I installed QGIS 3.16.9 on my Windows 7 64bit system and all the processing tools are missing (I noticed it when checking the vector menu). I have Python 3.8.10 installed on my system and I believe I have deleted all the data from a previous (and much older) QGIS instalation.

When I try to activate the processing plugin I cannot find it on the "Plugin" menu.

Does anyone know what the problem might be?

PATH variable values:

  • 1
    There is no need to remove the folder containing plugins for QGIS before updating to the new QGIS version. And there is no need to uninstall QGIS itself. You even can install a few QGIS versions on your PC and use them.
    – KVO
    Aug 3, 2021 at 0:19
  • @GabrielDeLuca The desktop shortcut for QGIS. Should I be using another file?
    – Spectron
    Aug 3, 2021 at 0:20
  • @GabrielDeLuca I believe this was it: "C:\Program Files\QGIS 3.16.9\bin\qgis-ltr-bin.exe"
    – Spectron
    Aug 3, 2021 at 0:23
  • Try with "C:\Program Files\QGIS 3.16.9\bin\qgis-ltr.bat" Aug 3, 2021 at 0:25
  • @GabrielDeLuca I changed it after reinstalling QGIS and the problem persists. My vector menu is empty and the "Processing" plugin is nowhere to be found
    – Spectron
    Aug 3, 2021 at 0:34

2 Answers 2


It is explained on the download page: CAUTION: Windows 7 no longer works as we are now using Python 3.9, which dropped support for it.


It would be quite erroneous or misleading to suggest that QGIS 3.16 clearly doesn't work with Win 7. It is true that Python 3.9 doesn't work on Win 7; however there are two installation files for QGIS 3.16.x -the .msi and the .exe files. The QGIS .msi installer for that version, comes packaged with python 3.9, while the .exe installer comes with Python 3.7. I don't know why the two installers have different python versions for same version of QGIS 3.16.x....and even QGIS 3.18.x.

So, while the .msi version for QGIS 3.16.x won't work on Win7 due to the presence of python 3.9; the .exe installers are working on Win 7 because they ship with python 3.7. The same applies to QGIS 3.18.x, -the last QGIS version to come in both .msi and .exe installers.

I have tested both installers, and I currently have 3.16 and 3.18 (.exe) running on Win 7 without having any of the python processing plugins problems.

I had earlier tested the QGIS version 3.22.x (.msi installer, the only one available for the version), but it didn't work on Win7, because it ships with python 3.9.

Now, It will be worthwhile to test the QGIS 3.20 .msi for Win 7 compatibility. The QGIS download website didn't state clearly at what version they made the switch from python 3.7 to 3.9, else we wouldn't be running into this problem. It took a while to figure this out, having searched elsewhere for specific answers to no avail.

Bottom line, if you want to install the QGIS 3.16.x and 3.18.x on Win 7 OS, then go for the .exe installers, not the .msi

I hope this personal experience helps.

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