Repair the “File is corrupt and can’t be opened” issue in Office 2010

Here’s a question from one of our readers,

I keep getting this error that “The file is corrupt and cannot be opened” in a few Office 2010 apps. How do I fix it?

Thanks for the question. The error message that you’re getting can be triggered due to many reasons, and doesn’t have any definite solution. We will cover a few angles here, and provide solutions for them.

Squash Office 2010 bugs

Nearly all Office 2010  apps had a weird bug that results in these error dialogs when trying to open an older Office format. The bug has been squashed since long, so you should install all available updates for Office 2010 using Windows Update.

If that does not help, try these steps,

  • Open the troubling Office app, and go to File –> Options –> Trust Center.
  • Under Trust Center settings, select Protected View and uncheck all options under it.
  • Restart the Office app, and it should open the files just fine.

office protected view

You can also reinstall Office 2010 if you absolutely have to (make sure you get all the updates before opening any file!).

Fix corrupt files

It might be actually that the file is actually corrupt. This can happen if,

  • the file wasn’t saved properly
  • the file was infected by malware
  • the portion of the hard disk storing the file contents has been corrupted

As a rescue measure, you can look for “shadow copies” which are previous versions of the file automatically stored by Windows. Right click on the file, go to Properties –> Previous Versions, and restore the most updated version of the file (if any). That should fix the problem. Also, scan your computer for malware and check the hard drive for errors (right click –> Properties –> Tools –> Error checking).

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