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What is data corruption? What are some causes of data corruption?

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Summary

What is data corruption? What are some causes of data corruption? What are some consequences of data corruption in Sage 100?

Cause

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There are many possible causes of Data Corruption:

  • Aging, damaged or faulty computer or network components; loose or improperly installed cards, connectors, terminators; bent pins, etc.
    • Examples: network cards (NICs), cables, routers, hubs, switches, motherboards, memory chips, wireless (WiFi) connections (WiFI is not supported), etc.
    • Note: Just because a particular piece of hardware or network component is new or newly installed, does not mean there will be no issues.
    • Test PING commands for results:
      • Example: PING servername -l 1800
        • Note: The letter in the "-l" part of the command is a lower case L. The 1800 is the size of the packet in bytes. The system will send 4 packets.
        • Note: Performance is along a spectrum, so even a 20 ms (milliseconds) response time may have a noticeable impact compared to 1 ms. 40 ms is considered unacceptable.
      • Example: PING servername -t
        • Note: the letter in the "-t" part of the command is a lower case T. The system will continually send small packets until you enter the commmand: Ctrl+C to end it. Any packets lost would indicate some data is not getting through (timing out).
      • Example: PING servername -t -l 1800
        • Note: This test sends continuous packets of 1800 bytes until you enter the commmand: Ctrl+C to end it. Any packets lost would indicate some data is not getting through (timing out).
  • Failing or degraded storage media
    • Examples: hard disk drives, CDs or DVDs, , tape drives, USB flash drives, remote Cloud storage (still stored on hard drives), etc.
    • Note: New hard disks typically come with a few bad sectors due to defects in manufacturing (which are already mapped in a table or Primary Defect List, so data is not written to them). Over time, more bad sectors may appear due to factors such as: general surface wear, pollution of the air inside the unit, or the read/write head touching the surface of the disk (like during a hard drive crash), etc. Modern hard disk drives typically have a Spare Sector Pool to onboard reserved sectors to replace bad sectors in an attempt to maintain overall available capacity. However, data stored in bad sectors may be lost.
  • Power fluctuations, spikes, surges, interruptions or outages
    • Examples: Uninterruptible power supplies not kicking in fast enough, interference from large motor or transformer, poor electrical circuitry, etc. Any of that can result in a bad read or write or damage to circuitry or storage media. (Odd example: A customer once complained that when they leaned back in their chair, their data would get corrupted and they would get an error in Sage 100. Turns out the ethernet cable ran under a carpet under the back wheels of the office chair.)
  • Malicious software (malware)
    • Examples: viruses, worms, Trojan horses, ransomware
      • Note: Ransomware typically encrypts files to hold them hostage, effectively making the data unusable. In many cases the decryption key provided after paying ransom is corrupt or useless, leaving the files encrypted.
  • Operating system or program bugs (software issues) (including third-party programs), or faulty network card drivers (older releases of manufacturer drivers), etc.
    • Note: Just because a particular operating system or networking software or firmware installation or update is new or newly installed, does not mean there will be no problems. It is possible for new or updated software or firmware to introduce unknown bugs.
  • Interference from other software programs running:
    • Examples: Running backup software or shadow copying may lead to locked files; for Sage 100 Advanced or Premium, other programs may be using the same port; there may be bandwidth interruptions due to heavy CPU or network use by other programs (or, in the case of virtual machines, other virtual machines).

Resolution

CAUTION: Use caution when working with the below product functionality. Always create a backup of your data before proceeding with advanced solutions. If necessary, seek the assistance of a qualified Sage business partner, network administrator, or Sage customer support analyst.
CAUTION: These steps require knowledge of database engines and application databases (DBs) used by your Sage product (including Microsoft/Transact SQL, Pervasive SQL, or MySQL, etc.). Customer Support is not responsible for assisting with these steps and cannot be responsible for errors resulting from changes to the database engine or DBs. Before making changes, backup all system and application DBs required for a full restore. Contact an authorized business partner or DB administrator for assistance.
CAUTION: This solution requires advanced knowledge of your network. Contact your system administrator for assistance. Modifying Windows security incorrectly can severely affect system operations. Sage is not responsible for operation issues caused by incorrectly modifying your Windows security. Always create a backup of your data before proceeding with advanced solutions. 
CAUTION: This solution requires advanced knowledge of your computer's operating system. Contact your system administrator for assistance. Modifying your Windows Registry incorrectly can severely affect system operations. Sage is not responsible for operation issues caused by incorrectly modifying your Windows Registry. Always create a backup of your data before proceeding with advanced solutions. 

Data corruption refers to errors in data that may occur during reading, writing, processing, storage, or transmission of said data, which may introduce unintended/unwanted changes to the original data.

Some malicious software such as viruses, worms, or Trojans may intentionally cause data corruption.

Consequences of data corruption include inaccurate data, unreadable fields, records, or files/tables, and inoperative programs. These typically express themselves in error messages or unexpected behavior.

There are a variety of countermeasures available:

  • The most important is to make use of a regular (and tested) data backup and recovery process.
  • The second most important is to regularly maintain the health and smooth running of the operating system and network environment.
  • There are a few utilities within Sage 100 that may be available to repair minor corruption issues.
    • For more information, see the Related Resources section.

Note: Replacing or reinstalling software, firmware, or hardware does not always guarantee results. Newly-installed or replaced software, firmware, or hardware may still be subject to program bugs, vulnerabilities, power surges, interoperability issues, backwards or forwards compatibility issues, manufacturing defects, etc.

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