The File is damaged and could not be repaired error [FIX]

Matthew Adams
by Matthew Adams
Windows & Software Expert
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  • Today's article will teach you how to fix a damaged PDF file that cannot be repaired.
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The File is damaged and could not be repaired

The “File is damaged and could not be repaired” error message pertains to the Adobe PDF software (including the Adobe PDF Reader Internet Explorer add-on). That error message pops up for some users when they try to open PDF documents (usually downloaded or uploaded) within Adobe Acrobat or Internet Explorer. As a result, the Adobe software doesn’t open the PDFs.

The “File is damaged and could not be repaired” error highlights that the PDF is corrupted. If that’s a recurring error message that pops up for multiple documents, users will need to fix the error message instead of just repairing one corrupted file with the software. These are some of the resolutions that might fix the “File is damaged and could not be repaired” error.

How do I fix the damaged file error?

  1. Reinstall Adobe Acrobat
  2. Repair your PDF file
  3. Repair Adobe Acrobat
  4. Erase Temporary Browser Files
  5. Download the PDF Again
  6. Open PDF Documents With Alternative Software

1. Reinstall Adobe Acrobat

Reinstalling Adobe Acrobat will ensure the software is updated and replace the program’s files. Therefore, that might be enough to fix the “File is damaged and could not be repaired” error for some users. Users can reinstall Adobe Acrobat as follows.

  1. Input ‘appwiz.cpl’ in Run and click OK to open Programs and Features in the Control Panel.
  2. Select the listed Adobe Acrobat Reader software.
  3. Select the Uninstall option.
  4. Click Yes to confirm and uninstall the software.
  5. Restart Windows after uninstalling Adobe Acrobat.
  6. Click Install Now on the Adobe Acrobat DC page to reinstall the software.

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2. Repair your PDF file

If the issue is not related to your PDF viewer, then you may be facing a damaged PDf file. If that’s the case, simply fix it using a  third-party tool like Stellar PDF Repair.

The program is easy to use and install, as you only need to do the following:

  1. Download and install Stellar Repair for PDF
  2. Launch the program
  3. Select Add File
  4. Choose the PDF file you need to repair
  5. Press Repair
  6. Preview your PDfs to see if the process was successful
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3. Repair Adobe Acrobat

Users can select a Repair installation option to fix Adobe Acrobat when the software throws out error messages such as File is damaged and could not be repaired error.

That option will fix the software’s installation. Users can select Acrobat’s Repair installation option as follows.

  1. Launch Run by pressing the Windows key + R keyboard shortcut.
  2. Input ‘appwiz.cpl’ in Run and click OK to open the uninstaller in the Control Panel.
  3. Then select Adobe Acrobat Reader, and click the Change button.
  4. Select the Repair installation errors in Program setting on the window shown directly adobe acrobat reader setup
  5. Then click the Next button.
  6. Restart Windows after repairing Adobe Acrobat.

4. Erase Temporary Browser Files

  1. Press the Windows key + R keyboard shortcut to launch Run.
  2. Input ‘inetcpl.cpl’ in the text box and click OK to open the window shown directly below.internet explorer settings
  3. Press the Delete button on the General tab open the window in the snapshot below.
  4. Select all the checkboxes on that window.
  5. Press the Delete button to erase IE’s temporary files.

This File is damaged resolution is more specifically for Internet Explorer users who download documents or can’t open PDFs with that browser. Some Internet Explorer users have confirmed that clearing that browser’s temporary files fixes the issue.

5. Download the PDF again

If the “File is damaged and could not be repaired” error only arises for a few specific PDF documents, try downloading the files again. Those files probably got corrupted when downloading. So, delete the original PDF documents and download them again.

6. Open PDF Documents with alternative software

Remember that Adobe Acrobat isn’t the only PDF software for Windows. Users might find that alternative PDF software opens the files they need without any issues. Try opening the documents with the freeware Foxit reader. Click the Free Foxit Reader Download button on Foxit reader’s webpage to add that software to Windows.

One, or more, of the above fixes, might resolve “File is damaged and could not be repaired” error for some users so they can open PDF documents again. Some of the resolutions in this post might also come in handy for fixing the “File is damaged and could not be repaired” error.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2019  and has been since revamped and updated in August 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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