Having folders and folders of images doesn’t mean you are a hoarder. After all, whether you took them yourself, someone else did, or you downloaded them from the Internet, they have a sentimental value at least. But what if things go wrong? An error when copying or trying to compress them, an incomplete download, or even hard drive failure? A part of the image is now blurry, discolored, or you can’t even preview it, even though the file size isn’t impacted. Those are all common issues, and a topic of our article on how to recover corrupted images.
What is a corrupted image?
A corrupted image is an image that is not accessible or is distorted. If the data inside the image is extremely corrupted, the operating system will not be able to even open the image. If the data is partially corrupted, you might see a distorted or noisy version of the image. Whatever the case is, recovering a corrupted image is entirely possible given that certain conditions are met. If the image is encrypted due to malware or other similar issues, you can follow our guide to recover encrypted photos.
These are the 7 methods to recover a corrupted image –
1. Check if you have a backup
If one file is corrupted, maybe the other isn’t, right? If you’re a diligent person who regularly backs up files to an external hard drive or the cloud, for example, this will be a breeze. Simply verify whether there is a copy of the file, download or transfer it, and it just might work without any extra steps. If you don’t or the backup file is corrupted as well, proceed further. The principle is the same if you downloaded the image from the Internet. Locate the source by using your browser’s history, and re-download the file.
2. Rename the JPEG File
The idea sounds stupid, but if you’re desperate, there’s nothing you can lose. Make a copy, and simply rename the copy to something else. Make sure not to change the original extension, JPEG or JPG.
3. Try Google Images reverse search
This option is for the cases when the picture isn’t original. The process is simple.
- Go to Google Images.
- Press the icon of a digital camera.
- Click on Upload an image. (You may also directly paste the URL if it is uploaded somewhere.)
- Click on Choose File.
- Navigate to the corrupt image.
- Click Open.
- Preview the results. If there are any, pick the one with the largest image size.
4. Convert the JPEG File
If changing the extensions and the file name failed, and you cannot locate a duplicate through Google Images, it’s time to try and change the entire image type. Although the software for both Windows and Mac exists, it would be time-consuming and put you at unnecessary risk of malware and keyloggers. Our recommendation would be to go with online converters.
Converting JPEG to JPG/JPG to JPEG
Before you start, if you cannot see extensions, do this.
- Type Show file extensions in your Start bar.
- Spot the highlighted section, Change settings to show file extensions, and make sure the box is checked.
- Click on Show settings.
- Make sure Hide extensions for known file types is unchecked.
- Click on Apply, then OK.
- Verify the extension of a corrupted file, and determine whether it’s .jpg or .jpeg. Always keep a copy of the original file.
JPEG to JPG
- Go to the Online-Convert.com. This is just one of our recommended websites, you can pick an alternative website with the same function.
- Drag and drop the JPEG file to the green rectangle. Alternatively, you can click on Choose Files and browse for it.
- You can play with Quality settings and Compress options. We recommend the Best quality and High compression.
- Click on Start Conversion.
- Once the process is done, and you’re satisfied with the size, click on Download or Download file as ZIP.
- Check whether the image corruption is gone.
Any photo extension to JPEG
- Once again, we picked Online-Convert.com for your convenience.
- Drag and drop a JPG file to the green rectangle, or click on Choose Files and locate it on your computer.
- Once again, play with settings as you wish. We recommend choosing the Best quality and a High degree of compression.
- Press on Start Conversion.
- Simply Download the image directly or Download the file as ZIP.
- Verify whether the image is still corrupted.
Converting JPEG to PNG, BMP, TGA, TIFF, and SVG
In case the corruption is still the bane of your existence, it’s time to go a step further.
- Go to IMG2GO. Many websites can do the same, we chose this one because the design will feel familiar to you.
- Once again, click on Choose File and locate the file on your hard drive. Or, you can drag the file to the light blue rectangle.
- Pick the target format from the drop-down menu. There is no right or wrong choice, it’s a trial and error. Start with PNG, for example.
- Play around with quality. Our recommendation would be somewhere around 30%.
- It’s completely up to you whether to leave Antialias checked or not.
- Click on the green-colored START button.
- Click on Download.
- Open the image and check whether it is still corrupted.
- If it still is, repeat the same process, only choosing other formats. We recommend BMP, SVG, TIFF, and TGA.
5. Use an Image Editing Software
If conversion didn’t work, let’s try an image editing software you already possess on your computer. Let’s start with Microsoft Paint on Windows computers, and Preview on Macintosh.
- Right-click on the image.
- Click on Edit. It will open the image in Paint.
- Spot the topmost menu, and click on File.
- Click on Save As.
- Choose the JPEG picture.
- Rename it to something different from the original name and save it.
- Open the newly saved image and check for signs of corruption.
- The process can be repeated with saving to PNG or BMP.
- Right-click on the image.
- Choose Open With, then Preview.
- Click on File.
- Click on Export.
- Choose a format. We recommend starting with JPEG.
- Pick a different name than the original.
- You can experiment with saving to different image formats.
6. Use a Photo Recovery Software with Corrupted Image Recovery
If all else fails, you might consider giving a photo recovery tool that supports corrupted image recovery a chance. There are several free photo recovery software on the market. You can use almost any one of them –
Using Stellar Repair Tool to recover photos
- Download the software from the link above and install it.
- Launch the software from the desktop.
- There is a large icon of a document with Add File underneath. Click on it.
- A browse window pops up. Navigate to the corrupted image, select it, and click on Open.
- Once you see it in the table, click on Repair in the bottom right corner.
- The software will tell you whether your image was Extracted, Repaired, or requires Advance Repair. In the latter case, your image was severely corrupted and will most likely require the help of an image repair professional.
- If the image was Repaired or Extracted, you can select it and click on Save Repaired Files.
- Then, pick a new name and location to save it.
7. Perform a disk error check
Before you pay for professionals to take over and give it their best shot, try this on Windows.
- Copy the corrupted image to an SD card or a USB drive and plug it in.
- Search for Command Prompt in your Start bar, and open it.
- You will see a black window with a flashing underline.
- Type chkdsk X: /f. Replace X with the drive letter of your external drive. If it’s E, for example, it should look like chkdsk E: /f without a dot at the end.
- Press Enter on your keyboard and wait for the process to finish.
- Restart your computer and try to open the JPEG file again.