Free Methods to Repair Corrupt JPEG Files

Siddharth Rawat Siddharth Rawat Updated On - 18 Feb 2020

Ever since the invention of the modern camera that allowed us to click our pictures and save them to the computer in an image format, our memories have become permanent. Now, we can save an unlimited number of images on the computer and see them at any time. The advent of the smartphone in the last decade has increased the number of images that we are capturing today. But, the threats to these images have also increased. Various reasons can corrupt the images and make them inaccessible. JPEG is the most popular format for saving and sharing images. Due to this, the JPEG related data corruption is on the rise. Here are a few popular and efficient methods to repair JPEG files without even spending a single penny!

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Causes of JPEG Corruption

  • Abrupt system shutdown
  • Power loss and system shutdown during the file transfer process
  • Header related corruption in the JPEG images
  • Malicious attacks on the image files, leading to data corruption
  • Improper sharing of files via an infected medium
  • Hardware and software issues.

Types of Issues with JPEG Files

  • The inbuilt preview tools such as Windows Photo viewer are unable to open these files
  • The JPEG file opens, but with degraded image quality

One might see the error message while opening the JPEG files, as shown in the snippet below.

Error message while opening JPEG files

Types of JPEG Corruption

Check out the types of JPEG corruption listed below if you want to know more about JPEG Corruption.

  • The Header Corruption in JPEG File
  • It is the most common corruption in the JPEG file in which the header file gets corrupt. A corrupted header looks like the following:

    You can easily deduce a corrupt header in the JPEG file as it gives no preview in the Windows file explorer. Sometimes, the file explorer shows the error that ‘It looks we don’t support this format.’ Or ‘Invalid JPEG Marker.’ If the corruption is recognizable, then file explorer shows the message ‘File appears to be damaged, corrupted or too large.’

  • Data Corruption in JPEG File
  • When the JPEG if severely corrupt or damaged, then it opens but has display issues. The image appears incomplete, or the colors appear dim.
    These distortions might look like the following:

  • Virus and Malware Attacks
  • The image files are quite vulnerable to external attacks from any virus or malware, as a small change in the format or header can corrupt them easily.

  • Corruption in the Hard Drive Sector
  • If there is a corruption in the hard-drive sector where the JPEG file is saved, then the JPEG is also bound to have effects of the corruption.

  • Improper or Unfinished Scan by Anti-malware Software
  • If a scan was going on and you tried to access the JPEG file at the time, then the image may get corrupted.

Top Free Ways to Repair Corrupt JPEG Files

Don’t lose your hope over it yet as we are soon going to see some fascinating ways to repair corrupted JPEG files for free. Check out the methods listed below if you want to repair JPEG files for free.

  • Change the Image Format
  • By changing the file format of JPEG/JPG files to another format might just do the trick. One can try importing the corrupt image to the Paint tool, which comes preinstalled with Windows. Then go to File > Save As and then select the format of your choice. Tinkering with different formats might undo the effect of corruption from images.

  • Repair with Image Editors
  • Professional image editing tools such as Photoshop, Lightroom, and Picasa can also be used to repair benign JPEG corruption issues. It is often the case that merely opening these corrupt JPEG files with these tools and renaming them fixes the problem.

  • Run the CHKDSK Scan to Repair the Bad Sector in the Hard Drive
  • The CHKDSK scan fixes the bad sectors on the storage drives. Use the following steps;

    1. Go to Run and open the Command Prompt.
    2. Type CHKDSK (drive-name) /r.
    3. After the completion of the scan, restart your computer and check for the JPEG files.
  • Restore the JPEG File from the Backup
  • If you have taken the backup of your Windows files and it includes the particular JPEG file, then you can use the restoration process to retrieve the corrupt image file.

  • Repair with a HEX Editor
  • A hex editor is a tool that is used to display raw data of the image file. One can edit the image with a hex editor to get rid of corruption. If some of the data is missing (showing zero bytes), then there can be difficulty in repairing the file. Some of the most common hex editor tools are HxD, Hex Workshop, Cygnus, and Neo.

  • Use the Online Image Editors
  • There are different online image editors like Adobe Photoshop, Picasa, and Lightroom that can be used to create and modify image files. If your image is not opening, then you can try to access the image in such editors and fix the issues.

  • Use a Professional Tool
  • When these manual methods do not work for the repair of the image file, then the professional JPEG Repair software may be a savior for you. Kernel Photo Repair software is an efficient alternative for manual methods.

    Let’s see the step-by-step process of software;

  1. Download and install the software. The run it from the Applications menu. Then click the big Plus (+) button to add the images.
  2. Choose the images which are either not opening or showing error message while opening. Click Open.
  3. After selecting the files, click the Repair Files button.
  4. Browse the location to save the repaired files and click OK.
  5. After the tool has repaired the image files, the status will be shown as Success. You can save a report in CSV format with the button ‘Save report to CSV.’
  6. Finally, click the Close button.

A corrupted image file header can make JPEG files inaccessible, using JPEG repair tool you can quickly fix broken or corrupt JPEG file headers in no time.


In this article, we have put forward some of the most promising and tested methods that can be used to repair corrupt JPEG/JPG files. This post discusses top 5 JPEG file errors and ways to fix them effectively using Kernel photo repair tool. Therefore, it can be concluded that it is a highly efficient tool to repair all image files irrespective of severity of file corruption.

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