How to Fix Corrupted Windows System with System File Checker

There comes a time in every Windows user’s life when their precious machine gets corrupted for whatever reason. When that happens, the user will run into problems like the BSOD, error messages and even crashes.

While most people would think of reformatting and reinstalling their copy of Windows, it turns out that there is yet another way that your OS can be salvaged. Said method is through the use of a little known tool called System File Checker (SFC).

How does SFC work?

SFC works in a ways that when it is executed, it would proceed to scan for any damaged Windows files. Once found, the tool would then attempt to fix the damaged files. If the tool is successful in fixing it, the user would not have to reinstal the whole operating system.

Ways to execute SFC

In order to use SFC, you’ll need to execute it via the command line. Depending on your version of Windows, you can choose to run the tool in either PowerShell or Command Prompt. Both command-line interpreters must be run in Administrative mode. Once they’re up, all you need to do is type in sfc/scannow and hit the Enter key.

administration page

Doing so will cause SFC to begin scanning for corrupted files in your system, which will take a while. Once the scan is complete, the tool will inform you if your system has any corrupted files. If it does, the tool would then inform you if it has managed to fix said corrupted files.

scan now

In the event that your version of Windows is corrupted to the point that booting into the OS is impossible, you still have other methods to execute SFC. The first method is to boot Windows into Recovery Mode and launch Command Prompt from there.

recovery system

The second method is to run SFC on your hard drive is by relying on another Windows machine. To do so, you’ll need to connect the hard drive with the corrupted version of Windows to another functional Windows machine.

Once done, you can input a modified version of the SFC command to scan the drive instead. The command in question is sfc/scannow /OFFBOOTDIR=d:\ /OFFWINDIR=d:\windows with the "d:" being replaced with whatever alphabet your hard drive is.

While SFC is handy when it comes to fixing minor corruptions, those with severely corrupted version of Windows may not find it to be enough. Should that be the case, you’ll need to either opt for an alternative solution to repair your version of Windows. If even that isn’t enough, then you’re going to have to reinstall your OS.