What is a Corrupted File?

Corrupted files are computer files that suddenly become inoperable or unusable. There are several reasons why a file may become corrupted. In some cases, it is possible to recover and fix the corrupted file, while at other times it may be necessary to delete the file and replace it with an earlier saved version.

A corrupted file may occur due to a defect or bug in the software used to create and manipulate the file in question. Often, this is a temporary problem that will occur once, then disappear forever. At other times, the bug may be the result of an infiltration by a virus (or other malware, such as ransomware or a file/disk wiper) or other foreign software that disrupts the function of the program. An incomplete download can also cause file corruption. When the user attempts to open a corrupt file, the system may lock up or provide an error message identifying a problem with the file.

When a corrupted file occurs, the first line of defense is to make use of system tools to attempt to fix the problem. If the corruption occurred due to a temporary glitch in the operating system, this will often fix the problem and the file will be accessible once again. Also, it may be possible to run VirusBarrier and isolate the origin of the issue and correct it. Once the corrections are made, the software performs as it should, and the corrupted file will open and close as usual.

When the corrupted file cannot be repaired, it may be necessary to use some method of data recovery. In extreme cases, backup files may be necessary to effect a total database recovery to get around the problem. This is one reason why making regular backups is important. In the event that a corrupted file occurs and the current file cannot be fixed, uninstalling the files and reinstalling a saved copy will allow the user to proceed with a minimum of loss in data and time. 

Some questionable sites offer to intentionally corrupt files as a service, to help people dishonestly get a deadline extension when submitting a file for work or school. Submitting files to such sites may compromise your security or privacy, as explained in this article:

Are “corrupt my file” sites safe? Here’s why to avoid corrupt-a-file services

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