Corrupted files can be the bane of any computer user’s existence, especially if they’re not familiar with how to fix corrupted files. Thankfully, there are solutions you can try that will allow you to recover as much as possible of your lost data, but some of these involve pretty technical steps and may require you to use third-party software like EaseUS Partition Master or AOMEI Backupper.
Read on to find out what you can do to fix corrupted files on Windows 11 and give your computer another chance at life.
Start with Command Prompt
If you’re dealing with a file that’s become corrupted, there are some quick-and-easy steps you can take from within Command Prompt. The following instructions will allow you to access your drive and make repairs without having to wipe it out and start over (although if all else fails, that’s always an option). Open Command Prompt by typing CMD into the search box on your taskbar. Right click anywhere on the screen and select Run as Administrator. Select Yes when prompted.
Restoring Previous Versions
One of my favorite tools for data recovery is Recuva. The free program, available for both Windows and Macs, allows users to not only restore files that were accidentally deleted but also recover corrupted or damaged files from any storage device. To restore previous versions of a file, head into Recuva’s File Recovery interface. Under Options, check off Enable Deep Scan and then click Start Scan.
When Recuva has finished scanning your hard drive, it will show you all of your recoverable files. From there, just select which version you want to restore (you can choose multiple options) and hit Recover. Note: You can also use Recuva as an alternative to using System Restore when dealing with system crashes or other problems.
The best way to fix corrupted files is by using PowerShell and it can be quite a bit faster than other methods. You’ll need an admin account on your machine, so sign into your computer with administrative rights if you’re not already logged in. Open a new PowerShell window by typing powershell at a command prompt or Cortana search bar. You can also open one from Task Manager > File Explorer > More ways to start . Paste in and run the following two commands.
Restore using System Restore
System Restore allows users to roll back changes on their computer to a previous state. For example, if you install new software or make changes that cause your computer to crash, System Restore will allow you restore your system back to an earlier point when it was working correctly. To use System Restore, go into Start>All Programs>Accessories>System Tools>System Restore and follow instructions.
Restore from the Cloud
One of your best bets for recovering a corrupt file is to download it from a cloud storage provider. Typically, when you save a file on a service like Dropbox or Google Drive, you’re actually saving it as an archive of sorts. Cloud storage services are smart enough to know if your document has been corrupted and, if so, they can automatically restore a previous version from their servers.
If all else fails…
If all else fails and you still can’t access your computer, pull out a new drive (or buy a new one) and install Windows fresh. It’s an unfortunate circumstance, but sometimes nothing works, at least not until you perform a clean install of your operating system. If you do have to reinstall, don’t forget that there are plenty of free tools for restoring some or all of your lost data, including Recuva and Easeus Data Recovery Wizard.