Starting in QuickBooks Desktop 2015, there are a number of enhancements made to make the Multi-User experience better and to reduce the time it takes to troubleshoot problems with QuickBooks Desktop over a network. The changes in 2015 are:
  • New and Improved database manager: When you install QuickBooks Desktop 2015 or later on your server, the database manager will now automatically perform network diagnostics for QuickBooks Desktop to function properly over a network (windows firewall ports being added, folder sharing and security checks, and ensuring the required services for QuickBooks Desktop to work over a network are started).
  • Improved messaging for Multi-User issues: If you are experiencing problems opening your file in a network, QuickBooks Desktop 2015 and later will now prompt you with updated messaging that tells you exactly how to fix the problem.
  • Elimination of the "Alternate Setup Mode": In order to ensure optimum performance and stability, the new version of QuickBooks (2015 and later) no longer supports the Alternative Setup Mode. QuickBooks Desktop requires now the database server manager to be installed and functioning properly on your server (or computer designated as the QuickBooks Host). You can restore Alternate Setup Mode by following the steps below if you need it or run into problems with hosting Multi-User access.
    Note: If you have a NAS or similar device, the QuickBooks Desktop 2015 and later Database Server Manager will not install since it is not a supported Windows Operating System. Please refer to the System requirements for QuickBooks Desktop 2015 and Enterprise Solutions 15.0 article. You can however activate the Alternate Setup Mode following the steps below as a workaround.

Resolve H101, H202, H303, H505, or any other error relating to Multi-User access for QuickBooks Desktop 2015 or later

  1. Ensure QuickBooks Desktop 2015 or later is installed on your server or computer acting as the QuickBooks Desktop host.
  2. Open the Start menu, select All Programs, QuickBooks, then select QuickBooks DataBase Server Manager.
  3. In the QuickBooks Database Server Manager, ensure the folder that contains your company files is showing (if not, click Browse and go to the location you store your file on your C:\ or D:\).
  4. Click Start Scan and wait until the process finishes.
  5. Try opening QuickBooks Desktop in Multi-User Mode on your workstations to ensure the problem is resolved.
Note: If you are still encountering H-series errors, see Error H101, H202, H303, or H505 when opening your company file for detailed instructions.

If you wish to enable the Alternate Setup Mode (for NAS drives or similar devices and if you run into problems with Multi-User mode:)

Note: The following steps are technical in nature, if you are not comfortable doing it on your own, please reach out to a qualified computer professional or IT person.

On each workstation computer, you will need to perform the following steps. You do not need to edit anything on the server or NAS drive for these steps, just the workstations that are getting H202 errors.

  1. Make sure QuickBooks Desktop is closed and the QBW32.exe is not running in the task manager.
  2. Go to C:\ProgramData\Intuit\QuickBooks 2015 (or 2016).
  3. Edit the QBW.ini file in notepad.
  4. Enter ENABLENONRECOMMENDEDMODE=1 directly under the [MISC] section. It should look like this:
    User-added image
  5. Save the QBW.ini file and open QuickBooks Desktop and try to switch to Multi-User mode.
  6. When you get the H202 error again, if you edited the .ini file correctly, you should see the Alternate Setup button has returned.
  7. Click Alternate Setup and click Yes to any proceeding UAC messages and QuickBooks Desktop should now work in the alternate setup mode and Mult-User access restored.

Important: It is imperative to keep in mind that while the company file may be stored on a server or NAS drive using Alternate Setup Mode, whoever opens the file in MU mode first and clicks Alternate Setup becomes the host. If that person who is hosting the file on their workstation reboots or logs off while others are working in the file, QuickBooks Desktop will kick the other users out of the file and may loose the work they were doing prior to the crash. If you are using a NAS or similar device, to maintain optimal stability, you will need to use QB on a Windows machine so the database manager can be installed properly. Otherwise, you can enable alternate setup mode at your own risk and be mindful of who is going to press the Alternate Setup button as they will become the host and they cannot log off/reboot/shutdown until all others are out of the file.