Recently restored computer, now error when attempting to add restored shapefiles

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10-09-2014 09:04 AM
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New Contributor

Hello,

I recently had to restore my computer.  I had a backup of all my shapefiles, and I reinstalled ArcGIS.  When I attempt to open shapefiles from my backed up files, though, I receive a message stating "Error opening feature class"  Does anyone have any advise on how to resolve this?

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Regular Contributor III

That's kind of vague. Anything else in the error message? Try viewing them in ArcCatalog. Do they have at least a .shx, .shp and .dbf extension files?

Did you back them up in ArcCatalog or Windows Explorer? If Explorer, you have to get at least the three <shapefilename> files with the above extensions. There could be more, such as a .prj file, which contains the spatial reference, but they aren't required.

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New Contributor

Thanks for your reply.

I have all of the associated files as you mention, the .prj, .dbf, .shx, etc.  When I view the files in ArcCatalog everthing looks fine, but when I looked at the files in Windows Explorer, though, the symbol that typically is associated with the different file types is a generic Windows file symbol, not an ArcGIS symbol.  Not sure what that means.

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New Contributor

error snip.JPG

Here is a screen shot of the error I am getting when trying to repair the data source from one of my map documents.

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Regular Contributor III

Does this error pop up when you try to repair the data source? Usually those exclamation marks mean Arc can't find the data, typically because either the mxd or the data has been moved to a different location. If that's the case, you can right click a layer and select Data | Repair data source, navigate to where the file is and click on it. This will fix any bad pathed layers in the same path.

Other things you could try - see if you can add the shapefiles to a new map; try opening the .dbf file in Excel or Access. This last might be useful, since the error states 'Database not found'. The dbf file is the only database related file in a shapefile (DBF = DataBase File).

Apologize if you know all this, not sure how knowledgeable in Arc you are.

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New Contributor

Thanks again for your reply.  I was using the Repair Data source when I received the above error message. 

I also tried adding them to a new map and received the more generic error message "Error opening feature class".

Just tried opening the .dbf files in Excel and those appear to open just fine.

The problem appears to be only with the shapefiles.  I have opened .sid files with my background imagery fine. 

I wonder if the shapefile names are somehow not being recognized as ArcGIS file types after being restored?

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Regular Contributor III

Maybe. I'd thought of that, but can't see why it would happen. You might try using Windows to set the file associations. You may have to do this for each file extension type. Since the files can be viewed in ArcCatalog it wouldn't seem they got corrupted, but who knows?

Also maybe rebuild the normal.mxd file, maybe it's ArcMap that has the problem, not the shapefiles. Could also try re-installing Arc again.

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