Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have a corrupt DOCX file on my USB drive. Looking at the raw code of the corrupted file, the text has nothing at all to do with the file that it should have been. It's text from a file that was on my USB drive and deleted years ago.

This makes me think that the real file was saved on the USB drive, but the USB drive's index file wasn't updated properly with where on the drive the file was saved to... hence why I'm seeing some portion of an old file that doesn't exist anymore.

Is there any software that can show me verbatim what's on the USB drive?

I'm not looking for something that can scan it and attempt a data recovery, but a program which can put together every 1 and 0 into one big string, then turn those 1s and 0s into their letters, and result in one big text file of everything that's on the USB drive. From that I could find the raw text of my DOCX file.

share|improve this question

migrated from Jul 22 '12 at 11:10

This question came from our site for system and network administrators.

A DOCX file is compressed, so you probably won't be able to recognize it by looking at it. – Wyzard Jul 21 '12 at 17:32
@Wyzard good call! – Steven Jenkins Jul 23 '12 at 1:47
IIRC many hex editors will let you examine the hard disk content at a byte level as is, I would guess some will support usb drives aswell. – Mahn Jul 23 '12 at 3:09

Yes there is, in digital forensics we use strings

cat usbkey.dd | strings 
share|improve this answer
Where do I type this in? CMD? – Steven Jenkins Jul 21 '12 at 16:23
Linux terminal, if you don't have one you can use Backtrack as a live disk. usbkey.dd is a binary copy of your USB key. – Lucas Kauffman Jul 21 '12 at 16:25

DOCX is really just a zip file, so if you rename the file from *.docx to *.zip you can try using any available zip tool (e.g. WinZip) to try and repair it. This may give you a usable result that can be restored with minimal editing, although it does depend on just what part is corrupted.

share|improve this answer
up vote 0 down vote accepted

I did find software that did essentially what I was looking for. Runtime, makers of GetDataBack data recovery software, also have a program called DiskExplorer that did let me view the byte by byte contents of the USB drive.

enter image description here

(By the way, I knew DOCX files were compressed... I was just hoping to at least find the bits of header information that are plain text to figure out if something was even supposed to be a DOCX file or not.)

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .