How To Recover Corrupt Files

Has your computer ever crashed while you were in the middle of saving a file? If so, there is a good chance that this file may become corrupt. When a file becomes corrupt, an error message will come up warning you about the file and how the program cannot open it. The message may say something like “The file is corrupt and cannot be opened,” or “The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable.” Many people panic when they see this error message because they think that the file may be unrecoverable. The good news is that there are many ways to recover corrupt files.
Stressed businessman has just lost his important files. Data Corrupted message on laptop screen

What Are Corrupt Files?

Essentially, a corrupted file is one that has been damaged (we will get into how the damage occurs in just a moment). It should be noted that corrupted files can occur on any file type, including Word docs, Excel files, and PDF. All of the data on your computer has a structure to it, and when this structure is damaged, it can cause a file to become corrupt. So, what causes the file to become damaged? There are a number of reasons files can get corrupted. One common reason is that the sector on the hard disk (where the file is stored) has actual damage (physical). A sector with physical damage is considered a bad sector.

Corrupt files can also be caused by:

  • Physical damage
  • Power outage
  • Virus
  • Power surge
  • Updating errors (programs, drivers, etc.)
  • Computer crash
  • App crashes
  • Multiple files being allocated to the same space in memory

Error messages for corrupt files are unpredictable and can happen to anyone at any given moment, without warning. So it’s essential to understand how to recover corrupt files. As we mentioned, we are going to share a few different methods, so you can try various fixes to recover your file.

1. Try CHKDSK Command
Before seeking professional help or trying other methods, you should use a check disk on your hard drive.
This command aims to verify the file system integrity of a volume and attempts to fix logical file system errors, such as a corrupted file error.
  1. Type cmd in the taskbar search box
  2. Select Run as administrator
  3. Enter the following command and press Enter:
    chkdsk X: /f (be sure to replace X with the disk letter you want to check and fix)
  4. Wait for the system tool to finish running (if it detects a problem, it will fix it; if it does not, move on to one of the other methods).
2. The Open and Repair Command
If Word, Excel, or PowerPoint cannot open your file, the Open and Repair command might help to recover your file. Here is how to launch the command, according to Microsoft:
  1. Click file> Open > Browse and then go to the location or folder where the document (Word), workbook (Excel), or presentation (PowerPoint) is stored. Don’t try to open the file from the Recent section, as this won’t go into the Open dialog box.
  2. Click the file you want, then click the arrow next to Open, and click Open and Repair.
3. Change File Format

You can try to convert your file into a different format and open it from a different program. You may have to download a file converter application online. For example, open a corrupted Excel file with a PDF app (such as Adobe) to launch a conversion utility. In some cases, this simple file conversion may repair the corrupt file.

4. Data Recovery Software (recommended)

Suppose you want to avoid downloading other programs that may not be effective. In that case, you can try to recover the corrupt file using data recovery software, such as iolo’s Search and Recover.

Once you download the software, the entire process is quick and easy, and you can recover lost files in no more than a couple of clicks.

File corruption can happen to anyone at any time, that is why it is crucial to understand how to recover a corrupt file. To avoid situations like these in the future, backing up your files can be a helpful thing to do. With backup services, even if a file is corrupt, it can be recovered.

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