We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.
Software

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

In Computing, what is Clobbering?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated: May 16, 2024

The term “clobbering” is used in several different ways in computing, with the meaning usually clear from the context. In one sense, it refers to overwriting existing files or memory entries. It can also be used to discuss overwhelming computers such as servers with requests, causing a downgrade in performance. This second usage of the word reflects the common usage of “clobber” as a word to describe taking a beating.

Clobbering a file can be done intentionally or accidentally. Many systems have safeguards in place that are designed to prevent inadvertent clobbering so that users will not overwrite files they will need later. People can engage in clobbering intentionally to clean up databases, remove old versions of files and documents, and scrub temporary files generated during downloads, software installs, and similar activities. There are a number of programs that can be set to clobber when users need this functionality and people may also be able to selectively overwrite files from the command line.

This can also happen by accident. A slippery-fingered coder may accidentally execute a command to overwrite working files or memory. The material may be lost beyond retrieval in some cases. Measures designed to prevent these types of accidents include blocks that will not allow files to be overwritten while they are open and in use along with prompts to confirm that a user really does want to execute a given command.

Clobbering in the sense of overwhelming a computer with requests can take a number of forms. Hackers and crackers may utilize this technique to break into the defenses of a system or to disable security by distracting it while entering a system for unauthorized reasons. Clobbering can also be used to test the limitations of a system in a security review. Systems can also be said to be “clobbered” when they are overwhelmed with users who want access, as can happen on retail websites when they announce major sales.

This term can also come up in some more familiar contexts in computing. Competing computer products are sometimes said to be clobbering each other, meaning that one product is outselling and outperforming the other and achieving market dominance. Likewise, people who play networked video games with users in other regions may refer to clobbering opponents, successfully beating their characters and taking them out of the game or severely injuring the characters so they will need to recover before they can enter the game again.

EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a EasyTechJunkie researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
Share
EasyTechJunkie, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

EasyTechJunkie, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.