All office documents corrupted

Posted on 2008-11-08
Last Modified: 2013-11-22
OS: Windows XP
Office 2003

I am unable to open all Microsoft Word, Excel, Power Point, and Access files.  Get error message like "Word experienced an error trying to open the file".  I can open Word files with WordPad but most of is garbage.  Where I can find a chunk of legible text I recognize this keeps popping up ~dulla^@204~ .  I tried taking the document to another computer and opening but with same result.  I am at a loss.  I have tried a few recovery software (demo versions) but they keep giving me the data I see in Wordpad.

Any help will be greatly appreciated.
Question by:judahlion_ethio
    LVL 3

    Expert Comment

    you've got a virus that has infected the majority of your media files. try running some anti virus scans.

    if you don't have an anti-virus program download AVG

    Author Comment

    Thanks for the reply,

    Have done scans using Kaspersky AV and it took care of the viruses for me.  The part that's vexing me is trying to get the files back.  This includes Microsoft Office Files and PDF files.  Any idea on how to go about that?


    Author Comment

    It seems suggestions for this problem are hard to come by.  

    From what I have been able to gather, the damage to the files was done by a virus.  Kaspersky AV detects it as Win32.Agent.cb.  It infects pretty much all .exe files.  KAV claims to disinfect the files but they are unusable after disinfection.  Have had to reinstall OS and applications.  The MS Office, PDF, ... files are clean according to KAV but cannot be opened on any computer.  Attempts to repair these files using recovery applications  were unsuccessful.  Word repair applications allow you to open the file with MS Word but after the first two or three pages the rest of the data is junk or part of the data is replaced by "~dulla^@204~".  Interesting thing about MS Word files is that if the document corrupted is two or three pages the data is intact.  MS Excel files are pretty much all junk.  Haven't been able to open PDF files with Adobe Reader, but viewing with text editor shows the same annoying text replacing most of the data.  There is no apparent pattern to the text replacement.

    Any suggestions from anyone would be greatly appreciated.

    Accepted Solution

    The problem is a virus infection.  Kaspersky identifies it as W32.Agent.cb.  It infects almost all of .exe files and in almost all of the cases makes Microsoft Office and PDF files unreadable by the applications.  It also infects any USB drives plugged into an infected computer.  So if your back up is on a USB drive chances are your backup media is infected.  Recovery of the Microsoft Office and PDF files using various recovery software is not possible.  After recovery the files are readable but the data contained is junk, with the aforementioned annoying text replacing most of the legitimate data.  Kaspersky claims to repair the infected .exe files but again these files are useless after repairing.  What to do?

    1. Best solution is to format and do a clean install.
    2. If not, there is a tool (INSA tsere dula) developed by Information Network Security Agency of Ethiopia which claims to repair .exe files.  Have had some success with this when it comes to Windows executables but not other .exe's.  It also removes services started by the virus.  Steps I followed: Install the tool, reboot, run the tool, reboot, run the tool again, reboot and install AV (Kaspersky or Avira), run full system scan with the AV, reinstall your applications. You can try it out their web address is  But the tool will not recover your data (Microsoft Office or PDF files).  You will need to reinstall all of your applications after cleaning with the tool and AV.

    Hope this helps.


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