How to Repair Corrupted Windows System Files Using Command Prompt SFC and DISM

Windows has an in-built tool to check the core Windows system files for problems or any changes to default values, this is often caused by the user or some programs doing things that they are not supposed to do.

The inbuilt tool is called as the system file checker tool, and when a user runs it, it scans for errors and automatically replaces incorrect, corrupted or changed files, if any, with the correct version.

If the System File Checker (SFC) can’t do the job, one can make use of the DSM command on Windows 8 and higher, Windows 7 users can make use of a “System Update Readiness Tool” that can be downloaded for free.

What Is the Need to Run These Commands?

If you are getting problems like blue-screen, applications not responding, Windows crashing, or any software related issue, chances are, System File Checker Tool can fix this. Even if the tool is not able to fix the issue, it is always a good thing to know that no Windows files are corrupted.

If the SFC command is rendered useless, which happens very rarely, using the DSM command or System Update Readiness Tool can help the SFC run perfectly and diagnose and fix your issue.

How To Run the SFC Command to Fix System Files

A command prompt window (also known as an elevated command prompt) with administrator access is required to run these commands. On Windows 8 and higher, right-click on the start button and choose “Command Prompt (Admin)” to open this.

How to Repair Corrupted Windows System Files Using Command Prompt SFC and DISM

Alternatively, (including Windows 7), search for command prompt on the start menu, right-click on it and choose run as administrator.

Type or paste the following into the Command Prompt Window and press enter to start the process.

sfc /scannow

Sometimes up to three runs of this command are required to solve all the errors.

The process will take some minutes to complete. If all is well, you will get the message “Windows Resource Protection did not find any integrity violations” or “Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files and repaired them” on the console.  Both are good signs.
If you are greeted by a “Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files but was unable to fix some of them” then try running the same from Windows safe mode. For this, hold the shift key while clicking the restart option on Windows 10, 8.1, or 8. Try running the sfc /scannow command once you get into Safe Mode.

Windows 7 users need to hold the F8 key while a PC is booting to get into the advanced boot menu.

If that is also a failure, go to the next section.

How to Repair Corrupted Windows System Files Using Command Prompt SFC and DISM

Run the DISM Command to Fix SFC Problems

There is something called component store corruption on Windows that prevents the SFC command from fixing errors properly.

This error can be easily solved by using Deployment Image & Servicing Management tool on Windows 8 and above. For this, open the command prompt as administrator as again and type in the following command. The component store corruption should be fixed by this.

DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth

The process may take 10 minutes or more and may be stuck at 20 percent for a while. Don’t panic.

How to Repair Corrupted Windows System Files Using Command Prompt SFC and DISM

Once the process finishes, and if the window says that any files were changed, reboot the computer and run the SFC command once more. The result should be a success this time around.

However, different to do it in Windows 7 since there was no DSM command in that version. So, install and run the System Update Readiness Tool from Microsoft for this purpose.

Try System Restore or a System Reset

After doing all this, if you are still facing errors, your only solution is to restore from a system restore point. This will restore your Windows to a previous time, hopefully, a time when your Windows installation didn.t have any errors. This can be easily done by using the system restore tool by Windows. This tool can be opened just by searching “system restore” in the search bar.

How to Repair Corrupted Windows System Files Using Command Prompt SFC and DISM

Another way is to just system reset or reinstall the Windows OS. Needless to say, you will lose all your programs and the data on the Windows installation drive.

In case you come across some other error in the process, just try googling the error and I am sure that you will find several articles on the error and how to fix it.

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