Below is a list of the questions we get asked most frequently about Sage Instant and Sage 50 Accounts…

  • When I run Check Data, I get errors, what should I do?

When data is corrupt, you MUST (and I cannot stress this highly enough) get it fixed – with errors, the program will not function properly and it is likely that your accounts are currently incorrect. You have the following options:

Try the following first – note, do not do this with v2015 or above as it appears to make matters even worse in most cases.

  • Take a backup.
  • Run the Clear Audit Trail (Tools -> Period End) with a date of 01/01/1980. (This rebuilds the Audit Trail without actually removing any transactions)
  • Run ReIndex and Compress.
  • Run Check Data.
  • If there are still errors, run Fix.
  • Run Check Data.

If, after following the procedure above, you still have errors, they will need to be fixed so you can either restore a ‘clean’ backup of the data that has no errors and then re-enter all records since the backup was taken or, take advantage of our ‘no fix, no fee’ data fixing service, further details of which can be found here.

For versions of Sage 50 prior to v2015, corruption can often be caused by network settings.  In particular, a setting called SMB2 which, if switched on (which it is by default), is known to cause corruption in Sage. Adept are the authors of the Sage 50 Health Check tool, an essential tool for anyone experiencing speed or corruption problems when running over a network.  The tool will run a number of speed/settings checks and will allow settings (including SMB2) to be changed to be ‘Sage friendly’ – I recommend it to all my clients.


  • How does Sage 50/Instant determine where it’s data files are stored?

The data files are stored in a file called COMPANY which can be opening in Notepad. The file is stored in different folders depending on the version of Sage 50/Instant as follows:

  • Prior to v14 (2008), the COMPANY file was stored in the program installation folder (default is c:\program files\sage\accounts).
  • For v14 and above, the file is in the folder c:\programdata\sage\accounts\XXXX where XXXX is the version of Sage you are running.

The paths above apply to Windows Vista and above, for Windows XP, replace c:\programdata with c:\documents and settings\all users\application data. Bear in mind that, by default, these folders are hidden in Windows so you need to have the option to show hidden files and folders switched on.

By editing the COMPANY file, it is possible to change the folder that is used to store the Sage data.

  • User Name is Already in Use / Cannot Access YYY because XXX is logged in / Program hangs at Splash Screen.

Typically, when you get this message you will be asked if you want to remove the user from the request list. If you are asked this question, simply answer Yes and you’ll be able to continue. If you get the message when trying to access a particular option in Sage, try logging off and log on as the user in question and you should be asked if you want to remove the user.

An alternative solution is to go in the data folder for your sage data (the default folder for versions prior to 14 is c:\program files\sage\accounts\accdata for v14, the folder is c:\documents and settings\all users\application data\sage\accounts\XXXX\company.000\accdata on XP and c:\programdata\sage\accounts\XXXX\company.000\accdata, where XXXX is the version number 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 etc.

In the data folder, you will find a file called QUEUE.DTA – delete the file and you should be able to get back into Line 50. Note: If you have a multi user version of Sage 50, you should only delete this file if you are sure that no-one else is using Sage 50.

If you do not know which folder your data is stored in, go to Help -> About -> System Information -> Directories (or just Help -> About for later versions of Sage)


  • Would you like to check for updates?

If you constantly get this message and, after checking, you get a message that there are none and you are up to date, you need to delete a file. The file you need to delete is called WATERMARK.XML and is in the COMPANY.XXX folder that relates to your data.

As an example, if you have a single company installation of v2011 running on Windows 7, the file would be in c:\programdata\sage\acccounts\2011\company.000

Note that there is an update for v2011, Update 3, which is not picked up automatically so you’d need to download it from


  • Invalid Password (1)

If you get a message that you have entered an Invalid Password and you are still running Sage on Windows XP, it could be an issue with permissions so try the following:

  • Log in as an administrative account.
  • In Windows Explorer, go to C:\Documents And Settings\All Users
  • Right click on the folder and choose Properties -> Security and give everyone “Full Control”.
  • Then Advanced and tick the “Replace permissions on all child objects” and Apply.
  • Then go to C:\Documents And Settings\All Users\Application Data\Microsoft\Crypto. Rename the RSA folder to RSAold and recreate a new empty RSA folder.
  • Log back into Windows as in a user and run Sage and the invalid password message should no longer appear.


  • Invalid Password (2)

If you get this message having restored a backup from, for example, your accountant then it is caused by the data having been accessed in a later version of the software than the one you are using so, for example, if you are on v18, your accountant has worked on the data in v22 and you’ve then restored a backup from the accountant you would get this message as v19 cannot read the data from v22.