Problem converting from Nvivo 8 to 9

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    I followed the instructions on Nvivo Help to convert a project from Nvivo 8 to  Nvivo 9. (Instructions pasted below) It seems to convert ok because the project opens in Nvivo 9. But whenever I try to reopen the converted file after saving and closing it, I get the same dialogue box opening telling me that I need to go through the whole conversion process again. Am I missing something?


    Any tips would be gratefully received!






    Open a project created in NVivo 9.0, NVivo 8 or NVivo 7

    If you open a project created in NVivo 9.0, NVivo 8 or NVivo 7, a converted NVivo 9.1 version of the project is created—your original project is not changed.

    1. Click the File tab, and then click Open.

    Keyboard shortcut To display the Open Project dialog box, press CTRL+O.

    1. Select NVivo Projects (*.nvp;*.qda) from the Files of type list.

    1. Locate and select the project you want to open.

    2. Click Open. The Convert Project dialog box opens.

    1. Click the Browse button, and then choose where you want to save the converted project.

    1. Do one of the following:

    • To save as a standalone project, select NVivo Projects (*.nvp ) from the Save as type list, and then enter a name for the converted project in the File name box.

    • To save as a server project, select NVivo Server Projects from the Save as type list, then select the server from the Connection name box, and then enter a name for the converted project in the Project name box.

    1. Click Save.

    1. Click Convert.



    I’m guessing here but I suspect you are opening the project via the ‘welcome screen’. This is the first screen you see when you launch NVivo and displays a link to recent projects. It is probably still pointing at the earlier file. Assuming you know where you have stored your newly converted file, try using the ‘open file’ button on the bottom left of the welcome screen and brose to your new file. This will work and after you have successfully opened the updated file, it will be added to your links in the welcome screen.

    If you cannot follow this or find it confusing; come back to me and I will arrange to demonstrate it to you on-line. It will only take a few minutes. Let me know if you get sorted?


    Kind regards,

    Ben Meehan



    Hi Ben,


    Thanks very much for getting back to me. Unfortunately, I don't think your reply solves my problem! Each time I've converted the project to Nvivo 9, Nvivo asks me to give the project a new name. I have tried opening the file using the 'open file' button and selected a converted version of the project which I had already been working on in Nvivo 9, but still when I try to open the project, I get the convertion dialogue box. The convertion process takes a couple of minutes and requires me changing the name of the project so I'd like to find a way to avoid it if possible.


    Is there some way to ensure further changes to the project are saved in Nvivo 9 format?


    Thanks and best wishes,





    Okay! I need to eliminate a couple of possibilities. Are you using version 9.0, 9.1 or 9.2? Can you send me a sample of one of the project files that have been converted but will still not open without prompting for conversion? I’m going to send you some simple instructions by e-mail to upload the file to our secure server.  We should be able to get to the bottom of this 🙂 


    We need to send the upload instructions privately as we don’t publish this information. There are three possible causes:

    1.       Problem with the data file

    2.       Problem with the NVivo installation

    3.       User error


    I’d like to start by eliminating the project file


    Kind regards,



    Hi Ben,

    Thanks very much for getting back to me. Unfortunately I can't upload the project file I'm working with because it contains confidential information that I can't share with another organisation.

    I am thinking one option would be for me to try and open the project file using a computer of someone else in my organisation who has NVivo. Could this help to eliminate any of the options you listed?





    Hi Jo,

    I understand completely.  We do have confidentiality agreements in place with many universities but not with your learning institution.  I’m going to suggest a few things to try. Your suggestion is exactly what I was going to do so as to eliminate the project data file from the equation. Make sure the other computer has the latest version installed (9.2). Take one the files you have upgraded and see if it opens on the other machine without prompting. If it does, then the problem is with the installation on your own machine.  If it prompts for upgrade, then upgrade once and then attempt to reopen the upgraded file. If it opens the second time, then your installation is most likely the problem.

    I’m going to send you a 9.2 perfect file with tutorial data in it. Tell me if this file opens for you without prompting please?  This will help to eliminate the NVivo installation.

    After you convert the project and work on it. When you then attempt to re-open it after presumably converting it again, does the file show the changes you made after the first conversion?  I suppose I’m diplomatically asking you if you are absolutely certain that the file are reopening is definitely the new saved file and not the original pre-converted file.

    If all of these tests come up negative, then you will have eliminated project file corruption, NVivo installation and user error. It’s likely however, that one of these tests will help us to identify the cause. We would have to eliminate these issues in any event before escalating the problem to the developers.  Let us know how you get on as other users may benefit from your experience. 




    Hi Ben,


    Thanks for these troubleshooting tips. It turns out that my computer and the computers of my colleagues have NVivo (not NVivo 9.2)


    I tried opening a project file on a colleague's computer. When I opened it the first time, it prompted for upgrade to NVivo 9.0. I saved and closed it and when I opened it again, it opened without a problem. I then copied this file and tried to open it on my computer, and I got the following error message, despite the fact that I also have NVivo 9.0:

    'The project [nameofproject.nvp] could not be opened, and appears to be corrupt. NVivo may have been shut down abnormally when the file was last saved'


    I then tried opening the 9.2 file you sent me. That generated the same error message. 


    In answer to your diplomatic question about user error 🙂 I have worked on the converted file and saved it. The changes made are still present when I reopen the file and go through the conversion process/or open it on a colleague's computer.


    It seems from what your saying that it must be a problem with installation. Does that sound right to you?


    Many thanks,




    The first thing we need to do is immediately upgrade you to 9.2 which is a free upgrade. This may well solve your problem. Open NVivo and go to file -> help -> check for software updates. You will be prompted to download a file. Download the file, close NVivo and run the file.


    After the upgrade, create a blank NVivo file and save it. Open and re-open the file. If this works, upgrade your project file one last time. It should, following the upgrade, open and close without any difficulty. 

    Let me know if this works 


    Hi – 

    I have had many, many, problems with NVivo and corrupted files. Here's one more thing to try:


    1) Go to a different computer that has 9.2 installed

    2) Open a brand new project file

    3) Use the "import project" feature to import your old (corrupted) file off a USB drive

    4) Give the project a new name and save it

    5) Put it back on the USB drive and try to reopen it again on your own machine


    That may or may not work. My guess is that you have a "file path" issue. Your new version of NVivo is trying to open your project file, but is being pointed to the wrong folder.




    Dear Austin and Ben,


    Austin, thanks very much for your advice. I think the problem with Nvivo on my computer may well have been

    a file path issue but I tried the test you suggested (opening a new project file on someone else’s computer

    and importing the contents of my project from a USB) but I got the following message: ‘This project was

    created in an earlier version of NVIvo. Its format must be updated before import’


    I haven't got to the bottom of what was causing the problems with Nvivo on my old computer because IT

    services have given me a new computer and NVivo is now working fine on it. My old computer met the

    NVvivo specification criteria (3.40Ghz, 1.99 GB of RAM) but it never accepted that my project had been

    updated even after reinstalling Nvivo and updating to NVivo 9.2.


    In case it is helpful to anyone else on the forum – a colleague of mine had a similar problem with NVivo

    crashing when it was saved on a network drive. Her IT services arranged for her to save her project on a

    local Drive and installed a SyncToy on her computer so it backs up on the network drive each night. She has

    found this worked for her.


    Thanks Ben for all your help and advice over the past few weeks – it is much appreciated.


    Best wishes,



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