How to Recover Data From a Corrupt ZIP File

Using a file compression solution to either reduce the size of files on storage media or to share multiple files or large amounts of data with another party is becoming increasingly popular. There’s a good chance you have come across one of these files and eventually, you are bound to come across a corrupt ZIP file. If this ever occurs you will not be able to extract the valuable contents of the file and will be unusable.

A Corrupt ZIP file can be caused from a variety of issues including bad drive sectors, malware, an incomplete download or transfer such as during a drop in your connection, or any other sudden interruption like a power failure or an improper shut down while working with the ZIP file.

A corrupt ZIP file may open for you anyway, but some of the original files might be missing and attempting to open damaged ZIPs typically causes Windows to prompt with the following error:

“Windows cannot open the folder. The Compressed (zipped) Folder ‘C:\Users\TechSpot\Desktop\Wallpaper Collection Corrupt.zip’ is invalid”

To extract the corrupted files from a damaged ZIP folder, you’re going to need the right file repair tool. Below, we’ve listed a handful of possible candidates that you should look into if you’re ever facing ZIP folder corruption.

WinRAR

WinRAR is a trialware file archiver utility for Windows which can create and view archives in RAR or ZIP file formats and unpack numerous archive file formats. It is one of the worlds most popular compression tool today with over 500 million user worldwide utilizing thetool.

WinRAR is not actually free, although it might as well be. Technically, you’ll be offered a 40 day trial period, after which you are meant to purchase the app. That said, it will keep working after 40 days, even if you don’t. WinRAR comes with a compressed file repair function built-in. So if you’ve got a corrupted ZIP (or RAR) file problem, give WinRAR a try.

  • Launch WinRAR and navigate to the corrupted archive using the address bar.
  • Select the folder and click Repair from the toolbar.
  • In the new pop-up window, provide the location for the repaired archive, select the archive type, and click OK.
Corrupt ZIP File
  • Once the repair is at 100%, you can then go to where you had it saved to extract the files. It will be labeled as filename_rebuilt.zip.

Disk Internals ZIP repair tool

DiskInternals is an award-winning software development company that is committed to the creating of a wide variety of the high-quality disk and data recovery tools. DiskInternals has released ZIP Repair as freeware tool help you extract the files from the corrupted ZIP folder and have them placed in a new, undamaged ZIP folder. The user-friendly wizard walkthrough makes extraction a simple task.

To use ZIP Repair:

  • Download and configure the program, and then launch it.
  • From ZIP Repair’s home screen window, click the Next button to continue.
  • Click the Browse button below the Corrupted file field. 
  • Locate and select the corrupted or damaged zip file in need of repair and extraction. Do the same with the Repaired file field, choosing where you want the clean ZIP folder to be located.
  • When finished, click the Next button.
  • You should now see all the files located inside of the corrupted or damaged ZIP folder. By clicking Next, a new ZIP folder will be created and placed in the location you selected for the repair.
  • File extraction is now possible. You can pull the files from the newly zipped folder using a Windows or third-party ZIP tool. Click Finish to close the tool.

Zip2Fix

Corrupt ZIP File

This particular tool is the easiest to use on our list and ranks up there with DiskInternals ZIP Repair as one of the best. There really isn’t much to Zip2Fix. The easy-to-use interface makes extraction simple in only a few clicks.

Launch the tool, click Open…, select the corrupted ZIP file, and the process is automatic. The tool will begin spitting out all recovered files to the source directory without prompt. No direction necessary.

WinZIP Command prompt

Did you know that you already had access to a tool in Windows that can attempt ZIP file repairs? 

Since WinZip became a universal Windows 10 app back in 2016, it has been the first stop, go-to app for ZIP file extraction. Coupled with the Command Prompt, you can use it the repair any invalid ZIP file.

  • Pull up the Run dialog (Windows key + R), type cmd into the field and press Enter. To be safe, you can always type cmd into the search field on the Windows Taskbar, right-click Command Prompt, and run it as Administrator.
  • In the Command Prompt window, change directories to where the corrupt ZIP archive is located. Type “C:\Program Files\WinZip\wzzip” -yf zipfile.zip into the field (double quotes included) and press Enter.
  • Make sure to substitute the actual drive letter for where WinZip is installed on your machine as well as the real ZIP file name in place of zipfile.zip.
  • To create a split ZIP file, add an s to the end of -yf.
Corrupt ZIP File

WZZIP will not modify the original ZIP file but instead creates a new ZIP file (or folder) named in Filename_FIXED. The “FIXED” file may still contain corrupt data as the original data will remain untouched. 

So long as the archive the data was kept in was the only thing damaged, the data itself will remain uncorrupted. If the zipped data was corrupt in anyway or it prompted a CRC error, then the file corruption will remain.

CRC stands for Cyclic Redundancy Check, which is a calculation that tests the accuracy of all data within a file. A CRC value is calculated and saved within the file so that when the file is extracted, the original data value can be matched up to the current data value to ensure nothing has been damaged. If the extracted value does not match the original value, WinZip will display a CRC Error.

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