How to fix the Windows config for .qgs default program

This is a short tip for you if you use QGIS on Windows and ended up with an error like this:

The program can't start because qgis_app.dll is missing from your computer. Try reinstalling the program to fix the problem.

Windows’ suggestion to reinstall probably won’t fix this issue. Instead, you want Windows to run qgis.bat instead of any .exe it is trying to use. Right-click a .qgs file and go to Open with | Choose default program:

Screenshot 2016-03-26 16.22.15

In OSGeo4W, the .bat file is located in the bin folder:

Screenshot 2016-03-26 16.27.01

Happy QGISing!

  1. Thanks…though it seems that the QGIS installation using OSGeoW64 should take care of the path commands that get run by the .bat. Did I do something wrong running the install, perhaps. (I followed the steps in your book (3rd ed.), but also selected some additional options so I can read ESRI file .gdbs.)

    BTW, my staff and I have been making use of your excellent guides, and I will be assigning the 3rd ed as a workbook for my GIS for public policy course next semester as I transition myself and the course to QGIS. Thanks!

    • Hi Spencer,
      So far, I haven’t been able to pin down all the reasons that cause this problem to appear. If you can reproduce it on multiple machines, it would indicate an error with the installation procedure. Otherwise it might be a local issue.
      It’s great to hear that you find my resources useful. Thanks for spreading QGIS knowledge with your course!

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