What Does it Mean if You Find Corrupted Files?published 7/21/2021
Properly managing your data is an essential practice. This is true in both business and personal settings. Unfortunately, it's not impossible for file corruption to occur.
Not quite sure how to manage corrupted files? Let's explore why this occurs and what you can do about it.
What Is a Corrupt File?
As the name might imply, a corrupted file is one that has been damaged. There are several different causes behind this occurrence, but all of them lead to the same result.
In many cases, a file that has become corrupt is something that you can no longer open. This essentially renders all of this information inaccessible.
Unfortunately, this can prove to be an upsetting issue if sentimental files (such as family photos) become corrupt.
In essence, corruption is essentially a change to the core values and architecture of the file that result and it becoming unusable.
How Does It Happen?
As previously mentioned, there are a few different ways that file corruption can occur. Corrupted files causes are often relatively straightforward.
It's possible for an application to improperly open a specific file. Similarly, your computer could damage data while copying it to a flash drive.
One of the most common reasons why files become corrupt is due to a loss of power during a saving process. In fact, a poorly timed power outage could corrupt a significant amount of information.
In rare cases, file corruption is a result of improper file compression. This typically has nothing to do with user error and is the result of bugged software.
A hardware failure could also result in data corruption. This is particularly true when a hard drive has become physically damaged.
In practice, dropping an external hard drive or a laptop could end up corrupting your files.
Finally, there's always the chance that this scenario stems from a computer virus infection. The only safe way to handle virus-based file corruption is to eliminate the virus first.
Otherwise, it will likely proliferate throughout the rest of your device.
What Should I Do if I Find Corrupted Files on My Computer?
All hope isn't lost if you discover file corruption. Although it's possible that these files remain unusable, there's always a chance that they can be fixed.
In order to maximize your results, you'll first want to backup all of your data. If you happen to have a recent backup from before the file became corrupt, you could also simply load that onto your device.
In this case, you would likely be able to solve the problem immediately.
Otherwise, you can use the file's native repair tool if one is available. If you're not familiar with this function, corrupted files will often give you the option to use a repair tool to fix the affected data.
This is most common with file reading software, such as spreadsheet editors, word processors, etc. So, corrupted files of these types are often less serious than others.
Sometimes, you won't have access to a file repair tool. In other cases, this tool will be unsuccessful in restoring the file back to its previous state.
From here, you'll need to implement other forms of file recovery. This is typically in the form of file recovery software.
The ideal one for your situation will vary based on the type of file that is corrupted and the type of device you are using.
It's worth noting that professional data recovery services are available. These are often much faster and more effective than using a tool on your own.
Additionally, the professionals you work with will know exactly what steps to take in order to avoid causing further damage to your device.
You can check out this resource to learn more.
How Can I Stop This From Happening?
It's not always possible to prevent file corruption from occurring. However, you can take steps to minimize the chances of this happening.
One of the most prominent safeguards you can implement is properly caring for your device.
This means keeping your computer or hard drive in a location that is the appropriate temperature. Somewhere that is too cold or too hot could easily cause damage to the hardware.
Interestingly, many people are also unaware of the fact that abruptly shaking your device could also cause damage. This is particularly true for hard disk drives, which use moving components in order to read/write data.
Having the most current version of your antivirus software installed is also essential. This will help prevent data corruption that occurs from malware.
Fortunately, high-quality antivirus software is available for free. This means there is no reason why you shouldn't be sufficiently protected under most circumstances.
As you might guess, properly backing up your files on a regular basis is also an important step to take. In the event that a file becomes corrupted, you can pull from a recent backup that was often made less than 24 hours before.
From here, you shouldn't encounter any other issues as long as you take steps to prevent file corruption in the future.
Handling Corrupted Files Can Seem Overwhelming
Fortunately, not every situation that involves file corruption is something to worry about. The above guide will help ensure that you know how to deal with corrupted files you encounter and make the decision that is best for your situation.
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