Last updated on June 27th, 2018
Sometimes, when opening a Word document you may face the error "The file "<filename>.docx" cannot be opened because there are problems with the contents. The file is corrupt and cannot be opened". The error means that Word found unreadable content in the document file and for that reason it was unable to open the document.
Our files may get damaged for several reasons, but the most important of them are:
- A Power corruption while you working on your PC.
- The forced removal of the storage device (e.g. USB hard drive, USB pen drive, etc.) without prior using the safely remove option.
- A damaged storage device.
For all the above reasons, I always suggest my costumers to always keep a backup copy or their important files to more than one storage media and to avoid to use their USB disks and the USB Pen drives as the only storage location of their important files.
- How to Backup Personal Files with SyncBack (Free) Backup Utility.
- How to Backup and Restore your Personal Files with Windows Backup.
In this tutorial you 'll find tree (3) different ways to recover the content of a corrupted Word file. The first two methods show how to recover a Word document using the Microsoft Word & the 7-zip programs and the third method, shows how to recover the damaged Word file (or any other file) from a damaged storage device.
How to Recover a Damaged Word file.
Suggestion: Before you continue to the methods below, first make a copy of the corrupted file and store it to another location on the disk. Then try the following:
1. Try to open the damaged DOC file in WordPad. To do that, right click on the damaged file and select Open with > WordPad.
2. If you have a backup copy of the damaged file, then try to open it from the backup.
3. If you 're using Windows 7, 8 or 10 OS and the corrupted file is saved on your local disk, then right click on the corrupted file, or in its parent folder and select "Restore previous versions". If you can see a previous version of your file, select it and press 'Copy' and save the file in another location o the disk.
4. Check and repair problems on the disk that contains the file, by using the chkdsk /f command. For example: If the damaged file located at drive D:, then open Command Prompt as Administrator and give this command chkdsk D: /f
Method 1. Repair Document with Word.
The first option to recover a corrupted a corrupted word document is within Word. To do that:
1. Launch Word.
2. From the File menu click Open.
3. Select the corrupted file, and using the drop down arrow (next to the 'Open' button) select Open and Repair.
4. If Word still cannot open the file, then perform the same actions, but this time select the Recover Text from Any File in the 'Open' dialog box.
Method 2. Recover Text from the Corrupted Word Document with 7-zip.
The second method to recover a damaged document, is by extracting the contained text from the Word file, using the 7-zip file manager.
1. Download and install 7-zip file archiver.
2. Launch the 7-Zip File Manager
3. Select the corrupted Word document (e.g. the "File840.docx" in this example) and click the Extract button.
4. Specify a destination (or leave the default) to extract the contents of the Word file, and click OK.
5. When the extraction is completed close the 7-zip file manager.
6. Then, navigate at the location of the extracted files and explore the contents of the newly created folder, that has the same name with the filename of the corrupted file. *
* e.g. At this example, the filename of the corrupted Word file, is "File840.docx" so the new folder (that was created from the 7zip and contains the extracted files) is named "File840".
7. Inside that folder, open the "word" folder. (e.g. "…\File840\word")
8. Without closing the explorer window, launch your favorite web browser. (e.g. Chrome, Firefox, Inteexplorer, etc.).
9. Now go back at the open explorer window and Drag & Drop the "document.xml" file to the web browser window.
10. Now, see at the web browser window and you should view the text of the corrupted word document (the text should be unformatted, because the document is corrupted).
11. Highlight the recovered text and then Copy/Paste it into a new Word document.
Method 3. Recover the Corrupted Word Document from the Damaged Drive.
The final method to recover corrupted Word file (or any other type of file), is to use the TestDisk recovery utility, in order to retrieve the file from the damaged disk.
1. Navigate to http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk and download Testdisk utility.
2. When the download completed, navigate to your download location folder and right-click on “testdisk-7.0-WIP.win.zip” compressed file and select “Extract All” to un-compress its contents.
3. Explore the “testdisk-7.0-WIP.win” folder contents and double-click to run the “testdisk_win.exe” application.
4. At the TestDisk utility first screen, press Enter at the highlighted Create option.
5. Using the keyboard arrow keys CAREFULLY select the damaged drive and press Enter to Proceed to disk analysis.
6. At the next screen select (using the keyboard arrows keys) the partition table type (e.g. Intel) and press Enter.*
* Notice: At this point, TestDisk utility (usually) recognizes the correct partition table type and highlights it automatically. For Windows OS the default partition table type is “Intel”
7. At the next screen press Enter to Analyze the damaged drive.
8. At the next screen press Enter to Quick Search for the lost partition/files.
9. At this point, TestDisk utility may inform you that the drive is damaged and the geometry of the drive is wrong. If you see a similar warning message , then ignore it and press Enter to Continue.
10. Now If the TestDisk utility can locate the lost partition(s), during the ‘Quick Search’ operation, then you will see a similar screen like below. At this case press the "P" key on keyboard to view the files on the damaged disk. *
* Note: If the TestDisk utility, cannot locate a partition, or if you don't see any files, after pressing the "P" key, then press Enter and to perform a "Deeper Search".
11. From the list of the found files, highlight the damaged file(s) that you want to recover, and press the "C" key to recover the file(s). *
* Note: The files in red letters means that these file have deleted.
12. Now using the arrows keys select the destination* to copy the selected file and press the "C" key again, to start the copy.
* Note: TestDisk, by default, chooses as the default destination to copy the recovered files, the folder from where the program runs.
13. When the copy is done, open Windows Explorer and navigate to the destination location to find the recovered word file(s).
14. Now, try to open the recovered Word document.
– If you can open and view the damaged Word document, close TestDisk.
– If you still cannot open the damaged Word file, then try the steps below (in TestDisk):
1. Navigate using the arrows keys and see if there is exist a deleted file (in red letters) that has the same name as the damaged file. *
2. Once you found that file highlight it and then press the "C" key to recover it.
* Note: If you see more that one deleted file with the same name, then see the date/time at the left and choose the most recent version of the deleted file.
That's it! Let me know if this guide has helped you by leaving your comment about your experience. Please like and share this guide to help others.