Fixing corrupted Word 2007 docs using DiskInternals’ Zip Repair

A colleague recently came to me because she had a long running Word 2007 document that no longer would open.  When we attempted to open it in Word it would state that the document was corrupted.  It prompted us to use the built-in repair tool but that was unable to fix the problem.

Knowing that a Word 2007 document (actually, any Office 2007 document) is just a zip file containing xml files inside, I attempted to open the file using 7-zip.  At the very least I was hoping we could extract the raw text and my co-worker could just reformat it.  While 7-zip could view the archive it reported that it was unable to extract most of the files.  This included the actual xml file holding the text so we were still out of luck.

So, where do you turn when you are out of ideas?  Google of course.  I searched for “zip repair” and DiskInternals’ Zip Repair utility was the first on the list.  Fortunately this is a free program so I thought I’d give it a try.

It only allows you to select .zip files so I had to change the extension from .docx to .zip.  That’s my only complaint, however, and it’s arguably a small one.  Once I did that and ran the utility it reported that it successfully repaired the zip file.  Wow! 

OK, but I’m one of those guys that believes it when I see it.

I changed the extension back to .docx and attempted to open it in Word.  It again reported that the document was corrupt and prompted to run the repair utility.  However, this time upon running the repair it was able to open the document with full text and formatting.  Wonderful!  I saved it into a new document and emailed it back to her.  She was ecstatic. 

So, definitely a +1 and recommendation for DiskInternals’ Zip Repair utility.  Give it a try.  It’s great and worth far more than the price.

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Matt Penner

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