After a PC crash (Win 7 64-bit) and Windows reinstallation, none of my Nikon NEF files or Word docs will open. I can view all NEF file info (date, file size, etc.). I'm not that IT savvy.

Why can't I open or edit my Nikon NEF files after reinstalling Windows 7? What do I need to do so that I can open them? Any help would be appreciated.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ By all nikon Nef's wont open, do you mean that if you open them in lightroom / Capture NX, they show up as corrupted (i.e. the program states cannot open file)? \$\endgroup\$
    – flolilo
    Apr 5, 2018 at 11:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ What Nikon camera model(s) created those NEF files? \$\endgroup\$
    – scottbb
    Apr 5, 2018 at 11:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ What is the exact error? Does the tool open but reports an error? Is the nef file not linked to any tool? \$\endgroup\$ Apr 5, 2018 at 11:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ When asking is there anyone who can view one of my files - it'd be super cool if you uploaded a file for us to test with. That, or go ahead and click on the link I'm going to email you. Some call it malware. But I'm a white hat. Trust me. \$\endgroup\$
    – OnBreak.
    Apr 5, 2018 at 17:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ hiya everyone, thanks for input. the Nef´s were shot using d2x and I have reinstalled cs5 and nx capture, it seems to be only related to the NEFs that were stored on my laptop when it crashed, as I have no issues opening and editing other nefs from a previous back up. to say im worried is an understatement. as i have 1000's of files. including many of my own templates psd, pngs etc. nikon capture doesn't display any errors, just dosent open files. \$\endgroup\$
    – De Brun
    Apr 6, 2018 at 11:01

2 Answers 2


From the comments you've made, it sounds like your computer can open .NEF files that were not present on that notebook at the time of your crash. And other file types are also affected (.doc and even some .psd / .png image files, too?), not just .NEF files? I would have said it sounded like you needed to re-install a driver, from your initial question. But it sounds like file corruption occurred. I think you may have a damaged drive and may want to try to restore files. In future, I strongly suggest regular back-ups of anything on a notebook. Notebooks get stolen and are very prone to damage. If you have a notebook that includes an optical drive (DVD), you can replace that with a frame that can hold another notebook hard drive and use it to internally back-up your boot drive/SSD. Otherwise, there are cloud-based solutions if you have fast broadband and a multitude of other things you can do, in future to add redundancy to your data storage. If I were you right now, though, I'd look at removing that drive from your notebook and installing a new boot-drive, then try to restore data from your old drive. Performing any "write" operations on a failing drive may not help matters when it comes to reading out corrupted data (may add to the corruption or over-write files that are not yet full "lost").

Really, this isn't a photo issue, IMHO. (Hopefully I'm wrong, but what you describe sounds like much more than missing codecs.)

  • \$\begingroup\$ Really, this isn't a photo issue, IMHO. - that's where superuser comes into mind ;-). Your answer includes everything that I would state here - however, I would put a little emphasis on the fact that every bit of stress can be too much for a failing hard drive (as in: don't try to write/recover anything on the HDD - just back it up and work with the image!) and that a decent SMART-test is needed for clarification in the first place. \$\endgroup\$
    – flolilo
    Apr 7, 2018 at 3:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ And you don't "vote up" my answer as being more likely to be the issue than a missing codec? That just doesn't seem to be the issue, right? \$\endgroup\$ Apr 7, 2018 at 4:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't vote it up because I hate unformatted text. ;-) In all seriousness, I find it quite hard to read when things about codecs and things about failing hard drives and stolen notebooks are included in the same paragraph. \$\endgroup\$
    – flolilo
    Apr 7, 2018 at 9:21

I recently ran into a similar problem, when I tried to open nef files from my new camera. The onboard Windows tools weren't able to open them, because of the file size.

You may want to check out this side:


And download the latest nef codec.

Furthermore: Please check if all necessary tools are installed on your PC.

all nikon Nef's & word docs wont open

It seems to me, you only reinstalled Windows 7, but not the tools. Install your Office package and the Nikon Codec and try again.


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