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How to Fix QuickBooks Error PS038: Troubleshooting Guide

QuickBooks Error PS038

QuickBooks error PS038 can scare a user trying to run their payroll operations or send paychecks online. Let this blog be a guide to get you out of the issue seamlessly and quickly.

Running payroll requires the most recent updates of payroll tax tables installed in QuickBooks Desktop. While doing so, you might get an error message that reads, “You’ve retrieved the latest payroll update and validated your Payroll subscription. We strongly recommend that you go online again before mm/dd/yyyy. [PS038]”. It is a common error that several users face while updating or processing paychecks in QuickBooks.

Error code PS038 was a bug in the QuickBooks application that got fixed with the launch of QuickBooks 2018. Still, recently several users have reported getting the same error, and it indicates that PS038 has made a come back in the QuickBooks application. With this article, we will analyze the reasons for the occurrence of QuickBooks payroll update error PS038 and quick solutions that can be implemented to resolve it.

Has QuickBooks error PS038 made it challenging for you to run payroll quickly and efficiently? Fret not and dial +1- 855 738 2784 to reach our team of certified experts and receive professional help. Our team will assist you in getting out of this chaos immediately without affecting your operations and data

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What is QuickBooks Payroll Update Error PS038?

QuickBooks payroll error PS038 appears when a user tries to send paychecks online, and the paychecks are stuck as “Online to send.” Payroll cannot be processed if there are paychecks stuck in the system, and thus resolving the error becomes the need of the hour.

The QuickBooks error PS038 message reads, “You’ve retrieved the latest payroll update and validated your Payroll subscription. We strongly recommend that you go online again before mm/dd/yyyy. [PS038].” Due to this error, users find it troubling to run payroll, download tax tables, and process paychecks smoothly and efficiently.

Although basic troubleshooting can fix QuickBooks error code PS038, an employee’s payroll data is a critical piece of information for a business. Thus, paying close attention to the troubleshooting procedure is suggested to avoid data loss. To begin troubleshooting, users must first learn the reasons behind this error. Then, they can begin troubleshooting after backing up your QuickBooks data to safeguard it against damage and corruption.

Why do users get QuickBooks Payroll Error PS038?

Having insights into the causes of QuickBooks PS038 is critical to get to the right troubleshooting path. You can analyze and detect the following grounds for QB error PS038 on your system:

  1. Malware or virus can bring forward significant damages, including payroll error SP038.
  2. Using an outdated QuickBooks application can trigger the PS038 error.
  3. Corrupted company files can bring forth QuickBooks payroll error PS038.
  4. If your internet connection is poor, you’ll face the error PS038 QuickBooks.
  5. Windows Firewall may protect your system from QuickBooks, in turn restricting the application from functioning correctly. You may face payroll update errors due to this issue.
  6. If you haven’t updated QuickBooks payroll and downloaded the latest tax tables, you may see the PS038 QuickBooks error.
  7. If you’ve validated the payroll subscription after restoring the current QuickBooks payroll update, you can see QB error PS038.
  8. QB error PS038 may arise due to stuck paychecks. Ironically, it can also be an effect of the error.
  9. Third-party programs and antivirus applications may lead to errors by restricting and interfering with QB’s operations.
  10. Entering incorrect billing details or credit card information can lead to this issue.
  11. In extreme cases, the QuickBooks installation may have gone corrupt or damaged.
  12. Sometimes, when you’ve already installed the payroll update and keep trying to do it again, you may get this error.
  13. You may face this error because your payroll data is corrupt or damaged.
  14. The user trying to access the payroll update may not have sufficient privileges.
  15. Windows Registry Issues may be preventing QuickBooks from running correctly.
  16. Inaccurate date and time settings might be causing stuck paychecks in QuickBooks desktop.
  17. Your system may have closed abruptly due to a power cut or related reasons, causing trouble getting updates.
  18. If your system’s hard drives are corrupted, damaged, or carry insufficient space, you’ll face QuickBooks error PS038.
  19. Corrupt Network Data (.ND) or Transaction Log (.TLG) issues may lead to QB error PS038.

Thus, users need to identify all the reasons causing this trouble in their system to rectify the situation completely. Further, they must also recognize the symptoms and after-effects of the ps038 error QuickBooks desktop to restrict it from happening again.

Recommended To Read – How To Fix QuickBooks Unable to Backup Company File Error

Effects of QuickBooks Error Ps038

When users get in the grasp of QuickBooks error SP038, they come across the following signs, symptoms, and indications of the error:

  1. Users will get trouble running Windows as it may crash, freeze, and lag.
  2. Due to the error message, the payroll download won’t finish or stop in between.
  3. The paychecks will get stuck and won’t process. It will keep showing “Online to send” in your payroll entries.
  4. Enjoying payroll features gets troublesome because of the ps038 QuickBooks desktop.
  5. Active and crucial Windows programs and files won’t operate correctly.
  6. QuickBooks payroll cannot be updated due to this frustrating error.
  7. Users can’t download tax tables without getting the error.

Since these symptoms interrupt routine functioning, it’s better to get rid of them as quickly as possible. So, let’s dive into the troubleshooting section of QuickBooks error PS038 and see how to work error-free.

How to Resolve QuickBooks Error PS038?

If the reasons for the presence of the PS038 error in QuickBooks Desktop are clear, let’s move forward with effective solutions to rectify the issue. However, before doing so, consider the following crucial points:


  1. If you are using an older version of QuickBooks, you first need to update it to 2019 or a later version supported by Intuit.
  2. Then make sure to back up your company file and payroll data before troubleshooting the PS038 error in QuickBooks.
  3. Your QuickBooks Desktop application must be having the latest updates of the payroll tax table installed.
  4. You should not attempt to use the Rebuild Data tool more than two times.
  5. Check if you’re using QB in single or multi-user mode.
  6. Further, if you aren’t tech-savvy, you can consult QB technicians to assist you in the situation.

Now, let’s jump into resolving the ps038 QuickBooks error:

Steps to Rectify QuickBooks PS038 Update Error:

If PS038 in QuickBooks Desktop can be fixed by performing various troubleshooting steps mentioned below in this article. Then follow the steps in the given sequence for a quick resolution.

Solution 1: Update your QuickBooks application:

You must ensure that the QuickBooks version you use is the latest and up-to-date to resolve payroll error PS038. The steps involved in updating QuickBooks include:

Update QuickBooks

Update QuickBooks

  1. First of all launch the QB application and navigate to the Help menu.
  2. Here, choose the Update QuickBooks Desktop button and hit Update Now at the top-right corner.
  3. Select Get Updates and after the download of the update finishes, close and reopen your application to verify the PS038 error QuickBooks Desktop.

Solution 2: After updating QuickBooks, try Sending Payroll:

Attempt to send payroll and see if you can do it ps038 in QuickBooks desktop error-free:

  1. Click My Payroll Services under the Employees tab and then click Send Usage Data.QuickBooks My Payroll Services
  2. If you can send data successfully, then update the payroll again.
  3. If you are still getting the same error message, follow the steps given below or contact Payroll Helpline Number USA 1.855.738.2784.

Solution 3: Check and Find Paycheck Stuck as “Online to Send”

Locate and rectify the paychecks stuck in processing due to QuickBooks payroll update error ps038:

  1. Under the Edit tab, select Find and choose the Advanced.QuickBooks Find Option
  2. Under the Choose Filter tab, look for the Filter list and select Detail Level.
  3. Select Summary Only.
  4. Under the Choose Filter tab, look for the Filter list and select Online Status.
  5. From the drop-down list on the right-hand side, select Online to send.
  6. Click the Find button to check all the unsent paychecks and PS038 error payroll

Solution 4: Run Verify and Rebuild Data tool

The verify and rebuild data utilities aim to resolve problems with the company file. Use these in-built tools from the File menu and rectify the ps038 error in QuickBooks desktop:

  •  Make sure to take a backup before running the Rebuild Data tool.
  • Click the Rebuild Now button as shown in the screenshot.QuickBooks Verify Rebuild Results
  • After the rebuild process completes, you can see the status of stuck paychecks.
  • If rebuild cannot fix all the stuck paychecks and you can’t update Payroll due toPS038 QuickBooks Desktop.

Solution 5: Verify the Information on Paychecks Stuck in QuickBooks

Check the details given on paychecks stuck in QB when you get QuickBooks error code ps038:

  1. Follow the steps from the “Check and Find Paycheck Stuck as Online to Send” section to get the list of all the paychecks that are stuck in QuickBooks.
  2. Now open the first paycheck from the list and click the Paycheck Detail option.
  3. Once you get the Review Paycheck window, go to the Earnings tab.
  4. Now look for the last item in the list and add it as a new item again.
  5. This will prompt QuickBooks to display a Net Pay Locked window where you need to click No to close it.
  6. You will need to choose the Rate Field for the item you have just added in the fourth step.
  7. Make sure there are no changes in the Net Pay and taxes and click OK.
  8. Click Yes if the Past Transactions message pops up.
  9. Hit the Save & Close option and click Yes when the Recording Transactions message appears.
  10. Re-open the paycheck and click the Paycheck Details button.
  11. Delete the item that was added in the fourth step.
  12. Once again, make sure there are no changes in the taxes and Net Pay and click OK.
  13. Finally, click Save & Close to save the changes.
  14. Follow the same instructions for each paycheck and check if the error is now resolved.

Solution 6: Use Payroll Data and Company File Backup

Difficulties in accessing payroll data or company files may arise due to QuickBooks error PS038. In such cases, using backup may help run QuickBooks smoothly. The following steps will be needed to execute this solution:

  1. Head to the File tab in QB’s main menu.
  2. Click Backup Company, followed by the Local Backup option.
  3. Navigate to Local Backup when the create backup page emerges on the screen.
  4. Opt for the Options section, then view the Backup Options window.
  5. Tap Browse to save this file in this step.
  6. Hit OK to validate the file and save it in your chosen location.
  7. Ensure to select a local drive to save your backup.
  8. Check if the QB error PS038 remains.

Solution 7: Utilize QuickBooks Tool Hub

QuickBooks error PS038 can be rectified through QuickBooks Tool Hub, which fixes several common errors. You can download, install, and set it up to resolve multiple problems through numerous tools and programs, including Quick Fix My Program, QuickBooks Install Diagnostic Tool, QuickBooks Network Diagnostic Tool, etc. All these utilities serve specific purposes, as demonstrated by their sections.

QuickBooks tool hub

QuickBooks tool hub

Here are the steps to download, install, and use QB Tool Hub and rectify QuickBooks error PS038:

  1. You should start by heading to the official download source of QuickBooks Tool Hub on the Intuit site. Tap the Download Now link and save the downloads package in the default downloads folder on the system. Alternatively, you can click browse to find another preferred place.
  2. After the tool hub downloads successfully without lags and errors, head to the place where you saved it. Search for the QuickBooksToolHub.exe file and double-click it to begin its installation.
  3. You’ll watch the installation wizards appear on the screen. Keep responding to finish the installation procedure swiftly.
  4. After completing the installation, you can enter your details and set up QB Tool Hub correctly.

The QuickBooks Tool Hub offers the following utilities for users to rectify the different problems causing the payroll update error PS038:

QuickBooks File Doctor

When your company file is corrupted or damaged, resort to QuickBooks File Doctor from the tool hub to rectify your situation:

QuickBooks File Doctor

QuickBooks File Doctor

  1. Open QuickBooks tool Hub.
  2. Navigate to the Company File Issues section.
  3. Opt for the QuickBooks File Doctor Tool.
  4. Search for the damaged company file from the dropdown menu or click Browse to find your file.
  5. Tap the Start Scan option to initiate company file repair.

Resolve your issues or check other tools for resolution.

QuickBooks Network Diagnostic Tool

If you’re having network connectivity issues or problems with the multi-user mode, you can use this tool:

QuickBooks Install Diagnostic Tool

QuickBooks Install Diagnostic Tool

  1. Launch QB Tool Hub.
  2. Select Network issues.
  3. Choose QuickBooks Network Diagnostic Tool.
  4. Start scanning and fixing your files.

If the files don’t get resolved due to the error, use other tools.

Quick Fix My Program

Your app’s performance may become sluggish, lagging, and poor holistically. Rectify this situation through the following steps:

Run Quick Fix My Program

Run Quick Fix My Program

  1. Open QuickBooks Tool Hub.
  2. Hit the Program Problems tab.
  3. Select Quick Fix My Program.
  4. Let the tool run and repair your problems.

If you’re still stuck, try the next tool.

QuickBooks Install Diagnostic Tool

Installation issues can get resolved through the install diagnostic tool from the tool hub. The following steps can help in such cases:

QuickBooks Install Diagnostic Tool

QuickBooks Install Diagnostic Tool

  1. Tap the QuickBooks Tool Hub icon to open it.
  2. Select the Installation Issues section.
  3. Hit the QuickBooks Install Diagnostic Tool.
  4. Let the scanning finish.

See if the error resolves after doing so.

QuickBooks Database Server Manager

You can also run QuickBooks Database Server Manager from the Network issues tab to rectify the problems caused by multi-user mode. The steps include the following:

  1. Access the QB Tool Hub.
  2. Opt for the Network Issues section.
  3. Select QB Database Server Manager.
  4. Finish scanning and repair network connectivity problems.

When you operate all these tools, you become able to resolve QuickBooks error PS038.

Solution 8: Allow QB through Windows Firewall as an exception

Your Windows Firewall can be the biggest obstructor causing the QuickBooks application to run poorly. It’s because it can consider QB as a threat and protect your system by restricting its functioning. In such cases, you need to add QB as an exception to allow internet access and ensure smooth QuickBooks operations:

  1. Hit the Windows icon on the keyboard to open the Start menu.
  2. Type Windows Firewall in the search field and click Enter.
  3. You’ll get the Windows Firewall window on your screen. Here, click Advanced Settings.
  4. Further, select Inbound Rules, followed by New Rule.
  5. Opt for the option Port, then Next.
  6. Make sure you choose TCP, then enter the specific ports directed for your QB version.
  7. Pick the specific ports according to your QB year version and enter them in the Specific Local Ports field.
  8. For QuickBooks Desktop 2020 and later: 8019, XXXXX.
  9. For QB Desktop 2019: 8019, XXXXX.
  10. For QuickBooks Desktop 2018: 8019, 56728, 55378-55382.
  11. For QB Desktop 2017: 8019, 56727, 55373-55377.
  12. Tap Next after you enter the port number.
  13. Select Allow the Connection and tap Next.
  14. If you’re asked, ensure to mark all your profiles.
  15. Now, formulate a rule and name it in this format- “QBPorts(year)” for easy recognition.
  16. Click the Finish option once you are done.
  17. Repeat all these steps for Outbound Rules and verify if the PS038 QuickBooks Desktop error persists.

After you are done with this procedure, follow the steps to create a Windows Firewall exception for QB programs and executable files (.exe).

You can create exceptions for each executable file in the table through the following steps:

  1. Look for Windows Firewall in the Start menu by entering it in the search field and opening it.
  2. Select the Advanced Settings option.
  3. Right-click Inbound Rules, then select New Rule.
  4. Opt for the Program option, followed by Next.
  5. Choose This Program Path, and now click Browse.
  6. Pick any executable file in the table below and tap Next.
  7. Hit the Allow the Connection option, then Next.
  8. Ensure to mark all profiles if requested by QB, then select Next.
  9. Form a rule and give it a name in the following format: “QBFirewallException(name.exe).”
  10. Follow all these steps for Outbound Rules also.

Hopefully, you’ll be able to dish out QuickBooks error PS038 correctly.

.exe files Executable Path to follow
Dbmlsync.exe C:\Program Files\Intuit\QUICKBOOKS YEAR
QBW32.exe C:\Program Files\Intuit\QUICKBOOKS YEAR
DBManagerExe.exe C:\Program Files\Intuit\QUICKBOOKS YEAR
AutoBackupExe.exe C:\Program Files\Intuit\QUICKBOOKS YEAR
FileManagement.exe C:\Program Files\Intuit\QUICKBOOKS YEAR
QuickBooksMessaging.exe C:\Program Files\Intuit\QUICKBOOKS YEAR
QBServerUtilityMgr.exe C:\Program Files\Common Files\Intuit\QuickBooks
QBDBMgrN.exe C:\Program Files\Intuit\QUICKBOOKS YEAR
QBLaunch.exe C:\Program Files\Common Files\Intuit\QuickBooks
QBCFMonitorService.exe C:\Program Files\Common Files\Intuit\QuickBooks
FileMovementExe.exe C:\Program Files\Intuit\QUICKBOOKS YEAR
IntuitSyncManager.exe C:\Program Files\Common Files\Intuit\Sync
QBUpdate.exe C:\Program Files\Common Files\Intuit\QuickBooks\QBUpdate
OnlineBackup.exe C:\Program Files\QuickBooks Online Backup

Solution 9: Reinstall QuickBooks in the Selective Startup Mode

When you face interruptions from other applications and third-party programs, it would be better to consider terminating the tasks from the Task Manager, followed by reinstalling the QuickBooks app in selective startup.

Here are the steps you must take to end processes from the Task Manager:

  1. Press the Ctrl, Shift, and Esc keys simultaneously on the keyboard to view the Task Manager.
  2. Navigate to the Processes section.
  3. Opt for the QBW32.exe, QBupdate.exe, and QBDBMgrn.exe processes, right-click them individually, followed by tapping the End Processes option.

Once you’re done with terminating QB processes, you should start the reinstallation process to eliminate QuickBooks error PS038. However, understanding the significance of selective startup mode is critical before beginning this process. Only essential services and programs will load once you reboot your computer in selective startup. This way, you can isolate the problems in your computer by turning off the non-essential services and startup items in the selective startup mode.

Deleting and installing QB again in selective startup mode can help you repair issues with the software, like impartial installation or troubles opening the program, which includes QuickBooks payroll error PS038.

Here we are offering a step-wise and detailed guide to reinstall QuickBooks in selective startup mode:

Step 1: Make your computer ready for selective startup

Follow the steps below to prepare your computer for selective startup mode:

  1. Exit all active programs and files.
  2. Hold the Windows key + R on your keyboard to launch the Run dialog box.
  3. Type msconfig in the Run window and hit Enter.
  4. Opt for the services tab in the system configuration window.
  5. Mark the box next to Hide all Microsoft services.
  6. Tap the Disable All option.
  7. Further, select the Startup tab.
  8. Now, choose Windows Installer.
  9. End the process by rebooting the system.

Step 2: Uninstall QuickBooks

After redirecting your computer to selective startup, consider deleting QuickBooks from your device:

  1. Select the Windows Start option and click Control Panel.
  2. Tap the Programs and Features section in the Control Panel window.
  3. Pick QuickBooks from the programs list demonstrating currently installed applications on the system and select Uninstall.
  4. Execute the prompts to remove QuickBooks.
  5. Reboot your device after you clear QuickBooks and all related files from the device.

Step 3: Download and reinstall QuickBooks

Once you’re done with deleting QuickBooks, clearing space, and making room for fresh installation, it’s time to get QB into your system:

  1. Head to the QuickBooks official website and look for the latest version of the software. Once you find it, click it and save the file in an accessible place on your device.
  2. After the download, visit the download location, locate and double-click the QuickBooks installer file, and start installing the app.
  3. Let the installation prompts run to install QuickBooks successfully.
  4. Reboot your system after finishing the installation process.

Step 4: Return your computer to normal startup mode

After the reinstallation ends and you become QuickBooks payroll update error PS038-free, it’s time to switch back to the normal mode. The steps involved in this process are as follows:

  1. Press the Windows key and R on your keyboard together to access the Run dialog box.
  2. Type msconfig and click Enter.
  3. Opt for the Services tab in the system configuration window.
  4. Mark the box next to Hide all Microsoft services.
  5. Click Enable All.
  6. Now, tap the Startup tab.
  7. Choose the Open Task Manager option.
  8. In the Task Manager, turn on all startup items by picking them and clicking Enable.
  9. Close the Task Manager and the System Configuration dialog box.
  10. End by rebooting your device.

We hope these reinstallation steps rectify your problems related to QuickBooks error PS038. We ensure this detailed guide protects you from any issues. Our recommendation is to save your company files and other crucial data elsewhere as a backup before uninstalling to prevent data loss and deletion.

Read Also – Resolve QuickBooks Error 2107

Solution 10: Run QuickBooks as an Administrator

You need to run QuickBooks with sufficient privileges to install QuickBooks payroll updates in your system. If you don’t know how to perform this solution, here are the steps:

  1. Locate the QuickBooks icon on your desktop or programs.
  2. Right-tap the icon and select the Run as Administrator option.
  3. Start using QuickBooks without errors and run payroll.

Solution 11: Run the System File Checker scan

System File Checker (SFC) is an inbuilt utility of Windows that enables you to scan and repair files those are either corrupted or missing. Here are the steps that you need to follow to run SFC:

  1. Open Command Prompt as an administrator. To do this, all you need to do is to right-click the Start button and select “Command Prompt (Admin)”.
  2. In the Command Prompt window on your screen, type “sfc /scannow” as the command and press Enter. This will initiate the system file checker process on your system.
  3. The scan will take some time to complete, and you will see a progress bar. Make sure not to close the Command Prompt window on your system until the scan is complete.
  4. If SFC detects corruption in any files or missing files, it will attempt to perform a repair automatically. If the tool is unable to repair the files, it will provide a message indicating the issue.
  5. Once the scan is complete, close the Command Prompt window.
  6. If the scan found and repaired any issues, restart your computer to complete the process.

Note: It’s recommended to run SFC in safe mode if you’re unable to run it normally or if it’s not able to repair the files in the normal mode.

Solution 12: Free Space through CleanMgr

Cleanmgr, also known as Disk Cleanup, is a Windows utility tool that helps you free up disk space by deleting temporary files, system files, and other unnecessary files. You can use this tool to free up disk space used by QuickBooks data files. Here are the steps to run cleanmgr for QuickBooks:

  1. Shut down QuickBooks and any other programs that are currently running.
  2. Press the Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box.
  3. Type “cleanmgr” and press Enter. This will trigger the Disk Cleanup tool on your system.
  4. Choose the drive where QuickBooks is installed. Usually, QB get installed in the C: drive on Windows systems.
  5. Hit the “Cleanup system files” button. This will run another scan to identify additional files that can be removed.
  6. Check the boxes next to the file types that you want to delete. You may want to select the following file types:
  7. Temporary files, Setup log files, and Recycle Bin.
  8. Click the “OK” button to start the cleanup process.
  9. When prompted to confirm the deletion of files, tap “Delete Files.”
  10. Once the cleanup process is finished, close the Disk Cleanup tool.

By running the Disk Cleanup tool for QuickBooks, you can free up disk space and potentially improve the performance of QuickBooks.

You May Also Like To Read – How to Resolve QuickBooks Error 6000

Carefully follow each step mentioned in the article to rectify QuickBooks error PS038, or you can contact us directly for help by dialing our Payroll Number +1- 855 738 2784.


Why am I facing QuickBooks PS038 payroll error?

You may be getting the QuickBooks payroll PS038 error due to the following reasons:

  1. You haven’t installed the latest payroll update.
  2. Your QuickBooks application is not up-to-date.
  3. If a damaged company file may result in a payroll PS038 error.
  4. This issue may arise while validating the payroll subscription and recovering the latest payroll QB updates.

How does the PS038 error affect your system?

When QuickBooks payroll PS038 error affects your system, you will experience the following:

  1. If your system’s performance will be degraded and the speed will slow down.
  2. It hinders payroll’s update process.
  3. You may get stuck or struggle with sending paychecks online.

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How to Fix QuickBooks Error PS038: Troubleshooting Guide
Article Name
How to Fix QuickBooks Error PS038: Troubleshooting Guide
Eliminate QuickBooks Error PS038 Hassles: Say Goodbye to QuickBooks Payroll Error PS038 and Streamline Your Financial Operations Today.
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Accounting Helpline
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