Article Number: 000126064


How Do I Run the System File Checker in Microsoft Windows?

Summary: Steps for running the System File Checker in Windows.

Article Content


Symptoms

This article contains information about running System File Checker in Windows.


System File Checker Can Repair System Files in Microsoft Windows

The Windows System File Checker (SFC) is a tool that is built in to all modern versions of Windows. This tool allows you to repair corrupted system files in a Windows installation. SFC can be run from an elevated command prompt (Using full administrator privileges) both from within Windows, and using recovery media.

If time permits, it is recommended that before you run an SFC scan to run a Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) scan if running Windows 8 or later, or the System Update Readiness Tool if running Windows 7.

You can find information about this at the following link: https://support.microsoft.com/help/929833/use-the-system-file-checker-tool-to-repair-missing-or-corrupted-system SLN32294_en_US__1iC_External_Link_BD_v1


How to Run SFC from within Windows as an Administrator:

Windows 7

  1. Click the Start button and in the search bar, type cmd.
  2. Right-click on cmd.exe and select Run as Administrator.
  3. Click Yes on the User Account Control (UAC) prompt that appears, and once the blinking cursor appears, type: SFC /scannow and press the Enter key.
  4. System File Checker starts and checks the integrity of system files.
     

Windows 8, 8.1, and 10

  1. From the desktop, press the Win+X hotkey combination and from the menu select Command Prompt (Admin). Windows PowerShell (Admin) might be listed instead.
  2. Click Yes on the User Account Control (UAC) prompt that appears, and once the blinking cursor appears, type: SFC /scannow and press the Enter key.
  3. System File Checker starts and checks the integrity of system files.
     

How to run SFC from Windows Recovery Media:

Windows 7

  1. Press F12 while on the Dell splash screen and select the recovery media from the boot menu.
  2. Select your Language options, and then click Next.
  3. Select the Repair your computer option.
  4. Select your Windows installation from the list and click next. (If you do not see any options, you may need to fix the boot partition.)
  5. Select Command Prompt from the list.
  6. Type the following command: sfc /scannow /offbootdir=c:\ /offwindir=c:\windows and press the Enter key.
  7. System File Checker starts and checks the integrity of system files.
     

Windows 8, 8.1, and 10

  1. Rapidly tap F12 while on the Dell splash screen and select the recovery media from the boot menu.
  2. Select your Language options, and then click Next.
  3. Select the Repair your computer option.
  4. Click Troubleshoot, then Advanced Options.
  5. Select Command Prompt from the list.
  6. Type the following command: sfc /scannow /offbootdir=c:\ /offwindir=c:\windows and press the Enter key.
  7. System File Checker starts and checks the integrity of system files.
NOTE: This process takes up one hour to run depending on system configuration.
 

Modifiers

A basic SFC scan using the /scannow modifier should resolve most issues, but there are other modifiers that can be used for further specific purposes.

Modifier Function:

/scannow Scans all system files and replaces corrupted or incorrect files.

/scanonce Scans all system files once.

/scanboot Scans all system files at boot each time the system is restarted.

/cancel Cancels any pending scans (such as the /scanboot modifier).

/enable Enables Windows File Protection (WFP), which prevents programs from modifying Windows system files.


Possible Results

There are four possible completion messages that you could receive:

Windows Resource Protection did not find any integrity violations.
Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files and successfully repaired them. Details are in the CBS.log %inDir%\logs\cbs\cbs.log.
Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files but was unable to fix some of them. Details are in the CBS.log %Windir%\logs\cbs\cbs.log.
Windows Resource Protection could not perform the requested operation.

If you have further questions about this article, contact Dell Technical Support.


Article Properties


Last Published Date

20 Nov 2020

Version

2

Article Type

Solution

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