How To Recover Data From A Corrupt Zip File

The ZIP file format is used by essentially everyone online because is the most common and convenient way to store and send multiple files securely.

Probably, there is a good chance you might come along one that has been corrupted, just a single corrupt bit in one file out of a dozen in the ZIP could prevent your ZIP archiver from opening or extracting its content.

Different factors can result in corrupt ZIP files including bad drive sectors, malware, incomplete download or transfer, or any other sudden occurrences like power failure or an improper shut down while working with the ZIP file.

A corrupt ZIP file sometimes may open for you, but some of its original contents might be missing, and attempting to open damaged ZIPs typically causes Windows to prompt you with an error message.

We made a test by recreating a corrupt ZIP file by archiving an old collection of pictures and deleting parts of the file’s code using a hex editor (Sublimetext).

In our finding, our total collection dropped from ten photos to two and even the files could not be opened even though it was being displayed in the File Explorer.

The success rate of you recovering a corrupt ZIP file varies depending on the kind of tool you use, the contents of your ZIP, and the degree to which it has been corrupted.

The popular software to which you might probably have installed already, WinRAR provides a built-in repair tool for damaged ZIP files.

Open the ZIP file then go to Tools > Repair archive. When we tested with our re-created corrupt ZIP, WinRAR managed to recover six of the ten files from our damaged file.

However, WinRAR is only free for a set time (40 days). A license must be purchased for $30 before the continued use of the software.

Other alternate software is WinZip and 7-Zip. Both software doesn’t seem to have integrated repair features but the companies do offer in-depth information pages about corrupt ZIP files.

Alternate Tools To Recover Corrupt ZIP Files

There are a couple of tools that can recover corrupt ZIP files. Below are some of the tools you can use,

  • DiskInternals Zip Repair – This can be downloaded for free. When tested, it managed to recover nine out of the ten photos from our recreated corrupt ZIP. The software is dedicated to recovering partially damaged ZIP files and it launches with a wizard-style prompt.
  • Zip2Fix – Has no complicated interface. Beginner recommendation. The software automatically begins to recover corrupted ZIP files when opened and outputs the recovered files in the source folder without any prompt. When tested, it recovered nine files out of the ten just like the DiskInternals Zip Repair.
  • ObjectFix Zip – This made it to the last of our tool recommendation because, when tested, it couldn’t recover any of our files from the corrupted ZIP. I added it because it might work for you.

Note that, not all corrupted ZIP files can be recovered. Hard damaged files may not be recovered by all the tools mentioned. All tests carried out were on partially damaged ZIP files.


We all have come across damaged ZIP files once or more. Most people delete their corrupted ZIPs thinking it can never be repaired. Partially damaged or corrupted Zip files are easy to repair. Before you hit on the delete button, try reading the full article posted here to fix your ZIP file.

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