4 Methods to Repair and Recover Corrupted PDF Files

Tracy King updated on Sep 16, 2020 to File Recovery | How-to Articles


The PDF files may corrupt on your PC without due to download issues, hard drive or storage device damage, sudden system or program failure, or other reasons. When faced with this issue, there are some ways to repair and recover corrupted/damaged PDF files. Here in this article, we'll offer you four effective methods to fix the matter, including using third-party data recovery software to help you restore corrupted PDF files with ease.

The PDF files may get corrupted during upload, download, or regular use because of the following factors, but not absolutely:

  • Improper downloads issue
  • Hard drive or storage deice problems, like damage and corruption
  • Unexpected OS crash or system shutdown
  • Sudden program closure
  • Virus attack or PDF files get infected by malicious contents

Whatever the reason is, if you are troubled by PDF files corruption or loss problems but finding no way out, you are at the right place now. Here in this article, you'll find effective methods to repair damaged PDF files and recover corrupted PDF documents with ease. Carry out one of the solutions that suits your needs best.

Method 1. Repair Adobe Reader to fix corrupted PDF
Method 2. Try an alternative reader to repair PDF
Method 3. Recover corrupted/damaged PDF files
Method 4. Use a PDF repair tool 

Method 1. Check Adobe Reader to Repair PDF

Sometimes, when PDF files corrupt, it is not because the PDF document itself gets damaged but something wrong with the PDF. So you may first try to check and repair the Adobe Reader and then try to open and read the PDF file. 

Check for the update of Adobe Reader :

  • Launch Adobe Reader > go to "Help" > "Check for Updates".
  • You'll see whether the program is up to date or not. If there is a new update, go ahead and install the latest version. 

Repair Adobe Reader:

  • Open the application > go to "Help" > "Repair Adobe Reader Installation" 

Repair Adobe Reader to repair corrupted PDF.

  • You may also try to uninstall Adobe Reader and reinstall it to repair PDF.

Method 2. Try an Alternative PDF Reader 

When you fail to open or read PDF files with Adobe Reader, you can try other PDF readers to check where the problem exists - in the Reader or the file. 

You can search for PDF Reader; then you'll get numerous PDF Readers online. If the PDF readers can read your PDF files, then you don't need to repair the PDF files. It's not corrupted. If the alternative PDF readers cannot recognize or read your PDF files, you can follow Method 3 to restore corrupted PDF files.

Method 3. Recover Corrupted/Damaged PDF Files

If you fail to open or read your PDF files with Adobe Reader or other alternatives, you may try the following tips to restore corrupted PDF files.

Tip 1. Restore from the Previous Version

If you have a backup of your PDF files, you can restore corrupted PDF files to its previous version and then get it repaired.

  • Right-click PDF in Windows Explorer > Properties > Previous Versions.
  • A list of all old versions of PDF files will show up, click either copy by clicking "Open" > check out whether it's the version you need > click "Restore" when you find the right version and bring them back to life on your system.

how to repair corrupted PDF files

Tip 2. Recover Corrupted PDF File with File Recovery Software

If you don't have any backups created before, you may turn to professional hard drive recovery software -  EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for help. This capable file recovery tool can help you to recover lost Word/Excel/PPT, HTML, CWK, PDF, etc. in complex situations. Now, download this data recovery application for free and restore the corrupted PDF files within three steps. 

Step 1. Launch EaseUS data recovery software. Select the drive where you lost your PDF files and click the "Scan" button.

select the location of the pdf files

Step 2. As long as the scanning process completes, you can find the PDF files category in the "Filter", by choosing "Documents". Or, directly search .pdf and you are able to find PDF files without difficulty.

scan the lost pdf files

Step 3. Select the wanted files and click the "Recover" button to get the PDF files back.

recover pdf files

Method 4. Use a PDF Repair Tool to Repair PDF

You may also download some PDF repair utilities or try free online PDF repair tools to fix corrupted PDF. If this solution works, you'll get your PDF files back. If you fail, you may still have the last shot by extracting PDF elements such as text or images with specific methods or a PDF extractor. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why choose EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard?

"EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is the best we've seen. It's far from perfect, partly because today's advanced disk technology makes data-recovery more difficult than it was with the simpler technology of the past, but it's fast and efficient..."PCMag

"The first thing you'll notice about EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro is that its interface is very clear and uncluttered, with only a small collection of self-explanatory controls. You won't find lots of extra options hidden in a system of hidden menus, either; what you see really is what you get."techradar

"Recover lost files, even after deleting a partition or formatting your drive."Macworld

2. Why cannot I recover 2GB data for free?

It is recommended to check the version installed is Free or Trial because they are different versions.

Trial has data preview function but cannot save any files, while the Free version enables to recover 2 GB files. The default free space is 500 MB and you may share the product on social media to get another 1.5 GB.

3. Why cannot the recovered files be opened?

A file is saved as 2 parts on the storage device: directory info (which is comprised by file name, time stamp and size info, etc.) and data content.

If the files with original file names and folder structures cannot be opened, one possible reason is the corrupted directory info. There is still a chance to recover the data content with the RAW Recovery method in our software.

4. Why isn't it suggested to recover the files back to the original drive?

The storage structure of the lost files would be altered or damaged by any changes on the drive. If you save the recovered files back to the same drive, the original data structures and data content would be corrupted or overwritten, which causes permanent data loss. So you should prepare another disk to save the files.

5. How can I check whether my data is recoverable or not before purchase?

The Free version helps you save 2GB files to better verify the recovery quality of our product before purchase.

6. How long does it take to scan the drive?

It strongly depends on the capacity of your hard drive and the performance of your computer. As reference,most drive recoveries can be completed in around 10 to 12 hours for a 1-TB healthy hard drive in general conditions.

About Data Recovery Wizard

It's super easy to recover 250+ types of files after deletion, disk formatting and virus infection. Click the links and compare the difference of each version.