This is getting worse... I created a project with about 6 vector layers (which I digitised) with some raster tiles. It is stored locally on my Windows 7 PC, running QGIS 2.0

The project was fine until I came to open it yesterday, when I got the Bad Layers dialogue. Entering the correct paths does not fix it.

I've opened up various iterations of this project I had made, and my backups & they're all broken. Some I definitely experimented with Tools/Scripts (IRO my other post), but I don't think I had in the earlier ones. One of these projects' "bad layers" is a temp output from a tool.

Not sure if the time coincides, but the list of Recent Projects has reverted to that of some weeks ago. I did a System Restore, which assured me my data was safe, but as I'm investigating, it suggests this is the culprit - if the temporary file in AppData has gone that would trip it up.

Where is the "recently used files" list - is that in AppData too? (this is less of a problem, just a possible clue to the above)

I've skimmed the .qgs file in Notepad++ to see if I could identify these layers, but can't work it out. Can this be edited like the old ArcView .apr files?

2 Answers 2


You can surely edit your .qgs project file in Notepad++, but you have to restore the data that was in temp folders anyway. If you can't get it working again, start a new project and add the layers from source. You can then compare the structure of the two project files. This might prevent you from doing the styling again (if that was much work).

I suggest to save everything important always in tif, shapefiles or spatialite databases to avoid such mess.

The recently used files list should only contain project files, not the data sources you are missing.

  • Thanks, yes there is quite a lot of styling that I was hoping to to not have to re-do. In comparing the project structure, can I just copy styling text over? Apr 5, 2014 at 7:07
  • If you find the data sources (or you can recreate them), you can replace them in the original project file manually. I think that is easier than copying the style. But you can make a backup and try both.
    – AndreJ
    Apr 5, 2014 at 7:08
  • I think those layers have been swept away & are irrecoverable - but I don't need those. I've found one on the QGS file - I can't just delete that? Apr 5, 2014 at 7:10
  • I know the recently used list is projects, but why has it changed to earlier projects - I assume the System Restore? Apr 5, 2014 at 7:10
  • 1
    Yes, system restore might overwrite that. It could be somewhere in the registry. - The Handle Bad Layers dialogue should delete unrecovered layers, that should equal deleting it from the project file. After saving, the project should open normally.
    – AndreJ
    Apr 5, 2014 at 7:12

Resolved this after it happened again. Nothing to do with the "recently used files": It seems that System Restore removes the SHX files...despite Windows assuring that my data will be safe...

As mentioned in this discussion: http://forums.esri.com/Thread.asp?c=93&f=986&t=129364

I was able to recover a previous version of the folder (useful tool in Windows 7). Hope this helps someone else.

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