If you have spent much time operating a computer, you know that things don’t always go as planned. While new technologies have certainly improved the relationships all of us have between the technologies that help us in everyday situations, they are still far from perfect and often subject to problems.
If you work with photos or other images, you will be familiar with JPEG files and most likely have dealt with a corrupted JPEG in the past.
But what do you do if you encounter a corrupted JPEG? This can be a frustrating and upsetting situation if you don’t know how to deal with it and can really put a damper on your workflow.
This can happen for a variety of reasons which we will look at below but before you panic, just know that there are several methods also listed here that will help you learn how to repair a corrupted JPEG file so you can get back to the task at hand.
What is a JPEG File?
A JPEG file is a common type of computer file used for digital images. This type of file has become the standard image format that contains both compressed and lossy data.
JPEG stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group and has been adopted as the standard type of file format for digital images these days because these files can compress image data to a smaller size without reducing the overall quality as much as other file types.
This characteristic of JPEG files means that they can be easily shared over the internet and across other platforms in a fast and efficient manner. The smaller size also means that these files take up less storage space and many more JPEG files can be stored on a single computer or hard drive than other file types.
Signs that a JPEG File is Corrupted
There are many different reasons that can lead to a JPEG file becoming corrupted. Sometimes there can be issues with an internal or external drive that can lead to the issue. A virus within the file or the computer that it is being stored on can also be the source of the corruption. Another common reason is simply a malfunction in the way in which the JPEG was transferred from one device to another.
If you are trying to access your JPEG files and running into issues, there is a chance that the files have been corrupted. Error messages such as ‘wrong file format’ or ‘cannot open’ might seem really frustrating because there will not always be an indication as to what is wrong with the file. If you are seeing these messages, there is a good possibility that your JPEG file or files have been corrupted. The steps below can help you address this issue.
How to Repair a Corrupted JPEG File
Method 1: Restore JPEG Photos from a Backup
A good first option when trying to repair a corrupted JPEG file is to try and restore the image from a backup file. In order to do this, you obviously need to have a backup of the file in question. If you don’t have this backup go ahead and move on to one of the next methods to try and get the problem resolved.
If you have a backup of the file saved on a hard drive, SD card, or even in the cloud, you can simply upload the uncorrupted version of the image back onto the computer or device where you want it to be stored. This seems really straightforward, and it is, but again, if you don’t have a backup source, you can’t perform this method. It is always a good idea to have all of your images and files backed up in some fashion.
Method 2: Use Command Prompt to Repair Corrupted JPEG Files
Another easy way to try and fix any problems you are having with corrupted JPEG files is to use the command prompt method. This can be done by following these steps:
- Type the letters CMD into the search bar or hold down the Windows key and the letter R on the keyboard at the same time.
- A box will appear with an area to enter text. Enter sfc/scannow and then press Enter.
- This command will instruct the computer to look for any corrupted files on the computer and will reveal any corrupted JPEG files that exist.
- If the files are found, the computer will instruct you to restart and after the restart has been completed, your files should now be repaired.
Method 3: Convert Corrupted Photos to a Different Format
A third method to try and fix corrupted JPEG photos is to convert them to a different format altogether. This is a good method if you have a few photos that are corrupted but if you encounter a larger issue in which many photos are unable to be opened, it may not be realistic as you need to convert each file directly by hand.
To convert a corrupted JPEG photo to another format follow these steps:
- Open up the Windows menu and look for File Explorer
- With File Explorer open click on View and then File Name Extensions.
- You will now see the file extension of your corrupted file as a .jpeg or .jpg file
- Right-click on the file you want to convert and then click on Rename from the window that pops up
- Rename your file to the opposite JPEG type file name. Switch a .jpeg file to .jpg and vice versa. Your computer will give you a warning that the file might become unusable but go ahead and click OK.
Method 4: Use 3rd Party Software to Repair Corrupted JPEG Files
A final method to try and repair a corrupted JPEG file is to use software specifically designed for this task. There are several different programs that are effective in completing this task and each will assist you in repairing your corrupted files. Stellar Photo Repair (Windows & macOS) makes for a great option as does Picture Doctor (Windows only).
There are plenty of other options available so you can go out and explore which one best suits your needs or type of computer.
If you do use third party software, each program will have a different method for recovering and repairing any corrupted photo files that you might have. Once you have one of these programs installed, there is typically an easy to navigate walk-through or set of prompts that will allow you to easily repair your files.
Have you ever encountered corrupted JPEG files? How did you repair them? Let us know in the comments below!
Jessica is the co-founder and content manager. She has been fascinated by the startup culture in Silicon Valley and she loves building things from zero to one. When she is not writing, she loves getting close to nature and shoot photos with her iPhone and Canon EOS 80D.