[Fixed] The File Is Corrupted and Cannot Be Opened in Excel/Word

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Roxanne updated on Feb 07, 2021 to Computer Instruction | How-to Articles

Here are four effective ways aim to fix the file is corrupted and cannot be opened in Microsoft. You can have a quick view and directly jump to the part you're most interested:

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
Fix 1. Disable Protected View Options Open Word or Excel > go to Trust Center > Trust Center settings > go to Protected View...Full steps
Fix 2. Unlock the File Right-click the file you have difficulty in opening and choose Properties...Full steps
Fix 3. Adjust Component Services Settings Click "Start" and enter dcom, right-click Component Services and choose Run as administrator...Full steps

About 'The file is corrupt and cannot be opened' in Microsoft Excel or Word

Microsoft error: The file is corrupt and cannot be opened

The error message 'the file is corrupted and cannot be opened' usually pops up when users trying to open an Office file that is created in an older version in a newer version of Microsoft Office, for example, open a file created in Excel 2013, 2010, 2007 or earlier in Excel 2016 or open a file created in Word 2007 or earlier in Word 2013. Numerous users have been bothered by this issue after upgrading the Microsoft Office applications and asked for help online. Actually, the error "the file is corrupt and cannot be opened" can also occur after Microsoft Office reinstallation. Why does this issue happen? The main causes for "the file is corrupted and cannot be opened" in Microsoft Excel or Office are:

  • The changes of settings in Microsoft Office after upgrading or reinstallation
  • Protection of your computer against the files come from another computer
  • The Excel or Word file is corrupted

4 Fixes for 'The file is corrupt and cannot be opened' in Excel/Word

As you can see from the causes listed above, the error message 'the file is corrupted and cannot be opened' doesn't necessarily mean your file is damaged or corrupted. At most times, the files just become inaccessible because there is something wrong with the settings of the new versions of Microsoft Office application. There are the effectiveness-based fixes for "the file is corrupted and cannot be opened" in Microsoft Office.

Method 1. Disable Protected View Options

Many users have reported they fixed the error using this method. However, disabling "Protected View" is potentially harmful to your computer system since it exposes your computer to possible security threats. Thus, we highly recommend you save the file as another one after you can access it, then enable "Protected View".

Step 1. Open Microsoft Excel/Word and go to File > Options.

Step 2. Go to "Trust Center" > "Trust Center Settings...".

Step 3. Go to "Protected View" and then uncheck all the boxes. Click "OK".

Step 4. Restart Microsoft Excel/Word.

Fix the file is corrupt and cannot be opened - disable Protected View

Now you can try to open your file again and see whether the error message "the file is corrupt and cannot be opened" still exist.

Method 2. Unlock the File

If "the file is corrupt and cannot be opened" prompts when you try to open some of the Excel or Word files on your computer, you can try this solution for a quick fix.

Step 1. Find and right-click the file you have difficulty in opening.

Step 2. Choose "Properties".

Step 3. Under the General tab, check the box next to "Unlock".

Step 4. Click "Apply" > "OK".

Method 3. Adjust Component Services Settings

By adjusting the component services, you are changing your Windows registry. Be careful and operate prudently.

Step 1. Click "Start" and enter dcom.

Step 2. Right-click "Component Services" and choose "Run as administrator".

Step 3. Expand "Component Services" > "Computers" > "My Computer".

Step 4. Right-click "My Computer" and choose "Properties".

Step 5. Switch to the "Default Properties" tab. Then set the value of Default Authentication Level as "Connect" and the "Default Impersonation Level" as "Identity".

Step 6. Click "Apply" > "OK".

Fix the file is corrupt and cannot be opened - Change Component Services settings

Method 4. Repair Excel/Word File with Third-Party Software

If, after applying all the solutions above, the error persists. This may be an indication of file corruption. When the file is corrupt, you cannot fix the error "the file is corrupt and cannot be opened" by changing the settings on your computer. Instead, if you want to access your file successfully, you need to repair the corrupted Excel files or Word documents with third-party file repair software.

The file is corrupted and cannot be opened - FAQs

1. How to Recover Lost Excel/Word Files

Although the hard drive recovery software - EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard cannot help to restore a corrupted Excel, it will help you recover Microsoft Office files lost due to accidental deletion, formatting, or other reasons. Have you ever found that you lost important Excel, Word, or PowerPoint files on your computer or external storage devices? If so, use EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard and you can retrieve the files with a few simple clicks.

Step 1. Select a location and start scanning.

Launch EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, hover on the location(hard drive partition, external HDD, Card devices) where you lost data, then click "Scan".

select a location and click scan

Step 2. Preview and select the files.

Wait until the scanning completes. If you need to double-click the item to preview the file, then select the data you attempt to recover.

Choose files to recover

Step 3. Recover lost data.

Click "Recover", choose a location to save the recovered data, then click "OK". You should store the data in another place instead of the original one.

Recover lost data

2. How can I open a corrupted file?

To open a document after a file corruption error:

Step 1. Click File > Open > Browse and then go to the location or folder where the document (Word), workbook (Excel), or presentation (PowerPoint) is stored. ...
Step 2, Click the file you want, and then click the arrow next to Open, and click Open and Repair.

3. How do I fix a corrupted Excel file?

Step 1. Follow the temp file folder location on your PC and find the Excel temp files with TMP extension.

For Windows 8/10 users:
C:\Users\\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office\UnsavedFiles

For Windows 7 users:
C:\Users\name\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Excel\ 

Step 2. Locate and find the temporary excel files begin with "$" or "~" and end with ".TMP".

Step 3. Copy these files and save them to another safe spot by changing the extension from.TMP to .XLS/.XLSX.

The Bottom Line

As long as your files are not really corrupted, you can fix the error "the file is corrupt and cannot be opened" in Excel or Word easily by changing your computer settings. However, if the file is corrupted and you have no backup available, the only chance for you to reaccess its content is to repair the file with professional repair software. Thus, I'd like to stress the importance of data backup. Whether you prefer manually copying files or using free backup software, you should back up your precious file regularly to avoid complete data loss.

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