Fix: “File is Damaged and Could Not Be Repaired” When Opening Documents

The error often arises while accessing a PDF file in Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader. Unsupported PDFs, corrupted files, and an outdated Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader are some of the common causes that can trigger the error: ‘There was an error opening this document. The file is damaged and could not be repaired.’

Fix- There Was an Error Opening This Document. The File is Damaged and Could not be Repaired
Fix- There Was an Error Opening This Document. The File is Damaged and Could not be Repaired

Although there are plenty of reasons that can trigger this error, we have compiled most of them below:

  • Enabled Enhanced Security Mode- It turns out that if the enhanced security mode is enabled, you might encounter this error message. Therefore, you may need to disable Enhanced Security Mode before proceeding with the solutions.
  • Outdated Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader- An outdated Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader can be one of the main reasons that can cause the error: ‘There was an error opening this document. The file is damaged and could not be repaired.’ According to affected users, the error can occur due to outdated software that does not support the specific PDF file.
  • Corrupted Browser Files-  If you encounter the error while accessing the PDF file via a browser, it might be due to corrupted temporary data. To avoid this, you may need to remove the temporary browsing data to open the PDF file.
  • Corrupted PDF File-The file you are attempting to open may have been corrupted during the downloading process. To fix this, you need to re-download the PDF file.
  • Unsupported PDF File-The error could also be caused by the unsupported styles used in the PDF file, as some styles are still not supported by the AutoCAD software.

1. Disable Enhanced Security Mode.

Enhanced Security Mode is a feature in Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader that provides a method to specify the location of trusted files because some locations are not allowed in Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader. By using this feature, you can either prevent dangerous actions or permit them at your own risk. The main reason for creating this feature is to restrict irrelevant document behaviors. This is why Enhanced Security Mode may prevent you from accessing a PDF file.

  1. To disable the enhanced security mode, launch Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader and click on “Edit.
  2. Select ‘Preferences‘ from the listed options.
    Navigate to Preferences
    Navigate to Preferences
  3. Click the Security Enhanced option from the left pane, and then, under Enhanced Security, uncheck the Enable Enhanced Security option.
    Disable Enhanced Security
    Disable Enhanced Security
  4. Once completed, click “OK” for the changes to take effect.
  5. Now, restart Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader and check if the error persists.

2. Repair Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Another reason for the emergence of this error is corrupted Adobe Acrobat Reader software. Some software gets corrupted due to malware attacks, which can damage essential files running in the background. The Adobe Acrobat Reader.exe file might be one of them. Follow the steps to repair Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader:

  1. Press the Win + R keys simultaneously
  2. Type ‘Appwiz.CPL‘ and hit ‘Enter‘ to navigate to ‘Programs & Features’ in the Control Panel.
    Type the Command to Navigate Programs and Features
    Type the Command to Navigate Programs and Features
  3. Find and right-click Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader, then click ‘Change‘.
    Click Change
    Click Change
  4. Then, click “Next” and select the “Repair” option.
    Click Next to Start Repair
    Click Next to Start Repair
  5. The repair process will start. Once done, launch the Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader and see if the error is fixed.

3. Make sure Adobe is up to date

If you use an outdated version of Adobe Acrobat Reader, you may encounter this error message because the PDF file might not be compatible with the outdated Adobe Acrobat Reader. Therefore, ensure that the software you are using is up-to-date. If it is not, follow the steps below to update it.

  1. Open Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader and click on Help in the top right corner.
  2. Click “Check for Updates” from the list of options.
    Checking For Updates
    Checking For Updates
  3. Allow Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader to check for updates; if the software finds the latest updates, proceed to update it.
    Updating Adobe Acrobat Reader
    Updating Adobe Acrobat Reader
  4. Once completed, restart the software and check if the error persists.

4. Ensure the PDF file is not located in the network share.

After detailed research, we found that if the file you are trying to open is located in the Network Share folder or Roaming Profiles, you will encounter this error message. This is because the content within these folders can be shared over a network, and these locations are not allowed by Adobe Acrobat Reader.

5. Remove the browser’s temporary files.

If the error arises while opening the PDF via a browser, we recommend clearing the browser’s temporary data, which stores your browsing history, cookies, passwords, and web information. Removing the browser’s temporary files may fix this error, as corrupted temporary files can conflict with the Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader software.

  1. To clear the browser’s temporary files, press Win + R on the keyboard.
  2. Type “inetcpl.cpl” and click “OK” to navigate to Internet Properties.
    Launching Internet Properties
    Launching Internet Properties
  3. Click ‘Delete‘, then click ‘Apply‘, and finally click ‘OK‘ to save the changes.
    Deleting Browser History
    Deleting Browser History
  4. Once completed, launch the Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader and check whether the issue persists.

6. Re-download the PDF

There is a good possibility that the file you are trying to access in Adobe Acrobat Reader was corrupted during the downloading process. If there was any lag in your network, the PDF file might have been damaged and cannot be opened. You can either repair the file using third-party software or re-download the PDF file. We recommend opting for a re-download because it will not take much time. If the error persists after re-downloading the PDF file, it is probably due to the corrupted software file that has not been repaired.

7. Reinstall Adobe Acrobat Reader

If all the solutions fail to fix this, try reinstalling Adobe Acrobat Reader because the Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader files may be corrupted or damaged. This issue can be resolved by reinstalling the software. Below are the steps to reinstall the software:

  1. Click on the Start Menu and type “Control Panel” to open it.
    Launching Control Panel
    Launching Control Panel
  2. Once you navigate to the control panel, click “Uninstall a Program.
    Navigating to Programs and Features
    Navigating to Programs and Features
  3. Find and right-click on Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader.
  4. Click Uninstall and wait for the process to finish
    Uninstall Adobe Acrobat Reader
    Uninstall Adobe Acrobat Reader
  5. Once done, reboot your computer for complete installation.
  6. Then, download the latest Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader.
  7. Once finished, check whether the error has been resolved.

8. Use different software to open PDF documents.

You must know that it is not necessary to use Adobe Acrobat Reader to open the PDF file. There is plenty of software available on the internet that might be able to open those files that Adobe Acrobat Reader cannot. You can use the freeware Foxit Reader to open PDF files.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kevin Arrows


Kevin Arrows is a highly experienced and knowledgeable technology specialist with over a decade of industry experience. He holds a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification and has a deep passion for staying up-to-date on the latest tech developments. Kevin has written extensively on a wide range of tech-related topics, showcasing his expertise and knowledge in areas such as software development, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. His contributions to the tech field have been widely recognized and respected by his peers, and he is highly regarded for his ability to explain complex technical concepts in a clear and concise manner.
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