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Archive 2012 · Can image files deteriorate?
Spanish Flyer

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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Can image files deteriorate?

I've checked the web for answers but all that I have found are related to damaged files that cannot be opened, but in my case what happens is that some files that I'm recovering or gathering from older backup external drives, more than three years old, when opened thy show stripes, differently toned areas and some even show split sections as if I had cut them with fine scissors and put them back together without aligning properly. I haven't checked yet, but it seems to happen only with *.jpg's
Go to my album and check it out; I'm totally baffled by this phenomenon...


Any comments will be appreciated.

Best regards,
Spanish Flyer

Sep 02, 2012 at 04:51 PM
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Can image files deteriorate?

Those are all signs of corrupted files, or hopefully corrupted file transfers. By that, I mean the corruption occured when you transfered the files from the external drive to the main drive. That's the most likely case. A single bit failure in a cable, connector, or controller can cause such errors.

I assume the external hard drives are USB. First thing to do it try a different USB cable, then try a different USB port. Then try a completely different computer. Check and clean (blow out) the USB port on the drive. Dust, gunk, spider webs can get in there during long term storage.

But if the corruption occured when you put the files on the external drive 3 years ago (during the write operation), you are screwed. The data is corrupted on the external drive itself. No way to get it back.

One other tip to try if all else fails - let the hard drive warm up completely before trying to read it. Drives are heat sensitive. Heat expansion and contraction of the surface can cause errors. Within normal operating conditions, no problem. But in extraordinary conditions, errors can occur.

If the external drives were unusually hot when you wrote on them 3 years ago, they may not read correctly at lower temps.

Sep 02, 2012 at 08:10 PM
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Can image files deteriorate?

Most likely the file corruption happened back at the time the files were written, but do try recovery. If nothing else works you may be able to pull the drive from the enclosure and connect it to a new SATA host. Did you check the files at the time they were written?

In the future instead of storing stand alone files, store them in a container that supports a CRC checksum or use other software for verification. After making the backup confirm there are no checksum errors. Even so, I keep at least two or three copies (one offsite) and move data to newer media about every three years.


Sep 03, 2012 at 10:00 PM
Spanish Flyer

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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Can image files deteriorate?

Thank you so much to both redcrown and EB-1. I guess as you both say that the files became corrupted during one of the transfers, but not the last one since I'm using brand new hardware, including cables and computer (only the hard drives are older). Still, it was my belief that once a digital file became corrupted and the 1's and 0's got even slightly mixed up, the file would become impossible to open and when carrying out the transfer, any errors would trigger an immediate alarm in the windows program stating something like "cannot read-write" or something similar. Anyway I'm just a user with very little knowledge about how computers work, so I can only say that it is all new information to me and that from now on I will have to keep an eye on yet another one of "those things".

I'm afraid I cannot check the state of any of the originally backed up files since I immediately formatted the old drives to put them as available new space. Still and as I mentioned in my request, the photos where not that important, so the loss is minimum.

But it is clear that from now on I will take greater care when I'm backing up my files; not only in warming up the drives and checking cables and so on, but something I'm sure it also affects the correct trnsfer of big files and that is NEVER believe that Windows, even in its latest version is multitask, so when the files are being transfered, instead of checking my email, or continue using Photoshop, I will go & grab a cup of coffee or something, just so I leave the mouse and keyboard alone...

I would however like to know (just for the heck of it), what kind of corruption is present on those files, that creates those tone and split-like changes on the picture..

Thanks again,

Spanish Flyer

Sep 07, 2012 at 02:57 PM

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