Word documents corrupted after virus infection.



New Member
got a new customers pc here. she had a virus last week (one of the ucash ones) . she then "spent all day trying to fix it following instructions on various forums"

she has no idea what she actually did. the virus isn’t there anymore, but now nearly nothing works on the pc. sys restore doesn’t work and every single document is giving me the error "the open office xml file xxxx.docx cannot be opened because there are problems with its contents" details: "the file is corrupt and cannot be opened".

the files don’t open on my work pc either.

so far i have got the data off her disk and tried:
1) open and repair in word
2) renaming as a .zip and then trying to extract it (doesn’t work, zip file says it is empty) to get at the xml
3) running checkdisk on the disk and then trying to open on both her and my pc
4) using open office to open the files

all have failed. i have run out of ideas.

of course, she doesn’t have a backup (aaargh!).

so - i would like to know if there is any software i can buy that will bulk sort out all her docs, or if anybody has an idea as to how to get these to open.

thanks for your help!


New Member
Here is my updated guide on how to fix corrupt word documents with error "the file *.docx cannot be opened because there are problems with the contents.":
Change your file extension from docx to zip
Extract word/document.xml from the zip
Using a Programmer's Notepad (Such as Notepad++) replace >< with >\r\n< in extended mode to put each XML tag on its own line. (The expression \r\n stands for new line in windows.) You can use regexp mode or multi-line replace in other text editors, or copy a newline/hidden paragraph symbol and paste it in the replace box. (That works even in Word.)
Import the modified word/document.xml back into the zip archive
Rename the extension back from zip to docx
Attempt to open the document in Word now
Note that this time the error message will be more useful. It will tell you that the error is at: line 13540, as opposed to the meaningless line 2.
Go to the line specified (was 13540 for me) and remove it along with all of its XML children. (From opening tag: <w:something> to closing tag:</w:something>.) Make sure you keep the XML well formatted!
Import the modified document.xml and rename from zip to docx again.
Repeat steps 6-9 if necessary, until no more errors show up and your document is recovered.
Here's something to look at:


New Member

As 1, 2, 3 and 4 did not work, then you may try third-party tools such as DataNumen Word Repair at


It provides a free demo version so that you can try to see if the data you want can be recovered or not.

Good luck!


New Member
I am very grateful for your advice. Thank you very much! The issue has been resolved.)