How to repair ‘recovered’ Excel file that won’t open

Consider a scenario: A Windows 10 user accidentally deletes a folder containing multiple Excel (XLSX) files created in Excel 2013. The worst part was all the deleted files were important, and he did not have a backup, which would help him in restoring the data. Nonetheless, he was able to recover those data using a professional data recovery software. Next, he tried opening each of the recovered Excel files one by one. In doing so, his happiness turned into disappointment. And the reason was, some of the recovered Excel files failed to open prompting error messages, of course, due to corruption. In this scenario, all he needed was to repair ‘recovered’ Excel files that did not open. Know how to fix damaged Excel files which were recovered after deletion in this blog!

Before delving into the Excel file repair methods, acquaint yourself with the probable causes leading to damaged or corrupt Excel files. Although not essential, it shall be an added advantage in helping you to prevent Excel file corruption issues in the future. The standard Excel file(s) corruption causes are as follows:

  • Power Outage – A power outage due to which a system closes suddenly or unexpectedly is a common cause of damaged Excel files.
  • Forced System Shutdown – Shutting down the system forcibly without closing MS Excel files is another common cause of corrupt Excel files.
  • PC Virus or Bug – Computer viruses or bugs may affect one or more data file if owners do not protect their PCs with powerful updated antivirus. Same is the case with malware attacks. The chances are that your computer is infected with one of these and has affected a few Excel files.
  • Issues with Storage Devices – Damaged or corrupted Excel files can also be the outcome of hard drive issues in the data storage systems. Logical hard drive damage is one of the most significant issues.

The damaged Excel files may prompt up with error messages. These may be:

  • ‘Excel unable to read file’
  • ‘Filename is not valid’
  • ‘This file is not in a recognizable format’
  • ‘abc.xls file cannot be accessed. The file may be read-only’
  • ‘Excel found unreadable content in (filename)’, ‘The file is corrupt and cannot be opened’
  • ‘Microsoft Excel has encountered a problem and needs to close’

There exist multiple methods to repair Excel files which got damaged after recovery, and are as follows: XML method,

  • Open Excel files with HTML
  • Inbuilt ‘Open and Repair’ feature/tool in Excel
  • Repair damaged Excel file from TMP file by using Excel AutoRecover and AutoBackup features
  • Recover data by configuring ‘calculation option’ as manual
  • Moving/copying or transferring data to a different location
  • Stellar Repair for Excel software

Taking  Stellar software versus other methods, the former is a software solution that repairs damaged (XLS and XLSX) file quickly in major three steps: Select->Repair->Save, whereas others fall into the category of manual processes and consume both time and resources. Among the manual processes ‘Open and Repair’ method is the least time and resource consuming, which you can try quickly by following the below steps:

Open and Repair method

  1. Click MS Excel tab and then the Open tab
  2. Select the damaged Excel file for repairing purpose
  3. Click the arrow present beside the Open Next, click Open and Repair tab
  4. Click either of the following:
    • Repair tab (recovers maximum data)
    • Extract Data tab (Recovers values and formulas if the repair process fails in recovering the complete data.)

Note – Use ‘Extract Data’ if ‘Repair’ is not successful.

If the Manual method is not competent enough to repair recovered Excel files that don’t open then opt for a software-based solution of deploying Stellar Repair for Excel software.

Software with 100% integrity and precision

free download


As an automated software, Stellar Repair for Excel is easy-to-use. You do not need technical know-how and skill set, as required to execute the manual processes. On analyzing all these methods, it is suggested to use Stellar Repair for Excel having user-friendly  GUI to repair Excel files that became damaged after recovery, or if the recovered Excel file(s) that you once deleted accidentally has become corrupt now. Above all, it is an excellent software with multiple features and advantages. Use it to address all your MS Excel issues or if any recovered Excel file is corrupt.

  1. Rose J. Logan November 29, 2018
    • Eric Simson November 29, 2018
  2. Claire September 30, 2018
    • Eric Simson October 1, 2018
  3. Eric Simson August 17, 2018
  4. Seamus August 16, 2018
  5. Arpad August 11, 2018
    • Eric Simson August 12, 2018

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