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How to run a "System File Check" in Windows

System File Checker is a utility in Windows that allows users to scan for corruptions in Windows system files and restore corrupted files.

First, close all open programs.  Then open an "elevated" Command Prompt:

Windows 10

Click on the Cortana search icon, then type in CMD or Command Prompt.  From the search results, right-click Command Prompt and click Run as Administrator.


Windows 8 or 8.1

Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search.  Or, if you are using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, and then click Search.  Type Command Prompt in the Search box, right-click Command Prompt, and then click Run as administrator.

Windows 7 or Vista

Click Start, type Command Prompt or cmd in the Search box.  From the search results, right-click Command Prompt, and click Run as administrator.


Windows XP

See instructions on this webpage.

In the Command Prompt Window

Type sfc /scannow
Make sure that there is a space between sfc and /scannow.

If the sfc command will not run, then reboot the computer into Safe Mode, and then try again.

Do not close this window until the process has finished.  When it is finished, then it will say if it found problems or not, and if it was able to fix the problems or not.

If it found problems but couldn't fix them, then reboot the computer and run the command again.  Running the command three times sometimes is able to fix problems when once or twice doesn't work.

You might want to also run a Check Disk and Disk Cleanup.


Last updated: 2017-Jun-16



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