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How to Recover Corrupt Files in Windows

File corruption occurs when a computer cannot finish opening, moving or writing to a file. This causes the file to change in an unexpected way, potentially garbling the contents. The corrupt file might be completely unreadable or unusable depending on the extent and location of the corruption.

How to Recover Corrupt Files in Windows

To limit media damage, turn off your device as soon as file corruption occurs.

In Windows computers, data corruption often occurs when a program crashes or when a computer loses power during a normal operation. However, mechanical issues can also cause or contribute to the issue. For example, if a hard drive's read/write heads cannot find certain sectors due to tracking issues, corruption will occur.

Data corruption affects hard drives, RAID arrays, flash media, solid-state drives and on all other digital devices associated with Windows operating systems. To treat corrupt files, data recovery engineers need specialized file utilities and a detailed knowledge of common Windows file types.

Secure Data Recovery Services offers dedicated recovery for all storage media and for individual files. With a Certified Class 10 ISO 4 Cleanroom and the industry's most experienced engineering staff, we provide consistent results and fast recoveries. Contact our customer service team to set up free diagnostics or for more information.

Common Symptoms of File Corruption

The symptoms of corruption vary, but Windows will typically notify users with an error message when a file is unreadable due to corruption.

Corrupt files may open and present garbled or unreadable information, substituting an apparently random string of numbers for missing data. This is an especially common symptom with corrupt pictures, videos and documents. If Windows system files are corrupt, the operating system may have trouble booting. The computer will often display a blue screen error(often known as the "Blue Screen of Death") before shutting down due to corrupt system files.

Occasionally, several files will become corrupt at the same time. This can indicate an actuator head tracking issue or another serious mechanical failure. If your device displays widespread file corruption, shut it down immediately and do not attempt to operate it.

Causes of File Corruption

As mentioned above, sudden power losses and program crashes are major causes of file corruption. However, corruption can occur suddenly and without warning.

Common causes of file corruption include:

  • Blackouts and Brownouts
  • Actuator Head Failures
  • Worn Media
  • Program Stability Issues
  • Operating Issues During File Transfers
  • Hard Drive Read/Write Head Tracking Issues

Because file corruption is often related to mechanical issues and media wear, you should never run data recovery software on heavily corrupted devices. Operating the storage device could cause media damage and significant file loss. Occasionally, file recovery utilities will successfully treat a single corrupt file, but seeking a free media evaluation from a professional data recovery company is always the safest course of action.

Choosing a Data Recovery Provider

To treat file corruption in Windows operating systems, professional data recovery providers need fully qualified laboratories. Hard drives, solid-state drives and many other digital devices are extremely susceptible to contamination, and to repair the damaged components of these devices, engineers need to work in an appropriately certified Cleanroom with advanced filters and environmental controls.

Secure Data Recovery Services owns and operates a certified Class 10 ISO 4 Cleanroom, which allows fewer than 10 contaminants per cubic foot. By treating all mechanically damaged media in this environment, we provide better recovery rates and faster turnarounds than our competitors.

We also take media privacy seriously. Unlike other providers, we maintain SAS 70 and SSAE 18 Type II Certification. We post our security audit documents online to give our clients a detailed overview of our procedures and protocols.

Secure Data Recovery Services' certifications include:

  • SAS 70 and SSAE 18 Type II Certification
  • PCI Security Certification
  • Information Systems Security Association Member
  • General Services Administration Contractor Certification
  • Green Business Certification

Visit our certifications page for more information regarding any of these credentials.

Free Diagnostics and No-Obligation Price Quotes

To treat data corruption, we use secure, proprietary utilities developed for Windows filesystems. Our engineers always treat mechanical issues in our certified Class 10 ISO 4 Cleanroom, and we create bit-by-bit clones of all devices to eliminate any chance of in-lab media damage. We recover most corrupted files in a matter of days, and our 24/7/365 emergency services have an even faster average turnaround of less than 48 hours.

Secure Data Recovery Services offers free diagnostics for Windows hard drives, solid-state drives, flash drives, camera cards, RAID arrays and other devices. Each evaluation report provides an accurate turnaround estimate, a price quote and other essential case information. We have offices in more than two dozen major cities to provide you with a fast, local resource for professional data recovery.

To get started, call our customer service team today.