Walkthrough to Effectively Fix the QuickBooks payroll error 12038:

Did you face up to QuickBooks Error 12038 when proceeding with the process to update QuickBooks Desktop? No worries, this article will make sure that this update error gets annihilated out of the system at the earliest. The 12xxx series of errors typically shows up when downloading the latest updates for the accounting program. It includes Error code 12037, Error code 12038, including a myriad of other errors.

The sources of these errors are usually common i.e., incorrect date/time, incorrect settings pertaining to the internet connection, including other causative factors. Notably, all these causes can be resolved using some effective troubleshooting solutions.

Major Instigators of QuickBooks Update Error 12038

Some of the potential sources of this QuickBooks update error 12038 are:

  • The primary source of the 12xxx series of error codes is the incorrect Date and Time.
  • Internet settings might not be conducive to the QuickBooks update process.
  • Antivirus or Firewall may be blocking the server connection during the update process. While the Firewall may potentially cause server disruption, the antivirus program may block some of the crucial services and processes of QuickBooks, for instance, Qbupdate.exe. This may potentially lead to error 12038 in QuickBooks.
  • The user may have multiple QuickBooks versions set up.

You might also see: How to Resolve QuickBooks Payroll Error PS036?

What are the solutions for QuickBooks Error 12038?

The payroll update error 12038 in QuickBooks may be extremely annoying as users reach to a complete standstill when updating the accounting program on their systems. This prevents users from getting their hands on to unprecedented functionalities. Adherence to the below-given solutions will ensure a complete wipeout of the error code.

Solution 1: Resetting the previous QuickBooks updates and downloading the new ones

  • Start off by launching the QuickBooks program.
  • Following this, click on the Help tab and then hit on the option to Update QuickBooks Desktop.
Update QuickBooks Desktop - Screenshot Image 1 (2)
  • Hit on the Update Now option.
  • At this stage, the user needs to make sure that the Reset Update option has been chosen.
  • The foregoing step is extremely important.
  • Once done, click on the Get Updates option.
Update QuickBooks desktop (Screenshot)
  • If the updates get downloaded successfully, then there is no need to follow the subsequent solutions. If not, then implement the steps in the next solution.

Solution 2: Overhaul system Date/Time

There may be a possibility that the user inadvertently set up the wrong time zone while configuring the system. This directly results in an incorrect time. A wrongly set time or date can directly result in QuickBooks Error 12038. The steps to correct the date and time are:

  • If the user observes that the time or date are not set to the present, then Right click on the date option.
  • Now, click on the Adjust date/Time option.
  • Set the correct Time zone and also make corrections to the time zone.
  • Once done, close the window and re-run the QuickBooks update.
  • If the error still appears while updating QuickBooks,  then try changing the internet settings (enumerated in the next solution)

Check Also: How to Resolve QuickBooks Runtime Error R6025?

Solution 3: Fix the misconfigured Internet Connection Settings

  • Launch QuickBooks and then click on the Help option.
  • Following that, click on the Internet Connection Setup option.
  • Herein, choose the option to allow QuickBooks to get access to the internet connection.
  • Once done with that, move on to the Advanced Connection Settings.
  • Therein, the user needs to head to the Advanced tab.
  • Click on the option to Restore advanced settings.
Create a System Restore - Image
  • Click on Apply, and now try to update QuickBooks again.

Solution 4: Close all QuickBooks processes and services

  • Open the Task Manager (Use the short key: Ctrl + Alt + Delete).
  • When the window for the task manager is open, hit on the Processes tab and end all the QuickBooks-related processes.
Close QBW32.exe process - Screenshot
  • Do the same after clicking on the Services tab.
  • Once all the QuickBooks services and processes are terminated, make another attempt to update QB.

Read it Also: How to Re-install QuickBooks for Windows Using Clean Install?

Solution 5: Close all unauthorized third-party programs operating in the background

One major cause which is often overlooked while resolving QuickBooks update errors is that some third-party programs may be in conflict with the QuickBooks processes. It, therefore, becomes pertinent to close all the processes linked with such programs. The steps for the same are briefed below:

  • Open the Task Manager and click on the Processes tab.
  • End all the processes related to the unimportant programs.
  • Once that is done, re-open QuickBooks and try out the update process once again.

Solution 6: Create a New Rule for QuickBooks .exe files

To discard any obstruction caused by the Firewall during the update process, users should follow the steps given below to rectify the QuickBooks update error 12038:

  • Search for ‘’Firewall’’ after pressing the Windows key on the keyboard.
  • Open the Windows Firewall and then proceed to the Advanced Settings.
  • Thereafter, move to the Inbound Rules option.
  • Users now need to Right-click the Inbound Rules option.
  • Pick the option to create a New Rule.
Create a new rule in firewall settings - Screenshot Image
  • Opt for Program and then hit on Next.
  • Click on Browse and choose the following executable files associated with the QuickBooks program: AutoBackupExe.exe, Dbmlsync.exe, DBManagerExe.exe, FileManagement.exe, IntuitSyncManager.exe, QBCFMonitorService.exe, QBDBMgr.exe, QBLaunch.exe, including all other .exe files corresponding to QuickBooks.
  • After that, click on the option to Allow the Connection.
Allow the connection - Screenshot Image
  • Hit on Next.
  • Now, proceed ahead with the creation of the new rule by providing some suitable name to the newly created rule.
  • The user then needs to perform the foregoing steps for the creation of the Outbound Rules as well.

Also See: How Can I Get My W-2s into EFW2 Format?

Solution 7: Uninstall any duplicate/multiple versions of QuickBooks

If users have duplicate or multiple versions of the QuickBooks program set up on the system, that may also potentially lead to the Update error 12038. Users should follow the directions below for their convenience:

  • Open the Control Panel from the Start menu.
  • Visit the Programs and Features section and check for any duplicate versions of the QuickBooks program from the list.
Launch Programs and features - Screenshot Image
  • If users identify any duplicate copy, they ought to get that uninstalled by choosing the icon followed by clicking on the Uninstall/Change option.
  • Then, click on the Uninstall option and get that particular copy of QuickBooks removed from the system.
Uninstall your QuickBooks desktop - Screenshot Image
  • Now, open QuickBooks, head to the Help menu, click on the option to update QuickBooks Desktop, and check if the error has been rectified this time around.

Final Words..!

The QuickBooks payroll update error 12038 can be quite bothering, especially when the user is seeking to update the accounting program to accomplish some crucial tasks in the QB program. In this blog, we have provided all the tested solutions to fix this error. For additional assistance, users can directly reach out to our experts by ringing us a call at 1-800-761-1787.

Having served the accounting industry for more than a decade, our certified QuickBooks payroll technical support experts will help users accomplish all their accounting tasks and will also resolve all queries related to your accounting application.


How can I determine if my QuickBooks company file is causing Error 12038?

Any form of corruption in the QuickBooks company file directly infers Errors belonging to the 12xxx series. However, you can run the File Doctor tool to scan and repair the company file issues. It’s recommended to use this tool if you suspect any file-related problems.

Are there any specific network settings I need to check to fix Error 12038 in QuickBooks?

Yes, certain network settings should be checked in pursuit of fixing Error 12038. These include:
1. Ensuring that the network proxy settings are properly configured.
2. Verifying that no network restrictions are blocking the connection of QuickBooks to the internet.
3. Confirm that the ISP hasn’t put any limitations on certain websites.

Can a problem with the QuickBooks server cause Error 12038?

Yes! If there is an issue with the QuickBooks server or the server is temporarily unavailable, it can cause these errors. In such cases, users can use File Doctor to fix the network-related issues.


More helpful topics:

How to Troubleshoot the QuickBooks Update Error 15240?

Steps to Fix QuickBooks Error 15103 when updating Desktop or Payroll

How to Print W-2 forms in the QuickBooks Desktop?

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