Repair Corrupt JPEG Header

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Repair a corrupt JPEG header using JPG-Repair

JPG-Repair allows you to repair corrupt JPEGs (headers) using a reference or sample file. A sample file is an intact JPEG file that was shot with the same camera or created using the same software as the corrupt file.

It may be obvious that this method can not be used to repair 100’s of corrupt JPEGs with various sizes and sources that are all corrupt.

A header is only a tiny portion of the entire JPEG file, the bulk of the file contains the encoded and compressed image data. It is therefor fair to say that if the header is damaged that there is a good chance the actual image data is also corrupt. In that case, the file is beyond repair. If this is the case you can only find out by trying.

Symptoms

A corrupt JPEG header may result in a wide variety of symptoms, however most common is that the file can not be accessed at all:

  • Windows Explorer fails to show thumbnail previews.
  • Windows Image viewer fails to open the file: “Can’t open this picture because the file appears to be damaged, corrupted, or is too large”.
  • Windows Photos fails to open the photo: “It looks like we don’t support this file format”.
Can’t open this picture because the file appears to be damaged, corrupted, or is too large

A corrupt JPEG can not be viewed using the image viewer

Requirements

JPG-Repair requires a sample or reference file to repair corrupt JPEG headers. This is basically nothing more than an intact JPEG file. This JPEG file needs to be:

  • Shot with the same camera or created with the same photo editor as the corrupt file.
  • Created with the same settings, like dimensions and quality settings as the corrupt file.

Steps to repair a corrupt or damaged JPEG file

All corrupt JPEGs + a sample file are copied into one folder.

All corrupt JPEGs + a sample file are copied into one folder.

  1. Place the corrupt or damaged JPEGs + sample file in one folder. The sample needs to be named to “sample.jpg”. Work on copies of the corrupt JPEG photos!
  2. Double click “jpgrepair.exe”. There is no setup, just a single executable file.
  3. Select the drive containing the copies of the corrupt photos.
  4. Browse to the folder containing the copies of the corrupt photos. If you have for example copied them to a folder on your desktop, you typically select the C: drive > Users > Your username > Desktop > and then the Folder.
  5. Select the JPEGs you need to repair. The free version does not save files.
  6. Click “Repair”.

That’s it. Now if corruption was limited to the header portion of the JPEG photos the files are now repaired.

JPG-Repair shows previews of the JPEGs it's able to repair

JPG-Repair shows previews of the JPEGs it’s able to repair

Game of bytes, the movie