I have been having problem where files are left open and on shutdown it corrupts the file.
is there a way to open c connection to dbf table and read the data like in .net So that as soon as you read the data you can close the connection?

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DBF File header file corruption can occur due to various reasons, like improper system shutdown, virus attack, modification in hex-editor, and application malfunction. When the DBF file header gets corrupted due to any of the above reasons, the file becomes unreadable or inaccessible. Moreover, a user encounters an error message while opening the file, which happens in your case.
You can use following solutions to overcome DBF file header corruption:
1) Restore the file from a valid backup copy.
2) In case of no backup, you needs to repair the corrupted DBF file by using software.
Read more information here:
http://www.techrepublic.com/forums/questions/how-to-restore-dbf-file/

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