Data corruption is a problem we often encounter with our computers or IT infrastructure. It occurs when the code of a particular data is intentionally or unintentionally changed from its correct form. A corrupt file can have serious consequences. That is why it is essential to know what causes file corruption and deal with it appropriately. Here are the top five most common factors that predispose our computers and IT systems to file corruption and loss.

Power Outages

No individual component of a computer system gets a clean shutdown command when a power outage occurs. The memory pathways in the system can no longer be refreshed properly after a sudden shutdown, causing the hard disk to corrupt the existing files. You should consider buying a UPS for your file server or personal computer to alleviate file corruption in case of sudden power outages. A UPS device will regulate the power spikes and ensure that your computer system receives an even amount of power. You can then have enough time to save your files and do a proper shutdown as you wait for the power to come back.

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Hard Disk Problems

The computer hard disk is susceptible to wear and tear. An application data copied to a damaged section of the hard disk will automatically become corrupt and useless. You need to make sure that your hard disk is protected from factors that can trigger damages. Keep your computer away from heat, water or shock to prevent physical damage. You should also be in a position to identify errors related to the hard disk to avoid file corruption. The most common errors include error 571, controller errors in the NT Server Event Log, computer not reading disk C and error during a read. You can use a utility program such as NetWare and Norton to correct controller errors. However it is advisable you keep in touch with a computer technician, especially if the disk is damaged physically.

Peer-to-Peer Networking

Peer-to-peer networks do not have dedicated file servers. All the data is stored in workstations designed to act as file servers. Workstations pose a serious threat to application performance and stability since they have dual functions. All applications connected to the workstations can be easily corrupted when you restart them. Instead of peer-to-peer networking, use the traditional environments that store critical data in a dedicated file server. A dedicated file server’s sole function is to provide data to all connected workstations. This option is far much safer for your files than the shared workstations.


There are several viruses that can attack your computer. Most of these viruses affect operational software and damage the stored data. The most dangerous are the attacks that target crucial business information such as client database, technical inventions and industrial information. You need to make sure all your computer systems have the latest antivirus utilities to prevent attacks. Make regular backups for your data to avoid losing the information on the files. You may also consider installing a new operating system if your computer is heavily attacked.

Abnormal Application Termination

Turning off your computer with the software still open can lead to data corruption. For instance, your computer may be communicating or transferring files to another system via a network cable. You suddenly turn off the computer and the communication breaks midway. The system on the other side will be left guessing the meaning of the information your computer was trying to relay after getting just a half of it. The system will automatically join the dots to complete the file or just leave it that way, leading to file corruption.

Most of the factors triggering file corruption are preventable. It is upon you to employ best practices when handling files within your computer. The five factors discussed above will help you identify causes of data corruption and come up with effective preventive mechanisms.