Fixing QuickBooks Installation Errors

Written by Charlie Russell

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:

QuickBooks Installation Errors: 1328

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:

QuickBooks Installation Errors: 1603

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!

QuickBooks is patched!

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.

QuickBooks Install Log

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.

About the author

Charlie Russell

Charlie Russell has been involved with the small business software industry since the mid 70's, and remembers releasing his first commercial accounting software product when you had an 8-bit microcomputer with one 8 inch floppy disk drive. He has a special interest in inventory and manufacturing software for small businesses. Charlie is a Certified Advanced QuickBooks ProAdvisor with additional certifications for QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Enterprise, as well as being a Xero Certified Partner. Charlie started blogging about QuickBooks in 2008 (Practical QuickBooks) and has been writing for the Accountex Report (formerly the Sleeter Report) since 2011. He retired from accounting and QuickBooks activities in early 2018.

Visit his CCRSoftware web site for information about his QuickBooks add-on products. He is also the author of the California Wildflower Hikes blog.


  • I am currently on 2012 and have not been excited about 2013 since the update notes talked about stability and speed issues. Do you feel that 2014 is as stable and fast as 2012 or is it still buggy?

    • Well, Mark, note that 2013 is on the R11 release, while 2014 is just on the R4 release. Intuit has had more time to work out the kinks in 2013 than they have in 2014.

      Some people, in some configurations, find that 2013 is faster than 2012. Some find that 2014 is faster than 2013. Some find that one or the other is slower than earlier versions. It is hard to make a generalization, as it does depend on what aspect of “speed” you are referring to (program loading, report loading, payroll center loading), what your configuration is, what version of QuickBooks you are referring to. Stable? I have had more problems with 2013 than 2014, but then I’ve only been using 2014 for a short time.

      If you have 2012, it is still supported for another year and a half. If there is a reason to move up to 2014, for a feature, then it is worth considering. If you don’t need any of the new 2013 or 2014 features, why upgrade?

      And, I would wait to upgrade until after you close out your year financially, assuming you are on a calendar year basis, no matter what year of product you are talking about.

  • Hey Charlie – FYI: the link in your article “the QuickBooks Clean Install Utility” takes you to the same website as the link in the article “the QuickBooks Component Repair Tool”.

    Otherwise, a fine piece of work.


    PS – Happy Holidays ! ! !

    • Oops, thanks for catching that, Murph!

      Hey, why is it “William “Bill” Murphy – shouldn’t you go by “William “Murph” Murphy”?

      And happy holidays right back at you.

  • Charlie,

    I second the motion to have you write about virtual machines. I appreciate how generous you always are in sharing your experience and you write in a way that makes tech topics interesting and understandable.

  • I am absolutely freakin’ sick and tired of “installation” errors. I can easily say I have spent over 200 hundred hours this year dealing with them. I think if I hear “clean uninstall” one more time I’m going to start throwing things. As far as having a “dirty” machine – the only reason it’s dirty is because of Intuit products. They need to seriously get their XXXX together! I see why they’re so bent on getting everyone to the cloud – they can’t solve these problems so they move on. Yes, that’s anger. I’ve moved on from frustration.

  • Thanks for the article, Charlie. Always helpful to have a few more best practice suggestions & warnings. Personally, I’m trying to do fewer installs and just work w/the IT people when they install, then call tech support if need be. I much prefer actually working in the software to the tech issues!

  • Why would a first time install of v14 not already be a clean install. What changes does the “clean uninstaller” make if you choose v14?

    Presumably it must be altering something that had nothing to do with the v14 install. Otherwise the v14 install would have worked the first time.

    Any ideas what exactly it’s doing?

    • Jeff, did you download the latest installer from the Intuit website? If you use the CD version you don’t have V14, you have V1. Usually if you download the installer from the Intuit support site it will go directly to the latest version (but not always).

      Installer technology is hideously complex, and you can easily get variable results. Some components that are installed are shared amongst multiple products from multiple companies, so an installation of one product can be affected by the installation of something totally unrelated. Windows Updates also can affect installers. System processes running in the background can affect installers. Older versions of QuickBooks can leave things behind that affect a later version. So, even with a first-time installation of a particular product, the clean install process can resolve problems.

  • Dear Charlie, I’m hoping you can give me some advices. I use VMWare and have QBs 2011 on PC side on Mac. I tried to install QBs 2014 but failed. And now the installer is stuck. I tried to delete or close it but it doesn’t let me. I just want to delete “the installer page” from the window. (I bought a new PC to install QBs 2014. So I don’t need to re-install QBs 2014 on VMWare.)

    • It is not clear to me if you are installing in the VM on the Mac, or on your new PC? And, unfortunately, I don’t have a Mac and don’t use any PC emulators like that, so I’m not sure what to recommend.

  • Hello,

    I manage the computers for a non-profit on a volunteer basis.

    QB Premier 2011 was installed and running on the Win7 machine just fine for the bookkeeping and payroll. Then had to update to Premier 2014 due to Intuit phasing payroll tax tables for QB2011.

    I wanted to leave QB 2011 still installed because it is used to run a separate QB2011 company file that is used solely for keeping track of parent fees.

    As I was installing Premier 2014 I realized that it was uninstalling Premier 2011 so I cancelled the installation.

    Then attempted to open 2011 and of course it would not open.

    So I did a system restore to the prior day.

    I then attempted to open 2011 and it now gives an error message of “Quickbooks has stopped working” “A problem caused the program to stop working correctly. Please close the program.

    So, I have a mess. I know that 2011 has to be fixed and I am sure that ‘cancelling’ the installation of 2014 also left a mess.

    Remember my goal here is to have both QB2011 and QB2014 functioning on this Win7 machine.

    Based on your article, here is what I think you are telling me to do.

    To get QB2011 running properly again, I would:

    (1) Download the “QuickBooks Clean Install Utility”.

    (2) Run QuickBooks Clean Install Utility and “Uninstall” the QB 2011.

    (3) Rename the folder that QB2011 program used to be located in.

    (4) Reinstall QB2011 using the QuickBooks Clean Install Utility.

    (4a) Delete the folder that was renamed in step (3).

    (5) Then see if QB2011 is running correctly.

    Next to get QB2014 properly installed:

    (a) Run QuickBooks Clean Install Utility again and select ‘uninstall’
    QB2014 to remove any ‘remnants’ of QB2014.

    (b) Recheck QB2011 to make sure that it is still working.

    (c ) Rename 2011 program folders before install 2014 so that it can’t find 2011 folders and eliminate them again.

    (d) Install QB2014 using the normal QB2014 install, but be careful in selecting install process so I don’t overwrite 2011 again.

    (e) Change names of QB2011 folders back from step (c) to normal names.

    (e) Recheck QB2011 to make sure that it is still working.

    (f) Recheck QB2014 to make sure that it is still working.

    Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.


    • I don’t know that you need to do that much work, although it is possible.

      I would try the simpler approaches first.

      Open your Windows Control Panel, go to the Programs section, find your 2011 version (if it is listed still), try the option to “repair” the 2011 installation. See if 2011 works. Then try installing 2014 from scratch and make sure you choose the option to install in a different folder, without removing 2011. If that works, you should be good.

      If the “repair” doesn’t work, then uninstall 2011 (if it shows there), and reinstall it. Check if it works, and if so then install 2014.

      If none of those simpler approaches work then something like your outline, although it isn’t exactly right. I would uninstall 2011 and 2014 if they show up in the control panel. run the Clean Install utility twice (specifying 2011 one time and 2014 the next), then install 2011, and then install 2014.

      Odds are you won’t have to use the Clean Install utility unless you run into some error.

  • […] Fixing QuickBooks Installation Errors – Then I tried to update … 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. Actually, with QuickBooks install … […]