14 October 2008

Quicken 2008 One Step Update Problem: Privoxy, Vidalia, Internet Explorer Link to OL Error Code Issues

I decided to post this bit about Quicken 2008 One Step Update because of a problem I managed to fix today. I figured it would be good to cast this line into cyberspace because Quicken absolutely lacks publicly available information that could lead one to the simple fix for this problem.

For a few weeks I have not been able to use One Step Update from within Quicken 2008 to download information from my various financial institutions. I kept getting various "OL" error codes - OL-221-A, OL-221-B, OL-254-B, etc. This was the case if I initiated an update from within Quicken or if I tried to download my info from a particular financial institution and import it into Quicken.

If you are experiencing this error and you use the Vidalia/Privoxy bundle with Tor and you have LAN settings set accordingly in Internet Explorer, or any LAN settings that route traffic through localhost, here is your solution: turn them off.

I don't recall exactly why I did it, but recently I shut down Vidalia (probably to speed up my computer's boot up sequence). I normally use Firefox, not IE, so when I shut down Vidalia I wasn't using IE anyway and I never thought to turn off the LAN settings within IE that are used with Vidalia/Privoxy. Without Vidalia active but with the LAN settings in place to route IE traffic through it, communication for IE dependent programs (which Quicken apparently is, along with a few of my spyware sweepers) is impossible. I think everything will still work if these LAN settings are active and Vidalia is active, but if the LAN settings for Vidalia are toggled without Vidalia being online, no dice.

I tried contacting Quicken tech support. Ultimately doing so led to the solution, but not because of any great advice they had. When it comes to this particular issue, there is basically no help available at all, and live tech support will only take you through a series of steps that do not address the problem.

What led to the solution was the tech I was chatting with directing me to go to Quicken.com from within Quicken. Quicken attempted to open an IE browser window which revealed that it was attempting to route through my inactive Vidalia client. That was the "ah ha!" moment. Before continuing to the next step the tech was expecting us to go through, I told him/her that I had solved the problem. I tried a few of my institutions, found everything working smoothly again, then explained the whole thing to the tech. That was that, I'm back in business, and Intuit (the makers of Quicken) were basically no help at all.

Judging by the Quicken user community forums, this could be a widespread problem for which Intuit is not offering much help. So if you are a frustrated Quicken user (this possibly would affect a wider range of Quicken versions than just 2008 Deluxe, the one I'm using) and if you use the Vidalia/Tor bundle, other anonymous surfing clients, or if you are behind a firewall, look there for a solution to this problem. Quicken tech support's various hoops to jump through - checking the system date and time, attempting to download into a new data file, etc. - all miss the mark by a long shot.

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