Problem: Coordinate System files are missing


ArcCatalog's Coordinate Systems folder and the 'Browse for Coordinate Systems' dialog box are empty.


Missing or invalid registry entry.

Solution or Workaround

  • Correct the CoordinateSystemsDir registry entry.

    Editing the registry can have serious impact on your system. Consult your Systems Administrator before proceeding.

    a. Click Start > Run from the Windows Taskbar.
    b. Type "regedit" (without the quotes) in the the Open text box and click OK.
    c. Navigate to the following registry key:


    An entry for CoordinateSystemsDir should be on the right-hand side.

    d. Double-click this entry to call up the 'Edit String' dialog box.
    e. Enter the correct path in the Value Data text box and click OK.
    f. Close the Registry editor.
    A. Click Start > Run from the Windows Taskbar.
    B. Type 'regedit' and click OK.
    C. Navigate to the following registry entry:


    Look for an entry for CoordinateSystemsDir on the right side, and double-click this entry.
    D. Type the correct path into the Value Data field.
    e. Close the Registry editor.
    [O] Correct the CoordinateSystemsDir entry
  • If you do not have an ArcCatalog key under ESRI, perform do the following.

    a. Right-click ESRI on the left-hand side and select New > Key.
    b. Name the new key ArcCatalog.
    c. Right-click ArcCatalog on the left-hand side and select New > Key.
    d. Name the new key Settings.
    e. Right-click Settings and select New > String Value.
    f. Name the new string value CoordinateSystemsDir.
    g. Double-click CoordinateSystemsDir and enter the path to the Coordinate Systems folder into the Value Data text box.
    h. Click OK and close the registry editor.
    [O-Image] Create a registry key
  • Check to see if the coordinate system files exist in the Coordinate Systems folder:

    a. Start Windows Explorer.
    b. Navigate to ..\ArcGIS\arcexe81\Coordinate Systems folder.
    c. Examine the contents of the subfolders. There should be many files with a PRJ extension.

    If the files are not present, reinstall ArcGIS.