I have recovered an address book .wab file from a XP machine that was formatted but when I try to import the address book in outlook it gives me an error saying it could not be imported, is there any way to repair this file to get the contact addresses back?
When attempting to recover a file from a re-formatted drive you can end up with an incomplete file. Especially if that file was one that had been edited. What happens is when the file was originally created, it was written to the disk as one contiguous file. Other files are then saved to disk after that file, then the original file was opened and added to. Since there is now no room immediately after the original file, Windows has to store the addition to another location on the drive and make a note of where each of the multiple parts of the reside in its file index.
Later, when the drive is re-formatted, that index where all the different parts of that file resided is erased. So, now all the recovery program is going to be able to find is the first part of that file ... resulting in an incomplete file.
Sometimes if this "incompleteness" (is that a word?) is merely a character or two, the program opening the file won't care, especially if it's something like a music or pic file. With many data files however information about what, where and how the data is stored within the file is at the end of the file. Therefore, if you don't have the complete file, what's left is pretty much a jumbled up mess of useless data.
I'm not saying that this is exactly what happened in your particular case, but, it is not at all uncommon to end up with incomplete, unrecoverable files from re-formatted disks.