How to Fix Corrupt Files and Folders

By Adam Cloe

Files are corrupted when a glitch occurs in a file that is used by a program. When this happens, the code in the original file becomes altered; as a result, the file no longer works. This can be a real pain, as the program will continue to try to utilize the file every time the program is running, only to give you the same error message. The process is similar with corrupted folders---the program will be trying to access a virtual "folder" that is embedded in a file. To fix these problems, you will need to reinstall or replace the damaged file.

Step 1

Identify the corrupt files. In general, the only way you will be able to identify a corrupt file is when you get an error message, which will tell you that the file "filename.abc" is corrupt. Write down the name of this file when you receive the error message.

Step 2

Locate the file. Go to the "Start" menu, click the "Search" option and enter the name of the corrupted file. Tell your computer to search hidden and archived folders, so you do not miss your file. Hit "Start," and your computer will locate the file.

Step 3

Rename the file. Once your file has been found, rename it, either by right-clicking on it when it shows up in the "Search" program or by locating it in its folder. Another way to rename a file is to highlight it and then go to the "File" menu and select "Rename." Rename the file to be something very similar. For example, for a corrupted file that is "filename.abc," rename it "filename-corrupted.abc" so you can find it again later, if need be.

Step 4

Reinstall the file. The easiest way to do this is to reinstall the program the file is a part of. This will be the program that originally gave you the original error message. When you reinstall the program, it will only replace the corrupted file, because you have renamed it. As a result, the installer will read the file as "not there" and replace it.

Step 5

Manually replace the file. If you can't find the installation software for the program, or the reinstalled file is still corrupt, you may be able to find a working version of the file online. Type the full file name ("filename.abc") into a search engine (such as Google) and look through the results. Alternately, you can go to the support pages for the program's manufacturer and look for an update or replacement copy of the file there.