If you’re used to moving data files from one computer to another it’s likely you’re well aware that  data files can get damaged. There are so many reasons that can cause data to error such as a break in, power supply issues, or problems with storage devices.

In this blog post I want to cover firstly how to know if your data is corrupted, secondly how to prevent common data corruption problems and finally how to fix problems when they occur.

Common causes of data corruption

  • Network hardware or cabling faults (affecting multiuser mode data files);
  • Memory modules (RAM) failures on the computer;
  • Improper shutdown of the Operating System while the data file was in use;
  • Miscellaneous hardware failures;
  • Power blackouts, brownouts, spikes and surges;
  • Incompatible hardware and insufficient network resources and permissions.

The result of a data corruption incident can remain hidden, until such time as database records containing corrupted data is accessed or the user actively performs a file integrity check (highly recommended). When the problem finally becomes apparent, days, weeks or months may have passed since the incident that contributed to the data corruption had occurred.

How to know if your data is damaged

If you do have a data corruption issues it’s likely one of the following will occur:

  • You’ll receive an error message during data verification such as “A data problem prevents Reckon Accounts from continuing” or “Reckon Accounts has encountered an unrecoverable error”;
  • List entries will display incorrectly;
  • Transactions will display incorrectly;
  • Reports don’t match or display proper fields;
  • Or possibly paid transactions display as unpaid.

Recommended ways to prevent data corruption

Having a backup procedure in place as well as ensuring that backups are error-free, available and accessible is critical to any business. Please note that there is no guarantee that any existing backup sets that are currently error-free would either never develop or encounter a problem in the future.

Sometimes it is much easier to recover from a disaster by making use of a ‘last known good’ backup set, compared to relying on a data repair process succeeding on a damaged data set.

To minimise the potential for a data corruption incident to greatly impact your operations and business, consider:

  • performing regular file integrity check by verifying and rebuilding the data file;
  • performing frequent backups (daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, etc);
  • ensuring multiple backup sets are stored in multiple geographic locations;
  • generating and storing essential reports such as Balance Sheet, Trial Balance, Open Invoices, Unpaid Bills, etc either as printed and/or electronic format (PDF).

How to fix a damaged data file

  1. Make sure you backup the data file before trying to resolve the issue. You can copy the .QBW file if you are unable to make backups in Reckon Accounts.
  2. Reckon Accounts has a built-in repair and file integrity function (Verify Data/Rebuild Data)
    a) Resort all the Lists (Customers, Suppliers, Items, Chart of Accounts etc)
    b) The Rebuild Data utility
    c) The Verify Data utility
    d) Review the Qbwin.log file, which normally indicates the affected names or transactions.
  3. Review all of your lists for “Rebuilt” entries e.g., “Rebuilt account” or “Rebuilt Name.” These are list entries that rebuild operation created because it could not identify the original list entries in the damaged transactions. The transactions attached to these list entries should reveal their proper name and type. Rename the entries, change their type, merge them into similar entries or delete them.
  4. If you receive an unrecoverable error when updating/saving a transaction, try to delete the transaction from the register and re-enter it.
  5. Contact Reckon Technical Support team first for troubleshooting advice and if necessary, they can refer you to the Data Recovery Team, or ask our new Reckon Community.
Please note that these tips are available as general information. You should consult a professional before undertaking any activity that might affect the integrity of your data files.