How to Repair Corrupted ZIP Files

ZIP files are used in a variety of ways to easily and quickly compress large files into smaller versions that can be shared or downloaded faster.

This compression can really speed things up when trying to send large files such as high-definition images, software downloads, and any other type of file that contains a lot of information.

Once this file has been downloaded, it can be opened up and converted back into its full file information.

ZIP files come in useful and are very common but they are not immune from problems. Unfortunately, these files can become corrupted due to a variety of reasons and you may experience difficulties with opening and accessing them if this happens to you.

There are a few methods that can deal with this type of situation and this article is going to show you how to repair corrupted ZIP files on a PC or Mac.

Corrupted ZIP File Symptoms/Causes

ZIP files can become corrupted for a variety of reasons. The most common symptom of a corrupted ZIP file is that you simply cannot open the file.

Upon downloading the file, you might see a message stating that the file cannot be opened or you might click on the file to open it only to discover that nothing happens once you do so.

A virus or other errors can be the cause of this corrupted and sometimes it can also be done to a formatting issue.

Other reasons for a corrupted ZIP file can be caused by an incomplete or partial download of the file due to a bad internet connection or power interruption.

These issues with ZIP files can occur often and without warning and happen to anyone. It’s important to know that it is pretty easy to fix these files once you know the correct steps to do so.

If you see an error message when you try to open or download the ZIP file that says “Compressed (Zipped) Folders Error,” this is a good indicator that the file is corrupted and needs to be fixed before it can be accessed.

Let’s look at the steps you can take to fix these corrupted files. By following the steps listed below, you will be able to fix the problem and access the information in your compressed file again.

How to Repair Zip Files on Mac

If your ZIP file is corrupted or damaged on Mac, we recommend using the Terminal app to repair it. TutsPlus has a video tutorial for this. Follow the instructions here:

Update: if you’ve used the above method and you got zip errors like I/O bad address, output file write failure, etc., try this app The Archive Browser — it has a trial version that is free for 30 days.

If you can’t find the zip file or it has been deleted, use Mac data recovery software. You’ll likely retrieve the file as long as it’s not overwritten yet.

How to Fix Corrupted ZIP Files on PC

1. Redownload the Corrupted File

Sometimes a corrupted zip file can be fixed really easily. It can be as simple as redownloading the file and trying to open it again.

If your computer believes there to be an issue with the file or there was any sort of interruption while downloading the file, your system may deem the file corrupted or block it from opening.

This is a good first step to explore as all you will need to do is simply try to download the file and open it again.

To re-download the corrupted ZIP file follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Make sure to delete the ZIP file that is not opening and possibly corrupted from your computer before redownloading
  • Step 2: Open the source of the ZIP file again. This could be from a website, an email attachment or any other source containing the ZIP file in question
  • Step 3: Re-download the ZIP file
  • Step 4: Save the file to the desired location on your computer
  • Step 5: Open the file once it has been downloaded

It’s important to note that with any ZIP file, you will need compression tools to open and access information contained within this file.

Almost all computers will have these compression tools built into their operating software but you will have to download a third-party compression tool if yours does not have this included.

2. Remove and Reinstall Compression Tool

Another method of fixing corrupted ZIP files is to remove and reinstall the compression/decompression tool you have on your computer.

Sometimes there are errors within the software and by removing and putting the software back on your system, you can remedy this problem.

Follow these steps to attempt this method:

  • Step 1: Locate your compression tool software in the Apps & Features folder on your computer
  • Step 2: Click on the program and select Uninstall
  • Step 3: Once the program has been completely uninstalled, download and install the same software again
  • Step 4: Launch the program and attempt to open the ZIP file

3. Use CMD (Windows 10)

The command prompt administrator can also help you to fix corrupted zip files. If you are familiar with running commands, this is an easy method to use.

  • Step 1: Open the Command Prompt administrator
  • Step 2: Navigate to the directory where the corrupted ZIP file is located
  • Step 3: Enter this text into the prompt window – C:\Program Files\WinZip\wzzip” -yf zipfile.zip
    Step 4: Press the Enter key

4. Use Anti-Virus Software

If your ZIP file is corrupted due to malware or a virus, running anti-virus software can remove these issues from your file and allow you to access it.

If you have anti-virus software installed on your computer, all you need to do is open up the program and run it. This should locate any existing virus or malware on your system and you will be able to remove it.

Once you have run the program, attempt to open the ZIP file again.

If you don’t have anti-virus software installed on your computer, you will obviously need to download and install this before attempting this method to repair your corrupted ZIP files.

5. Use Third-Party ZIP Repair Software

Another option you can use to fix any corrupted ZIP files you are dealing with is to use third-party software.

WinRar (for Windows 10) is a common software used for this purpose and comes recommended. This software is easy to use and once you have it downloaded onto your computer you can use it to repair ZIP files by following the steps below.

  • Open the WinRar program and find the ZIP file you are having problems with
  • Click on the file and then click on the Tools menu
  • Click Repair archive
  • Select a location for the repaired file
  • Click Close after the file has been repaired within WinRar
  • Double click the repaired file and select Extract to and a location you wish the file to be placed

Stellar File Repair (for Windows only) can extract user data from corrupt or severely damaged ZIP files created in WinZip, as well as repair corrupt MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint documents, and files.

Final Thoughts

A corrupted ZIP file is usually not that big of an issue. This common problem happens to many of us and it can be quickly and easily remedied using any of the steps above.

There is always a chance that the error with the ZIP file is not as easy to fix but if you run through all of the steps listed here, there is a really good chance you will be able to repair and fix any corrupted zip files you encounter.

Have you ever experienced a corrupted zip file? How did you fix it? Let us know in the comments below.

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