Archive is either in unknown format or damaged [RAR, WinRAR]

Vlad Turiceanu
by Vlad Turiceanu
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  • Users often complain about getting The archive is either in unknown format or damaged message.
  • As you most likely know already, this happens when you try to download a zipped or a RAR file.
  • To read more about such archive tools, take a look at our File Management Software section.
  • Lastly, do bookmark this PC Software Troubleshooting Hub to find similar tips for your issues.
Archive is either in unknown format or damaged Fix

Have you tried to download a zipped or a RAR file just to encounter the error message The archive is either in unknown format or damaged when trying to open it?

Rest assured that you aren’t the only one complaining about this unpleasant WinRAR situation and, most importantly, we are here to guide you.

To get a better grasp of this, do note that these issues usually are the result of RAR file corruption, CRC errors, virus attacks, and not only.

Therefore, instead of imaging the worst-case scenarios, follow our detailed troubleshooting tips below.

How to fix The archive is either in unknown format or damaged?

1. Give a try to WinZip


Before proceeding with the actual solutions, do consider that the issue could be a result of a temporary or even permanent glitch of WinRAR itself.

You’ve seen that the message The archive is either in unknown format or damaged pops up unexpectedly and leads to a supposed corruption of the RAR file.

Since you experience this issue within WinRar, do consider opening the archive with WinZip this time. Navigation is straightforward, with the guarantee to easily unzip all major file formats.

Moreover, the interface easily adjusts to suit touchscreen devices, while you can connect to Dropbox, Google Drive, and not only, in order to work smoothly on the go or at the office.



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2. Run a malware scan using Vipre

try to use Vipre

It’s not uncommon to discover that severe malware attacks lead to corrupt RAR files. Your antivirus usually plays a vital role in the security of your data and handsets.

If the issue is indeed caused by a virus infection or anything similar, it’s time to think of using an award-winning antivirus such as Vipre.

Long story short, it offers rock-solid protection against all virus threats and extra features to keep you safe from the latest online scams.

Moreover, with over 20 years of experience in antivirus/anti-malware solutions, you don’t even have to worry about the usual false positives that you get from other antivirus options.

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3. Try to redownload the zipped or RAR archive file

redownload the zipped file

The archive is either in unknown format or damaged annoying issue may also be the result of an incomplete download.

Therefore, as easy as it may seem to be, don’t hesitate to redownload the zipped or RAR archive files, most likely to a different location, and see if this solved the problem.

If they aren’t, the file could genuinely be in a damaged condition and none of your actions can make things any better at this point.

In case you’ve tried to download the file from a specific website, don’t hesitate to inform the site owner about the issue. If you received it from a friend via email, let him know about the issue as well.

However, we do hope that one of our above solutions proved to be helpful for you as well.

Don’t hesitate to share with us how you’ve managed to solve The archive is either in an unknown format or damaged error by using the comments area below.

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