Data corruption can happen to anyone on any computer at any time because you never know if your important files are being placed at the bad sector of a hard drive. This will cause the file to become incomplete and unreadable. The same thing can happen for a ZIP file where multiple files are compressed into one and all it need is just one corrupted bit to prevent some file archiver in opening and extracting the file. Here is an example of trying to open a corrupted ZIP file from Windows 7 Explorer that says “Windows cannot open the folder. The Compressed (zipped) Folder ‘C:\Path\to\file.zip’ is invalid“.
Although it is great that Windows 7 support creating and extracting ZIP files by default without third party software, but it is definitely weak. If you are experiencing problems in extracting a ZIP file, there are some software that can help you to fix them but most of them are shareware that cost money. Here we will introduce 6 working ways to repair the corrupted ZIP file so you can extract it without problems.
DiskInternals is a company that specializes in data recovery and they’ve released ZIP Repair as a freeware. It only takes a few clicks to repair the corrupted archive file through the user-friendly wizard. Simply select the corrupted file to recover, the location to save the repaired file and the program shows you the list of files that can be recovered.
Zip2Fix recover files from damaged ZIP files by simply extracting the good ones and then zipping it back to a new archive file appending _ZFX at the end of the file name. To use it, run the program, click on the Open button to locate the damaged ZIP/SFX file and it will automatically start scanning for the good files available to repack. Do take note of the installation of adware during setup which can be avoided by unchecking the checkboxes.
3. Object Fix Zip
Object Fix Zip is a dedicated free tool that attempts to repair corrupted or partially damaged archive file. The whole process involves an easy 4-step wizard style where you add the files to be checked, specify the location to save the repaired file, recovery process and finally exploring the repaired files. This program was last updated on 2008 which makes it a bit obsolete in trying to fix today’s broken archive files. It failed to repair one of our damaged ZIP file that we used in testing but you can still give it a try and it may work for you.
If you haven’t notice, some of the file compressor software comes with a built-in tool to repair corrupted ZIP files. After testing a bunch of them, we conclude that only a handful of them really works. Although all of the below archiver software are shareware, but they can be used without limitation other than getting the nag screen when opening the program.
Run PowerArchiver, click on the Tools tab and select Repair ZIP. The Repair Zip Archive dialog box will open and you can click on the folder icon to browse for the corrupted ZIP file that you want to repair. Click the Start button to start fixing. The fixed ZIP file will be saved under the same file name with an additional _PAFixed.
WinRAR is able to repair ZIP and RAR format. Run WinRAR and select the corrupted ZIP file from the file manager. Once the corrupted ZIP/RAR file is selected, go to Tools and select Repair archive. The repaired file will be saved under a new file with “rebuilt.” appended to the front of the file name.
All you need to do is open the corrupted ZIP file with ALZip. The program will prompt that the file is corrupted and will ask you if you want to restore the file if it can be restored. Just click the Yes button and the restored file will be saved under a new file with .repair appended at the back of the original file name.
Final Note: The success rate of recovering files from damaged archive files highly depends on the corrupted bit at the affected file. For example, if the corrupted archive file contains only one file, the chances of recovering that single file from the archive is nearly impossible. However if there are a lot of files in a corrupted archive file, you can probably get part of it back if only a small part of the archive file is unreadable.