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The most popular attacks Part 1: Rip offs and risks posed by scareware

It’s the nightmare of all nightmares: You work for hours, if not days, on a document, and then find it doesn’t want to open the next time you want to work on it. Either because the program crashes on opening or it throws some sort of an error code at you. But, fear not – in most cases your work isn’t lost forever and you can still rescue your document. Read on for tips on how you can use some tried and tested methods that usually succeed in getting your work back.

Tip 1: Open your document using WordPad or LibreOffice.

If it’s a text file causing you bother, first try to open it using a different word processor. First give the basic word processor WordPad a go – it comes pre-installed with every Windows PC. You can also try the free LibreOffice suite, available from: Right-click the bothersome file, click Open with, and then select the alternate program from the list. If the file opens successfully, save it under a different name and continue to work on it.

Tip 2: Repair Word or Excel

Press the key combination Windows + R to open the Run window. Type winword /safe for Word or excel /safe for Excel, and then hit the enter key. Word or Excel still crashing when you try to open your file? Try repairing them.

To do that, call up the Run window again (Windows key + R). This time, type control and then hit the enter key. On the top right, set the “View by” option to Large icons and click on Programs and Features (Windows 7 or 10). Now right-click Microsoft Office and click Change followed by Repair. Then simply follow the wizard’s instructions.

Tip 3: Change the file extension

Office 2007 and later stores office files in the XML (Extensible Markup Language) format. If none of the above steps work, try the following:

  1. Press the key combination Windows + E to open Windows Explorer. If you’ve got Windows 10, click the View tab and set a checkmark on the top right next to File name extensions. If you’re running Windows 7, go to the Extras menu and then click Folder Options. On the View tab, remove the checkmark next to Hide extensions for known file types under Advanced settings. Click OK to confirm the change.
  2. Now navigate to the folder where the defective document is stored. Click the file name once so you can change it. Rename the file, changing it from .docx (for text documents) or .xlsx (for spreadsheets) to .zip, hit enter, and confirm by clicking Yes.
  3. Following that, unzip the new zip file you’ve just created. To do that, right-click the file and click Extract All…. Now select a destination folder for the zipped file and confirm by clicking Extract.
  4. You will now find Word documents in the “word” folder, and Excel spreadsheets in the “xl” folder. Double-click the relevant folder to open it. The “Document.xml” file includes your document’s text, and you’ll find your spreadsheet under “sharedStrings.xml” – along with a host of formatting information.

This post is also available in: German