How to Recover Corrupted Files

by G.K. Bayne

The unfortunate truth of computer use is that occasionally a file will corrupt and any information stored in that file will become inaccessible. Depending on what type of file it is, there are several possible solutions to the problem that do not require the purchase of additional software. While the problem may not always be totally fixed, the data stored can often be recovered from corrupted files.

To Recover Corrupted XP System Files


Place the XP install disk in your CD drive. If your XP installation files are stored in a hidden partition on your hard drive, this is not necessary.


Click on \"Start\" and then on \"Run.\"


Type \"sfc.exe\" in the text box and hit the \"Enter\" key.


Choose the option \"Scan for altered files\" from the choices given on the screen.


Click on \"Start.\"


Click \"Yes\" when the file checker finds files to be restored to the original state.


Reboot your computer after the process is complete.

Restoring Corrupted Office Data Files


Download Open Office or other freeware office suites from the Internet.


Open the corrupt data file in the alternative program, be it the word processor or spreadsheet program.


Save the data as a text, rich text format or CSV file, so that it can be opened in the program of your choice.

Other Programs


Load the original software install disk into your CD or DVD drive.


Change the default directory where the install program attempts to place the program files, i.e., C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office would become C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office2. This will give you a fresh install of the program without corrupted files.


Use Add Remove Programs from your Control Panel to remove the original installation of the program.


  • check Sometimes you can fix corrupt program files by simply reinstalling the software over the existing files.
  • check All versions of Windows have a utility that will attempt to fix corrupt system files. Look under System Information and Tools to find the correct utility on Windows 95, 98 and 2000.

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