Quite often, when working with packed data in the form of compressed archives of the RAR format (and not only it), one can encounter all sorts of errors with messages that the archive itself or the files or folders located in it are damaged and cannot be extracted. Most users, alas, absolutely do not know how to open a damaged RAR archive, believing that this is not possible initially. In this situation, all users can be immediately encouraged, since there are methods to restore the integrity of the packed data, unless critical damage is observed, for example, in the form of mismatch of checksums. We will consider the simplest of them below.
Error "RAR archive is damaged or has an unknown format": what to do first?
But first, let's imagine a situation where a user downloaded packaged data from the Internet, and used exclusively trusted sources. The download seems to have gone without errors, but when trying to unpack the archiver program reports that the RAR archive is corrupted (cannot be opened using the standard method). If we are talking about a possible data corruption, there is a way out. However, if you receive CRC error notifications or the archive ends unexpectedly, it is best to repeat the download using another Internet resource. It is possible that on the site from where the initial download was made, the archive was already in this state.
How to recover a damaged RAR archive using a “native” program?
It is clear that downloading the file again, especially if it is large, can take a very long time. But what if paid traffic? After all, this is an additional material cost! Few users know that it is much easier to do in such a situation, and without resorting to reloading.
How to open a damaged RAR archive? First of all, you need to use the main utility for working with data of this format - WinRAR program. It is advisable to update it to the latest version.
After starting the application, in the window of the program’s own file manager, you need to find the archive stored on the disk or removable media, select it, and then select the archive restore item from the operations menu, after which you will need to indicate the format of the damaged file to the application (in our case, RAR, and not ZIP), and also select the location to save the recovered data. After confirming the operation, in 99% of 100 cases a new archive can be opened in the standard way (by double-clicking on the file) or in the application itself.
Extract files in parts
Now let's see how to open a damaged RAR archive in a different, no less effective way. If anyone does not know, in the WinRAR program it is completely optional to unpack the entire archive. This can be done in parts, with the preservation of damaged files in the specified location.
To do this, you need to start the standard unpacking, but in the menu for selecting the location for saving the extracted data at the very bottom of the window, check the box “Leave the extracted files on the disk” or “Do not delete files extracted with errors” (for different versions of the archiver). It is possible that at the end of the procedure, some slightly damaged data inside the archive itself can be retrieved.
Restore or open an archive using the RAR Recovery Toolbox
Finally, we will dwell separately on how to open a damaged RAR archive if the above methods have not given the desired effect. To perform such operations, you can use the small utility RAR Recovery Toolbox. True, it is paid, and without registration, you can only analyze the damaged archive, but you won’t be able to restore the data. However, as an option, you can use this application. It is enough to select the desired archive in it and follow the instructions of the "Wizard".
In this case, it will be necessary to mark all the files to be analyzed and restored, simultaneously paying attention to the exclamation mark icon opposite each of them. If it is blue, recovery can be done. With red, no.
The situation is almost identical to the previous case, when at least part of the information can be extracted from the archive. It may well be that only some unnecessary files like text instructions or something else will be damaged, and the main components of the program, if the program was actually loaded in the archive, will be restored, which will in no way affect the installation or the operation of the application.