File recovery troubleshooting
There are numerous potential causes for file damage:
- Sudden power outage
- Computer crashes while saving a file
- Photoshop freezes or crashes while saving a file
- Network connection issues
- Hardware problems, including damaged cables, failing hard disks or RAM modules
- Triggered OS update on your computer
Still, file damage is rare. If you determine one or more of your files is corrupted, determine the cause to prevent further issues while you try to recover your file.
Troubleshoot missing or damaged files saved to your computer or network
If your image appears corrupted on screen and the damage does not save to the exported file or print, the cause is likely your graphics card or driver.
Determine the cause
The first thing to determine is if the corruption is limited to one file or occurs with several, so you can limit the potential damage.
If it's one file, the cause could be a glitch with the computer that you haven't noticed, or thought wasn't connected.
If it's more than one file, look for patterns:
- Did it occur with files that are in the same location (folder, hard disk, network, or removable drive)?
- Were they created or modified around the same time?
- Did anything change on or with the computer around the time the files were last edited?
- Did you use a plugin that led to file corruption/damage?
If you can find a pattern that indicates they shared common hardware, test your cables, try a different port, or use a different hard disk or use a hard disk instead of a network drive.
If the files were all created on the same computer, run a hardware diagnostic on that computer to check for bad RAM or other problems. This is rare but does happen occasionally and can cause file corruption.
If you've added any software to your computer around the time the images were corrupted, there could be an issue with that application or update. Check for software updates or determine if your applications have recently been updated - if required, disable the application.
Although rare, virus protection software, backup software, and font management software can try to access files while they are being written, causing damage.
Recovering a damaged file
Try any or all of these options to recover your file.
Open a back up copy
Open any backed-up copies of your image to determine if one was saved before the corruption occurred.
- Use File > Save As to save the file to a new name in a different location. (For example, use an internal hard disk or a drive that is not a removable or network drive.)
Make sure that the filename extension matches the actual file type
If you've had one of these error messages, your filename extension may not match your file format:
- Could not complete your request because it is not a valid Photoshop document.
- Could not complete your request because an unknown or invalid JPEG marker type is found.
- Could not complete your request because the file-format module cannot parse the file.
- This is not a valid Portable Document File (PDF) document. It cannot be opened.
Other errors opening files
When you open an image in Photoshop, one of the following errors occurs:
- The document filename.psd could not be opened. Photoshop cannot open files in the Adobe Photoshop file format.
- Photoshop cannot open files in the Adobe Photoshop JPEG file format.
- Photoshop cannot open files in the [other file format Photoshop should be able to open] format.
When you open a file, you get an error:
- "Could not complete your request because of a program error"
See our related helpx Program error when opening .psd files.
See our related community discussion Program Error Diagnostic Plugin feedback.
Open the file using the composite
When a file has been corrupted, you can sometimes get the file back as a composite. The appearance of the file is maintained, but the layers are lost.
To open an image that contains damaged layer data with its composite:
- Hold down shift + opt (macOS) or shift + alt (Windows) while your file is being opened.
A composite file cannot be recovered from a file when the option to maximize PSD and PSB file compatibility is turned off in Photoshop's preferences.
Use a third-party recovery utility
Strategies to prevent data loss
Battery backup and surge protectors
Avoid unforeseen power loss and power glitches by using a battery backup and surge protector for computers and other electronics.
Use the OS to back up your files
Enable file recovery in Photoshop
Enable file recovery in Photoshop's preferences. If you experience a crash, Photoshop recovers your work when you restart it.
Automatically save recovery information
Photoshop automatically stores crash recovery information at user-specified intervals. If you experience a crash, Photoshop recovers your work when you restart it. You can always set this to 5 minutes (the default is 10 minutes) if you want a more frequent backup of your data.
Save to the safest locations
The safest places to save files are the following options:
- The Adobe Creative Cloud, which automatically saves multiple backup copies of your documents so that you can recover previous versions of them
- An internal or locally attached disk formatted as APFS or HFS+ (Apple) or NTFS (Windows). These are the default formats for internal disks
Avoid saving files directly to:
- Network servers or "shares" on your local or corporate network. We recommend that you save to an internal disk and then copy the file to the network server.
- USB sticks and external drives formatted as FAT32. Saving directly to USB sticks is not as risky as saving directly to a network volume, but they are more vulnerable to software and hardware problems than disk drives formatted as APFS, HFS+, or NTFS.