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Data corruption

    ISAM or flat file databases like MS Access, dBase, Btrieve, Topspeed etc.  are likely to experience data corruption at some point in time. (Database corruption is damage to a database that upsets its integrity and usually impairs its functionality).  CS Time has an option for a flat file database called TopSpeed. In most cases, the file integrity stays intact and is reliable, but if there are causes, as listed below, which can greatly contribute to data file corruption. Unlike many applications, CS Time continuously updates clockings from devices and process hours in real time, which means the CS Time database is being accessed continuously, which in turn means that if something is wrong with the environment and or the network, CS Time will most likely be the first to experience problems.

     

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    What causes data corruption

    There are many ways a database can become corrupt.  In most cases it occurs when open database files are closed improperly or are locked.  Some ways are user-related, others aren’t.

    • Hardware errors like disk, memory or network errors
    • Power glitches (power loss, dip, or surge)
    • Insufficient available system memory or disk space
    • Rebooting or switching off the PC while CS Time is running (this includes the server module)
    • PC crashing (freezing) while CS Time is running
    • Viruses or malware
    • Using non-CS Time backup software that does a backup while CS Time is still running
    • Anti-virus software that locks the database files during a scan

    Some symptoms of data corruption

    • The server module will close without reason
    • You get error messages popping up, e.g.:

      DataCorruption.jpg
       
    • An operation in CS Time like running a report, changing hours or clockings will cause CS Time to close.

    Can data corruption be repaired?

    In most cases, yes and with very little to no data loss.  BUT, the other extreme is also possible: irreparable damage and massive data loss.

    Backup! Backup! Backup!  And do it on a regular basis!

    This will save you a lot of stress and heartache when there might have been some data loss or your data files are corrupted beyond repair. 

    Follow the steps in this document to try and repair your data files.

    How to prevent data corruption

    Installation recommendations

    If CS Time is to be installed at a site with more than one network user, or where the number of employees exceeds 200, consider installing the SQL version of CS Time.  SQL databases are optimized for multi-user environments and are much less prone to data corruption (almost never).  Microsoft SQL Express is free and should be suitable for small to medium enterprises.

    Before installing CS Time

    Check that the workstations / server meet the recommended CPU, memory and hard disk space specifications.

    After installing CS Time

    • Change the security permissions on your CS Time application folder and data folder so that the tCS Time user has full control, i.e. read, write, delete, etc.
    • If you install the CS Time Server module as a service, check that the CS Time Server service in the Windows service manager is configured to use the Local System Account.  Also check that that Windows account has a mail server account to be able to send emails e.g. from scheduled reports.
    • Exclude the CS Time application and data folders from your anti-virus and malware scanning software.  If you are sharing your CS Time data over the network also exclude the share from the anti-virus software running on the workstations as some of these packages will scan shared folders as well e.g. Microsoft Security Essentials. To scan the CS Time application and data folders, close all the CS Time modules and run a manual scan.
    • If the CS Time data will be backed up by third-party automated backup software, setup Quiet Time in CS Time for the period that the backup software will be running. (Configuration Module, Setup, Server Options, Processor, Quiet Time)

    When there is regular data corruption

    • Check if there is enough free hard disk space – these days 1 GB free may be too little.
    • Run Scandisk and Defrag (or similar utilities) to check the health of the hard disk on which the CS Time data is located.  Don't, however, set up Scandisk to run automatically repair errors.  If you do, you might not be aware if Scandisk repaired errors —this can be a sure sign that the hard disk is failing.
    • Train your users to shut down their computers properly – not to just switch them off.
    • If the environment is one where power spikes or dips may occur, for example where large factory machines are running, a good UPS that also regulates the voltage is recommended for the CS Time server and workstations and if possible also the clocks.
    • If you are running CS Time over the network i.e. your CS Time data is on a different computer than your CS Time application, rather use a remote desktop connection than running the CS Time application over the network from a workstation. 
    • Install the SQL version of CS Time.
    Page last modified 09:23, 12 Mar 2014 by cay-lynne CS Time/TNA Documents > FAQ > Data corruption

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