Computers are made up of a number of smaller components (such as the processor, memory, hard drive, optical drive, etc.), as well as all of the circuits and cables that allow them to communicate with each other.
Unfortunately, any of these components can malfunction and the symptoms and effects of hardware problems can vary depending on both the component and the type of problem.
Some hardware problems can lead to data corruption, or can produce symptoms similar to those seen with corrupt data.
Hardware problems generally won't affect just one kind of file or program. Rather, they cause problems throughout the system, or at least cause problems with those parts affected by the failing hardware.
For example, a faulty hard drive may lose or corrupt data or it may just fail to boot.
A failing optical drive may read certain disks, but not others.
If it appears that a hardware component has failed, or is failing, immediately back up data files (if possible) and replace the part.