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I saved a map, and when I went to open it back up, I was prompted with a dialogue box saying Handle Bad layers. What does this mean? The map was fine when I saved it.

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    You may get this error message too if you had temporary layers (e.g. from Proceesing) in your project. So you better save them to a permanent locaction before closing the project.
    – AndreJ
    Aug 24, 2017 at 16:53

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It means the layers cannot be found anymore. Maybe you moved the .qgs map file (so relative links are broken) or you moved/renamed the layers, or the database connection cannot be re-established.

You should use this dialog to point to the proper layers, else they will be removed from your map (leading to lots of frustration later on)

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