Solving the Error “The file is damaged and could not be repaired” When Opening a PDF in Internet Explorer

My Problem:

Using Internet Explorer 9 on a brand new installation of Windows 7 Professional, a user could not open certain PDFs that were located on a website. Some PDF would appear to begin downloading and then after a few moments, a simple error message would pop up:

The file is damaged and could not be repaired.
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The document could be opened if it was first downloaded and then opened with Adobe Reader. It was only a problem if IE tried to open it in a browser tab.

Oddly, various other PDFs that were accessed with the browser could open as normal.

Possible Solutions:

There are two possible solutions to this issue that I am aware of.


The problem might be due to be an overflowing temporary internet files folder. I noticed that other PDFs could be viewed in IE. The ones that could open were smaller than the PDFs that were giving the user problems.

A temporary fix is to delete all temporary internet files and restart IE. A more permanent fix is to empty the temporary files folder at each exit. You can also increase the disk space available to the temporary internet files folder.

To delete temporary internet files upon exiting IE, go to Tools Menu >> Internet Options >> Advanced Tab >> Security Section >> Check the box next to “Empty Temporary internet Files Folder when Browser is Closed”

To increase the amount of space on your hard drive that IE can use to store temporary files, go to Tools Menu >> Internet Options >> General Tab >> Browsing History section >> Click the “Settings” button >> Edit the number next to “Disk Space to Use”


A second solution that is possible is as simple as updating Adobe Reader. I know, I know – it’s too simple. However, check to make sure you have the latest version. If you do, uninstall and re-install it.

In the user’s case, it was an older version of Adobe Reader. I updated it to the latest version (Adobe Reader X point something-or-other as of the writing of this post).

Other Possibilities:

There remains two other major culprits. The first being IE itself. Some have said that using one particular version of internet explorer causes the problems. No one seems to agree which version solves the problem because it seems that any version of IE going back to version 6 has experience this issue. That leads me to believe that the problem is rooted in something fundamental to IE and/or the Windows OS in a way that IE relies upon. You might want to try uninstalling IE and re-installing it.

Lastly, make sure that you have the proper updates for your installation of Windows. Another one of the potential problems that existed in my scenario is that the client machine did not have the latest Windows updates.


  1. Adam Gorge

    September 13, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    This PDF file corruption error occured either due to improper download/upload of pdf files or by virus attack. Two more solutions to resolve this error & repair corrupt pdf file are third party pdf recovery software & Adobe Acrobat built-in repair utility. PDF Recovery Software repairs damaged files in most possible cause of corruption. Stellar Phoenix PDF Repair is best tool!


  2. Amanda Atherton

    January 15, 2013 at 7:29 am

    My problem was the first listed in this article – overflowing temporary internet folder. Reducing the file size before upload solved the issue for me. Thanks for helping me to solve this!


  3. R. Steph

    March 8, 2013 at 8:22 am

    I am having this issue now as well… foxit did not work. chrome and IE 10 have the same issue….


  4. Julia

    May 7, 2013 at 8:56 am

    The clearing of temporary files worked for me. Thanks for posting this!


    • Wesley David

      May 7, 2013 at 8:58 am

      Great to hear! Thanks for letting me know which approach worked for you.


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