Recovering a Garmin FIT file – applies to fenix, forerunner, Edge and modern Garmin devices

Garmin Edge 820


Here we are SPECIFICALLY looking at INADVERTENTLY discarded workout files. Then how to make them visible and then how to repair them, if possible.

The same softwares can also repair files corrupted for other reasons and/or fix minor errors in the files caused by incorrect manufacturer programming.


The Garmin Edge 820 has a sometimes temperamental colour touch screen. Today I pressed SAVE RIDE but it thought I said DISCARD RIDE. And it further thought I confirmed that. I didn’t. I REALLY didn’t!!

This was a PB file and a nice one for the CP curve enhancement collection. Something had to be done. I’ve had contact from people who have lost than HIM race day files. Grrr x2. Here is what I did to find and fix it

This may turn out to be a lot of work for you. It’s not worth the effort unless you’ve lost a really important file. How important can a file be in the grand scheme of things?

To cut a long story short if your Garmin is one of the newer ones that is a MASS STORAGE DEVICE, ie a USB device that appears as a drive letter on your PC, then a file recovery utility may well work. But you may find that some of the  new Garmins like the 645 and Fenix 5 Plus DO NOT attach as a mass storage device…and so this method won’t work (although there is a setting you can change so that you should be able to attach as a mass storage device)

But…It did work for me today.

I used PIRIFORM’s RECUVA and there are a few ads pretending to be download links…carefully does it. It tries to install the google toolbar which you’ll be wary of . If you just then choose to scan and recover from the GARMIN/ACTIVITY or GARMIN/ACTIVITIES folder it will show a deleted FIT file with today’s date eg 2016-09-28-then-some-other-numbers.FIT (ie 2016 September 28th).

However your device will probably NOT have correctly finished the FIT file. so, for example, SPORTTRACKS errors out when trying to import it. Grrrr. Manually uploading to Garmin Connect also fails. Grrrr x2.

So you have to fix the file.

I ALWAYS use the fit file Repair Tool (because it works) :: The free version will NOT fix the entire file it will just show you that it is possible to fix it. The full version requires Microsoft Access runtime and payment.

SERVICE: If you have one specific file then email it to me at in**@th*********.com (here) and pay GBP10 via paypal (here).  If I can’t fix it I will refund GBP8 and if I can fix it I will split the money with the developer.

You may well find that the file seems to be a combination of your current activity and lots of (presumably discarded) previous ones. The activities within the workout file should all be correctly time-stamped and you will then have to delete the parts of the activity that are old. You may well find that the file gets allocated to the wrong date in sporttracks/garmin connect/ or whatever software you use if you have missed even one old timestamp, so double check that your file has not been imported and stored against a date that is different to what you expected.

That’s pretty much it.

As the title says this will probably “work” on the Fenix and Forerunner series too.


SERVICE: If you have one specific file then email it to me at in**@th*********.com and pay GBP10 via paypal.  If I can’t fix it I will refund GBP8 and if I can fix it I will split the money with the developer.

Note: the workout file will be in the GARMIN/ACTIVITY folder. It might be in a folder with a similar name but the contents will normally be in a format like this image shows. Note also the file sizes. If you send me a file that is 1kb or 700b in size then it almost certainly has no workout data in it.



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6 thoughts on “Recovering a Garmin FIT file – applies to fenix, forerunner, Edge and modern Garmin devices

  1. Thanks! I used Glary Utilities ‘File Undelete’ tool & it recovered my swim session.

    You just have to point the program at the right folder – Garmin/Activity/ and it popped up.

    On the other hand, garmin can save everyone a lot of bother by changing up the UI. The ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ buttons when choosing to save an activity are right next to each other. Wet fingers from a swim are a recipe for disaster.

  2. Thanks for this great post.
    I tried this today on my Edge 820 Explore but no luck. There was no sign of the ride.
    However I had my Vivoactive HR watch running (mainly just to transmit the HR data to the bike computer. Having it track the ride is an easy way to turn the HR broadcast on/off). Despite having chosen to discard the activity from the watch I was able to recover it.
    The file name wasn’t so obvious (_84E3542.FIT) but I could see it was recorded today and approximately the right size.
    Recuva warned the the file might be corrupt but once recovered was able to load it straight into Garmin Connect without having to repair it.

    Thanks again!

    1. awesome !!! always good to hear the ones that work. other readers note that most likely you will have no luck. worth trying for that key race. it doesn’t have to be recuva…that was probably the ifrst file recovery tool that popped up when i googled it

  3. no trace of today’s fit file

    i managed to mount my fr225 on the mac, found activities folder, looked even for deleted fit files with special software. only trace of my run as a new 1k record from today in another file.

    any chance this info is hidden elsewhere on the watch?

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