[netbeans] "Sources directory is already netbeans project" error when opening a project from existing sources

I've installed NetBeans 6.9.1 and installed few updates for it.

Then I've created a new project from existing sources. After a few changes I've closed it. And now I am having an error, when trying to open a new project from existing sources (the same files):

Sources directory is already netbeans project (maybe only in memory).

After Googling it, I noticed it happened not only with me. But I didn't find the correct solution. I've tried to restart the IDE, I've tried to restart the PC, I've tried to reinstall NetBeans. Nothing helped.

This question is related to netbeans project

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This happened to me when I tried to import an Eclipse project in a brand new NetBeans 7.2.1 install on Ubuntu 12.04LTS.

I mistakenly selected the import projects from workspace (the first option in the import wizard's opening pane) on the first attempt, and it opened the project in the original Eclipse workspace path (which was on a usb stick).

From this, I then realized that I actually need the second option - import project ignoring project dependencies, which lets you specifically choose source and destination folders. After closing the project, I tried to import again with the proper option, but it didn't work. From then on nothing I did helped - restart the IDE, move the source folder, nothing. There was no nbproject folder in the project or /var/cache in the user folder to delete (in-fact there was no nbproject folder in the whole file-system).

Since restart didn't work, I'm guessing that there is a garbage project entry somewhere which Nb reads (See Martin Frické answer above).

After googling along the lines of 'netbeans clear memory project cache' with no success, I opted to reinstall NetBeans -

sudo /usr/local/netbeans-7.2.1/uninstall
sudo ./netbeans-7.2.1-ml-javase-linux.sh

which solved it.


  1. Go to the folder containing your project
  2. Delete the folder named nbproject
  3. Restart Netbeans
  4. Try creating your project again from the original folder

In my case my project root directory consists ".project". This contain the XML reference of the project name.

By removing this, i am able to create a project.


The advice here about removing the nbproject directory is not quite the whole story.

What Netbeans seems to do (and we are guessing at reverse engineering here) is to look for an xml file which has opening and closing project tags in it. This it concludes is evidence of an already existing project. Now if your files have an nbproject directory there, that will contain a project.xml file which contains the said tags. So removing that will do what you want.

But, my files don't have a nbproject directory but still NetBeans tells me there is an existing project maybe in memory. The reason is: my files include a file called pom.xml and that contains the said project tags in the xml (it was created by an entirely different system). Once that xml file is removed, then NetBeans will create an html project for me importing my code.

In sum: look through any xml files in you existing code, and be wary of project tags.


This means the project folder is already a netbeans project. So instead of adding it as a new project open it asenter image description here


Usually this happened when we copy source code of a already created project and copied in different folder and try to create a project from it. as netBeans create its folder nbproject in our project folder this folder also get copied with our source code and it give error "Sources directory is already NetBeans project (maybe only in memory)" remove this folder from you newly copied folder and voila you can create a new project.


Thank you!

I was having the same problem:
Sources directory is already NetBeans project (maybe only in memory).

Netbeans creates a folder in your project named "nbproject". Once you delete that, restart the IDE and you're good to go.


If this is your own source code and you already have a Netbeans project folder with your source files you should just start with:

File | Open Project... 

not

File | New Project ... 

because the project is not new.


Click File >> Recent Projects > and you should be able to use edit it again. Hope it helps :)


If you are on a Mac, press command shift G and in the box type /users and then go, next click on your user name and navigate to netbeansprojects and open it. Then delete the ones in there that are causing problems. You can then create your project.

Note: I had moved my wordpress folder to my desktop trying to figure this out, so I dropped it back into the origional location and it works fine. So if you did this, just replace the wordpress folder after deleting the problem projects from the netbeansprojects folder and its contents back to the original installation folder.

Hope this helps...:)


If it helps anyone else, I had the same problem and the solution was to reinstall NetBeans.

I had tried all sorts of fixes: Deleting the NetBeansProjects folders, checking/unchecking "Put Netbeans metadata in a separate directory", killing/restarting NetBeans, restarting the system, etc. Nothing cleared the message...except the reinstall.


On Windows at least none of these answers work (for me anyway!). I have found the only way is to copy an existing netbeans project folder in to your new project and manually edit the xml project name.

I also opened the private/private.xml and removed the open files xml just incase these caused problems.

Once I'd done this the project works as normal.


Try to create a new empty project; then you can copy the public_html to the new project folder and it will appear .


This happens(i believe) because netbeans tries to version control the files created or edited. Under the project folder netbeans create a netbeans directory just delete it . This has been tested in Ubuntu. Then you can import your project if php then php using existing sources.


This is what I did to solve this error:

1) I copied a folder named "folder1" (and I called the new folder "folder2"). "folder1" was a Netbeans project so it had a folder called "nbproject" inside it.

2) When I tried to create a project out of the "folder2", Netbeans threw an error "Sources directory is already netbeans project (maybe only in memory)."

3) Inside Netbeans delete the project of "folder1". Then, delete the two folders named "nbproject" (one is inside "folder1" and the other is inside "folder2").

4) Inside Netbeans, create two new projects: one for "folder1" and another for "folder2". The error should not appear anymore.


  1. copy an existing netbeans project folder in to your new project and manually edit the xml project name.

  2. reinstall netbeans

  3. copy/move all files/folders (except nbproject/ folder) to a new folder for your project, with a new name.


I checked the "Put NetBeans metadata in separate directory" tick and it works fine.

This is in 2. Name and Location after you choose PHP from existing source


I faced the same issue:

Sources directory is already NetBeans project (maybe only in memory).

The solution is:

Netbeans creates a folder in your project named "nbproject". Once you delete that, restart the IDE and you're good to go.