If you work with computers, you’ve likely encountered a corrupt file. You might not have known that file corruption was the culprit because corruption can manifest itself in many ways. It can cause “read” errors, scramble a file’s contents, or prevent a file from opening.

If the corrupt file is essential for an application to work, the application might keep freezing up or fail to launch. Similarly, your computer could start exhibiting some strange behaviors if a crucial operating system file becomes damaged. For example, large groups of files may disappear or your computer may prevent you from performing certain operations. Your computer could even keep crashing or fail to boot.

File corruption can occur for a variety of reasons:

  • Files not saved correctly: A common reason why files become corrupt is that they were not saved correctly. This can occur if the application crashed during the save process or if the application was poorly written.
  • Improper application or operating system shutdown: An unexpected power outage can be more than just an inconvenience if you are working on your computer. Any files open at that time could become damaged. Similarly, you can cause file corruption if you do not shut down your applications or operating system properly.
  • Data transfer errors: Your files can become corrupt if you start a data transfer but then interrupt the process before the operation is complete.
  • Malware: Malware can corrupt files. For example, cybercriminals sometimes create computer worms for this purpose.
  • Hardware problems: Files can become damaged if your computer’s hardware experiences problems when it is writing, storing, or transferring data.
  • Bad sectors: A sector is an area on a hard disk or some other storage medium such as a DVD. Bad sectors can be caused by a disk being manufactured incorrectly, physical damage occurring to the disk or disk drive (e.g., dropping a laptop), and disk wear and tear.

Unfortunately, corrupt files usually cannot be fixed. All you can do is restore them from backups and archives. This is one of many reasons why you need to regularly back up your files and computer systems and test those backups.

Contact us if your files often become corrupt or if an application keeps crashing. We can determine and fix the root cause of the corruption. For example, if we find the hard disk has a bad sector, we can replace the disk. BinaryNetworks, LLC can also help you set up backup and restore systems if you do not already have them in place.