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Qt 5.1.1: Application failed to start because platform plugin “windows” is missing

Posted by: admin December 7, 2017 Leave a comment


Some people started to mark my question as a duplicate. Do not forget that many similar questions existed when I asked this one (see e.g. the list below). However, none of these answers solved my problem. After a long search I found a comment which had been ignored by all users pointing to the missing lib. Now, many months later, the comment has been changed to an answer. However, when I answered this question by msyself I intended to help other people by directly providing the solution. This should not be forgotten and so far my answer helped a lot of people. Therefore my question is definitely not a duplicate. By the way: The accepted answer within the provided link on top does not solve the problem!

Yes, i used the search:

Failed to load platform plugin "windows". Available platforms are : Error

Deploying Qt C++ Application from Visual Studio qwindows.dll error

failed to load platform plugin "windows" Available platforms are: windows, minimal

However, in my case the problem still persists. I am using Qt 5.1.1 with Visual Studio 2012 and developed my Application on Windows 7 with Qt Creator 2.8.1. Application is compiled in “Release”-mode and can be executed if directly started with Qt Creator.

However, when starting from the “release”-Folder, i get the following message:

This application failed to start because it could not find or load the
Qt platform plugin “windows”. Available platform plugins are:
minimal, offscreen, windows.

Folder structure looks like this:

+ gui.exe
+ icudt51.dll
+ icuin51.dll
+ icuuc51.dll
+ libGLESv2.dll
+ Qt5Core.dll
+ Qt5Gui.dll
+ Qt5Widgets.dll
+ platforms

Platforms is the folder directly copied from Qt\Qt5.1.1\5.1.1\msvc2012\plugins\platforms including e.g. qwindows.dll. Does not matter if I rename it to “platform” as some other users did. Qt is still not finding the “platform plugin windows”, where is my mistake?


Okay, as posted here https://stackoverflow.com/a/17271172/1458552 without much attention by other users:

The libEGL.dll was missing! Even though this has not been reported when trying to start the application (all other *.dlls such as Qt5Gui.dll had been reported).


I created a platforms directory next to my exe location and put qwindows.dll inside, but I still received the “Failed to load platform plugin “windows”. Available platforms are: windows” error.

I had copied qwindows.dll from C:\Qt\Qt5.1.1\Tools\QtCreator\bin\plugins\platforms, which is not the right location. I looked at the debug log from running in Qt Creator and found that my app was looking in C:\Qt\Qt5.1.1\5.1.1\mingw48_32\plugins\platforms when it ran in the debugger.

When I copied from C:\Qt\Qt5.1.1\5.1.1\mingw48_32\plugins\platforms, everything worked fine.


Setting the QT_QPA_PLATFORM_PLUGIN_PATH environment variable to %QTDIR%\plugins\platforms\ worked for me.

It was also mentioned here and here.


I found an unexpected but intuitive fix. If you copy and paste the qwindows.dll, found in the bin of whichever compiler you used to release your application, into a folder named “platforms” you can then move that folder into the same directory as your application and like magic it works.


I ran into this and none of the answers I could find fixed it for me.

My colleauge has Qt (5.6.0) installed on his machine at:
I have Qt (5.6.2) installed in the same location.

I learned from this post: http://www.tripleboot.org/?p=536, that the Qt5Core.dll has a location to the plugins written to it when Qt is first installed.
Since my colleague’s and my Qt directories were the same, but different version of Qt were installed, a different qwindows.dll file is needed. When I ran an exe deployed by him, it would use my C:\Qt\Qt5.6.0\5.6\msvc2015\plugins\platforms\qwindows.dll file instead of the one located next to the executable in the .\platforms subfolder.

To get around this, I added the following line of code to the application which seems to force it to look next to the exe for the ‘platforms’ subfolder before it looks at the path in the Qt5Core.dll.


I added the above line to the main method before the QApplication call like this:

int main( int argc, char *argv[] )
    QApplication app( argc, argv );
    return app.exec();


I had this problem while using QT 5.6, Anaconda 4.3.23, python 3.5.2 and pyinstaller 3.3.
I had created a python program with an interface developed using QTcreator, but had to deploy it to other computers, therefore I needed to make an executable, using pyinstaller.

I’ve found that the problem was solved on my computer if I set the following environment variables:


QTDIR: C:\Miniconda3\pkgs\qt-5.6.2-vc14_3\Library

But this solution only worked on my PC that had conda and qt installed in those folders.

To solve this and make the executable work on any computer, I’ve had to edit the “.spec” (file first generated by pyinstaller) to include the following line:

‘platforms’ ),]

This solution is based on the answers of Jim G. and CrippledTable


I found another solution. Create qt.conf in the app folder as such:

Prefix = .

And then copy the plugins folder into the app folder and it works for me.


For a MinGW platform and if you are compiling a Debug target by a hand made CMakeLists.txt written ad hoc you need to add the qwindows.dll to the platform dir as well.
The windeployqt executable does its work well but it seems that for some strange reason the CMake build needs the release variant as well.
In summary it will be better to have both the qwindows.dll and qwindowsd.dll in your platform directory.
I did not notice the same strange result when importing the CMake project in QtCreator and then running the build procedure.
Compiling on the command line the CMake project seems to trigger the qwindows.dll dependency either if the correct one for the Debug target is set in place (qwindowsd.dll)

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