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nicksarahandkaden asked on

How to open a BAK file in Corel Draw 5?

I have been having some troubles with my Corel Draw lately.  First off, I no longer have the software so unfortunately re-installing is not an option.  Im really hoping there is another way around it.  

First off, I saved a .cdr file as I usually do, I went to open it and it keeps telling me ERROR READING so and so file.  I have tried opening the BAK file but it keeps telling me to use a specific filter.  When opening a file I try clicking on "Filter Information" and says none available.  I have no clue about filtering or anything else.  I am pretty new with this program.  Im not sure if it matters but I also have Adobe PageMaker and QuarkXpress.  Is there anyway to export the file to one of these?  

I really dont want to have to buy any additional software (hopefully this wont happen again).  

I have honestly tried everything I can think of including burning the file onto disc and trying to open it from there.  

Any help what-so-ever would be greatly appreciated!
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8/22/2022 - Mon

Im not all to familiar with Corel Draw since I dont use it, but does it automatically make those .BAK files itself or have you used someother backup method to create the .BAK file?  
Have you tried renaming the file to have a .cdr extension and then opening it in Corel Draw?

It automatically makes them.  I usually end up deleting the BAK files but I kept this one for some reason.  

How do I rename it to have a .cdr extension without opening it?  

Im guessing you're using some version of Windows here, so to rename, just locate the file in Windows Explorer, and then click it once to select it.  You should now be able to see the full name of the file just under its icon, firstly check to see if you are able to see the extension of the file, i.e look for a full stop and then three characters at the end of the file name.  So something like "file.BAK"
If you cant see the extension then follow these steps:
Click on the Tools menu of the Explorer window, then on Folder Options.  Next select the View tab, and look for the item in the list that says something along the lines of "Hide file extensions for known file types".  Hopefully this should already have a tick it in (since the extensions are hidden), click the box to make it unchecked.  Click apply, and then close the dialog window.  The folder with your file in it should now refresh and you should now be able to see the file extension.  Carry on with the steps below.

With the file selected, press F2 on your keyboard, this will now allow you to change the extension.  Just change the end of the file name to have .cdr instead of .BAK.  Once thats done, try opening the file - good luck!
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William Peck

Click on the icon and rename it. In windows its probably a right-click and edit properties, on a Mac just select the file and hit return.

It worked!  Thanks, now I know how to change the file type.  Unfortunately it still says an ERROR reading the file and cannot open it.  Can I change this file to a PageMaker or QuarkXpress file type?  If so, what would it be so I can open it there?  Sorry I didnt mention before but Im using Windows XP OS.  

Renaming the file doesn't change what the file is. If Corel Draw cant open its own backup file, it's probably corrupt and unusable in any program.
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So theres nothing I can do about that then?  The file is pretty must lost and can never be fixed?


Just to backup what weed said really: changing the file extension does not change the format (or internal data) of the file, but sometimes programs behave differently when encountering different extensions of file.

The likelyhood of being able to change the file to another format is very very low if it cant even be read in the program that created it.  Is there any mention in either the manual or online help about using the backup files? do they need to be specially restored in order to recreate the original file maybe (possibly by a supplied utility or feature in Corel Draw)?

How big is the backup file and the original (look at the file size in explorer) ?
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James Murphy

Here's something I found that might be of use to you from the Corel website, the link is:

bit of a long link, which might also be session dependent, so I'll include the text here:


 Opening Damaged or Corrupted CDR Files
  An error message is displayed when trying to open CDR files within CorelDRAW®.  
  If a problem is encountered while trying to OPEN a CDR file in CorelDRAW, try one of the following to determine if the file can be salvaged:

Create a new document.
Go to View | Wireframe.
Import the file with the CDR filter.
Or, convert the file to a CMX, using Media folders (Media folders can optionally be installed with CorelDRAW 8).


Try opening the file in Corel PHOTO-PAINT® (Note this will result in a completely rasterized rendition of the CDR file).


For a PC file, try opening on the Macintosh (or visa versa).


These tips are work arounds that may allow a CDR file to be opened that contains a bad fill, style or maybe even font information. This information can be corrupted in various ways and is most prevalent on systems that have insufficient resources and haven't be optimized or maintained. In most cases with corrupt or unopenable files, the only resolve is to revert to a previous backup. The importance of having backup files cannot be over-emphasized.
If you want to try the MediaFolders suggestion above, then you should be able to download it with a demo version of Corel 12 - which I suggest you do and then try your file on there as well.

Also, take a look if you have any .ABK files in your folder as well, since I think these are also Corel created auto backups.

First question - can you still open other CDR files?  If not it could be an error with the host program (if this is the case and, as you say, you no longer have the master disks you are stuck unless you try a System Restore - don't know if that would work though).  If you can open other CDRs then Corel is okay.  If I remember rightly Corel 5 was a very unstable program and often killed its own files - not as bad as 8 though.  Corel does not make a distinction between BAK and CDR files, it classes them both as Corel files therefore changing file extension may not make any difference.  First thing to try is opening the file with another version of Corel (I would be happy to try this for you if you could get the file to me) - if it opens resave it as something else.  When you were last working on the file did your machine crash or refuse to save? - This often wipes the master file but should not affect the BAK file as this is created at various points whilst you are working on open files  (the program stops and freezes whilst it backs up) so the BAK file should not become corrupt even if the original CDR file does.  Last question - what are the exact error messages you get when you try to open the two files?

Also remember that you can download a trial version of Corel Draw 12 which might be able to assist in opening the file and then exporting it to another format: http://www.corel.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=Corel2/Downloads/Home
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Shamstar!  It worked!  I was able to open it in Corel Paint!  Now I am just wondering if there is anyway for me to copy and paste some parts of it to a different file on Corel Draw.  I have tried selecting the sections I need but I guess since it is not a Paint file then it doesnt let me.  Is there any other way???

ChopperBaz since I did open the file, am I able to resave it as something else for it to open up in Corel Draw again?  If so, how?


Hi N,S&K,

Actually you don't need to open the file in PhotoPaint. All you have to do is replace the .bak extension with .cdr. That's what Corel intended when creating BAK files. The file contents is exactly the same as the original .CDR, just with a different extension as a safety precaution in case the original gets corrupted.

Good Vibes!


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To get a PhotoPaint image into Draw simply open both applications and drag the image from one to to other - you can then try 'Ungroup' and 'Break Apart' but this will not work on rasterised images.
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William Peck

No what happend here is if you opended it or imported it in PhotoPain it is now a Raster image, Corel Draw "cdr"is Vector Art, once converted to paint the only way is tracing the image,
or use the autotrace, but good luck with the autotrace depending on the complexity of the image, There is no otherway, Using corel draw, since it started, in 1991 excellent program
and if you have saved the file with version 10 and trying to open it in any Corel Draw version below 10 then again good luck.