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How to Fix and Recover Damaged Microsoft Word Document

Microsoft Word is a top-notch application today due to the many benefits it offers. One of the benefits is that it is available everywhere and comes standard on many PCs. However, Word isn’t perfect as it has some challenges such as Microsoft Word files getting corrupt. This is common when you try to open it, you get an error message which reads, “The file is corrupt and cannot be opened,” then “Microsoft Office cannot open this file because some parts are missing or invalid.” Although this can be frustrating, you can still recover and repair your file using Recovery Toolbox for Word which enables you to repair Word files using two primary methods.

Common reasons Word files might become corrupt
Common reasons Word files might become corrupt

Content Summary

Use the Microsoft Word Repair tool
Recover unsaved documents
Restore text from any file
Open with Notepad
Use a third-party recovery software
Repair the document online

One of the primary reasons your file might get corrupt could be due to a system crash, which typically happens without any prior warning when a task is being processed. It could also be because you forgot to save the MS Word after shutting down your PC, or that didn’t eject the drive well before removing it.

Sometimes, you may take all the safety precautions and still get disheartening messages showing that Word file has been affected. Sometimes, the unusual behavior might be traced to faulty segments of your storage drive. Also, malware attacks may also result in corrupt Word files, especially when malicious software is so vicious that it causes a system malfunction and tampers with the file.

Steps to restore affected word document files
Steps to restore affected word document files

In previous times, file corruption was a common occurrence. Newer versions of MS Word have seen a significant decrease in this problem because of the AutoSaving feature that saves the file in a new location rather than on top of the current one. This doesn’t imply that file corruption has been brought to a total stop

While file recovery is possible, it is also likely that some cases of corruption may be impossible to fix. This largely depends on what led to the issue in the first place. For instance, if it was due to power loss, the text file can be placed at the end of the file due to the structure of the document, thereby decreasing the chances of recovery. But if the file got damaged due to other reasons, there’s a good chance that recovery will be successful. This also covers a scenario where the data recovery software reassembled the file. Here are the different methods to retrieve lost word files.

Word found unreadable content in corrupted doc.

Use the Microsoft Word Repair tool

Microsoft Word comes with a built-in document repair software which came into use with the MS Word 2007. This software allows users to restore lost files and also fix those that are not working correctly. It’s probably the safest tool to use since it is proprietary software.

Here’s how to use the tool:

Step 1: Start Microsoft Word.

Step 2: Press Ctrl + O to bring up the Open window, or you can simply go to File and select Open.

Step 3: Search for the affected file and ensure it is highlighted by clicking on it.

Step 4: Go to the Open button, hit on the arrow pointing downward, then select the Open and repair option.

The MS Word software will try to repair and open your file but if it doesn’t work, try the next method.

Use the Microsoft Word Repair tool

Recover unsaved documents

If the AutoSave feature has been put on before the file became infected, it implies that your file may have older UnsavedFiles. All Word software from Office 2003 and newer have this feature. Here’s what to do:

Step 1: Start Microsoft Word, Go to File > Info.

Step 2: Go to Manage Versions, then tap Recover Unsaved Documents.

Step 3: Note that all previously saved Word Autosaved files will show up.

Step 4: Choose the right document which was affected, then save it to a new location using the File and Save as button.

Please note that the file might not include the last set of changes you made before the incident. If you closed or rebooted your PC, this step might not work.

Please note that the file might not include the last set of changes you made before the incident. If you closed or rebooted your PC, this step might not work.

Restore text from any file

Microsoft Word has a unique feature that helps you to recover text from any type of file, this includes corrupt Word files. It is better to use this native option, however, you will be unable to recover images in the file and the formatting. Here’s how:

Step 1: Start Microsoft Word.

Step 2: Click File from the MS word above panel and click Open or just press Ctrl + O.

Step 3: Navigate to where the corrupt file is saved and click so it’s highlighted.

Step 4: Select on the combo box written All files to get a drop-down list, then go to Recover Text from Any file.

Step 5: Click on HTML file and click on Open.

Step 6: Word will process the file and display all the textual content. You may find a few lines that make no sense, ignore them

Step 7: Save the file to a new location, and you can start working again.

Open with Notepad

If none of the solutions above worked, try using a notepad. A notepad is a basic processor, so it can bypass the document structure while accessing the textual content from the damaged file. This invariably means you will lose all formatting and your images. Retrieving lost information with a notepad is easy. Here is how:

Step 1: Select the corrupt Word file to highlight it.

Step 2: Right-click on it and go to Open With, then select default program and open using notepad.

Step 3: Scroll down to Other Programs, tap on the arrow that points downward to see all available programs.

Step 4: Scroll down to Notepad.

Step 5: Ensure that you have unchecked all written boxes, Always use the selected program to open this kind of file.

Step 6: Click Ok.

Step 7: Go to the Notepad window which opens next, a few error messages which indicate that notepad is unable to display formatting and images may pop up. You will also find the text you initially typed into your Word document. Copy and paste the text into a new word file to start working on it.

Use a third-party recovery software

At the moment, you will find a lot of third-party tools that help you retrieve affected files but make sure you download from a reliable source.

Step 1: Click on https://word.recoverytoolbox.com/repair-word/ and download “Microsoft Word Repair tool”.

Step 2: Install the software and launch it.

Step 3: Navigate to the damaged file and select it for the app to repair it.

Recovery Toolbox for Word like this is very useful in fixing Word documents of all sizes and versions.

Recovery Toolbox for Word like this is very useful in fixing Word documents of all sizes and versions.

Repair the document online

You can also repair your corrupt files online despite the type of device or system you use (iOS, Android, macOS, etc). Fixing the Word file using this step is typically a straightforward process that consists of the following:

Step 1: Open Word repair online service https://word.recoverytoolbox.com/online/ in any browser.

Step 2: Select the damaged file on the disk/device.

Step 3: Enter your e-mail address.

Step 4: Press the Next Step button.

Step 5: If the solution can repair it, it will, but you will be charged a fee for the service (usually $10). The content of the file will be displayed, and then you can download the file.

If the solution can repair it, it will, but you will be charged a fee for the service (usually $10). The content of the file will be displayed, and then you can download the file.
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