, since I just uninstalled Enterprise 14), and I didn’t want to mess with the other versions. No problem, though, as the utility asks you which version you are cleaning up after, and it only affects the one you select. AFTER this, reinstall Enterprise 14 (which takes me to R1 again), then run the web patch file to get to R4. Success! Thanks, Alex!

Gritty Details, and Recommendations

First, a gritty detail. When you get these kinds of errors, if you want to dig in to the gritty details, there is a log file you can look at. Do a search for “QuickBooks_14.LOG” (the number relates to the year of product you are working with), which will probably be in a temp folder somewhere in your user account folders. This will have a ton of arcane information. In this particular case the error probably was a file that was missing, which is a component of the installer Intuit uses. I’m not sure why this was missing, as this same web patch file worked perfectly well in another environment.

Finding this didn’t help in this case. However, if none of the tools had fixed the error I would then be looking at my antivirus system to see if it had mistakenly quarantined this particular file.

Most 1328 errors seem to have to do with a missing EXE or DLL file.

It is interesting to note that if I had followed the “best practice” for this situation – stopped at the first error and searched for that (the 1328 error), the QuickBooks support site would have take me to KB article SLN41150, which suggests as the first step that you uninstall the version of QB and use the Clean Install Utility. If I had done that first, I would have saved a lot of time. Always pay most attention to the first error message you see, not the errors that “cascade” after the first you see.

Actually, with QuickBooks install errors, it may be that the “clean install” method should always be your first option. Just uninstall the target product, use the “clean install” utility, then reinstall and patch again.

Virtual Machines Save Hassles

If you are an accounting professional or ProAdvisor and you are working with multiple versions of QuickBooks, you may find that you avoid a lot of these installation problems, with multiple versions of QuickBooks as well as “dirty” systems, if you use a “virtual machine” system. What this essentially does is set up a “machine within a machine”, a clean system that you can install your products into without worrying about one program stepping on the toes of another. I use virtual machines extensively, and it saves me a ton of trouble (I should have done that in this case).

I use VMWare Workstation – if you want to hear more about this kind of product and how I use it, leave a comment here. If that is what people are interested in, I’ll write about it.