5 Ways to Fix Corrupted/Inaccessible Excel Files

Excel is one of the key office tools in the suite of Office programs created and produced by Microsoft. Presumably, almost everyone uses it at work. Like other file formats, Excel files are prone to corruption. Corrupted files may not be opened by users and cannot be accessed. For example, when you try to access an Excel file, a prompt appears that says “The file is corrupted and cannot be opened.” How to deal with this situation? We have some suggestions for you on this issue. 

1. What is the Essence of a Corrupted Excel File?

Computer systems as we know them consist of electronic data files. And each document is built on a specific structure that defines its content. Once the correct information is provided to this structure, the file is able to function correctly and efficiently. However, when incorrect information enters the electronic data structure, the normal operation of such a file is affected, and it cannot be read properly. The system calls it corrupted. 

When an Excel file is corrupted, things can happen. Either the Excel corrupted file cannot be opened or the data inside Excel is lost or cannot be edited. The worst thing is possible data loss. Common sense says that corruption of the file itself does not influence the entire program, but when the program is corrupted, it can influence the individual files that depend on its operation. Somehow, In some cases, even if the file is not corrupted, we can’t access it in any way. So the first thing we need to do is to figure out the cause of the Excel file failure.

2. Why is the Excel file inaccessible or corrupted?

2.1 File Transfer Interruption

Congestion of the network or inappropriate downloading brought on by shutting off the downloader before the download is finished are two of the most frequent causes of data damage. Similar outcomes can also happen if data transport from external storage devices is interrupted.

2.2 Malware/Virus Infection

Some malware or virus software could attack the system and the documents of Microsoft Office.

2.3 Accidental Power Failure

Accidental power failure is also another possible cause of Excel file corruption. As it causes the Excel file to close without saving it properly, it may lead to data loss.

2.4 Abrupt System Shutdown/System Crash

Forced or sudden shutdown of the computer or the crashed system may damage files in use.

2.5 Corrupt Excel Editor

An XLSX worksheet may become damaged if it is opened in a non-XLSX editor. Alternatively, utilizing a corrupt Excel editor could corrupt any files you access with it. 

2.6 Damaged storage devices

The saved data may become corrupted on damaged or destroyed storage devices. Furthermore, changing a file extension forcibly can be done to protect data, however, doing so frequently results in the loss of the file’s contents.

3. How to fix a corrupted Excel file

If you are experiencing any of the above scenarios on your system, don’t worry. We will guide you on how to repair corrupted Excel sheets using some simple methods. Since there is a possibility of failure to fix, remember to create a new copy of the corrupted file before starting any repair process.

3.1 Repair or reinstall Microsoft Office

Problems with the software itself usually corrupt the data opened with it or prevent access to the file contents. Therefore, try opening XLSX files with another application. For example, WPS and Google Sheets.

Try opening an Excel sheet using the WPS/Google Sheet application and check if the items are readable. If this item also cannot access the XLSX form, the file itself is corrupted and needs to be repaired. Otherwise, your Microsoft Excel application is corrupt and must be repaired or uninstalled and reinstalled. Before that, it is recommended that you make some backups of all your existing document files to avoid any file loss.

How to fix MS Excel, follow

Step 1: Open Control Panel > Programs > Uninstall a Program.

Step 2: Find MS Excel, right-click it, and select Change.

Step 3: On the pop-up window, Click Yes.

Step 4: Select Quick Repair on the next pop-up window and click Repair.

3.2 Repairing the File by using MS Excel’s Repair Feature

Make sure you are using a Windows computer. We can repair Excel documents with the built-in repair feature inside Microsoft Excel.

Step 1: Launch MS Excel and click Open.

Step 2: Find the XLSX file you want to repair from the pop-up file browser, but remember not to open it.

Step 3: After you right-click the file, select Open and Repair. 

Note: Try again if “Open and Repair” is grayed out. The fact that it is still gray means that the file cannot be fixed.

Step 4: In the next pop-up window, select Repair. It will begin to repair your Excel file.

Step 5: Wait for the file to be opened. 

Note: If the file still cannot be opened, please return to this process and click “Extract Data” instead of “Repair” when prompted. 

Step 6: Save the file. Please name it with a different name.

3.3 Disable Protected View Settings in Excel

When you cannot access the Excel file. You can try this method. The preview settings in Excel will change whenever the version changes, which could make the Excel file inaccessible. Follow these procedures to modify the protection view settings:

Step 1: Launch MS Excel > Click New > Blank Workbook

Step 2: Go to the File > Options

Step 3: Select Trust Center > Trust Center Settings

Step 4: In the Trust Center Settings window > select the Protected View tab >Cancel all options in the ‘Protected Views’ tab > click OK

Step 5: Close ES Excel, and open it again. Open the corrupted file to see whether the problem is solved.

Note: When the “Protection View Settings” are disabled, the system becomes more open to outside threats and intrusions. In order to enable the “Protect View Settings,” it is advised to save the document with a new extension (such as xlsx) after accessing it. 

3.4 Check for Malware/virus attack

Files may be damaged if the system is infected with viruses or malware, and access to the files is only allowed once the virus or malware has been removed from the computer. Microsoft Defender, the pre-installed security program for Windows, makes system clean-up simple. You can also employ antivirus software from a third party (any well-known top-ranked one will do).

For scanning XLSX files, please right-click on the file and select the “Scan with Microsoft Defender” option. If you are using third-party antivirus software, there is also a corresponding option that appears, so you can just select it at that time.

3.5 Change component service settings

Windows registry changes result from modifying component service settings. As a result, there are some risks associated with this operation of the system, therefore please proceed with caution.

Step 1: Right-click the icon of Microsoft > click Run.

Step 2: Type docmcnfg > hit Enter or click OK.

Step 3: Find the Computers tab on the panel.

Step 4: Right-click My Computer > select Properties.

Step 5: Go to the Default Properties tab > select Connect in the option Default Authentication Level > select Identify in the option Default Impersonation Level > click OK.

Note: This method can only be used if the Excel file is prompted as inaccessible and is not corrupted.

4. How to recover Excel files

As mentioned earlier, once the program is corrupted, the data might be lost. The most direct way to recover the document is to use third-party software. Because this does not require you to have relevant knowledge, just download it and start using it to retrieve your files, very convenient. Now there are very many excellent recovery software on the market, such as ONERECOVERY, which can help you solve the problem in just three steps. The interface is very intuitive, and when you see the interface, you simply know how to proceed to the next step.

3 steps

5. How to prevent Excel files to be corrupted

This can’t be avoided, but we can do what we can to prevent it as much as possible.

5.1 Scan virus often

Open Microsoft Defender, or check it often with a third-party antivirus program.

5.2 Backup often

It’s important to make a backup of all your important Excel files (and other files too). To prevent your files from being permanently lost.

5.3 NO forced computer shutdown

Develop a good habit of using the computer, use the program inside the start menu to shut down, before shutting down the computer to use Ctrl + S to save the file.

6. Final Words

Next time you have a problem with a suddenly corrupted Excel file, try our Excel file-fix solution! If the file is lost, you can also use ONERECOVERY to recover it. Of course, we prefer that you don’t encounter these bad things!

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