I had to reconfigure my main work computer recently, and the first time I ran QuickBooks after that I ran into a problem: QuickBooks error 3371, “Could not initialize license properties.” This is a significant error because you can’t get past it to open your QuickBooks file. Fortunately, it is easy to fix QuickBooks Error 3371. Let’s take a look.
The Trouble With Cloning
I’m not talking about genetic cloning of living organisms (but I could talk about that, if you want), I’m talking about “cloning” a hard drive. In this case, I wanted to “clone” my C:/ drive onto a larger drive to provide more working room. This essentially is making an exact duplicate of all the files on the C:/ drive on the new, larger drive, so that I could swap them and use that larger drive as the new C:/ drive.
I’ve been using my main work computer for almost six years now (yes, I hold on to my computers a long time), and the C:/ drive is getting full. It has a measly 500 Gigabyte drive and less than 10% is empty. I find that surprising, in a way, since I remember my excitement when I got my first computer with a 10 megabyte hard disk drive, and how that seemed to be so much more room than I could ever fill. Now I’m finding that a drive that has 50,000 times the capacity is too small? Sheesh.
I could have worked on a way to free up space on that C:/ drive, but with the cost of hard drives being so low, it just didn’t make sense to take all that time. So, I bought a 2 Terabyte drive, used the free version of Todo Backup by EaseUS, and I cloned the old drive onto the new drive, while also expanding the partition.
By the way, I’m not going into the details of how to do the cloning here, and there are a few preparation steps you have to take to set up your drive. Todo Backup is a really great product, but it doesn’t do all of the work.
The cloning process took around 3 hours, most of which was just waiting for the cloning to complete. When it was done, I booted up using the new, larger drive, and then I ran QuickBooks. Oops! QuickBooks Error 3371!
Clicking OK in that window shows me another error dialog:
Clicking OK here just closes the window. No QuickBooks!
I was particularly frustrated at this time because I was in a hurry, I wanted to get some tax information out of the file to use in a meeting later in the day. Poor planning on my part – I shouldn’t open up my computer to tinker with it when I have meetings coming up!
Essentially, what is happening is that I have a “license” for this version of QuickBooks on this particular machine. Intuit stores license information on my hard drive and if that information becomes corrupted, or doesn’t match up in some way, you get this error. I’m not entirely sure which method Intuit uses to check on the license, but a common one is to store a “system signature” that looks at the hardware configuration. Type of processor, amount of memory, size/configuration of hard drive, stuff like that. There are other methods, and Intuit may use several, but this is a really common method that is easy to program. So, when I copied (“cloned”) all of the information from the old hard drive to the new one, and replaced the old drive with the new, my new C:/ drive had a different size, a different product number, and so forth. So, the configuration that QuickBooks saved didn’t match what it was seeing. License violation! I’m copying my software to a different-looking system, and it didn’t like this.
Solving QuickBooks Error 3371
The two error dialogs that popped up in the program offered different solutions – reinstalling the product or looking up information in the support website.
I didn’t want to take the time to do a reinstallation. I’m impatient, that takes a long time. It isn’t clear to me if I have to do a clean install, where you have to first uninstall the existing program, run the QuickBooks Clean Install tool, and then reinstall the program. That should work, though, as it would remove the licensing files and ask you to register again.
Since they display a support link, why not try that? Unfortunately, the link they display does not take me to a help article. It redirects me to a generic support page. Rats!
Note that when you ask a question here, the page filters the answers based on QuickBooks product (Online, Windows or Mac). You might need to select the proper product using the “change” link at the upper left.
Entering “Error 3371” in the search box doesn’t always give you a quick answer, though. I’ve tried this several different times while writing this article, and each time I get different results. The last time I tried, none of the first 25 answers had anything to do with this error. In other tests I did find some information on it, but it doesn’t always show up.
The support page seems to give preference to Intuit Community Forum discussions, rather than any help articles that Intuit might have created. I wonder if this is the direction they are going for help in the future, using the community discussions rather than canned help articles they create?
In any case, rather than sending you off to chase this down in the support site, here’s how I fixed the problem.
On your keyboard, hold down the Windows key and press R. This opens the Run dialog.
In that window enter C:\ProgramData\Intuit\Entitlement Client\v8 and then click OK. This will open Windows Explorer at that location.
Right click on the EntitlementDataStore.ecml file and select Delete to delete this file.
You can close this window, then run QuickBooks. You will be asked to register the product again.
Normally you will just have to answer a simple question, as I show below. Some of the older versions of QuickBooks might be a bit more complicated, and it is possible that you’ll have to call Intuit to complete your registration. In my case, no problem.
A few things that I would like to point out:
- If you are a ProAdvisor with multiple copies of QuickBooks on your system then you will have to re-register every version of QuickBooks installed on this computer. That isn’t surprising, and it just takes a few minutes. Just keep that in mind if you are in a hurry.
- The folder that I specify should work with QuickBooks products from 2013 through 2016.
- There may be another folder on your computer that holds entitlement information for some older versions of QuickBooks, C:\ProgramData\Intuit\Entitlement Client\v6.0. This should work for QuickBooks 2012 and older.
- This problem will only affect the workstation that has the configuration change. If you are in a networked environment with separate computer systems, the others should not be affected.
Hope this helps!