Using the Windows System File Checker (SFC) Tool

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If your Windows PC isn’t working correctly or is mysteriously crashing you may want to use the Windows System File Checker (SFC) tool to safely scan and attempt to repair your important Windows system files.

In this article I will show you how to use the built-in Windows System File Checker (SFC) tool to repair missing or corrupted Windows system files.

Fixing Corrupt Files Using the Windows System File Checker (SFC) Tool

 

Run the System File Checker tool (SFC.exe)

To run the Windows System File Checker tool, use the following steps:

  1. Run the Windows Command Prompt App as an Administrator. To do so, click on the Start button (Windows logo) and search for “cmd“, right click on the “Command Prompt” App and select “Run as administrator“. Then select “Yes” at the “User Account Prompt” (UAC) pop-up.
  2. If you are running Windows 8 (or newer) you will want to run the Windows Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) tool first. Otherwise skip to Step 4 below.
  3. Type the following command, and then press Enter:
  • DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /RestoreHealth

Updating the Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) Tool

NOTE: When you run this command, DISM uses Windows Update to provide the files that are required to fix corruptions. However, if your Windows Update client is broken, use an existing Windows installation as the repair source. To do this, run the following command instead:

  • DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth /Source:C:\RepairSource\Windows /LimitAccess
    • Replace “C:\RepairSource\Windows” with the location of your Windows repair source which can be a shared network folder or Windows Installation DVD, etc.
  1. With the Windows DISM tool executed and completed we can now move onto checking and repairing the Windows system files. Once again, at the elevated command prompt, type in the following command and press Enter:
  • sfc /scannow

Using the Windows System File Checker (SFC) Tool

Once completed you will receive notice of the results on screen. For more details you can view the SFC logs.

 

Conclusion

I welcome your thoughts, questions or suggestions on my article on how to use the Windows System File Checker (SFC) tool to repair your Windows installation.

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