Data corruption is a ubiquitous issue affecting files on any device, operating system, or file system. The initial signal of this predicament is often an error message stating something akin to, “unable to open the corrupt file.”
Users typically encounter this corruption when attempting to access a file through an application or by directly double-clicking the file. Before delving into potential remedies for this dilemma, we should first familiarize ourselves with the factors contributing to file corruption and inaccessibility.
Root Causes of File Corruption
File corruption can be triggered by numerous factors. A prevalent cause is the development of bad sectors on the hard drive, resulting in damage to the sector storing the file.
Corruption may also occur when multiple files are allocated to the same RAM space. Additionally, operating system bugs can lead to corrupted files. Errors or malfunctions within applications can also result in file corruption.
Sometimes, the file turns inaccessible when you try to extract data from corrupted ZIP. In such cases, try downloading the files again.
Identifying a Corrupted File
File corruption on Windows or Mac can be discerned through several key signs. If a file or its contained data becomes inaccessible, the following symptoms may be observed:
The file takes longer than normal to load.
- The file opens, but its contents are not visible.
- An error message appears when double-clicking the file.
- Applications and programs run slowly.
- No response is elicited when double-clicking to open the file.
Remedying File Corruption
When a file becomes inaccessible unexpectedly, there’s little one can do to prevent it. Once a file is compromised, it’s best to avoid using it as continuing to do so could lead to permanent data loss.
Employing Check Disk on Windows
Running the check disk tool scans the hard drive for bad sectors. Once the tool has finished detecting and repairing errors, reaccess the file to verify its integrity.
Utilizing First Aid on Mac
For Mac users, the built-in Disk Utility tool can be used to repair corrupted files. Launch Disk Utility, select View, click Show All Devices, choose a volume, and click on the First Aid button. Follow the ensuing on-screen instructions diligently.
Using Time Machine Backup
Another solution is using Time Machine, which holds a copy of each file on your Mac, allowing you to retrieve data from backup files.
Altering File Format
Changing the format of the corrupted file can sometimes allow you to view its contents. Try opening the corrupted file as a PDF or use a file converter app to automatically transform the file format and potentially resolve the corruption.
Leveraging Data Recovery Software
File corruption is a common issue, but comprehensive data recovery is not always guaranteed. Manual repair methods may not be as effective as automated tools, so consider utilizing a third-party data recovery application to repair a file and recover its contents.
How to Avert Data Corruption?
Once a file is corrupted, you lose control over the potential damage it can inflict, including partial or complete loss of access to data. If the corrupted file contains critical business data, the consequences can be severe.
While you cannot control the aftermath of a data corruption event, future instances can be prevented. You might ask, is it truly possible to prevent data corruption? The answer is yes.
Implementing and strictly adhering to a robust backup strategy is key to mitigating the severe repercussions of such events. Both built-in and third-party backup tools can be used to safeguard your data.
If a corrupted file is suspected to be a virus, it’s advisable to perform a computer scan. Install an antivirus application if you haven’t already, and use it to identify any malicious intrusions. If the tool detects any malicious items, eliminate them immediately.
Another method of preventing file corruption involves integrating a battery-powered UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) at your workstation. Given that power outages can lead to file corruption, a UPS can prevent this through continuous power provision.
As outlined, files can become corrupt without warning, and it can be a challenge to restore their accessibility. Control over file corruption events is limited, but a backup plan can be your saving grace. Regular data backups are crucial to avoid future data loss.