When I add vector layer I select the .shp file and nothing happens When I add vector layer and I select the folder it gives error message "not a valid or recognized data source" The pop up box queries for a directory not a folder - does this create an issue?

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    You have to load the .shp part - not the folder. Are all the necessary Shapefile parts in the same location? – underdark Jun 28 '15 at 19:31
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    Maybe even try dragging and dropping just the .shp file into QGIS to see if it loads properly. If it doesn't there could be some missing shapefile parts like underdark says or something else going on. – SaultDon Jun 28 '15 at 21:03
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    Directory and folder are the same thing... I think you mean queries for a file not a folder. Shapefiles have a few parts to them there's the shp (obviously) and dbf (attributes) but there's usually shx and sbn indices and perhaps xml, avl.. if you don't have both shp and dbf the shapefile is broken (must have exactly the same name before the extension and be in the same directory) as @underdark said, this will give you 'not a valid data source' error. Please verify that at least these two files are correct then drag 'n drop the .shp as SaultDon said (far quicker than a dialog). – Michael Stimson Jun 29 '15 at 0:25
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    The .dbf is not mandatory (though unusual), but the index file .shx is necessary to load the data, see gis.stackexchange.com/questions/131132/… and gis.stackexchange.com/questions/7809/fixing-corrupt-shapefile – AndreJ Jun 29 '15 at 5:09

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