Turbotax 2017 & 2018 Software

Installation and
Use Description

on Microsoft Windows 7

(in March 2018 and 2019)

(on a Windows 7 desktop PC)

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I run most of my computers (desktops and netbooks) using Linux.

BUT, there is one piece of software for which I require a Microsoft Windows operating system --- Turbotax (Wikipedia link).

I avoid Microsoft operating systems like the plague. There is too much monkey business going on underneath the covers --- and out of my control.

BUT I have to stifle my frustrations and use MS Windows once a year. The cause :

The only program that I use that requires a Microsoft operating system --- Turbotax --- has no equivalent on Linux. So, once a year, I have to hold my nose and use a Microsoft OS.

I have installed Turbotax software on a Dell desktop computer (with Windows 7) for about 7 years --- since 2012 -- including installs in March 2018 and March 2019 --- for the 2017 and 2018 tax years.

The following notes on Turbotax installation come from notes that I used in those March 2017 and 2018 Turbotax installs.

    I also installed Turbotax one year (spring 2017) on a laptop with the Windows 10 operating system.

    On a Windows 10 Bloatware Removal page, I described how I removed the bloatware (and dealt with the horrible 'Metro' desktop interface).

The following notes are presented in two sections:

  • Installing Turbotax using an 'admin' userid

  • Starting up Turbotax using a 'user' userid to begin entering data.

I hope that these notes will help me as I install Turbotax in the future on a Windows 10 desktop computer --- that will replace the old Windows 7 computer.

    Besides the appeal of upgrading to a computer with more up-to-date hardware components, I am mainly motivated (forced?) to migrate because Microsoft is stopping support of Windows 7 in January 2020.

    So, in 2019, I will, finally, migrate files from that old Windows 7 computer to a Windows 10 computer.

In that process, I will need to transfer

  • mail (Thunderbird mail files)

  • bookmarks (from Seamonkey and Firefox web browsers)

  • personal directories, such as 'Desktop' and 'Documents' --- including Turbotax files.

I will probably provide a page on this site that describes that 'Windows7-to-Windows10' migration process --- with details on moving those various types of files and 'importing' them into the newer versions of the applications that use those files.

Turbotax Install Preliminaries:

Each year, I buy the Turbotax Premiere software DVD disk --- NOT Turbotax 'Deluxe' --- because 'Premiere' supports the entry of investment information (information from 1099-B forms).

The following install steps would probably apply (with no changes) to dealing with 'Deluxe' as well as to dealing with 'Premiere'.

Before presenting the install-steps, I need to point out that on this Windows 7 computer, I had, long ago, set up two user accounts:

  • an 'admin' account, for the purpose of having the permissions to install software which asks for the password of the/an administrator

  • a 'user' account, for my wife, who is not well versed in the area of computer security risks --- for the purpose of doing tasks like checking email, web browsing, word processing, etc. --- tasks that do not involve installing additional software or software upgrades on the computer.

    The 'user' account is also for myself --- for working with Turbotax as a user --- with reduced likelihood of me inadvertently installing something that I should not.

The install of the Turbotax software was done using the 'admin' account. An outline of the install steps follows.

Turbotax Install Steps:

  • Logged in as 'admin' on the Windows 7 desktop computer --- via a choice of two icons, for 'admin' and a user.

  • Put the Turbotax DVD disk into the DVD tray of the computer.

  • A window popped up with an option to run 'setup.exe'.

  • Clicked on that option.

  • Loud noises from the DVD drive --- for about 60 seconds or more --- with no indication of what was going on. Just a 'static' Turbotax window on the screen.

  • Finally, the Turbotax window changed to allow the install to start --- BUT, updates had to be done.

  • Launched Turbotax and allowed it to do the updates. Note that you need an internet connection for the updates to proceed.

    The installing-updates window at one point showed 'Installing Virginia'.

    In previous years, I used Turbotax to generate the Virginia income tax forms as well as the Federal forms. The installer apparently assumed that I wanted the Virginia Turbotax software again.

  • After the updates were done, I closed the Turbotax window. At that point, I saw a 'Turbotax 2017' icon on the desktop --- this icon in addition to the icons from previous years --- 'Turbotax 2016', 'Turbotax 2015', etc.

Next, I switched to the 'user' account, to start entry of data into Turbotax.

    On Windows 7, I clicked on the lower-left 'Start' button, and in the 'Shutdown' drop down menu, I chose 'Switch user'.

An outline of the first steps in Turbotax data-entry --- when logged into the 'user' account --- follows.

(as a 'user', NOT 'admin')

  • I switched to a login under the 'user' account. See above.

  • I launched Turbotax by clicking on the 'Turbotax 20xx' icon on the desktop.

      If Turbotax prompts to do updates, logout of this 'user' account. Switch to the 'admin' account and launch Turbotax by clicking on the desktop icon.

      Allow the updates to proceed under the 'admin' account. Then switch back to the 'user' account.

  • The first Turbotax window panel asks for

    • name
    • address
    • email address
    • where-bought
      (a list is provided, including examples like Costco)
  • A 2nd panel in the Turbotax window allows for finding previous years' tax files.

    It takes less than a minute for Turbotax to find the tax files from previous years. A list is presented in the window.

    Select the appropriate tax year and click on a transfer button.

      If you do not have a previous year's Turbotax files on this computer, note that Turbotax data is stored in files with suffixes of the form '.tax2019', for example. And the 'return' forms for printing are stored in '.pdf' files.

      If you have a '.taxYYYY' file, you can use a 'Browse' option on the Turbotax data-transfer panel to navigate to a copy of the file --- that you may have on a 'USB stick' --- or a copy that you put in some non-Turbotax folder on the computer.

      Note that, if you have to find a previous year's Turbotax data file, the typical place that Turbotax stores the data files is in the MS Windows 'folder' location

      C:\Users\<username>\My Documents\TurboTax\

  • A 3rd panel in the Turbotax window shows some sample information that was retrieved from a previous year:

    • name(s) --- plural if filing jointly
    • mailing address
    • filing status --- married?
    • dependents
    • and a few more items
  • A prompting panel will ask for changes from the previous year --- for example, still filing a married/joint return? still reporting interest from such-and-such a bank?

  • Then ... let Turbotax walk you through the income and deduction sections.

    Here is where the Turbotax software shines, in multiple ways:

    • Turbotax prompts you through the data entry process --- thus helping you determine what kinds of data are needed. Also, it helps you make the best choices during the data entry process.

    • Turbotax performs the final calulations for all the various federal and state forms 'in a flash' --- and with much less likelihood of errors than you would experience with 'manual' data-gathering and calculations.

    • Turbotax can print out high-quality forms for mailing --- or can submit the form-data electronically.


In the early days of installing Turbotax, a great concern of mine was how to handle installing the software using an 'admin' login --- and then use the software under a non-admin login.

The steps above outline what I found worked well in handling that concern.

In subsequent years (after learning how to handle the 'admin' and 'user' logins), my main concern was whether my internet connection would be steady and bug-free --- thus allowing for all the software updates that are typically downloaded from a Turbotax site at the start of each installation.

Another concern of mine has been that a bug in the Turbotax software might cause a problem in the installation --- or a problem later when using the software.

One year, I DID have a problem in using the software. At some point, the estimated tax, that Turbotax shows at the top of the panels as you work through the data-entry sections, blew up to a ridiculous size.

I had not been watching that 'estimated tax' display. I had never noticed it in previous years. In any case, although I first thought it might be a bug in the Turbotax software, I ended up having to start a new data-entry session. I ended up with a good outcome --- a reasonable-and-expected tax bill.

It was probably the case that I failed to enter a decimal point in some figure that caused the subsequent calculations to go haywire. I was not able to find where I may have made a data entry error --- but starting over 'with a fresh slate' got me out of that mess.

In summary, I have been able to use Turbotax successfully over at least 7 tax years (2012 to 2018), and my three main concerns :

  • handling 'admin'/'user' install/use login sessions

  • having a stable internet connection

  • encountering a Turbotax software bug --- either in the install or in the data-entry phase

have proved to be surmountable.

The install-and-use notes here may be used to guide me through use of Turbotax in future install-and-use sessions --- on a Windows 10 computer, instead of a Windows 7 computer.

Furthermore, a few notes above may help in getting 2018 (and before) Turbotax data files from a Windows 7 computer to a new Windows 10 computer --- for use to minimize data entry for the next tax year.

Unfortunately, Turbotax does not provide a guide that deals with several of the issues that are considered on this page. (And my web searches did not fill in the blanks.)

I would like to have had a guide like this from Turbotax. By a series of experiences, I had to come up with my own guide --- to help me with a task that I do only once a year --- and whose details I forget over the course of a year. (Some tasks --- like migrating data from one computer to another --- I do even less frequently --- like once a decade.)

Hence, this web page --- to help me, and perhaps others.

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Turbotax 2017/2018 software install on MS Windows 7
in March of 2018 and 2019 - on a Dell desktop PC.

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Page history:

Page was created 2019 Mar 26.

Page was changed 2021 Jul 24.
(Changed the name of this file from 'MSwindows_Turbotax_install.htm' to 'MSwindows7_Turbotax_install.htm'.
Added the '7' indicator in a few places within this HTML file.
Changed a few links to open in a separate window.)