Fix corrupted txt file (NULL)

  • It seems that when data is apparently replaced by null characters information is not actually lost. I searched on the web and I found that using a file recovery application (Recuva) one can still obtain the original file without any loss of information (I tried this myself). This is very strange, as it’s not clear where this information come from if the “null” characters are really “null”…

  • @chcg

    thank you but since installing VS2017 in my VM it is good enough.
    It does take <1 minute to do a full clean compile of npp, scintilla and python script plugin
    and ~15-20 seconds for code changes to test.


  • Hi All,
    In my case, file size is showing 7kb and unable to find that file in back up folder. When I open it shows Null in Notepad++, empty in Notepad.
    I tried Recuva and restore the file, again context is not readable.
    Restore previous version is also not available. I’m using Windows 10 64 bit OS
    Please help me to recover file


  • I fixed a corrupted file using the deep scan feature of Recuva.

  • for anyone still looking for this!
    right click on the file -> properties -> previous versions, -> open, …
    check contents before you hit restore.
    saved 7 days of work!!!

  • Anyone know if this has been fixed? I’m using an older version 7.3.3 64-bit version on Windows 10. Its always been solid. After my last two reboots the files I had been working on previously have turned into all null bytes. Not empty files - each character in the file is now null. Major PITA.

  • @Joe-Dougherty said:

    Anyone know if this has been fixed?

    I have seen no evidence that any changes have been made to date in regard to preventing this from occurring. It happened to me when using 7.2.2.

  • Had the same catastrophe today. System Crashed (windows 7). Npp ver. 6.9.

    Text file contents coming as null.

    Used the recuva technique and got everything back!!

    Learnt about verbose backup and updating to the latest Npp version.

    Thank you all.

  • @Mark-Cage said:

    …updating to the latest Npp version

    Most people in your situation say something different…Like “I’m switching to Sublime / Atom”…

  • @Scott-Sumner said:

    Sublime / Atom

    I love npp! There might some issues in the other text editors as well

    Just enable verbose backup and i think i should be fine :)

  • @Mark-Cage

    Just enable verbose backup and i think i should be fine

    There are some people with the theory that that actually contributes to the NUL problem (i.e. they postulate that if backup was off it wouldn’t/couldn’t occur). I can attest that the one time the NUL problem happened to me, I did indeed have verbose backup turned on. I had a bunch of files that the v.b. creates (so I thought "No problem!), but they too were all filled with NUL, back to the time at which I had started the current Notepad++ run. I lost about 2 hours of work when I should have only lost about 2 seconds worth (I am old-school and am “all over” the Save key…constantly). YMMV. :-)

  • That sucks! i hadn’t turned back up on before this happened . Also use the save key all the time. But the null error still occurred. Can only pray that it doesn’t happen again :)

  • same thing just happened to me… v7.5.8

  • Gotcha!!

    Hopefully I can reproduce it under debugger.


  • yeah but this is more corrupted because my txt file named Oofood instead of saying words… it came up with this: ¶¬®°~Z…yàãñöpý²Ã”¦ Vš¸:lŸã"Œ7$2¥‰+s;¡*p“‘A\ìö© /2[ÐnUû“H–™øk´­b|Ë*Y÷T¾t=¥t˜»¤RÞ~YP6*•°ÉÜü´ÄZ¤ï°³Ê}=ƒ0såÁ¨,©°¯Îß”1XŽÁb€(Þ}Y4ýµB™yª
    @¶e§‹Ê ©öà[_dy ‘rü±wD˜ŒíÝP ÉïCŸ;Q¬|it³JÔÈX5[7Dë¹ã!ä•0ynöWª@»C²É;]C„rÏ<õª—$5ûUôdx3×2`ö¦3õÆš&ÛgpÖǝ$³:Þ"ŠµÙ&¹ŠQâ‚zg¾ðõ^5öŽ(^³Eð«N\§DFNi†“»©˜.Ù/ã« &æ-”&ÚÏŠû²š¢ÔÿÐØ0\m;B–@8ÍÛv¶ïË‘®xJU ´ ôP
    ’Ð 6ÝÁ¤ªÀ½4;X¶y•kÕñ”ø¡ÇéVËè×_ýÔÇ9|E’Xújƒ /6O´ûv øEî\ê±s5T)%,T,Âa†L c£"ÇÕz ˆ ¯îêjøRÖÓ:òo›7ÆÓGmyEU¶Xo‘Å«·øÈëJõ¾Äwå¦B<\©¶ÖÙâÎ,@´~_Nä&BkBc&AŽ…Zºc

  • @Jeremy-Jordan

    but this looks like the file content has been replaced with binary data - hard to believe that npp is responsible for that.
    I assume that your issue must be caused by something else.


  • @Jeremy-Jordan,

    As @Claudia-Frank said, that’s binary data, not just NULLs. If that’s really happened to a file that was plain text, you’ve either edited it with some other editor which has encoded it, or the file has been encrypted. If you weren’t expecting the file to be encrypted, then there’s (unfortunately) a very high probability you’ve been infected with a virus, ransomware, or other malware. Please run a reputable scanner ASAP.

    Since many forms of viruses, ransomware, and other malware make your data unrecoverable, I am hoping you have a separate backup of any essential data. But don’t try to access that backup until you know the computer you are on is clean – I’d hate for your backup to become infected as well.

  • I have an interesting variation on a theme to report. Yesterday I worked most of the day on a set of text files; some xls files, and files loaded into visual studio. Most work was done by 9 pm; I had saved those files many times during the day’s work. At about 11:30 pm the pc became increasingly unresponsive and eventually I had to reset it. The pc booted normally. I left it on all night so that the daily Acronis backup, which seemed to have stalled in the evening (and may have been the source of the system failure) could do it’s thing.

    This AM I found that all of those files (.net, .xls, .txt in notepad++) were corrupted, with the text and .net files showing as NULL everywhere. I don’t have Backup on Save turned on. Session snapshot and periodic backup are on, probably default settings as I’ve never known about np++ backup features before today, but there are no recent files in that dir. I have various types of backups to fall back on.

    But the main reason I’m posting this is that the NULL blowout happened to other files that were not in use by notepad++. I personally don’t recall ever having file data losses like this before, ever; but it doesn’t seem to be true that it’s an issue with notepad++, or at least only notepad++.

  • @Michael-Simcich

    you are right, this issue can happen with any software if the requirements are fulfilled.
    Basically it is this, a thread has opened the file and then something happens which forces
    the operating system to kill the process. In this situation a thread might not be able to close
    the file correctly which then results in a corrupted file.

    I’m able to reproduce this with a 32bit npp version and file around ~100MB where backup is enabled and
    the system is under load. If, for example, I would convert everything to uppercase,
    under this condition, ~1 out of 10 times npp freezes, dies and backup file only is corrupted.
    But if you restart npp, then it looks like the real file is corrupted, just because npp loaded the backup file as it wasn’t saved correctly at this time.
    Unfortunately I wasn’t able to reproduce this behavior running npp under the debugger and
    haven’t found out yet whether the cpu, memory or io load or a combination of those is needed
    to reproduce it. This happens, for me, only on a 32bit version of npp with activated backup,
    on a 64bit version I was not able to reproduce this behavior, even with larger files. Tested with 1GB.