If you try to open a file and cannot succeed, you may be facing with the wide-spread file corruption problem. Some of the causes are hardware malfunctions, virus infections, system crashes, application failures, software errors and physical problems with the storage. Fortunately, some of the files can be fixed using recovery software even if they do not have an automatic back up. Unfortunately, for physically damaged data there is no chance of recovery.
In case you have to repair damaged files, you have several options. You can start by using readily available solutions and if these do not work, try outside sources (third party software).
The easiest way is to restore the lost file from a recent backup, because many programs automatically generate backups. For example, Microsoft Word files (“.doc”) have a backup with the “.wbk” extension in the same folder. You just have to change the “.wbk” extension in a “.doc” one and your file is restored.
You can also utilize Windows Disk Utility. For Windows 98 or Millennium systems click Start – Programs – Accessories – System Tools – Scan Disk (select the appropriate drive) – Thorough Check – Automatically Fix Errors – Start. For Windows 2000 or XP, open My Computer – click right on the drive – Proprieties – Tools – check “Now” option – check both available options – Start.
Windows XP and Millennium feature a System Restore tool that very useful after an installation or a disk format accidentally done. This option brings files back to the earlier status when everything was right and functional. Remember that updates, software installations or removals can operate changes to the system even if you do not require them to do so.
When options above do not work, it is time to try outside sources. For lost folders containing many file types, Partition Recovery or HDD Regenerator can be a recovery solution. If you do not know the exact damaged file type, use FAT Recovery or NTFS Recovery.
Special recovery software was designed for repairing different damaged file types. For Microsoft Word files there is the DOC Regenerator, while Excel files has the XLS Regenerator specially created for them. Outlook Express Repair is applied to emails from Outlook Express. Corrupted image files can be fixed with Flash Recovery and damaged audio files with Music Recovery. CD & Recovery is implemented when files have been burned on this medium. If you have damaged files in the removable memory (flash drive, memory stick or FAT or FAT32 format pen memory) you can try the Partition Recovery or FAT Recovery. The third party software needs downloading. Install it, run it on the damaged file and follow the instructions.
After you attempted everything and nothing seems to work, pass the repair of damaged files to a data recovery expert. Take into consideration that this professional will turn out to be quite expensive, so hire him only if the corrupted files are irreplaceable and extremely important.