How to Resolve PDF Error – "The File is Damaged and Could Not Be Repaired"?

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The Adobe PDF proprietary file format is recognized as secure and formulated. But these PDF files are also prone to corruption and any external threat like virus attacks, improper storage can hit PDF file integrity.This type of damages can make crucial PDF files inaccessible. Once the files are damaged, errors are thrown when users try to access such malfunctioned files. The section below will discuss about one of such errors, its causes and will let you know how to resolve PDF error “The file is damaged and could not be repaired”.

How is PDF File Corrupted?

Corruption cases can be different and such corruption can be caused due to distinct reasons depending upon the conditions. The level of corruption can vary from being minor to severe and the error messages are thrown accordingly. In order to resolve the issue, it is necessary to know the probable causes of PDF corruption. Some of the common reasons for the PDF corruption are;
  • System where PDF files are stored is affected by a virus or malware infection, which is causing internal issues in PDF files as well.
  • PDF files were stored on the network where it got infected. Or while downloading it got corrupted.
  • The file structure has been damaged and thus it is causing errors.
  • The PDF file was improperly handled like system was abruptly shut down while PDF was open.

How is This Error Generated?

The new updates 10.1.5 and 11.0.01 enhanced the security of PDF files by applying tight parsing of PDF-header. Earlier it was not like this and PDF could be opened if %PDF-header started at any place within initial 1024 bytes of the file. But since new updates have arrived, this product denies openinga small fraction of PDFs which does not start with %PDF header. This also follows with an error like;
Error: The document is damaged and cannot be repaired
Error Cause: Adobe was unable to open as the file was not supported or the file is damaged. This damage can be because of any reason; for instance, if it was shared as an email attachment and it could not be downloaded or wrongly decoded.

How to Deal With Such Errors?

This error can be resolved using two methods. But these methods depend on what has happened with your PDF file and situation. Both of these methods have been step-wise explored below;

Method 1: For PDF Creators:

You can modify the way PDF is generated or produced if you manage or administrate software that generated PDFs automatically. For this, you must take care of the fact that no irrelevant bytes should appear before %PDF at head of PDF file.

Method 2: For Other End Users & Enterprise Admins

As a consumer or enterprise professional with software access, you can easily perform a remedy. The header validation can be disabled on machines by applying changes in the settings of preferences. Set this preference per user in HKCU or at the machine level for all users. If AVGeneral key is unavailable, it can be created manually. Same method can also be used in Mac OS.
Generic HKLM Path:
The HKLM path is generically:
HKLM\Software\Adobe\(product name)\(version)\AVGeneral\bValidateBytesBeforeHeader=dword:00000000

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For instance, you can put the product name as: Adobe Acrobat and version as 11.0 in above path.
The HKCU path is generically:
HKCU\Software\Adobe\(product name)\(version)\AVGeneral\bValidateBytesBeforeHeader=dword:00000000

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Remember that in order to match installation, change the product and version number in the preference path accordingly. It will rectify the errors arriving in the PDF files.

What To Do If This PDF Error Persists?

If this error still shows up, you can take help of an online available tool like PDF Recovery software. This software recovers complete data including images and text and extracts this data in another PDF file. This tool is acquainted with multiple facilities which make this application a powerful way to remove such errors and fetch PDF file data in a hassle-free manner.Some of its important featuresare mentioned below;

  • Software has an easy interface and thus is can be utilized by every type of user.
  • This software is ready to tackle all types of errors and thus users facing troubles due to other errors can also utilize this application.
  • Images and text part can be recovered successfully using this application.
  • Software can be used by users who have not created the PDF files as well.
  • It is a Windows application and can be run on all versions of Windows. (Software cannot be executed on Mac Operating System.)

Bottom Line:

Which methods will be applicable completely depends on the situation of the PDF corruption and resources available. If you are a novice user and hardly know about Adobe Acrobat software, then you can directly take help of third party solution PDF Recovery mentioned above.

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