View Full Version : Opening Corrupted Word file in Notepad

Hi all, a new member here.

I was wondering if anybody could assist with a question. Windows 7, Office 2010 user here. I received a corrupted WORD file sent by someone as part of a work assignment that couldn't be opened.

And then, the supposedly same WORD file sent thereafter (hours) which opens properly in Word 2010. The file size is different (107Kb for the corrupted one vs 118 Kbs for the uncorrupted one).

When I open the corrupted file in Notepad, there is a:

"Document Microsoft Word MSWordDoc Word.Document.8 9q"

at the end. That is the only 'searchable' text. From my understanding, Word 8 is a 1997-2003 Word version.

When I open the Uncorrupted file in Notepad, there is alot more searchable text for "Word", as well as "excel" (but I cannot find any reference to the the Word version).




The paragraph format of the jumbled text paragraphs are notably different too.


1) Is there any way that the corrupted Word file 'magically' messed up that bad?

2) Should the 2 files in Notepad open the same way? (type of text, shape of paragraph, size of document). Or does unintended corruption result in such a stark difference in Notepad?

3) Any way to tell if it was intentionally done?

Thank you in advance.

Hello, and Welcome

If the file was transferred via email or the internet there is always a chance it could get corrupted in transit.

Corruption can result in a difference in Notepad results.

No, you can't tell if this was intentionally done.

Try opening the file with another word processor. You can try the portable version of Abiword or the portable version of Libre Office Write. You just double click the downloaded file from portable apps and extract to a folder on your desktop. Then double click the program exe file. I would start with Abiword as it's only about 8MB.

Edit: Have you tried the Open and Repair option?

If possible right click the corrupted file and select Properties. It will show a Created Date and a Modified date. If the file was Created in one Windows version and Saved again in another at a later date, the Creation Date should be identical if we are talking about the same file. Looking under the Details tab can give you some extra information such as what computer and the owner.

Edit: Can't help on the Microsoft.document.8. Never saw that before. Maybe somebody else on the forum can give some input on it.

Edit Edit. Here is some info I found on Microsoft.document.8.

The Corrupt property details is completely empty in the corrupt file. Whereas the final working copy has that information. Total edit time is 1 minute. I tried changing the extension to "Zip" as well to extract it, and it says "Folder is empty".

What is the Creation date on the good file? That should tell you when the file was first created. If it was a re-submission of the original, I would believe the Creation data would be sometime before the required hand-in time. If the Creation date of the good file was after the submission time then that could be a problem.

When a Word document file is corrupted, then you can try several methods to recover it:

1. First of all, you can try the recovery function integrated with Microsoft Word, as follows:

1) On the File menu, click Open.
2) In the Look in list, click the drive, folder, or Internet location that contains the file that you want to open.
3) In the folder list, locate and open the folder that contains the file.
4) Select the file that you want to recover.
5) Click the arrow next to the Open button, and then click Open and Repair.

You may find more information about this at:

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/word-help/recover-the-text-from-a-damaged-document-HP005189610.aspx (for Word 2003)
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/893672/en-us (for Word 2007/2010/2013)

2. If you have multiple corrupt Word documents, then you can use the VBA macro provided in article http://support.microsoft.com/kb/893672/en-us so that all the files will be opened in "Open and Repair" option automatically.

3. There are also free tools from third-parties that can open and read Microsoft Word documents, for example,

3.1 OpenOffice at http://www.openoffice.org. This is a very famous open source project that is designed to support Office file formats, including Word documents. The software can run under Windows.

3.2 LibreOffice at http://www.LibreOffice.org. Another free office suite.

3.3 AbiWord at http://www.abisource.com. This is a cross-platform tool that works under Unix and Windows.

3.4 Google Drive at https://drive.google.com/ also support to load Word document files.

Sometimes when Word fails to open your document, these tools may be able to open it successfully. If that is the case, then after the document is opened, you can just save it as a new document which will be error-free.

4. For docx files, they are actually a group of files compressed in Zip file format. Therefore, sometimes, if the corruption is only caused by the Zip file, then you can use Zip repair tools such as WinRAR at http://www.rarlab.com to repair the file, as follows:

4.1 Assuming the corrupt document is a.docx, then you need to rename it to a.zip
4.2 Start WinRAR, go to "Tools > Repair Archive" to repair a.zip and generated a fixed file a_fixed.zip.
4.3 Rename a_fixed.zip back to a_fixed.doc
4.4 Using Word to open a_fixed.doc.

There may still be some warnings when opening the fixed file in Word, just let ignore it and Word will try to open and repair the fixed file. If the file can be opened successfully, then you can just save the contents into another error-free file.

5. If all above methods does not work, then you may try third-party tools such as DataNumen Word Repair at


I have used it to repair some word documents successfully. It provides a free demo version so that you can try to see if the data you want can be recovered or not.

Good luck!