It’s not just the security issue (only somewhat ameliorated if you password protect the file), but a fundamental incompatibility that can scramble your files — apparently at any time, and without warning.
Warning signs include “Quicken cannot open the data file because it is in use by some other application” and various other error messages when you try to backup your Quicken file.
Dropbox is a wonderful tool, but it doesn’t work well with frequently updated files. Every time you enter a transaction, Quicken updates its database. Dropbox sees that the file has changed, but doesn’t realize you just modified a tiny piece of it, so it tries to back up the whole darned thing. To be safe, it locks it, uploads it, then unlocks it. Meanwhile, Quicken might decide to update something and you are in trouble.
This isn’t a problem for documents, that is, things you update in one big chunk, but not all that often when compared with how long uploading it takes, but for frequently modified files this can be a problem. It’s worst when those files are relatively large. I discovered this with my own financial software which uses a database of my own design. I changed my modification strategy to be Dropbox friendly, but Intuit would rather you just use their web based tool where they have complete control.
A lot of database applications work this way. Which is why it seems so implausible that Waukesha Country Clerk “forgot to hit save” in her Microsoft Access database when tallying up votes in a Wisconsin election in 2011.
She later turned up 14,000 new votes, enough to tip the election:
It’s true we have little problem with vote fraud in the US — but election fraud is a different story (just ask Al Gore or Republican operative Mike Connell). Classic bait and switch with the Voter ID laws!
Anyone who believes Microsoft access is a reliable database is smoking crack.
Use “pause syncing” in Dropbox tools menu to avoid this locking conflict. Just remember to resume syncing when you close Quicken to update the Dropbox file.
That’s good advice – but only for the very disciplined. The costs of getting it wrong are pretty high.
I must be dense, but how do you access the “Tools” menu in Dropbox? Using Windows Explorer I get a default dropdown list not one for Dropbox. I am sufficiently disciplined to use this option. Particularly if it will avoid crashes.
Left click on the dropbox icon in your taskbar/toobar whatever they call it – it’s near date/time bottom right on my computer. Click on the gears in the upper right of the popup. There are the tools.