How to recover corrupt files

Trying to open some Word documents, do you get strange error messages and can’t read your documents? Are you unable to extract the contents of a ZIP file downloaded from the Internet, because at the end of the procedure you are notified that the archive is corrupt? Are you no longer able to view the photos you saved on a pendrive? Your files have probably been damaged by computer viruses, crashes or network errors, but maybe I can help you. You ask me how? Well, simple: by explaining how to recover corrupt files .

You must know, in fact, that there are some software for Windows, macOS and Linux that, without requiring special technical skills, allow you to recover damaged or corrupted files of all kinds – from Office documents to PDFs, passing through photos, compressed archives, videos, audio files etc. – as far as possible. In fact, none of the solutions I am about to show you is capable of working miracles.

If any of your files are unreadable because the data contained within them is irreparably compromised, there will be nothing to do even using the software in question. In any case, as they say, groped does not harm. Therefore, follow the directions I am about to give you and try to put them into practice. I cross my fingers for you!


  • How to recover damaged files from external hard drive
    • PhotoRec (Windows / macOS / Linux)
    • EaseUS Data Recovery (Windows / macOS)
  • How to recover corrupt files for free
    • Wondershare Repairit (Windows / macOS)
    • File Repair (Windows)
  • How to recover corrupt files online

How to recover damaged files from external hard drive

To begin with, let’s find out how to recover damaged files from external hard drives using some software suitable for the purpose. The solutions we are going to examine are also valid for other types of drives, so if you are interested in understanding how to recover damaged files from a USB stick or how to recover damaged files from micro SD you can use them without problems.

PhotoRec (Windows / macOS / Linux)

The first tool to recover corrupt files that I suggest you try is PhotoRec . It is a free and open source program that allows you to recover many different types of files in just a few clicks, especially from hard drives and other external media. It works on Windows, macOS and Linux, but only on the Microsoft operating system is it equipped with a graphical interface (on other platforms it works from the command line). Note that it comes bundled with TestDisk , another free software that allows you to repair damaged disks and recover lost partitions, but we don’t care about that for the moment.

To download PhotoRec on your computer, go to its website and click on the link for the operating system you are using that you find in the section TestDisk & PhotoRec xx (month day, year), Data Recovery .

At the end of the download, if you are using Windows , extract the ZIP archive obtained in a folder of your choice and start the qphotorec_win.exe file that is inside. In the window that at this point you see appear on the desktop, click on the Yes button and, once the main PhotoRec screen is displayed, expand the drop-down menu at the top and choose the drive on which the files to be repaired are located.

Then indicate the option corresponding to the main partition of the drive and click on the File formats button , to select the type of file you are interested in working on.

Next, select the FAT / NTFS / HFS + / ReiferFS and Free option that you find in the File System Type section at the bottom, click on the Browse button and specify the folder where PhotoRec will go to save the repaired version of the files.

Finally, press the Search button and wait for the file recovery procedure to be completed. At the end of the procedure, the files will be automatically saved in the folder you previously selected.

If you are using PhotoRec on macOS , on the other hand, open the tar.bz2 archive you downloaded on your computer, extract the contents in a location of your choice and start the photorec file that is inside it, by right clicking on its icon and selecting the Open item twice in a row.

Next, the Terminal window will open . Use the right arrow on the keyboard to select the Sudo option , then press the Enter key and type the Mac administration password .

After completing the above steps, select the drive on which to act, indicate the partition on which to intervene, select the file system used for formatting and decide whether to scan only the space marked as free or whether to check in thorough manner throughout the unit .

Finally, select the folder where you want to save the corrupt files once they are recovered, press the C key on your keyboard to confirm your intention to start analyzing and recovering the data and wait for the procedure to finish.

EaseUS Data Recovery (Windows / macOS)

Another tool you can rely on to attempt to recover corrupted or damaged files is EaseUS Data Recovery . It is a software available for both Windows and macOS, very easy to use and extremely versatile. It allows you to recover images, videos, documents and various other types of files from external (but also internal) hard drives, as well as from USB sticks, SD cards and any other type of media. It’s free, but it allows you to recover up to 2GB of data. To get around this limit, you need to switch to the paid version (which has costs starting from 66.69 euros / month).

To download the program on your PC, if you are using Windows , go to the EaseUS Data Recovery website and click on the Download Free button . Once the download is complete, open the executable file obtained and click the Yes button in the window that is shown to you on the desktop. Then click on the Install Now and Start Now buttons .

If, on the other hand, you want to download the program on macOS , connect to this other section of the EaseUS Data Recovery website and click on the Download Free button . After completing the download, open the .dmg package obtained, drag the software icon to the macOS Applications folder , right click on it and select the Open item twice in a row, in order to start the software going around the limitations Apple to applications from non-certified developers (this must be done only at the first start).

In the main window of EaseUS Data Recovery which at this point is shown to you, select the device , drive or path you want to analyze, then click on the button to start the scanning procedure .

At the end of the analysis, you can recover any corrupt files identified by the program, by clicking on the button to perform the recovery at the bottom right and indicating the location on your computer where you want to save the data obtained.

If you cannot find the files you need, you can help you search using the filters, by clicking on the funnel icon located at the top and indicating the category of your interest. Instead, if you need to preview a certain file, select it from the list, right-click on it and choose the appropriate item from the context menu that opens.

After finding the files you want to recover, select them, click the Recover the bottom to the right, specify the location on your computer where you want to save and press the button Well . If you think you need more details about how the program works, see my guide dedicated specifically to how EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard works .

How to recover corrupt files for free

Let’s see, now, how to try to recover corrupt files for free , or rather what are the no-cost tools that you can use to try to recover corrupt Word files , recover corrupt Excel files , recover corrupt PDF files and various other types of files on your computer hard drive. To find out more, read on.

Wondershare Repairit (Windows / macOS)

If you need to recover corrupted videos and photos , you can consider putting Wondershare Repairit to the test . It is a program available for both Windows and macOS thanks to which, in fact, it is possible to recover corrupt files in the formats OV, MP4, M4V, M2TS, MKV, MTS, 3GP, AVI, FLV, MXF, INSV, JPEG, JPG , CR3, CR2, NEF, NRW, RAF, DNG, ARW and GPR. It is paid (it has prices starting at $ 59.99 / year), but you can try it for free in a version that allows you to preview the repaired files, but not to export them to disk.

To download the program to your computer, go to its website and click the Try it for free button .

Once the download is complete, if you are using Windows , start the executable file obtained and click the Yes button in the window you see appear on the desktop. Then, click on the Install button and then on the Start Now button .

If you are using macOS , on the other hand, extract the ZIP archive obtained and double-click on the program’s executable file , then press the Open and Install buttons in the pop-up window.

Now that, regardless of the operating system used, the main software window is displayed on the screen, indicate whether you want to repair videos or photos by selecting the correct option from the left sidebar. Then, click on the Insert button located on the right, to select the file of your interest and click on the Repair button .

Then wait for the repair to be completed, then if the procedure is successful press the Save all button located at the bottom right to save the repaired files, indicating the output location first.

If you encounter problems, you can also try to implement the advanced repair , by pressing the appropriate button that you see appearing next to the files, selecting videos and photos to use as a sample and pressing the Start Advanced Repair button .

File Repair (Windows)

If you are looking for a software to recover corrupted files of various kinds from your computer hard drive, you can consider File Repair . It is a software for Windows available in different variants, each of which is responsible for the recovery of specific types of files: PDF , Word , ZIP etc. All versions of the program are paid (with prices starting at $ 59), but can be downloaded and used at no cost for a trial period. The operation is almost similar in all cases: you have to select the file to be repaired, start the procedure and wait for the operation to complete.

To download one of the versions of File Repair on your computer, visit the program’s website , click on the Download button – File Repair software at the top and then click on the Download Free Trial button next to the program variant to repair the type of corrupt or damaged file on which you intend to act. Then, fill in the form that is shown to you with the requested information and click on the Submit button .

To show you in detail how File Repair works, I have chosen to use the program variant to repair PDF files: PDF File Repair . In this case, when the download is complete, start the executable file obtained and, in the window you see appear on the desktop, check the box next to I accept the terms in the License Agreement , click on the Install button and on the Yes buttons and Finish .

Next, launch the program by selecting its shortcut that has been added to the Start menu . Now that you see the main window of the software on the screen, click on the Start Recovery Wizard button to start the free trial period, select the corrupt PDF on your computer through the File Explorer window that has opened, click on the Open button , on the Next button twice in succession and on the Start button .

After completing the above steps, the file recovery process will start and at the end you will be shown a summary screen of the operations carried out. You will then find a copy of the recovered file in the Documents folder of your computer, which you can possibly access from the program window by simply clicking on the link next to Location of Recovery Results .

How to recover corrupt files online

Don’t you have the slightest intention of installing new programs on your computer and, therefore, would you like to understand if there is any tool that allows you to recover corrupt files online ? If that’s the case, you can rely on Online Office Recovery . It is a Web service perfectly compatible with all the most popular browsers , usable by any operating system and which allows you to recover PDF documents, Word files and many other types of files in a few moments.

You can use it for free, but it allows you to view only a preview of what is repaired, which in most cases is more than enough to get an idea about the contents of a specific file but, of course, everything depends on what the individual needs. To download the complete files that have been repaired, you need to purchase special passes (with prices starting at $ 59 for two days of use). Note, however, that no precise information is provided regarding the removal of files from the service’s servers. In light of this, I recommend that you turn to online solutions only if the files you want to intervene on do not refer to sensitive data.

To use Online Office Recovery, first of all connected to its home page , click on the Choose file button and select the file you are interested in acting on. If the file is password protected, click the Click here link and type the relevant keyword in the text field provided.

Then, click on the Safe Upload and Repair button at the bottom and wait a few moments for the procedure to be completed, after which you can choose to download the preview of the corrupt file that has been recovered or to purchase a paid pass for the service, simply by clicking on the appropriate links on the right.

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