When i tried to unzip using the Mac default Archive zip utility and the error message:
Error 1 - Operation not permitted.

Then I tried using 7zx and got the error message:
Cannot open the files as archive file

How can I retrieve image files from the damaged zip archive file?

Are there any tools to retrieve at least some of my files from the damaged zip file?

3 Answers 3


are you sure that the file is an actual Zip file as you will get this message on a file that has been renamed as .zip when it isnt in fact a Zip file.

The only real way to tell is to use a HEX editor such as 0xED to check the first few bytes are the characters PK.

  • It's much easier to just use the file command, which actually comes with OS X. From a terminal, type file [path-to-file]. It will tell you what kind of file it is, within the several thousand file-formats it can identify.
    – Fake Name
    Commented Jan 25, 2012 at 1:20
  • 1
    Example: iCrap:Downloads kuzu$ file Decloner_1.4.zip Decloner_1.4.zip: Zip archive data, at least v1.0 to extract, iCrap:Downloads kuzu$ file dupeguru_osx_3_3_1.dmg dupeguru_osx_3_3_1.dmg: bzip2 compressed data, block size = 100k (note: many dmg files use bzip for compression), iCrap:Downloads kuzu$ file cspy262.exe cspy262.exe: PE32 executable for MS Windows (GUI) Intel 80386 32-bit
    – Fake Name
    Commented Jan 25, 2012 at 1:22

If the issue is actually a damaged zip file, the command line zip tool can try to repair it. For that you'd use the -F or -FF options, like that:

zip -F damaged-copy.zip --out repaired.zip
zip -FF damaged-copy.zip --out repaired.zip

It's always a good practice to do that on a copy of the damaged file, so you're sure you don't damage it any further. To see what the -F and -FF options do, look at the man page: man zip.


A couple of possible solutions for you:

First, try unarchiving the file with Stuffit Expander. You probably already have it on your Mac and a simple spotlight search should reveal the location. If you don't, you can download it for free from the Stuffit Website.

If that doesn't work for you, try extracting it via Terminal. While it may seem a bit scary, some of the basic commands are quite simple, and incredibly useful. First, open the Terminal app, located in the Utilities folder inside your Applications Folder. Now, type the command unzip followed by a space, then drag the offending zip file over and drop it onto the terminal window, this will insert the path for the file. Press Enter and the archive should unzip to your home folder.

If neither of those options work for you, there are several programs out there that claim to be "Zip Archive repair tools". A quick google search yields several results. Your milage may vary, both in terms of cost and effectiveness though. I have no real experience with any of these utilities so can't speak to their effectiveness.

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