Avoid QuickBooks and Intuit’s Extortion

Here at the non-profit Conversations Network we’ve been using QuickBooks for Mac 2007 since…2007. It’s not a great program but it works. A few weeks ago I  sent my Mac out for repairs and they had to replace the main logic board. When it came back, QuickBooks decided I was using an unregistered copy of the software and asked me to register. Only problem: Their registration program won’t run under SnowLeopard (OS X 10.6). The only choice: Upgrade to QuickBooks 2010. No other options.

I can count on a few fingers the software that forces me to buy a new version when upgrading the OS. I’m still running an antique version of Microsoft Office. Heck, even that stuff from sleazy Adobe still works. And none of these programs died just because I replaced the logic board. Let’s be honest here: If Intuit wanted to support its customers, they’d send out a fix to their registration program so that people who needed to re-install under an upgraded OS could so so. Again: the app runs fine; it just thinks it’s unregistered and therefore stops after 15 executions.

There are a lot of apps and vendors whose software I find annoying (eg, Adobe), but none are as sleazy as Intuit. I sure wish I knew of a viable alternative to QuickBooks for Mac that was suitable for a small non-profit.

p.s.: Officially, there’s no “upgrade” price for QuickBooks for Mac 2010. But the support people quoted me $159 so when I called Sales I held them to that price and they approved it.

Update: Sometimes I forget who reads this blog and my Twitter posts! A few hours after posting the above I got a call from an apologetic product manager at Intuit. Apparently there’s quite a bit of misinformation within his sales and support teams. Here’s what I learned:

  • There’s no reason (other than that misinformation) that the QuickBooks support folks shouldn’t have been able to help me re-register my 2007 version for Snow Leopard.
  • Although some features may not work right under Snow Leopard — I haven’t encountered any of those features — there’s no other reason I shouldn’t be able to continue to use my 2007 version on that version of the OS.

So if your old version of QuickBooks wants to be re-registered because you change your motherboard — I assume they’re locked into the LAN MAC address — don’t let anyone tell you the only choice is to upgrade.

BTW, I haven’t been keeping track, but I *think* the only other app that had to be re-registered after the Mac Pro came back from the shop was the Apple stuff: iTunes, Final Cut Pro, etc. I don’t think Adobe’s Lightroom, Photoshop, etc., required this, but I was so busy getting a week’s worth of stuff transferred from my laptop to the Mac Pro after the repairs, I wasn’t really keeping track.

23 thoughts on “Avoid QuickBooks and Intuit’s Extortion

  1. I feel your pain. I fear the day a mandatory Quicken upgrade locks me out of my 20 years of detailed financial history. (I’m still running Quicken 2005.)

    Where are the open source accounting tools? Or even the SAAS web apps? (I don’t count Mint.com. It lacks many Quicken features I use, and I don’t use very many of Quicken’s bloated features.)

    I don’t know why these few applications are still owned by dinosaur commercial offerings.


  2. I bought 2007 Quickbooks. It was sold as a great manufacturing bookkeeping program and had the ability to send invoices and reciepts to customers. A function I need on a regular basis. Today I get a notice they will be discontinuing the “On Line Services” for 2007 and I have to pay $159.00 to continue using the functions I bought. This is like buying a car and 2 1/2 years later the company takes your breaks away and says you have to buy a new car to have breaks.
    What a bunch of jerks and very poor company. I dropped Microsoft bookkeeping to use a better company Intuit, it turns out I just jumped from the frying pan into a fire.


  3. Why is Intuit allowed to extort money to continue features you have already paid for. This should be illegal. That is like a spreadsheet program saying you have to pay extra to have the “add” function work after April 1, 2010. Extortion!!!


  4. You don’t know how much trouble your post just saved me…my iMac failed and had to be replaced, but all the data was restored to the new machine..and it’s the same exact story you’ve told. I’ll call and get it re-registered…and btw I am unimpressed with QB for so many reasons as well…it is truly funky to use with my small farming business but it’s better than an Excel spreadsheet. Talk about an undiscovered country for a bright software developer. Best to you!


  5. I have an addendum. I called support and got the same run around. I was supposed to pay about $160 for an upgrade because Snow Leopard doesn’t support the software. When I pointed out to the gentleman in India that the software was running as we were talking (just fine), how is it that I am supposed to upgrade what is already working so that it can work? He kept insisting that it is a Snow Leopard problem and that there was NOTHING he could do. When I read him what you wrote above verbatim, he just kept on going. I am obviously not going to get any help. If this really matters to Intuit, they could put something on their site as a fix or at least circulate the correct information to their staff. So will the software go kaput in 15 days? If it does I’ll do a lot of things before I pay for an upgrade, this kind of stuff just pisses me off. I had to buy a new Mac in order to be able to do my business accounting, and now this crap. Just what I have time for!


  6. Just got off the phone with Quickbooks Tech Support. Your post “Update” appears to be proffering complete misinformation. Don’t trust that friendly product manager who wanted to save face and told you this incompatibility issue was all a misunderstanding. Quickbooks Tech Support WILL NOT help you register your 2007 software on a Snow Leopard Mac. They WILL tell you your only option is to buy the 2010 software.


  7. Ditto on what Anon said above — support won’t help you. They’ll give you a “super discount of $159.00”. What a crock.


  8. BTW… found an easy fix on the Apple forums:

    After 15 times (or whenever / sooner than)… go to

    Delete the .plist above and start your APP. It at least gets you back to the original spot where you have 15 times to use before registering.


  9. I have QB enterprize 2007. I can no longer get payroll support. I paid $3600 dollars for this program and now they want me to pay $3000+ again. The problem is having to also upgrade my pos system which is only compatible with the 07 version. In this economy, THANKS Intuit for sticking it to me and other small businesses that are just trying to keep our doors open. This is just the bill I need right now!!


  10. Same thing just happened to me. Sneaky bastards said they could help me, but first they wanted to update my quickbooks file from 2007 to 2011. Luckily I read this post and asked them what the hell I was suppose to do with a 2011 file. Then they mentioned that I would need to buy the new 2011 software. Such bullshit.

    Also, when I go to user/Library/preferences/ , I can’t find the file com.intuit.QuickBooks2007.plist. Anyone else have this issue. I’m happy to delete this file every 15 times I use quickbooks if it means I don’t have to upgrade to 2011.


  11. Got the same run around for QB 2007 for Mac (using for home acctg). I actually got an email says I’m registered but how to let the program know??? I also can’t find the com.intuit.QuickBooks2007.plist file. I have QB Premium Pro 2009 on PC for business – works great!


  12. I wasn’t aware that buying a 2008 version of quickbooks was illegal, can’t be registered or used. I can’t afford to buy new version. I want to learn quickbooks but can’t use it now. After 30 days it will not work


  13. This Works: I am just copying the post from above that describes how to delete the plist that requires registration.

    MAKE SURE YOU BACK UP YOU COMPANY FILES!!!. I just have a big deletion scare deleting the plist for the second time. Luckily I had back ups. I am going to make sure I back up at least every month.

    BTW… found an easy fix on the Apple forums:
    After 15 times (or whenever / sooner than)… go to
    Delete the .plist above and start your APP. It at least gets you back to the original spot where you have 15 times to use before registering.


  14. Felt that I should add to this, hoping to warn others not to fall into the trap of purchasing Quickbooks Software.

    I say so regrettably, as I have used QB since 1998 through various businesses – and until recently have promoted its functionality wherever possible. I also use its personal accounting sofware ‘Quicken’ at home. Now I think that the upgrades available, are of little or no benefit for the costs charged. However it appears that given every opportunity they want to force you into an upgrade – regardless.

    My company has been operating with a single seat (license) for as long as we could get away with it, but due to expansion it has become neccessary to have 2 people working on the accounts simultaneously. This morning I called their sales desk to ask for another seat to add to our 2010 package, expecting to pay the cost of another full license (£500 ish). Appparently they no longer support the 2010 version and therefore I have to upgrade to the 2012/13 version, which all in all will now cost about £1400. After a heated conversation with the sales guy, it looked like there would be no movement on this.

    It just doesnt seem right that a financial software package can become un-supportable in just 2 years, and what concerns me is that, if I stick with QB and should we need another seat in 2 years time will I have to upgrade again (probably at the cost of 3 seats)??

    My advice is to steer clear of Intuit, and if anybody has any reccomendations for alternatives I would be pleased to hear of them. In fact, spread the word!!


  15. Hello Everyone –

    I received the email shown below on Feb 20, 2013.

    It looks like they are pulling the same tricks mentioned in postings as far back as 2007!

    A piece of software THAT I PAID FOR is being remotely disabled after only 3 years, so that I can pay another $160 for this year’s version.

    Ugh. My accountant uses Windows, and basically demands that I provide him with a QuickBooks file. I am looking at online alternatives, but I can’t find one with a good export function.


    QuickBooks for Mac Urgent Service Notice
    Dear XXXXXX,

    Our records show that you are currently using QuickBooks for Mac 2010. As of May 31, 2013, Online Banking, Merchant Service, Live Technical Support and all other QuickBooks Services for this version will be discontinued.¹

    If you want to use these Services or Live Support now, or in the future, you will need to upgrade to QuickBooks for Mac 2013. If not, you can still use your QuickBooks for Mac 2010 software.

    A lot has changed in QuickBooks for Mac since 2010. We’ve introduced a new Mac-like interface and added many new and improved time-savers:
    • Batched Invoicing
    • Attach Documents
    • Improved Transaction Reconciliation2
    • Data Import3
    • Intuit Payment Network4
    Learn More

    Savings of 20%, plus free shipping, available until May 31, 2013.
    • Call us at 866 570 3844 and use special offer code M1-13003
    • Or Buy Online.

    Please install and register QuickBooks for Mac 2013 before May 31, 2013 to avoid Service discontinuation.


    Daniel Wernikoff
    Senior Vice President and General Manager

    P.S. We know making a change can feel uncomfortable. If you have any questions or concerns, we are available at 866 570 3844.


  16. I’m having the same problem with the program and I’m getting the same run around from Intuit. I have QB 2007 for Mac and recently re-imaged my Mac, only to find out that the “registration helper” cannot communicate with Intuit. When I called Intuit’s technical support number and reached a support person, I was told that my OS (Lion) was newer than the QB 2007 for Mac and that I needed to upgrade to 2014. From a legal perspective, I should not have to upgrade my software. I purchased it and it should work on Lion. Ok, I understand that there may be compatibility issues. However, I legally own the program and should not be forced into buying a new program.


  17. To anyone thinking about online alternatives , please check your math. Using Xero as a comparator their standard package is $30/month. Thats $360 a year. Using that for 3 years is $1080. A single use license of QB pro is $249 and can be used for that 3 year period with all the add-on features until it gets discontinued . Even after that it will still run and give you a P&L/ Bal sheet and do all your basic book-keeping–it’s all the frills that get turned off. But, most of us need payroll & CC processing and like that fairly seamless use.
    Everyone wants you to “go to the cloud”–yeah so they can make triple the $$ they used to make. So even if you did buy the new desktop version every 3 years , you’re ahead of the game financially vs going online.


  18. I’m running QuickBooks 2002. Some years ago, QuickBooks talked me into purchasing an upgrade. At that point, my 2002 was already fairly old. So, the upgrade didn’t work. I had to get a refund. So, I continued to use 2002 because it works fine.

    Unfortunately when I recently upgraded to Windows 10, it tossed out my virtual machine setup that I’d had to use to run QuickBooks on Windows 7 and I had to reinstall. AND when I entered my registration key, QuickBooks won’t accept it.

    Now, it’s counting down my uses. QuickBooks hasn’t been helpful – just said I have to buy a new version. But what about all my old data? I tried searching for a .plist file but apparently those weren’t used in 2002.

    So, I’m trying to use my QuickBooks very seldom to try to eke it out until I figure out what I’m going to do. I’m going to lose all my data, basically. Oh, if only I could just retire and forget about my data but I can’t – I’m not even close to that!


  19. Just wanted to tell people I figured out my fix. I drove myself crazy trying to find my qbregistration.dat on my virtual machine that Windows 10 didn’t actually throw away. I couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t there but thought the new install probably erased it.

    But I didn’t give up and finally realized what was used in 2002 for all this was the QBW.ini file. So, I copied that into my new directory but copied the new directory and file information into it.

    So far, it works great. I keep hearing dire predictions about all this not working, so I obsessively copy my company file to make sure if something crashes that I can go back without re-entering too much data. But, I’d been working with it for years in Windows 7 and now in Windows 10 – no problems, so far.


  20. I found QB phone support to be very helpful in assisting me install an ancient upgrade to QB2002 from QB2000 on a Win 7 system. The software had previously been installed on an XPsp3 host that is finally being shutdown. Installing it under Win 7 was a bit convoluted but it worked. The only difficulty I had was that the the new system would not accept the registration key I had recorded from the existing installation. For some reason the serial number of the new install / upgrade differed from that on the older workstation.

    However, QB support provided me with a new registration number once I provided them with the details respecting the software that they asked for. It took about 20 minutes on the phone as they checked things but that is hardly atypical for customer support from anyone these days.

    Perhaps had I known about the QBW.ini file then the call might not have been necessary. But QB support provided me with he infromation I required with the barest minimum of fuss.


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