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Desperate to Recover Text from .docx files

Word corrupt .docx

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Week before Christmas accidentally used Quick Format on my External Hard Drive (F:) instead of the USB Memory Stick on (E:). Bought Unformat online and managed to retrieve everything - I thought.  Reformatted, partitioned and split the external drive into two and set one part up to use as a file store and the other for daily back-ups.  Then I went away for Christmas and when I got back went to open a Microsoft Office Word 2010 document and got the following message: 


"The file name.docx cannot be opened because there are problems with the contents."


When I click "Details" I get the following error message:


"The file is corrupt and cannot be opened."


"Word found unreadable content in name.docx.  Do you want to recover the contents of this document?  If you trust the source of this document, click yes."


"The file name.docx cannot be opened because there are problems with the contents."


When I click "Details" I get the following error message:


"Microsoft Office cannot open this file because some parts are missing or invalid."


Unfortunately the 50 ish files in the 6 or so directories contain my life's work!


Over the last four days, I have tried various recovery programs to get other versions of the files back - but nothing. 

Then tried various ways to extract the text from the files that I have.  Again nothing except sometimes a lot of meaningless symbols, except in one case where I retrieved a string of unconnected words in English that I did not write!

In a few of the files, strangely, there was only whole word there, which was "KINDLE". 

Tried "Open and Repair" and "Recover Text From Any File " options from within Word.  Nothing.  

Was advised to install Foxit Reader and try to open the files with it, but that did not work.

Also installed OpenOffice but could not retrieve any text that way either. 


Perhaps most depressing was the message from Paul Pruitts "Corrupt DOCX Salvager" program saying:

"The word\document .xml file. which contains all the text within the .docx file,is either missing from the xml collection within the docx file or is empty.  Sorry there is no text to recover."

Might have cried at that nice apologetic message if I was not in a sort of frozen numb state, focused on recovering these files and avoiding thinking about how my life will be if I cannot get "my babies" back!


Sometimes Word / Open Office ask me what "ASCII Filter Options" to use, out of dozens available from  a drop down box containing options such as Western Europe (ISO-8859-15/EURO) or Unicode etc  Have tried lots but maybe I am just trying the wrong ones?  Can anyone advise which one to select?

So there do seem to still be some possibilities?  Some hope?  Have read that .docx files are based on .zip or have .xml files embedded.attached or something and that using code others have written to extract and "Parse", whatever that is etc?  Unfortunately all this is beyond me and my above average but limited knowledge of computers and I desperately need the help of experts.  



Edited by Tavia66, 31 December 2015 - 08:46 PM.

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    GeekU Senior

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Hi Tavia66, I'm really sorry for your dilemma,


If it is so important to you I would recommend you trying a paid document recovery service. I have good experience with online.officerecovery.com. You could see a preview of the recovered file before paying (to see if they were really successful.)

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GeekU Freshman - thanks very much for the reply and suggestion.:)

Unfortunately I have already tried the demo version and the files are just full of rubbish - numbers and symmbols etc. 

Recovered other .docx files - one I do not care nearly so much about - and was able to convert them to .zip and extract to folder, examine the files, find document.xml in the word sub directory of that folder and get text back - BUT this will not work on the documents I want and need. 

When I try it I get the following message:

"Cannot open file: it does ot appear to be a valid archive.  If you downloaded this file, try downloading the file again."

I click OK and then get:

"Errors occurred while extracting.  Do you want to view the last output?"

I click "Yes" and get:

"End-of-central-directory signature not found.  Either this file is not a Zip file, or it constitutes one disk of a multi-part Zip file."


Trying rescans of teh drive with Recuva - set to 3 levels of searching.  It will take 12 hours,  Can only hope that brings up better versions of the files.

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