What Does Error Code -20 Mean?

Error Code -20 “QuickBooks PDF Converter Activation Error -20” seems to indicate that a code registry entry related to the integrated QuickBooks PDF converter could not be found.  The integrated QuickBooks PDF Converter is a driver licensed by Intuit from from Amyuni Technologies.  A screen shot of the error appears below:

The most common fix for this error is to re-install the PDF Converter, which involves deleting the QuickBooks PDF Converter and attempting to email any form or report.  QuickBooks will automatically reinstall the PDF Converter after you’ve deleted it.

For more information on deleting and re-installing the PDF Converter, consult this Intuit knowledge base article.

Error code -20 is one of a long list of errors tied to the integrated PDF converter.

Error code -20 also appears to related to 3 other issues:

  • using QuickBooks in a 64-bit version of either Windows Vista or XP
  • upgrading the Amyuni PDF Converter to a newer version through Windows Update
  • having QuickBooks 2007 and either QuickBooks 2008 or 2009 installed on the same computer

If you are using a 64-bit version of either Windows Vista or XP and have received this error, it was most likely caused because some of the default settings on the Amyuni PDF Converter aren’t compatible with 64-bit operating systems.  Intuit offers some possible solutions to this error in this Intuit knowledge base article.

We have also observed this error after installing operating system updates (not QuickBooks updates!) via Microsoft’s Windows Update service.  Updates to the Amyuni PDF Converter are detected by Windows Update.  Depending on your Windows Update settings, this update may have been installed automatically.  Since the updated Amyuni PDF Converter was not the licensed version that came with QuickBooks, QuickBooks doesn’t detect the updated driver as licensed and activated.  Unfortunately, deleting the QuickBooks PDF Converter and attempting to email another report (i. e., the recommendations above) do not appear to resolve the error in this circumstance.  The solution is to uninstall the single Windows Update that updated the Amyuni PDF Converter, reboot, and then try to email a report.  If the error still occurs, perform a clean install of QuickBooks.  Before re-installing any program or altering any data file, insure that you have multiple backup copies of the programs and data files you are modifying.

Generally speaking, it’s not a problem to have multiple versions of QuickBooks installed on the same computer, provided they’re in different directories.  Accountants often find this necessary to service clients with different QuickBooks versions.  However, the QuickBooks PDF Converter for QuickBooks 2007 is a slightly different version than that for QuickBooks 2008 or 2009.  This situation sometimes produces ErrorCode -20.  The solutions are to close QuickBooks and wait a short period of time before relaunching QuickBooks to allow time for shared resources to be released, thereby resolving the error.  Another possible solution is to repair your QuickBooks installation.  For more information on this error in this circumstance, consult this Intuit knowledge base article.  This error in QuickBooks 2007 is also discussed in another Intuit knowledge base article.  Unfortunately, the reports we’ve received indicate that the fixes do not resolve the problem for good.

For more information on resolving Error Code -20, consult this Intuit knowledge base article.

If the steps outlined in that article don’t resolve the error, Intuit also offers these basic printer troubleshooting tips.

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