Recovering files

If a file appears to be damaged, first try saving a compacted copy, which copies all the data and rebuilds the tree structure of the database (see Saving a compacted copy). Even if the file can't be opened, you can use the Advanced Recovery Options dialog box (described below) to make a compacted copy. If a file is too damaged to open or use, you can use the Recover command to salvage as much information as it can and create a new, recovered file.

To recover a damaged file:

  1. Choose File menu > Recover.

  2. Select the file to recover, and click Select.

    FileMaker Pro displays the "Name new recovered file" dialog box. The original (damaged) filename, followed by Recovered, displays for File name (Windows) or Save As (macOS).

  3. Accept the default name, or enter a different name for the recovered file.

  4. To use the default file recovery settings (recommended for best results), make sure that Use advanced options is deselected and then skip to the next step.

    To change the recovery settings, select Use advanced options or click Specify, set options, then click OK. (For more information about advanced recovery options, see Setting advanced file recovery options.)

  5. Click Save.

  6. If you see the Open Encrypted Database dialog box, type the encryption password, then click OK.

    If you don't know the encryption password, see your database administrator.

    You see the progress of the file recovery. When the operation is finished, FileMaker Pro displays the status of the recovered file. See Results of a recover, below.

  7. To see a log of the recovery process, click Open Log File.

    The Recover.log file displays in a separate window, in tab-delimited format. From left to right the columns show the date, time, and time zone in which the recovery took place, the filename, error number, and description of the recovery event. You can save or print this file for further examination. Then close the window.

    The most recent data is added to any existing Recover.log file information, so you may need to scroll to the end of the file to see the results of the latest file recovery.

    For more information, search the Knowledge Base. Also try keywords that appear in any message you see.

Note  These steps apply only to files in FileMaker Pro 12 format (.fmp12). To use these steps to recover a file created in a different format than the application can open, you must convert the file to the application's format. If the file is too damaged to convert, recover the file in the appropriate version of the application. See Converting files from FileMaker Pro 11 and earlier.

Results of a recover

After a file is recovered, FileMaker Pro displays status information. What you see depends on the result of the recovery operation and the options that were used. The following table shows all possible results that could be displayed for each database component that can be recovered. (For information about these settings, see Setting advanced file recovery options.)

For this component

One of these messages is displayed

File blocks

  • Scanned and rebuilt "<nnn>" blocks, dropped "<nnn>" invalid data blocks

  • Copied as is

  • Copied logical structure


  • Scanned fields and tables, "<nnn>" missing fields added

  • NOT scanned


  • Scanned; "<nnn>" items modified

  • NOT scanned

Field indexes

  • Rebuilt

  • NOT modified

  • Removed for later rebuilding (as needed)

  • Some rebuilt, some removed for later rebuilding

In many cases, a successfully recovered database is larger than the original database. This is caused by new disk blocks being allocated as the database is recovered. For example, rebuilding the index field by field and record by record can cause data distribution that is different (and possibly larger) than the original file.

After you recover a file, copy the most recent data from the recovered file to a backup copy of the original file. It is safest to use that file instead of the recovered file.


  • A newly recovered database will also take longer to open than a database that was closed properly the last time it was used. This happens only the first time a recovered database is opened, as a result of rebuilding various internal structures that were deleted during recovery.