The Essential Guide to Detecting and Preventing File Corruption from Becoming a Virus
File corruption can threaten your computer. Have you ever seen the alarming 'threat detected' message? It can cause software or operating system to crash, data loss, slowing down your computer, and even spreading malware to other files.
A corrupted file is one where its data has been disrupted, making it not function properly. This can happen to any file, from documents to programs and system files. Usually, rebooting the system fixes corruption issues, but for severe problems, a deeper analysis may be needed for repairing corrupted windows files. Corrupted files can develop and become altered for various reasons, even with most critical system files.
What is a virus?
A computer virus is malicious software that infects other programs and spreads from one computer to another by attaching itself to files and being transferred via networks or file-sharing services. This leaves users open to attack and can result in corrupted or altered files, including several system files on operating systems like Windows.
To prevent file corruption, it’s important to be cautious and avoid downloading suspicious files, and if necessary, manually fix corrupted windows system files
The signs of file corruption include: the system giving General Protection Faults, the computer freezing or hanging, strange symbols or behavior appearing, being unable to open or save the corrupted file, receiving erroneous error messages, or being unable to copy the file. These symptoms indicate that there may be corruption in the file and it may need to be repaired or replaced.
Symptoms of corruption can include:
General Protection Faults – Unexpected crashes or difficulty launching applications on a computer can indicate underlying problems with the Windows operating system. This issue is commonly seen and recorded in log files, indicating a need for troubleshooting or maintenance.
Freezing or hanging – Sometimes, you may notice that a program stops responding and doesn’t react to any of your actions or inputs. This can be frustrating and may mean that the program has become unresponsive.
Strange symbols or behavior – It’s possible that there’s some wrong information being displayed. To prevent this, it’s important to ensure that installation media is clean and secure, as well as taking steps to protect against data corruption and properly processing commands to avoid developing corrupted files.
Inability to open or save a file – Opening a file might result in error messages with strange characters or images appearing on the screen. This could indicate wrong information or a data corruption issue caused by improper installation or processing of commands.
Erroneous error messages – You may see an error message pop up on the screen due to a corrupted file, making it difficult to process commands. In such cases, replacing the corrupted files manually.
Inability to copy – You might experience trouble copying files and completing your task due to corruption in your system files. It’s important to take steps to prevent data corruption, but if it does happen, you can try using the “sfc” process or accessing control folders to find and replace corrupted files.
There are quite a few ways of checking this, but let me show you 2 best methods.
Verify the authenticity of your downloads by checking the SHA256 hash value against the one listed on the download page. This helps to prevent any transmission errors and ensures that the file is exactly the same as what was originally provided.
Download the resource file from the Download resources page.
Determine the SHA256 hash value for the downloaded file:
Windows 10: Open a administrator command prompt window and change to the directory that contains the downloaded file and enter
certutil -hashfile filename.zip SHA256 into command prompt.
Linux: Open a terminal and change to the directory that contains the downloaded file.
Enter SHA256SUM filename.zip into terminal.
Mac OS: Open a command line using Terminal in the /Applications/Utilities/ directory then enter
openssl dgst -sha256 filename.zip.
Compare this generated hash value with the value on the Download resources page.
If they don’t match, try downloading again and repeat verification process until hashes match or contact support for further assistance if needed.
Verifying the integrity of downloaded files can be done easily using PowerShell instead of Command Prompt. Just use the built-in function “Get-FileHash” and by default, PowerShell will generate the checksum using SHA256. No need to define the algorithm, unless you want to use a different one like SHA512.
To generate a checksum hash,
Type in “Get-FileHash filepath”. For example: “Get-FileHash C:UsersNameDownloadsexplorer.jpg”.
This will output the hash generated from your file.
If you want to change the algorithm used, type in “Get-FileHash filepath -Algorithm AlgorithmType”. Replace “AlgorithmType” with the desired hashing algorithm (i.e SHA512).
Finally, make sure your generated hash matches the one provided by the developer of the program you downloaded before continuing with any further steps or action.
Great. Now how to prevent this from becoming a virus?
Remember these always.
Ensure that files only originate from trusted sources
Keep all software up-to-date
Use strong passwords for devices and systems storing sensitive data
Regularly scan the system for malicious code or scripts
Update software and run a full system scan if any suspicious activity is detected
To repair missing or corrupted system files, use the System File Checker tool
Repair missing or corrupted system files in Windows 8.1, Enterprise, Pro and other Windows versions using the System File Checker tool (SFC.exe)
Open an elevated command prompt and run: DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-Image/RestoreHealth
At the command prompt, type: sfc /scannow. Do not close this Command Prompt window until verification is complete.
Based on the results of the scan, you may receive one of three messages:
Securely install software and minimize corrupt file risk
Be careful when downloading software to keep your device secure and avoid corrupt files. Always download from reputable sources and make sure they have strong antivirus and authentication measures. Regular scans can detect potential threats. Use encryption like SFTP or VPN when transferring files. Remember to regularly backup your hard drive to protect against data loss. Taking these precautions is important to prevent serious damage from corrupt files
This is a very important step.
Backup important data and keep updated antivirus software installed
Regular backups of important data is crucial to protect against loss due to corruption or malicious software. Store backups in a secure place like an external hard drive or cloud storage. Keep your antivirus software up-to-date to detect and remove malicious code. Perform regular scans on all internet-connected devices for security. If a virus is detected, take immediate action by running a full system scan with an antivirus program and repairing any corrupted files.
Corrupt files are disrupted or fragmented data that can lead to malfunctioning of documents, programs and system files. File corruption refers to disrupted or fragmented data that can cause major problems, like malfunctioning of documents, programs, and even your operating system. When corrupted files go unnoticed, they can wreak havoc on your computer and even lead to widespread system failure. That’s why it’s important to identify and repair corrupted files before they cause serious harm to your computer, including protected operating system files and windows system files stored on your computer. By fixing these issues early, you can avoid a bigger headache down the road.
When trying to identify a corrupted file, there are several signs to look out for such as experiencing General Protection Faults, your system freezing or hanging, seeing strange symbols or behavior, being unable to open or save a file, receiving erroneous error messages, or having difficulty copying the file. Use a system checker file tool or run a command prompt to fix corrupted files.
Verifying the integrity of downloaded resources is crucial to ensure that what you’re getting is exactly what was intended. You can do this by comparing the SHA256 hash value of the downloaded resource with the value provided on the Download resources page.
To prevent problems with corrupted or virus-infected files, it’s important to take measures like downloading only from trusted sources, keeping all software up-to-date, using strong passwords for devices and systems storing sensitive data, and regularly scanning the system for malicious code or scripts.
Now It’s Your Turn
So we’ve covered what corrupted files are, how they can cause issues and become a virus, and how to detect and prevent them. We love hearing from you so tell us if you have any experience with corrupt system files, if so what’s your best advice? Did you find this article helpful? Sound off in the comments below.