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We have a bunch of excel files that are at random becoming corrupt. The error message is excel has found unreadable content...

I believe this question is relevant to serverfault because the problem has only started occurring since we have setup folder redirection, roaming user profiles and offline files on our desktops. The files have been in use for around 5 years prior with no issues.

The excel files are located in a subfolder of our company folder on the server. The entire company folder is shared and available offline. About 32gb in total.

After one of the files became corrupt I tried to restore if from a backup. From one of the desktops I deleted the corrupted file on the server, I copied the new file to the existing location then opened, saved, closed, opened and noticed it was corrupted. I can recreate this occurrence many times, but the weird thing is it seems to be related to that particular folder. If I copy the file to any other folder (even other shared and available offline folders), open, save, close, reopen it then it is not corrupted. It only gets corrupt if I copy it to its original location.

Does anyone know what an earth is going on?

Using windows 7 on all desktops and windows server 2008 r2 on the server.

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Is it just Excel documents? What happens if you create a plaintext document and put it in that folder - does it get modified? – NathanG Apr 2 '12 at 21:35
@NathanG, no plain text files do not get modified. It just seems to be related to excel files. Thanks. – Kiwi Apr 2 '12 at 21:59

I think a packet capture would be the way to investigate, although that would be a bit "the hard way", considering there are a lot of known issues with file system redirector. If you have not applied the recommended updates, you may want to start here:

List of currently available hotfixes for the File Services technologies in Windows Server 2008 and in Windows Server 2008 R2

There are fixes for both the client and server. You may want to apply both.

In the above article, client hotfix 2646563 includes and supersedes fixes included in the following article:

Data corruption when one user on a computer that is running Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 updates a shared file that is open on multiple computers by using SMB Version 2

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This is helpful, I will install the hot fixes and get back to you. How do you investigate using a packet capture? – Kiwi Apr 3 '12 at 0:20
To start, from the server side, I would be interested in if there are multiple clients accessing the file. It also provides a more complete picture of what is occurring during the transaction. – Greg Askew Apr 3 '12 at 12:35
Yes there are multiple users accessing the file. So sometimes when the users sync they do get a conflict. But we need to use offline files because our users often go out in the field where they have no internet access and still require the files. – Kiwi Apr 3 '12 at 19:58
Understood. FYI - I'm not suggesting that the sharing is the cause, I just wanted to confirm that may be the scenario, because that is the scenario described in the 2618096 article. – Greg Askew Apr 3 '12 at 21:48
unfortunately the hot fixes did not help. We are still having corruption issues. I have also discovered that it is not related to multiple users as over the weeked there was only one staff member in. She was working with an excel file throughout the day and saving often. In the afternoon she opened it and it was corrupt – Kiwi Apr 10 '12 at 3:10

We had the same issue when we moved over to roaming profiles, though it was only for protected Excel files i believe. The Office Trust Center was reading shared files on the network as originating from the internet and tried to open them in Protected Mode. When I went to options->Trust Center and disabled Protected Mode, the files opened normally.

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