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Emmy1234's avatar

Emergency is there any way to open a corrupt file off a zip drive?

Asked by Emmy1234 (811 points ) December 15th, 2013

I have a very upset kid. Paper saved on a zip drive and it will not open. It says the file is corrupt. Is there anything we can do to fix it?

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52 Answers

glacial's avatar

My first approach would be to try a different USB port, then a different computer – better still if you can try it on a different OS (so, Mac if it didn’t work on a PC and vice versa). I’ve had some luck accessing files on Linux from a zip drive that didn’t work with Windows (and this was the same laptop).

If that doesn’t work, you probably still have some options, but don’t do anything like reformat the zip drive – that will destroy the file for sure.

Emmy1234's avatar

We tried on 3 different comp. one of them is a mac. and no go.

glacial's avatar

Boo. <remainder of answer deleted because @jerv is here and will be much more helpful than me. ;) >

Emmy1234's avatar

Okay thank you @glacial! Come on @jerv tell me some good news! I want my kid to quit crying.

jerv's avatar

ZIP drives are notoriously, which is part of why everybody went to USB Flash drives once those became economically feasible.

Most of the tricks I can think of off the top of my head would involve a live Linux CD and bit-copying, but I believe there are ways to do the same things in Windows.

In the meantime, an odd thought struck me… give me a sec while I look something up…

Emmy1234's avatar

Im on my mac but can go get a different comp if needed

jerv's avatar

That was fast

Okay, for a Windows box, Notepad ++ really doesn’t care what it opens. If it sees a file, it will do what it can to at least try to read it, regardless.

It may not be pretty, and it will almost definitely lose any formatting information (bolds, font sizes, etcetera) but it should be able to get at least something, likely being able to salvage at least most of the text. Then do a “Save As…” to a known-good drive, and you should be at least closer to where you want to be than where you are now.

jerv's avatar

There is also a Demo version that will run in a Java virtual machine ; I think that one is platform-agnostic, so it might work from your Mac’s browser

Emmy1234's avatar

I opened in note pad and its a bunch of funny type is there a way to fix that

jerv's avatar

Manually.

Notepad is okay, but Notepad++ works a lot better at least for the stuff I do as it has better Find/replace. Also, it uses different encoding (and you can change which type of encoding it uses from a menu in order to get more readable results) so opening the same file with both programs may lead to different results.

Emmy1234's avatar

is notepad ++ on all computers?

jerv's avatar

To my knowledge, no; it’s Windows-only. Linux has better things, and OS X…. well, I just don’t think they ever try to do anything productive, so to my knowledge no Mac version exists.

Emmy1234's avatar

I’m on a windows comp. now. In notepad but cannot find notepad++

Emmy1234's avatar

It has microsoft office, word, wordpad, and notepad

jerv's avatar

Follow the link and download it. It’s a third-party program

Emmy1234's avatar

okay downloaded it now

Emmy1234's avatar

It brought it up but same thing a bunch of crazy letters and such

jerv's avatar

Try different encodings. No guarantee that the original is in UTF-8 :/

jerv's avatar

ANSI is the most likely

Emmy1234's avatar

No go it didn’t work tried them all

Emmy1234's avatar

What about character sets?

jerv's avatar

That would be my next step

What format was the original file in?

Emmy1234's avatar

Microsoft word document…Is that what you mean?

jerv's avatar

Yes

Many special characters for formatting so the beginning and end of the file will have a lot of “fluff” in it, and a bit more in the middle of the file

Emmy1234's avatar

Character sets no working either. Any other suggestions?

jerv's avatar

No :(

Is there any recognizable text in the file?

Emmy1234's avatar

the only actual words in the whole document are (Content_Types.).xml and word/document.xml

jerv's avatar

I wonder now….

*.DOC and *.DOCX are different, and the fact that XML is even mentioned there makes me thing that there is something odd here, like the paper is not just one file….

Emmy1234's avatar

I don’t know if she saved it right she was with my mother when she saved without my mothers assistance.

jerv's avatar

As a side-note, the X-formats used my newer versions of MS Office have landed them in a bit of trouble on many fronts, partly for reasons you are discovering now.

Emmy1234's avatar

I’m lost your dealing with a computer idiot here lol

jerv's avatar

Lets just say that they tried to do something stupid so that people would be forced to stick with only Microsoft. To go into more detail would be tech-geekery….

I wonder, if the original was in a new version of Office and you have an old version, this converter is a long shot, but might help.

jerv's avatar

DOCX is not a single file, but a collection of files. That makes things….interesting

Emmy1234's avatar

It says unsupported docx format for document

Emmy1234's avatar

on the first one should I got ahead and try the others?

jerv's avatar

A little secret about how I got good at computers; I would back things up to make sure I had a safe copy that I could return to, then I just did all sorts of random things to find what worked :D

So, if you have copies of the original in a safe place, yes; experiment onteh copies. Worst case scenario is that you screw up the copies but still have th originals to make new copies of to experiment.

Emmy1234's avatar

My mother told her to save it to the computer and the zip drive but did she make sure she did it? No. My kid is 12 and irresponsible my mom should not have done that. I’m a little aggravated over the whole situation! I’m going to be doing computer studies in college but still doing general studies right now.

Emmy1234's avatar

It ought to be a challenge!

Emmy1234's avatar

Well I give up. We are going to go rewrite a paper. Its going to be a long night.

jerv's avatar

Telling her to save it twice in two different places by itself wasn’t a bad idea; I do that myself.

Saving it correctly though….

Well, I tried :/

Emmy1234's avatar

Thanks for your help anyway. Tough lesson to learn for her but I’ve been there myself too.

glacial's avatar

Have you tried going back to the computer the file was saved on, closing all open Word documents; open Word by itself, then go to File and look at the documents under Recent? There may be an autosaved version that she can work with, even if it’s not the most recent one.

wildpotato's avatar

I had a different problem recently and accidentally solved it in a semi-panic using something that seems to have come with my Windows compy called Microsoft Office Client Virtualization Handler. It opened up a bunch of .doc files I’d created on my iPad that OpenOffice couldn’t read. Oh, did you try opening it in OpenOffice or another word processing program? Maybe it would succeed where Notepad++ failed.

(these are just random things I would attempt in desperation; maybe @jerv can tell us whether they are silly to try)

jerv's avatar

@wildpotato It isn’t silly if it works.

Once you eliminate the obvious and sensible solutions, random experimentation probably really is your best bet.

Emmy1234's avatar

@glacial- The computer that she typed it on is at my moms place of work (school) I don’t have access to it. She went out and typed it while my mom was working hours over the weekend. @wildpotato- I tried all that I know how to do and what @jerv told me to do with no luck. We got the paper typed again. Many tears shed by my daughter and she is swearing off computers at the moment ( she better get over it because I bought her comp. for christmas).

johnpowell's avatar

Jerv is usually wrong when he rants about Macs. TextMate and Sublime Text are both better than NotePad++. I could give it a try if you want to email me the file. This lowly Mac user also has other tricks in his books. I will pm you with my email if you want to send me the file. I might have better luck.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Ok, I know this isn’t really helpful, but can I say I’m surprised to hear someone still using ZIp drives in this day? I hadn’t really heard anything about them in years.

jerv's avatar

@johnpowell I don’t count those as those are not freeware. Textmate is $55, and Sublime Text is $70. Sure, the time-limited demo is free, but I’d rather save my money for things like rent, food, and such. Unlike many Apple fans, I am not made of money :p

@Emmy1234 Though @johnpowell and I have some serious ideological differences regarding computers, don’t take our squabbling to mean that I don’t have respect for his abilities. I feel he is quite competent, and I have no doubt he’ll be able to help you if you still want to try recovering the original file. Besides, some things are easier hands-on than remotely.

Emmy1234's avatar

@Darth_Algar- my 59 year old mother was using the zip drive not me! @johnpowell We retyped the paper and the drama is over thank goodness but thanks for offerring!

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