I have a damaged Word Document. Please help??

Posted on 2014-10-15
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2016-05-23
I have a damaged Word Document that was saved to a USB. It went from a size of 177kb to 4kb. The error: "Unexpected end of input. Location: Part: word/document.xml, Line: 2, column: 12679"  Is there anything that can be done? Help??????
Question by:BC Rice

Expert Comment

ID: 40383048
Modern Office (2007+) documents are zip archives. If the file size is only 4kb that means that only zip structures survived and there is no Word data in that file. The only way is to use some data recovery software to undelete previous file versions. Personally, I'm using photorec suite. It can recovery not only photos, but also another deleted files.
Good luck!

Author Comment

by:BC Rice
ID: 40383052
So...would this program be able to find an older version of it on my USB? That is where the file exists. Thank you

Expert Comment

ID: 40383063
Yes, it will find every recoverable file from your USB thumb. But during recovery don't write them to that USB drive as it will overwrite space occupied by your files (which is now marked as free) and make recovery impossible. Don't write anything on that drive before finishing recovery.
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Assisted Solution

alanccw earned 500 total points
ID: 40383086
When a Word document file is corrupted, then you can try several methods to recover it:

1. First of all, you can try the recovery function integrated with Microsoft Word, as follows:

1) On the File menu, click Open.
2) In the Look in list, click the drive, folder, or Internet location that contains the file that you want to open.
3) In the folder list, locate and open the folder that contains the file.
4) Select the file that you want to recover.
5) Click the arrow next to the Open button, and then click Open and Repair.

You may find more information about this at:

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/word-help/recover-the-text-from-a-damaged-document-HP005189610.aspx (for Word 2003)
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/893672/en-us (for Word 2007/2010/2013)

2. If you have multiple corrupt Word documents, then you can use the VBA macro provided in article http://support.microsoft.com/kb/893672/en-us so that all the files will be opened in "Open and Repair" option automatically.

3. There are also free tools from third-parties that can open and read Microsoft Word documents, for example,

3.1 OpenOffice at http://www.openoffice.org. This is a very famous open source project that is designed to support Office file formats, including Word documents. The software can run under Windows.

3.2 LibreOffice at http://www.LibreOffice.org. Another free office suite.

3.3 AbiWord at http://www.abisource.com. This is a cross-platform tool that works under Unix and Windows.

3.4 Google Drive at https://drive.google.com/ also support to load Word document files.
Sometimes when Word fails to open your document, these tools may be able to open it successfully. If that is the case, then after the document is opened, you can just save it as a new document which will be error-free.

4. For docx files, they are actually a group of files compressed in Zip file format. Therefore, sometimes, if the corruption is only caused by the Zip file, then you can use Zip repair tools such as WinRAR at http://www.rarlab.com to repair the file, as follows:

4.1 Assuming the corrupt document is a.docx, then you need to rename it to a.zip
4.2 Start WinRAR, go to "Tools > Repair Archive" to repair a.zip and generated a fixed file a_fixed.zip.
4.3 Rename a_fixed.zip back to a_fixed.doc
4.4 Using Word to open a_fixed.doc.
There may still be some warnings when opening the fixed file in Word, just let ignore it and Word will try to open and repair the fixed file. If the file can be opened successfully, then you can just save the contents into another error-free file.

5. If all above methods does not work, then you may try third-party tools such as DataNumen Word Repair at


I have used it to repair some word documents successfully. It provides a free demo version so that you can try to see if the data you want can be recovered or not.

Good luck!

Author Comment

by:BC Rice
ID: 40383096
I used the photorec program and what it provided me was a bunch of Word files that once upon a time resided on the USB disk. That was pretty neat, but it didn't seem to address the issue. It didn't give me an older copy of the corrupted file.

Author Comment

by:BC Rice
ID: 40383119
Alan: I tried using DataNumen. It looks like it's still only showing the file being 4kb in size. It is showing "dummy text", but only like 20 lines in total. The document is about 30,000 words. I'm hesitant to buy the full version just to look at 4kb of data as that obviously is not the document.

Author Comment

by:BC Rice
ID: 40383139
Alan: Yeah, looking at the actual document that was "fixed", it's just a portion of the first page. That's cool that it could even do that...but that's not the entire document.

Anymore ideas? The WinWar one would be a route I could go...but that too would require me to pay for something that probably won't help.

Do you feel like DataNumen was like the apex of your suggestion? Like, they would be the absolute best chance of resolving the issue?

Like I said, they made that 4kb readable. But it didn't locate the rest of the file.

Author Comment

by:BC Rice
ID: 40383178
Slubek -- I did the recovery...but it didn't even show me half of the *existing* Word documents currently on the USB. It gave me everything that had been previously deleted.

Should I perhaps move the damaged document OUT of the USB and then see if it feels the need to locate it inside the document? Would that make any sense?

I'm not understanding why it's only locating files that have been deleted and essentially ignoring existing files as being, ya know, present.

Assisted Solution

slubek earned 500 total points
ID: 40383228
photorec is a software used to recover deleted files. There is no need to recover files that exist - if you want them, just open/copy them.

Because of way the Office/Windows writes files (renames old file, writes new one and deletes old one) I hoped you could recover some older version. Couple of times that worked for me. Otherwise I wouldn't suggest that method.

The last thing you can do is to try to undelete Word autorecovery files - they are located in C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Word during wordprocessing. But while Word is properly closing, it removes them. So you have to find some Windows based recovery software where you can indicate the directory to recover files from. I cannot remember exact names now, but I'll ask my workmate tomorrow - he'll know.
LVL 18

Accepted Solution

web_tracker earned 1000 total points
ID: 40383537
what happens when you right click on the document can you click on restore previous versions? If you do not see that option right click on document and select properties, then select the previous versions tab. Do you see any previous versions of the file? If the thumb drive is the only place you saved the document,  and the repair tools or recovery tools do not work, you may be out of luck. I personally would never leave my only copy of an important document on a memory stick. The stick can die then you lost all of your work.
LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 41610819
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