Maintaining and recovering FileMaker Pro databases

Power failures, hardware problems, and other factors can damage a FileMaker Pro database file. Although the Recover feature might be able to salvage a damaged file, it is strongly recommended that you perform regular maintenance on your FileMaker Pro databases.

Regular maintenance takes two forms:

About file maintenance

In order to understand how file corruption occurs, it is useful to know how FileMaker Pro manages data.

FileMaker Pro is a disk-based application, so it does not need to load the entire database into RAM as the file is opened. Instead, the application transfers data as needed from the hard drive to RAM and back. As the file is used, updated data is written from data buffers in RAM to the hard drive. The most common cause of file damage is an unexpected application termination or quit. In most cases, an unexpected quit occurs when the file is between hard-drive updates. In this situation, the next time the database is opened, FileMaker Pro runs a consistency check on the file and the file usually opens without problems. However, if the unexpected quit occurs during a hard drive update, the file is likely to require recovery.

About file recovery

If a database requires more extensive correction to open than a consistency check, you can have FileMaker Pro attempt to recover the file. See About recovering FileMaker Pro files.


  • Because unexpected application termination is the most common cause of database corruption, try to ensure that your operating system is stable.
  • Run only the software that is absolutely necessary on your most critical machines. Keeping your configurations simple reduces the chance that some software may conflict, and makes it easier to troubleshoot if there is a problem.
  • Use an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) if your files are being used in an area subject to power outages.
  • Consider all hard disk problems to be potentially serious. In cases of multiple corrupted files on a hard drive, the hard drive may be at fault. Check the hard drive with a disk utility program.
  • Software that optimizes, compresses, or partitions the hard drive should be the most current version. Driver software must be compatible with your version of the operating system.