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10 Free Ways to Recover Corrupt Open Office
 Files In Windows

Open Office error

Some of these methods involve unzipping the Open Office files as they are zip files to begin with. If the zip is corrupt you may have difficulty even unzipping the files. Zip repair programs may help and the list of them mentioned below might help.
  1. Andy Brain's steps are quite comprehensive and good. It suggests for instance looking in the folder C:\Documents and Settings\USERNAME\Application Data\OpenOffice.org\user\backup (for XP) and C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\
    OpenOffice.org\3\user\backup
    (for Vista and Win 7) for backup versions with the corrupted file name but with the extension .bak instead of the one used before. You can then change this back to your target file's extension and see if it opens. Andy also suggests a novel method for opening stubborn files similar in effect to the manifest.xml surgery described below.

  2. Try opening word processor documents in Abiword, in Microsoft Word or even your Windows Word Pad if you have it, as that now opens Open Office documents in at least the Windows 7 that I have. Try opening spreadsheets in Gnumeric or Microsoft Excel. For presentations try Microsoft PowerPoint. You can try opening all three file types, word processor, spreadsheet or presentations in Lotus Symphony. Lotus Symphony is sometimes better at displaying and recovering corrupt files than Open Office even though it is based on it. This is especially true of Version 3 of Lotus Symphony. As noted later, any sugery on the manifest.xml, styles.xml (removal in that case) or content.xml is best followed by an attempt to open the reconstructed file in any of the other application other than Open Office or Lotus Symphony.

  3. If all your Open Office files won't open at the same time, especially if this occurs after upgrading Open Office, try resetting your profile as described here.

  4. This forum post suggests changing the extension to "zip" unzipping the document, spreadsheet or presentation and editing the manifest.xml file. After surgery is done reconstitute your file by rezipping all the files and folders and changing the extension back to odt, ods or odp that you were using before.

  5. If you can't get the file to unzip in the first place, try using CakeCMD which is an obscure unzipper but works well for our purposes because it cares less about file corruption than other unzippers. No-Frills Unzipper is another one to try which also deals with zip corruption loosely.

  6. You might also try zip repair freeware. These include Object Fix Zip and Disk Internals Zip Repair. A list of freeware zip suites with file repair capabilities is here.

  7. SilverCoder's DocToText, will extract text or data from Open Office documents, presentations and spreadsheets. It allows any command line unzipper to use with the process, so you can experiment with different unzippers (by thomas hanks). In my experience file corruption will cause it to fail but there are two different extracting modes to try with this software.

  8. You can try removing the last byte of the Manifest.xml file. The bug that requires this fix has been repaired in newer versions of Open Office. I'm not sure which version repaired the problem. Older versions of Open Office files with this bug should open fine in the newest versions of the Open Office, say version 3.2. See here for more information.

  9. Unzip your corrupt file, remove the content.xml file and copy it to a "dummy" uncorrupted Open Office file replacing the content.xml file there, and then reformat. This is suggested here.

  10. Finally the steps adapted from here worked for me with a client's file. Although the manifest.xml surgery, not the last byte removal method but the first manifest.xml surgery mentioned in step 4., also worked:

    1. Make a copy of your file first, then.

    2. Open Office (and Microsoft Office files these days too) are zipped up by default. Change your file's extension from odt, ods or odp to zip.

    3. After unzipping you will get a bunch of files and directory's. Find the content.xml file and open it with your favorite text editor, say Notepad if you use Windows.

    4. Use "find" function to find out if you have the XML tag . It should be somewhere at the beginning of document usually after the font styles and just right after the tag. Add several blank lines in your editor so you know where it starts.

    5. Find the ending tag XML tag which should be somewhere in the middle of document. Add the blank lines again. If you have the two XML tags, delete them and all data between them. Be sure, that you don't delete more or less!

    6. Get rid of the blanks lines and any spaces between the previously separated tags. Save content.xml (keep the original name and place!)

    7. Rezip the extracted data and your hopefully fixed content.xml file back to one ODT, ODS or ODP document.

    8. Try to open repaired document...and if are you lucky, then OO is able to open your document again. Actually in my experience, with this kind of repair, WordPad, Abiword, MS Word, Microsoft Excel, Gnumeric and MS PowerPoint are better able to open these altered files then OO or Lotus Symphony.

Further notes: I'm pretty much a newbie hacker program but I'm trying to impliment some of these in a web service here, although the service is temporarily down. I have the silvercoder software implimented and got the manifest.xml surgery working.

As I mentioned in the last method, it looks like with any of the surgery methods on the Manifest.xml, styles.xml or context.xml files Open Office and Lotus Symophony are not as effective as Word, Abiword, the three Microsoft Office applications and Gnumeric.

To get CakeCMD working use this command "CakeCMD extract my.odt.zip * myfoldername". Apparently you need to provide a folder name for extract to work, and if you want to extract all the files in the odt.zip file you have to use the asterisk.

To clean up XML files is a very difficult subject. You can clean them up manually but this can be hard and extremely tedious. Usually you have to worry most about the content.xml file. There really aren't any pieces of software that do automatic xml repair. Most opinions I have read about this say it's impossible.

To do as much recovery of good xml as possible from the xml files, there is a program called xmllint. If you use the "--recover" command, it will do the best job as perhaps is possible. The issue is, according to my limited testing, it does not recover any more good text or data than Open Office's own recovery processes. The best version of xmllint for Windows is part of libxml2 available here along with the packages it depends on. The Google Code project called xmllint only has the "--format" option working at the moment, which I think has little use here.

Finally any of the methods apparently work on all three types of the major Open Office applications and who knows, maybe the drawing, math and database app files too as they appear all to have the same file structure with the content all located in the content.xml file.

Also note, if Open Office annoyingly asked to recover files every time you start it, try deleting this file: C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\OpenOffice.org\
3\user\registry\data\org\openoffice\Office\Recovery.xcu