When selecting a feature from census boundary file and using "save selection as" to create a new shapefile, I get the following error:

"Export to vector file failed.
Error: creation of layer failed (OGR error:Failed to open Shapefile `brent.shp'.
)" boundary file attached  

I have re-installed QGIS 1.8 several times, but that didn't help. Also, I cannot seem to create new vector files from joins using "Save selection as..."

Has anyone found a solution to these problems?

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    Have you made sure that you have write access to the folder which the Shapefile should be created in? Did you use the file dialog to pick the destination, or did you just write a file name into the input field? – underdark Jul 17 '13 at 15:14
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    Have you selected a filename different from the shapefile you already have opened in QGIS? – AndreJ Jul 17 '13 at 17:17

Try browsing to the location you want to save your shapefile.

The "save as" input field should have a path, for example: /Users/yourname/Desktop/example.shp

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I also had this problem. I solved it by selecting a folder that I could save to and removing spaces from the filepath.

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