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?

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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