Document Corruption
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Users Guide
Tutorials

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Flying Pillcrow - trademark of Madison Wisconsin Criminal Defense Lawyer Charles Kenyon'n Word sites - symbolizing the wish to make Word fly!

 

 

This site maintained
as a hobby
as part of my
 criminal defense
attorney web site
 in
 Madison, Wisconsin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flying Pillcrow - trademark of Madison Wisconsin Criminal Defense Lawyer Charles Kenyon'n Word sites - symbolizing the wish to make Word fly!

 

Users Guide
Tutorials

Basic Formatting

Complex Documents
Tables of Contents
Tables of Authorities
Cross-References

Confidentiality
and MetaData

Numbering

Sections and
Section Breaks

Headers and Footers

Styles

Boilerplate
Building Blocks
Autotext and Autocorrect

Tables

Track Changes
& Compare
Documents /

Merge Documents

Template Basics
Normal.dot

Troubleshooting

Document
Corruption

Third Party
Vendors
Directory

Flying Pillcrow - trademark of Madison Wisconsin Criminal Defense Lawyer Charles Kenyon'n Word sites - symbolizing the wish to make Word fly!

Use Google to
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Usersguide to
Microsoft Word

 

 

 

 

Other Word
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Asked
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Microsoft Word

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Free
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:
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Flying Pillcrow - trademark of Madison Wisconsin Criminal Defense Lawyer Charles Kenyon'n Word sites - symbolizing the wish to make Word fly!

 

 

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 criminal defense
attorney web site
 in
 Madison, Wisconsin.

 

 

 

 

 

Document Corruption

What You Will Learn

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:
bulletIdentify a corrupt document
bulletCorrect a corrupt document
bulletBetter understand macro viruses
bulletTake proactive steps in Word to prevent future problems using AutoSave

Additional Written Resources
bulletMicrosoft Knowledge Base articles listed throughout this chapter.
bulletQ87856 - Troubleshooting Damaged Documents in Word 97 for Windows (Knowledge Base)
bullet How to troubleshoot damaged documents in Word 2007 and in Word 2010 (Knowledge Base)
bullet How can I recover a corrupt document and why did it become corrupt? MVP Dave Rado on the MVP FAQ site.
bullet Fixing Broken Word Documents by Kate Evert at Microsystems
bullet Microsoft Word 2010 Bible by Herb Tyson, MVP
bullet
Potential Causes of DOCX Corruption - Problems saving to USB Devices
bullet http://social.answers.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/wordcreate/thread/73a1e1b0-e6cf-43b8-a97f-0b01b5c33da3/
bullet This chapter in Word format
Commercial recovery programs:
bulletLevit & James has a program called CrossFingers that claims to repair damaged Word documents most of the time. It is specifically aimed at documents that won't work with Lexis-Nexis' CompareRite. A demo is available for download.

Click to return to table of contents page of Legal Users' Guide to Microsoft Word.Click to go to Microsoft Word new users frequently asked questions site in a new browser window.
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This page last edited by Charles Kenyon on Tuesday 12 April 2016

More on recovering a corrupt document see http://word.mvps.org/ 

 

Warning Warning  While information in this chapter may be useful in recovering corrupted documents, it's important to understand that none of these recommendations are guaranteed to restore a corrupt document. Try them at your own risk. Any macro code is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind, either express or implied, including but not limited to the implied warranties of merchantability and/or fitness for a particular purpose.

CK Note: The best protection against document corruption is a good system of backups.


Overview

Being prompted with a message that the document that you're trying to open may be corrupt is one of the worst experiences that you can have when working with any software application. Corrupted documents can cause any application to exhibit unusual behavior if you are able to open the document. Such behavior occurs because the application attempts to make decisions about what to do next based on incorrect information in the corrupted document.

This chapter provides information on how to reduce your chances for encountering corruption, advice on how you might be able to recover a corrupted document, and information on macro viruses.

I have been told and believe that the Word 2007-2013 (365) document format is less prone to corruption. Microsoft Word 2010 Bible by Herb Tyson, MVP.

Common Causes of Corruption

One of the primary causes of document corruption is when a document is converted from one format to another and back repeatedly. This process is sometimes called round-tripping. Round-tripping should be avoided at all cost! If not, your chances of document corruption increase greatly — it is no longer if the document will corrupt, it's when. For more information on round-tripping and other ways to work with converted documents see the chapter on conversion.

Another common cause of document corruption is storing, accessing, and saving a file from diskette or other removable media. Removable media is useful for transporting files, but once you are ready to work on the file again, be sure to save the file to your computer's hard drive. Work on it there, save it to the hard drive and then, from outside Word, copy it back to your removable media. This popped up originally with floppy disks but can be true of flash drives and certainly of recordable CD-ROMS.

Another sign that will appear to be indicative of corruption can actually be the result of infection by a macro virus. A macro virus works like a conventional computer virus, but takes advantage of Word's structure and functionality to replicate and trigger when certain events occur. Many macro viruses are only nuisances and don't cause any damage, but some can be quite dangerous. This information is repeated and discussed in more detail below.

Not from Microsoft - additional cause of document corruption: Master document feature
bulletUsing the Master Document Feature - don't use it! Through Word 2010 the consensus of people on the microsoft.public.word newsgroups is that this will cause document corruption, often without warning. It is hoped (but not expected) that this situation will be remedied in a future release.

Charles Kenyon

 

 

Identifying a Corrupted Document

Corrupted documents often exhibit behavior that is not part of the program's design (for example, infinite repagination, incorrect document layout and formatting, unreadable characters on the screen, error messages during processing, system hangs or crashes when you load or view the file, or any other unusual behavior that cannot be attributed to the normal operation of the program). These behaviors can be caused by factors other than document corruption.

To rule out other factors, use the following troubleshooting steps:
bulletCheck for similar behavior in other documents.
bulletCheck for similar behavior in other programs.
bulletTake the file in question to another computer and attempt to duplicate the behavior.
bulletUse a different printer driver and attempt to duplicate the behavior.
bulletRename any templates attached to the document and attempt to duplicate the behavior.
bulletChange other system components (such as video drivers or fonts) and attempt to duplicate the behavior. For example, if you are using an OEM version of a video driver, switch to a Microsoft Windows video driver using the Windows Setup program.
bulletDisable any third-party programs that are running (such as terminate- and-stay-resident programs [TSRs], font managers, screen savers, and system shells), then attempt to duplicate the behavior.

If the problem occurs only with a single document after performing the steps above, your document has probably been corrupted.

Correcting a Corrupted Document

There are several techniques you can use to try to correct a corrupted document. Which method you use depends on the nature and severity of the corruption and the nature of the behavior exhibited. Although many of the methods that follow succeed regularly, not every corrupted document can be recovered. A backup copy of the document is the best way to recover a corrupted document.

Convert the File to Another Format, then Convert it Back to Native Format

This is the easiest and most complete document recovery method; always try it first. Save the file in RTF file format; this format preserves the formatting in your Microsoft Word for Windows document. After you save the file in RTF format, reopen the document in Word for Windows, and convert it from RTF. If this method succeeds, the file corruption may be removed during conversion. If the corruption persists after you save the file in RTF file format, try saving the file in the following file formats:
bulletOther word processing formats
bulletText Only

 
Note Note  Saving files in Text Only format frequently corrects the document corruption problem; however, all document formatting is lost. This method requires more reformatting; therefore, use it only after other file formats fail to correct the problem.

CK Note: Per Geoff W. at Woody's Lounge saving an Excel 2000 file in HTML and then saving it back to XLS removed all corruption while preserving macros and formatting. So apparently even though HTML is a native format, there is some conversion going on.


Copy Everything Except The Last Paragraph Mark To A New Document

Word associates a wide variety of formatting with the last paragraph mark, especially section and style formatting. If you copy everything except the last paragraph mark to a new document, the corruption may be left behind in the original document. In the new document, reapply the section or style formatting.

 
Note Note  You can select everything except the last paragraph mark by pressing CTRL+END, then CTRL+SHIFT+HOME.

Copy The Uncorrupted Portions Of The Document To A New Document

Sometimes you can determine the location of file corruption in your document. In such cases, copy everything except the corrupted portion to a new file, then use the following steps to reconstruct your document:
bulletAfter you copy the uncorrupted portions of your document to a new file, save a copy of the corrupted document in Text Only format.
bulletOpen the Text Only file. Copy the text from this file that was in the corrupted section, and paste that text into the file that contains the uncorrupted portion of your document.
bulletReformat the sections you pasted, and then save the recovered document.

Copy Text and Paste As Unformatted Text

If you can open the document but the document is exhibiting odd behavior that could be due to corruption, you can select and copy the text, create a new document, and choose Edit > Paste Special > Unformatted Text. This strips all of the formatting and underlying problems within the document and provides a clean copy of the text within the document use styles to quickly reformat the document text.

Save as a Previous version of Word

If the document can be opened, save it as a Word 6.0 document. If that is not successful, save it as a Word 2.0 document. This often allows the file to be recovered without corruption.

Open The Damaged Word Document In Draft Mode

Sometimes (not always, due to the nature of damaged documents) you can open a document successfully in draft mode when it will not open in other views. Once you open the file, you may be able to recover or repair the file.

To switch to draft mode in Word, choose Normal from the View menu, then choose Options from the Tools menu, select the View tab, and select the Draft Font option.

-or-

Run the following macro to turn off screen updating, open your damaged document, switch to draft mode, and then reactivate screen updating:


Sub Main
ScreenUpdating 0
FileOpen .Name = "FILENAME.DOC" ' substitute your filename
ToolsOptionsView .DraftFont = 1
ScreenUpdating
End Sub

 
Note Note  In the preceding macro, substitute the name of your damaged document for the "FILENAME.DOC" argument text.

Using this macro may enable you to open documents that you cannot otherwise open due to damage that affects printer setup, page layout, or screen updates in Word. For example, if a general protection (GP) fault occurs in Word before the document opens, you may be able to avoid the GP fault by opening the document using the preceding macro.

Recover Text From Any File

If a Word document will not open and you need to at least get a copy of the text within the document, you can choose File > Open, and in the Files of type drop-down list, select Recover Text From Any File. Using the Recover Text From Any File converter does have its limitations. Document formatting will be lost, along with anything that is not of a text nature. Graphics, fields, drawing objects, and so on, will not be converted. However, headers, footers, footnotes, endnotes, and field text, will be retained as simple text.

 
Note Note  If the Recover Text From Any File converter is not installed, you will need to re-run Setup to install this converter.

 
Note Note  When you change the Files of type box to Recover Text from any File in the Open dialog box (on the File menu, click Open), Word will 'remember' this setting and will use it the next time you open a document. To avoid this problem, reset the Files of Type box back to Word Document (*.doc) after you have recovered the document.

Attempt To Recover A Document That Will No Longer Open, By Linking A Good File With A Blank Document And Then Changing The Link Source To The Damaged Document.

Use the following steps to link and change the link to the damaged file:

  1. Create a new document. Type This is a Test. Save the document.
  2. From the Edit menu, choose Select All.
  3. From the Edit menu, choose Copy.
  4. From the File menu, choose New.
  5. From the Edit menu, choose Paste Special.
  6. Select either Unformatted or Formatted text, and click Paste Link.
  7. From the Edit menu, choose Links.
  8. The Links dialog box appears. Select the filename of the first linked document and click Change Source (in Word 2.x, the button is Change Link).
  9. The Open dialog box appears and asks which document you want to change the link to. Select the document you can no longer open and click Open.
  10. Click OK in the Links dialog box (in Word 2.x, enter the path and filename).
  11. The data/text from the damaged Document will appear (provided there was any recoverable data/text). On the Edit menu, click Links, and select Break Links (Cancel Links in Word 2.x).
  12. You can now reformat and save the recovered text. This method works because during a link, part of the header information is not read. This allows you to open the file if this part of the header is the damaged area of the document.

 

More on recovering a corrupt document see http://word.mvps.org/ 

 

 

Macro Viruses in Word

A macro virus may use Word's macro programming language (VBA) to spread itself through your computer and even the firm network. Macro viruses can cause damage to the document that has the virus, or to other computer software on your machine. Macro viruses can infect Word documents, Word templates, and any other program that uses a programming language.

Unlike previous viruses, macro viruses do not infect programs; they infect documents and templates. When you open a document or template that has a macro virus, it will infect your system. The virus will spread to other documents and templates you may have on your system. Some macro viruses are not harmful, but can be annoying and frustrating for users. Be aware that there are some macro viruses that can be very destructive.

Available Knowledge Base Articles regarding Viruses (all by e-mail)

Q134727 What to Do If You Have a Macro Virus (by e-mail)

Q211800 WD2000: What to Do If You Have a Macro Virus (by e-mail)

Q163932 Frequently Asked Questions About Word Macro Viruses (by e-mail)

Q161515 Macro Virus Warning Displayed When No Macros Exist in File (by e-mail)

Q164339 Macro Virus Warning Message When You Start Word (by e-mail)

Q224506 WD2000: "Melissa" Word Macro Virus Alert (by e-mail)

 
Warning Warning  Your firm should invest in a good virus protection software program.

How to Reduce the Chances of Macro Virus Infection
  1. Install and update anti-virus software that is specifically designed to detect macro viruses. For a list of anti-virus software vendors see: http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q49/5/00.ASP.
  2. Set a security level in Microsoft Word — Word 2000+ Only. From the Tools menu, choose Macro and then Security. On the Security Level tab, select the security level you want and then click OK. Recommended security level for individual users: Medium. (CKK)
  3. Protect the global template (Normal.dot). To prevent some macro viruses, you can apply password protection to the Normal.dot. To do this, alternate-click on the Normal.dot file and choose Properties and select the Protection tab. Apply a password, confirm the password and click the OK button. You can also set password protection by choosing Tools, Macro, Visual Basic Editor. Alternate-click on the Normal project and select Normal Properties. Apply password protection and click OK.

Many, but not all of the viruses add macros to the Normal template. By protecting it — you eliminate this risk.

 

Word 2007/2010 - Autosave - recovering unsaved work

Helping You Recover Your Work in Office 2010 - Autorecover

http://blogs.technet.com/b/office2010/archive/2009/09/22/helping-you-recover-your-work-in-office-2010.aspx

Have you ever closed Word after making a bunch of changes, and then accidently clicked ‘No' when asked if you want to save your changes?  Then you suddenly realized what you have done, only to find that there was no way to recover your work?  You are not alone.  In fact, so many people were in similar situations that we improved Office 2010 so you can get that document back!  We call this feature Versions and I would like to spend a little time introducing it to you.

 

Recovering More of Your Work with a Shorter AutoRecover Interval http://www.informit.com/articles/article.aspx?p=731710

Automatically Saving Your Work Frequently http://www.informit.com/articles/article.aspx?p=731710&seqNum=2

Save Numbered Backup Versions of Document http://www.word.mvps.org/FAQs/MacrosVBA/SaveIncrementedFilename.htm

Save Dated & numbered Backup versions of a document.

http://www.gmayor.com/save_numbered_versions.htm

A Real AutoSave

http://word.tips.net/Pages/T000157_A_Real_AutoSave.html

 

Making Backups as You Work 1

http://www.msofficetuneup.com/2008/06/01/making-backups-as-you-work-in-word-2007/

Making Backups as You Work 2

http://www.informit.com/articles/article.aspx?p=731710&seqNum=5

Saving in Document Format from a Macro http://word.tips.net/Pages/T000427_Saving_in_Document_Format_from_a_Macro.html

Save the current document in two locations add-in for Word 2007 & 2010 - http://www.gmayor.com/SaveInTwoPlacesAddIn.htm

More on recovering a corrupt document see http://word.mvps.org/FAQs/AppErrors/CorruptDoc.htm

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