How do I open a corrupt Word Docx file that refuses to open?
Thankfully these days the number of Word files bing corrupt may be diminishing and the DOCX format is tailor made to allow for easier file repair. (Note many of the s below have been blurred standing in for the recovered data because I don't want topromise the trust of the people who have sent me files.) A big thanks to Rohn7 s for some extensive editing advice. Here's what you can do to recover from Word document corruption with advice (in written and video form) and s to software service and sites that will help you do it. BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING ELSE MAKE COPIES OF YOUR CORRUPT FILE AND ONLY WORK ON THE COPIES. SOME OF THE METHODS DESCRIBED BELOW ARE DESTRUCTIVE TO THE CONTENT OF YOUR DOCUMENTS!!! Note DOCX files are in reality conventionally zipped collections of mostly XML subfiles. You can see this by changing the extension of the file from .docx to .zip in the files properties (the quickest way is just to add .zip to the docx) by right clicking on the file and choosing to rename or by hitting the F2 key and doing the same thing. DOC files an earlier format areplicated collections of objects too but are mostly not store as zipped elements. In fact in DOC documents often the is stored in plan mode which you can see from open a copy italic of your corrupt file in Notepad or by changing the extension of the file from DOC to TXT and opening it in Word . Notepad destroys the binary structure of DOC files so only look at it this way on a copy! File corruption can occur for a number of reasons including software crashes CPU mistakesputer overheating power outages viruses partial hdd and ssd disk failures (I know that's redundant terminology) other kind of drive failures including unsafe removing of usb and other connected connected memory cards and finally these days unfortunately a lot of usb memory and memory cards are fake in that they tell theputer they are one size say 128GB which is a size you supposedly bought it at but in reality the memory stick or card only holds 8GB . When it reaches its limit it begins overwriting and corrupting the oldest files or simply throws away the data yielding in the latter case only a partial file. You can test for this with the software described here All about 'Fake' SD cards and USB Flash drives - RMPrepUSB s . Here's what you can do to recover or repair your corrupt files Find Previous Lost Deleted Temporary and Unsaved Versions of Your Filen Previous Versionsn italic 1 Shadow Explorer (freeware) 2 Z-VSScopy (freeware)n 2 Previous Version File Recoverer s (open source freeware) 2 Using the Previous Version Tab in Explorer Properties (this works for the more expensive versions of Windows Vista all versions of Windows 7 and Windows 1 . It may not work in Windows 8 and 8.1 )nn 2 Lost Versionsn italic 1 Everything s (freeware)n 2 Deleted Versionsn italic 1 Recuva s (freeware) 2 PhotoRec (freeware) 2 Restoration (freeware)nn 2 Temporary (also Unsaved and Lost) Versionsn italic 1 S2 Recovery Tools for Microsoft Word s (use the Find Lost Versions button of this open source freeware) 2 Unsaved Versionsn italic 1 Recover Unsaved Word Files (advice that presumably applies to Word 213 216 and 365 as well)nn 2 Lost Deleted and Unsavedn italic 1 Advice from Microsoft s 2 Cisdem Data Recovery for Mac mercial - Mac only) 2 Hetman Word Recovery s Starus Word Recovery Magic Word Recovery mercial) 2 Mac Data Recovery mercial - Mac only) 2 PC Inspector22 File Recovery (freeware for doc files only) 2 Recover My Files mercial) 2 Word Regenerator mercial - Rohn7 s rmends the umbrella program Office Regenerator which probably works the same. On my 1GB data partition it ran for about 1 hour and found 691 files 45 MB going back almost 7 months! I don remember if that was the last time I used a wipe freespace tool on my drive. They definitely were not in my recycle bin. Don do first auto run. The interface provides lots of Filter criteria such as date created range last saved range last printed range title num pages editing time revision number file author. All of the recovered files I looked at were properly structured. - note the other undeleters above may be similarly effective. Try the demos first!)nn 2 Microsoft's s Advice (most of this section can be aplished using the open source freeware S2 Recovery Tools for Word s )nn If You Can Still Open the File - your file may be corrupt if symptoms appear like italic Word italic repeatedly renumbering the existing pages in the document repeatedly redoing the page breaks in the document providing incorrect document layout and formatting unreadable characters on appearing on the screen error messages occurring during processingputers that stopping responding when you open the file or any other unexpected behavior that cannot be attributed to the typical operation of the program. Note that it could also be that italic Word italic itself needs repairing or reinstalling or the entire italic Microsoft Office italic may need repairing or reinstalling.n italic 1 Make a few copies of your corrupt document and only work on the copies! Some these procedure will possibly destroy or make your file worse -(. 2 Start Word in Safe Mode by holding down the CTL key as you click to start Word . View and save the file if it opens without error. 2 Start Word without loading macros by holding down the Shift key while starting Word. This can also be done by pasting in s in the run app CMD app or the Search Cortana field of Windows. Afterwords try loading your document and see if it loads without corruption. If it does then you need to try to disable any macros you have in your template that start when Word starts and then re-enable them one at a time until you find the one that is causing the issue. 2 Change the template that you are using by renaming either the global template ( ) if you using that or find the one you are using and rename that one. 2 Start Word without it loading add-ins or the normal template by starting it from amand line the run app or the Cortana field and using themand . If your file opens normally without corruption then there is an Add-in causing the trouble. Go to File then Options and then Add-ins . In the panel windows that opens look for which kind of Add-ins are active and then go to the bottom and choose to manage those s of Add-ins. Uncheck the running Add-ins one by one or all at once if you think you don't need them and try reopening your file. 2 Change the print driver by adding another printer like another instance of the Microsoft XPS Document Writer printing from that verifying it worked deleting the original printer reinstalling it and then trying the first printer again. 2 Force Word to repair the file by starting an open dialog window in Word selecting your file in the Explorer tree and choosing Open and Repair by clicking on the tiny arrow to the right of the word Open on the open button and choosing themand from the drop down menu. 2 Change the file format using File menu choosing Save As and select a different format DOC RTF ODT etc. Then open the new file name and use Save As to return to DOCX format. 2 Formatting and corruption is stored in section breaks end of row marks for tables and the last paragraph mark of a document because it contains a hidden section break. To bypass these sources of corruption find where the document begins to corrupt and then switch to Draft view and try deleting the previous section mark or the following one. If you don't know where the corruption is try removing all the section breaks and continuing with the advice below about copying the without the last paragraph mark. If you have no section breaks in your document you can turn on the formatting marks and then copying everything but the last paragraph mark to a new document. Start on the last character before the last paragraph mark and hit Ctl-Shift and Home keys on your keyboard to select all the before the last paragraph mark. Hit Ctl-C on your keyboard to copy all the and then paste it into a new blank document (you can get that by hitting Ctl-N ). 2 If you is not appearing after a certain point in your document note the page number then switch to Web or Draft view. Just after where the truncation appears delete the next paragraph table or object (maybe even an equation) in the new view. Switch now to Print Layout view and see if the truncation of the document below the presumably bad element has gone away. If it has not continue to switch to Draft or Web view and delete more further paragraphs or objects. 2 Rohn7's and Microsoft's s advice is to group offending elements togethor. Per Roh7's reply to a post of mine If you can open a file and you have a lot of objects of one kind that you suspect are causing corruption you can group them togethor to possible stop future corruption from occurring. Grouping objects by first turning on the Selection pane. This can be found in the Home tab of the ribbon. The editing group of the Home tab has a dropdown button named Select. Click the Select button and then click Selection Pane ...Press the Ctrl button on your keyboard and then click each box (or other object?) in the selection pane. Click the Group button under the Format tab. This will group all the objects together. As soon as you have all objects grouped on each page save the document under a new 2 If You Can No Longer Open the Filen italic 1 Make a few copies of your corrupt document and only work on the copies! Some these procedure will possibly destroy or make your file worse -(. 2 Start Word in Safe Mode by holding down the Ctl key as you click to start Word . View and save the file if it opens. 2 Start Word without it loading add-ins or the normal template by starting it from amand line the run app or the Cortana field and using themand . If your file opens then there is an Add-in causing the trouble. Go to File then Options and then Add-ins . In the panel windows that opens look for which kind of Add-ins are active and then go to the bottom and choose to manage those s of Add-ins. Uncheck the running Add-ins one by one or all at once if you think you don't need them and try reopening your file. 2 Start Word without loading macros by holding down the Shift key while starting Word. This can also be done by pasting in s in the run app CMD app or the Search Cortana field of Windows. Afterwords try loading your document. 2 Check to see if you have any other copies of your file. Have you Emailed it recently? If so check your sent folder. Have you deleted a version? Check the Recycle Bin or use Recuva s Restoration Recover My Files Word Regenerator mentioned earlier or use another technique to find a previous lost temporary or unsaved version of your file with the software mentioned above or using the techniques mentioned in the Advice section at the end of the article. 2 Open with Microsoft Word 's in-built method Open and Repair by choosing the File menu then Open then Select file then clicking the down arrow beside the open button and choosing Open and Repair . See above for an s 335 485 Advicenn Recovery and Repair Advicen italic 1 A great post by Rohn7 on reordering math tags in Word 27 (without SP3) and Word 21 (without SP1). s 2 A primer on the structure of DOC and DOCX files and how they be corrupt. 2 Dedoimedo's How to recover corrupt Microsoft Word files . 2 EndNote associated Word corruption and how to recover from it. s 2 Easy to follow ge how to unzip a corrupt DOCX take the file from a corrupt DOCX and paste it into a blank file's zip structure and recover the if not some of the formatting. s 2 Famous article of legacy advice on corruption in older versions of Word from I believe two Microsoft Word MVP's. 2 Fixing an unspecified error by opening the file in Word online and remove the table of contents and then saving and re-opening in the desktop version of Word. 2 Fixing persistent template corruption... 2 Fixing Word cannot start the converter mswrd632 error. This is probably a legacy issue. The is to a Microsoft article with a Fixit app that apparently changes the registry to fix this issue. s 2 Instructions for manually fixing malformed xml from the word sub-file In The DOCX. 2 Microsoft article regarding changing the normal document opening macro to one that always opens and repairs the automatically s . 2 Microsoft article on how to recover previous and unsaved versions of Office files including Word ones. s 2 Microsoft's description of how it creates and recovers autorecover files s . 2 Microsoft's description of how it creates temporary files for Word s . 2 Microsoft's on searching for lost deleted temporary and unsaved Word documents s . 2 Microsoft's troubleshooting advice for Word files that you can still open and those you can't. s 2 S2 Services' Secrets of Recovering Corrupt Word DOCX Files . 2 S2 Services' Word DOC and DOCX Recovery Steps . 2 Ways to fix out of order math tags when encountering a The name in the end tag of the element must match the element in the start tag error. 2 WikiHow's advice about how to search for previous versions lost temporary deleted unsaved copies of your file with nice pictures. 2 WikiHow's advice about repairing corrupt Word files with more nice pictures. nn 2 Prevention Advice italic 1 Using Windows 8 8.1 and 1's File History File Version Backups to a Removable Drive s 2 Setting Up and Using Windows 7 Previous File System 2 From this article s Track changes can be buggy. Avoid if possible. Don't apply direct formatting instead use paragraph styles to make all formatting changes. Don't use drag and drop if you can avoid it. Make sure auto-recovery is turned on and set for at least every 1 minutes. Avoid DOC files using DOCX ones instead. 2 More Rohn7 advice Use AutoHistory for Word 27 Word 21 and Excel 21 s app that saves a new file with a date stamp in a separate folder for each named file. The new files are created at the time of each Word backup add-ins (for example is an add-in saving the working file in two places every time) rmended by Rohn7. 2 Word macro that makes a backup copy of Word files to another 2 Video Tutorials italic 1 s Manually Finding Autosaved Word Files italic s and Opening Them in Word italic s Using Corrupt office2txt now called italic Corrupt Office Salvager italic s is very similar to Corrupt DOCX Salvager italic s Corrupt Extractor for Microsoft Office italic s Demonstrated italic s Microsoft's Fixit Tag Reorderer Tool italic s demonstrated (a bit jumpy and seems to repeat itself) italic s In a Mac using a viewer to view a corrupted file that will no longer open in Pages Taking screenshots and then doing OCR to recreate the like scanner software might do with a page of a book scanned to get the into editable . This would apply to Windows as well if you could find a viewer that opens your file. italic s Using italic Hetman File Recovery italic s to find lost deleted temporary previous and unsaved versions of your file. italic Word Regenerator italic italic PhotoRec italic and italic Recover My Files italic probably work similarly. italic s Try reinstalling or repairing Word italic s in your italic Control Panel italic applet called italic Programs and Features italic . After repairing the install try opening the file again. italic s Video showing how to open speed the opening of Word by removing the Protected View options. To do this open a new blank document in italic Word italic go to italic Options italic click on italic Trust Center italic clicking on the italic Trusted Center Settings italic and then Protect View from there the video maker unchecks the three kinds of italic Enable Protected View italic . He saves the configuration and successfully reopens the file. As is done in the video you may need to first repair the install of italic Microsoft Office italic or italic Word italic . italic