How To: Extract broken RAR archives

WinRar Error

Although .rar archives are a brilliant way of storing your favorite files, they can unfortunately break at the most inopportune of times. There are various reasons why a RAR file might be broken but it does not necessarily mean that you should lose all hope immediately. There are also various ways that your .rar extracting program will tell you that your file or files are broken, usually via the “CRC failed in file name” error or by outright telling you that the archive is damaged and cannot be extracted. For today’s guide, I will show you how to prevent this from happening in archives you create and also how to try and extract files from broken archives.

1. Re-downloading a broken archive

Force Re-check

This is the simplest solution and the first one you should try when dealing with broken archives. Of course, it depends entirely on the method you used while downloading the archive as well as where it came from. For example, if you downloaded the file through a torrent, you can force a re-download through your favorite program. The exact steps will differ for every program but just as an example, you can right click on a uTorrent item and select the “Force Re-Check” option. This will force the program to check the integrity for the files. If it finds that something is missing or that a file is corrupt, it will resume the download, keeping the working files while re-downloading any broken ones. If you have acquired the file from the internet, you will usually have a couple of options. If the file is small, simply download it again (either from the same source or from a new one). If you have gotten it from a forum or from somewhere like a Usenet service, you can ask people there to provide you with the files you are missing instead.

2. Attempting a partial extraction of the archive

WinRar Keep Broken Files

This is also quite simple really. Although you can attempt an extraction with 7zip, you should give WinRar a try for this. After you have downloaded and installed the program, right click on your .rar file and select the “Extract files…” option. This will pop up a window with advanced settings. Check the “Keep broken files” box and attempt to extract them. Although this will not repair the corrupt files, it will at least extract the archive which might give you access to the majority of the files in there so you can save some of it.

3. Preventing future mishaps with recovery records

WinRar Recovery Records

If you want to create a RAR archive and have had an experience with corrupt files, it might be a good idea to create recovery records as well. Note that this is only possible for the .rar format and only when you are creating a multi-file, split archive. In the archive creation window, simply check the option that reads” Add recovery record” (in WinRar, other programs will differ). This will include the recovery records in your archive that your compression program can then use to repair the archive’s corrupt files. Taking WinRar again as an example, the recovery records add 3% to the archive’s size by default. This can easily be changed in the Advanced tab if you wish to lower or increase the amount. You will then get the option of repairing the archives via the right click context menu when the time comes.