How to convert an older Quicken data file to use on Mac OS 10.7 Lion

This is my very occasional geeky/techy article, written because this problem was a major PIMA!

By way of brief background, I have used Quicken to manage my finances since the late 1990’s, and have remained a faithful user despite a few little issues over the years. Princess Gail and I use Quicken every day to keep track of our vast empire (ROTF LMAO!) 😀

The latest Quicken problem for Mac users has to do with converting Quicken data files to be compatible with Apple’s new Mac OS 10.7, aka “Lion.” Both Intuit (maker of Quicken) and Apple are to blame: Quicken for not keeping their Mac products current (as Apple moved from PowerPC to Intel chips) and Apple for not loudly warning Quicken users of a major incompatibility, knowing it would affect household and business financial management for Quicken users upgrading to Lion.

Every year, Princess Gail and I ask ourselves if we shouldn’t upgrade our old Quicken 2004 (Q 2004) but it has always worked well, and we couldn’t see how a program that simply adds and subtracts numbers could change all that much. So we kept using the 2004 version. We were oblivious to the PowerPC and Intel incompatibility that was to become a critical issue with Mac OS 10.7 Lion.

Apparently, the previous version of Mac OS, 10.6, still had a way to read old PowerPC programs (including our old Q 2004) by way of a translator called Rosetta that worked in the background. The new Mac OS 10.7 Lion does not support old PowerPC programs at all. Even the Rosetta translator is not supported.

So after we upgraded our computers to Mac OS 10.7 Lion, we quickly discovered that Quicken would not run, and we had no access to years of financial data, most importantly our current tax year info and our current checkbook entries.

The solution was tricky, but here it is:

The newest Quicken product is Quicken Essentials (QE) which does run on the Mac OS 10.7 Lion. We needed our old Q 2004 data file to be converted to the QE format, but this could NOT be done on Mac OS 10.7 Lion. It had to be done on Mac OS 10.6 before one upgrades to 10.7 Lion. Further, QE can only convert files from Quicken 2006 and 2007, not from our ancient 2004 version.

So we first had to find a copy of Quicken 2006 or 2007. I managed to find Q 2006 and loaded into an old Mac running an older Mac OS. I was able to convert our Q 2004 data file to the Q 2006 format.

I then tried loading the new QE program on that old Mac but it would not run on an old PowerPC Mac. QE requires the Intel chip of the newer Mac models.

At this point I had two options. One was to find or borrow a newer Mac model that had not been upgraded to 10.7 Lion, install QE, and use it to convert my Q 2006 data file to the QE format.

The other option, which is what I actually did, was to learn how to partition the hard disk on my current Mac which is running 10.7 Lion, and load an older Mac OS into the new partition so I could use that to install QE and do my file conversion.

You can do a search to find easy tutorials on how to partition a Mac hard disk. I learned how to carve out a 20GB partition on the hard disk of my computer that is upgraded to 10.7 Lion. That was more than twice the space needed to load the 8GB Mac OS 10.6. So I loaded 10.6 into that partition and then I installed QE into that. I was then able to convert my Q 2006 data file to the QE format. Finally, I switched back to the 10.7 Lion partition and was able to translate the PowerPC version of the QE data file to the new Intel version of the QE data file. Whew! It was a lot of work, but we had over 6,000 bank transactions on that file. It was completely worth the effort.

The most important point: You can avoid all our troubles by simply buying Quicken Essentials before you upgrade to Mac OS 10.7 Lion. I wish I had known that!

Quicken Essentials is not as full featured as Quicken for Mac 2007. You will want to go to their site and compare features. For us, since we use it mainly as a check book register and for the associated reports, Quicken Essentials is all we need. For those out there who were using features in Q 2007 not available in QE, I suggest you get QE anyway and hold on to all your older data files. I predict that Intuit will eventually come out with a full featured Quicken for Mac that will run on Lion. The Apple Macintosh platform is dramatically gaining market share, especially with laptop and iPad users, where others are in decline. Intuit is a good company and will certainly respond to that.

I hope this is helpful to someone. I can’t imagine we were the only ones with this bummer of a problem! But we figured it out and now we’re happy! 🙂

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Ditching Cable ~ Final Update

This is the last of a series of posts that have to do with ditching our Time Warner cable TV, because it is just too damn expensive! In the previous posts I explained how we planned our move, and how we replaced the programs we like to watch, our DVR, etc.

You can read the previous “Ditching Cable” posts here:

Ditching Cable ~ Part 1

Ditching Cable ~ Part 2

Ditching Cable ~ Part 3

Ditching Cable ~ Update 1

I am really happy to report that our move off cable is now complete! Today, while navigating to our TiVo viewing options, I noticed a new addition to the options menu. Hulu now appears on TiVo’s main menu!!! We instantly signed up for Hulu Plus online and Hulu kicked in immediately on our TiVo system. It will cost $8/mo. Now we can view all the Hulu programming right on our TV using our simple TiVo remote and the TiVo interface!

So here’s the final roundup: instead of $180/mo to Time Warner for internet/cable TV/phone and $20/mo to our alarm company, we will be paying $58/mo to Time Warner for internet only, $20/mo to TiVo, $10/mo to Netflix, $25 to the alarm company, and $8 to Hulu. That’s a total savings of about $77 per month, or about $925 per year! Oh, yeah!!

If this has been helpful, please share or “Like.” 🙂

Ditching Cable ~ Update 1

I recently posted on our plans to cancel our Time Warner cable TV because of the ridiculously high cost. $180/mo for a CableTV/internet/phone package is simply not worth it! With so many viewing entertainment options out there that cost so much less, it was time for us to reconsider how we wanted to spend our hard earned dollars. You can read my original “Ditching Cable” posts here, here, and here.

Last week we finally took the plunge. We ordered our TiVo Premiere XL through It is the pricier Premiere model, but we wanted the bigger hard disk, the better remote, and the better picture quality, and we figured it was a one-time expense. Their system for choosing your model, any accessories, and subscription plan was slick! We did purchase their Wireless Network Adapter so that the TiVo box could read our wireless internet.

The setup of the TiVo also went smoothly as silk! They have developed an impressive and high quality system. So far we have been very pleased with TiVo. We connected our indoor antenna, purchased at Best Buy, and are able to see about 12 channels, including the 3 major networks and Fox. The picture quality comes in much better through the antenna than it did through the cable!

The next day, we took our two cable receivers and remotes and returned them to Time Warner. We cancelled our cable TV service! They then again informed us of what we already knew, that since the contract for the CableTV/internet/phone package had been broken, they would have to charge more for just the internet and phone. We had them break down the charges and realized they would be charging $45/mo for the phone. So we cancelled that as well! Now we are just paying $58/mo for the cable internet! 🙂

We signed up for Netflix for $10/mo. TiVo has a slick way of connecting to your Netflix account. Everything is easily accessible using the TiVo remote. So we can watch as many Netflix movies and TV shows as we want for that set price! We watched a Netflix movie last night (The Proposal with Sandra Bullock,) streamed through the wireless internet, through the TiVo box, onto our TV. It was picture perfect. No hesitation, pixilation, or glitches!

TiVo is currently working out the details of providing Hulu through the TiVo box. When that happens we will sign up for that as well, to get some of the other programs we like to watch.

We had been using our phone line for our fax machine and for our alarm system. We are doing less and less faxing anyway, as most things are scanned and emailed. If we decide we still need to fax, we plan to sign up with an internet fax company for about $10/mo. The alarm system will now go through their cellular option, which involves another one-time hardware expense, but all of this pays for itself in less than 6 months.

Bottom line, so far, instead of $180/mo to Time Warner and $20/mo to our alarm company, we will be paying $58/mo to Time Warner, $20/mo to TiVo, $10/mo to Netflix, and $25 to the alarm company. That’s a savings of about $85 per month! 😀

If this has been helpful, please share or “Like.” 🙂

Ditching Cable ~ Part 3

In Part 1 I wrote about the high cost of our current cable/internet/phone bundle. In Part 2 I described how you can use a simple and inexpensive digital antenna to replace your local channels. Now I’ll explain how we will replace the other cable channels we watch that are not local channels, as well as the DVR function, movies, music channels, and more.

TiVo has been making DVR’s for quite some time. But they have recently taken a logical step and reinvented themselves. They now function as a DVR and as a hub for digital programming. They do it through their newest boxes, called TiVo Premiere and TiVo Premiere XL. Click on the link to go to their site to get details on the product and service. This is going to cost a little money (key word = little) but $20/mo is far less than the cost of cable, which charges me a high monthly for their service and a monthly for the use of their DVR box. There would be a one-time cost for the better TiVo Premiere XL box, but the simpler TiVo Premiere box is free with a two year contract.

The biggest reason we will be investing in the TiVo service, though, is not for the DVR function alone, it is because we can access all sorts of digital programming right through the TiVo box. You can connect to Netflix and hulu right from TiVo, making it a very convenient way for us to get all the TV shows, movies, music channels, and more as TiVo continues to add entertainment programming to their service. There is a little overlap, but Netflix is largely a movie digital warehouse, and hulu is a TV show repository. Their service will cost about $8/mo each.

You don’t need TiVo to use Netflix and hulu. They were designed for internet streaming, to watch on the computer. But then people figured out how to connect their computer to the TV so they could watch the Netflix and hulu content on their TV’s. TiVo simply makes that process seamless for you, and adds the DVR functionality. (Obviously, you need to have internet access for this, but who doesn’t have that!) And that’s why we’re going with TiVo.

So, our final setup will be the digital antenna for the local programming, TiVo, Netflix, and hulu. The total cost for all of this, apart from the minimal one time costs, will be $20/mo for the TiVo box and service, $8/mo for Netflix, and $8/mo for hulu. A grand total of $36/mo, as opposed to the $110/mo we are paying now. That’s a $75/mo savings = $900/year!

Like Megan and Mike, we’ll be laughing all the way to the bank!

If this has been helpful, please share or “Like.” 🙂

Ditching Cable ~ Part 2

Yesterday I posted on the high cost of our current cable/internet/phone bundle. You can see that post here. I also mentioned I researched and discovered ways we can replace all the things we value about our current cable.

So, as promised, I’ll share with you how Gail and I plan to replace what we like about our cable offerings, and the costs involved.

We really want to keep the local channels, which include the local news and information about our new city. That basically boils down to having the major networks. All that can be easily replaced by purchasing a simple digital antenna. These antennas will pick up TV signals in the usual VHF/UHF range, including HD (high definition) programming. These are relatively inexpensive (and remember it is a one-time purchase.) There are indoor and outdoor varieties. The outdoor ones are more powerful, which means they can detect signals from far away TV towers, supposedly as much as 150 miles away! They require installation, though this is simple and many people could do this themselves. I would probably hire someone to do it, because that’s just how God made me.

Indoor digital antennas are much easier to work with and start at about $30. That cheapest caliber of antenna reaches towers up to about 25 miles away. I tried one of these and it did not pick up a signal, as I figured. But I wanted to try the cheapest first and work my way up the price ladder. I found out that our local TV towers are in Sophia, NC and Randleman, NC, about 30 and 40 miles away from our house as the Carolina wren flies. So next I will try another Best Buy product, this one runs about $50 and is the model they can’t keep in stock. (Other people have walked this way before me!) Their best indoor antenna costs about $90.

Interesting facts about flat indoor digital antennas are: 1. They pick up MORE local channels than what is offered by the cable and satellite companies! 2. The picture from these HDTV antennas is actually BETTER because there is no need for the data compression required by cable and satellite. And after the cost of the antenna itself, the ongoing cost of watching those channels is ZERO! NADA! NOTHING!… FREE!!!

So if my estimated cost of cable TV is $110/mo, the best indoor antenna from Best Buy would pay for itself in one month!

Tomorrow I will detail how I will replace the cable channels we watch that are not in the usual VHF/UHF range, the DVR function, movies, music channels, and more!

If this has been helpful, please share or “Like.” 🙂