Here are the steps for installing QuickBooks:
- Log into Windows as a user with administrator rights.
Windows XP, Windows Server, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 require administrator rights to install QuickBooks. If you’re running Windows Vista, disable the firewall, too.
- Shut down any running programs, including your virus-protection programs (a good idea for any installation), and then put the QuickBooks CD in your CD drive.
Most of the time, the installation process starts on its own, and QuickBooks’ installation dialog box appears on your screen.
Tip: If the installation dialog box doesn’t appear, use Windows Explorer to open the CD. Double-click setup.exe, and then follow the onscreen instructions.
- In the QuickBooks installation dialog box, click Next.
The installation wizard extracts the files it needs to install QuickBooks. You’ll see progress bars that give you an idea of you how long you have to wait. You’ll have time to reply to a few emails and make a few calls.
- If the QuickBooks installation dialog box asks whether you want to check for and download the latest installation update, leave the Yes option selected, and then click Next.
When the program finishes looking for updates, the screen tells you whether any are available. On that screen, click Next. (The program installs any updates it finds along with QuickBooks.)
- When you see the “Welcome to QuickBooks!” screen, click Next.
The QuickBooks Software License Agreement screen appears.
- After you read the software agreement carefully, select the “I accept the terms in the license agreement” option, and then click Next.
You can proceed with the installation without reading the software agreement, but it’s a good idea to make sure the agreement doesn’t ask for something you aren’t willing to provide.
- On the Choose Installation Type screen, select either the Express or “Custom or Network options” option, and then click Next.
The Express option sets up QuickBooks for single-user access and installs the program in C:\Program Files\Intuit\QuickBooks 2011. If you choose this option, the installation jumps to a screen that asks for the license and product numbers—and you can continue with step 9. You can change the preference to allow multiple users after QuickBooks is up and running.
The “Custom or Network options” option lets you install QuickBooks where you want on your computer, install the program and share a company file with others, or set up the computer only to share the company file.
- If you’re the only person who uses QuickBooks, on the “Custom and Network Options” screen, select the “I’ll be using QuickBooks on this computer” option, and then click Next.
This option installs QuickBooks on your computer and sets it up for single-user access to your company file. (You can change this preference to allow multiple users after QuickBooks is up and running.)
If you’re going to run QuickBooks and also want to store the company file on this computer to share with other QuickBooks jockeys, select the “I’ll be using QuickBooks on this computer, AND I’ll be storing our company file here so it can be shared over our network” option and then click Next.
The third and most long-winded option, which begins with “I will NOT be using QuickBooks on this computer,” is the one you select when you’re installing the program on a computer that acts as a file server; in other words, a computer that stores your company files but won’t run QuickBooks.
- Fill in the License Number and Product Number boxes with your QuickBooks license and product numbers, and then click Next.
These numbers are hard to miss—they’re printed on the bright yellow sticker on your QuickBooks CD sleeve. As you finish typing the digits in one box, QuickBooks automatically jumps to the next box. If you’re confident on the keyboard, you can keep your eyes on the yellow sticker and type all the digits for the license and product numbers without a break.
- If you already have a version of QuickBooks installed and want to upgrade that version, in the Upgrade or Change Installation location screen, select the “Replace the version selected below with the version I’m installing now” option and, in the drop-down list, choose the version that you want to upgrade.
The path for your current version of QuickBooks appears below the drop-down list.
If you don’t have a version of QuickBooks installed, the Installation Location Options screen appears instead. The only thing you can do is change the installation location.
- If you want to install QuickBooks 2011 without upgrading an existing version, select the “Change the install location” option. To choose a different location, click Browse (see Figure A-1, background). Select the new folder and then click OK.
If QuickBooks isn’t installed on your computer, simply click Browse to change the installation location.
Figure A-1. If the folder you want to use doesn’t exist, click the New Folder icon, which looks like a stylized folder with an asterisk (foreground). To view the folders one level up, click the icon that looks like a folder containing an upward-pointing arrow. To select a folder within the box, double-click it.
- When the installation location is set the way you want, on the “Upgrade or Change Installation Location” screen, click Next.
The “Ready to Install” screen appears with a summary of the program’s version, its license and product numbers, and the installation folder you chose. The screen also warns you that the installation could take 15 to 20 minutes.
- If you want to change, say, the folder you’re installing to, click Back until you get to the appropriate screen and make the changes. Then click Next until you’re back at the “Ready to Install” screen.
Unless you like your desktop covered with shortcuts, turn off the “Add service and support shortcuts” checkbox. You can reach the same services from the Help menu by choosing the commands for contacting QuickBooks technical support and ordering checks.
Note: Even if you tell the installer not to add shortcuts to your desktop, it still adds a desktop shortcut for QuickBooks itself.
- If the settings are correct, on the “Ready to Install” screen, click Install.
When you click Install, the CD starts whirring again and your hard drive makes busy sounds. The wizard shows the installation task it’s performing and progress bars indicate how far it’s gotten. When marketing information about new features pops up on your screen, you know that the installation might take some time and you can take a walk or return phone calls. But eventually, the “Congratulations!” screen appears.
- If you’re ready to get to work, click Finish. (If you want some help with QuickBooks, make sure the “Help me get started” checkbox is turned on and then click Finish.)
QuickBooks launches and you’re ready to get started. If you asked for help, a browser window also opens with links that tell you how to create or update company files, set up QuickBooks for more than one user, and point you to helpful information about the program.
Learn more about this topic from QuickBooks 2011: The Missing Manual.
With QuickBooks 2011: The Missing Manual, you don't just learn how to use this popular program, you learn why and when to use specific features. You also get basic accounting advice so that everything makes sense along the way. Get more out of QuickBooks 2011, whether you're a beginner or an old pro.