In this article we will be taking a look at how to repair missing or corrupted Windows System Files on your computer using SFC (System File Checker) and DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management). Both these competent System File Repair tools are readily available on your Windows computer and are not difficult to use.
System File Check (SFC)
Windows System File Checker tool, commonly referred to as SFC is a very useful tool that is available on your computer, right within the Windows Operating System.
Windows System File Checker (SFC) tool has the ability to check and repair missing or corrupted Windows system files. SFC basically scans the integrity of system files on your computer and automatically replaces them with correct version files, in case they are found to be missing, corrupted, changed, or damaged.
When to Use SFC
You can use the SFC tool anytime you feel that your computer is not working normally as it should be. You may find that some Windows components are not working properly on your computer or some programs are not starting up or programs are crashing repeatedly.
All such problems point to the possibility of some of the system files on your computer being corrupted, changed, damaged or missing. Windows SFC tool is often capable of resolving such problems by identifying corrupted system files and replacing them with proper version files.
Even if SFC is unable to find any corrupted or damaged system files, running the tool will provide a confirmation that there no corrupted or missing system files on your computer. Such a confirmation will allow you to focus your attention on other methods of resolving problems on your computer.
Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM)
Microsoft defines DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management) as a command-line tool that combines separate Windows platform technologies into a single, cohesive tool for servicing Windows images.
For the purpose of this article, you can understand DISM as a Windows utility that can be used to fix your computer in case the System File Checker tool (SFC) is unable to fix problems on your computer for some reason.
DISM has the ability to fix Component Store Corruption that can prevent the SFC tool from working properly on your computer.
When to Use DISM Tool
In general, SFC should be able to fix most problems on your computer that are occurring due to damaged, incorrect or corrupted system files.
However, sometimes damaged or corrupted system files can also affect SFC and you may not be able to perform a SFC scan, or even if you run SFC it may not be able to fix the problems on your computer. This is where DISM comes into play.
In simple terms, you should use the DISM tool in case SFC is unable to fix the problems on your computer.
Repair Windows System Files Using SFC
Follow the steps below to run SFC command to repair corrupted or damaged Windows System Files.
1. Right Click on the Windows 10 Start button and select Command Prompt (Admin).
2. You will be asked to enter your admin account password, in case you are not already logged in to your Admin account.
3. Once in the Command Prompt window, type sfc /scannow and hit the Enter Key to run a full system scan.
Note: There should be a space after sfc
4. Leave the Command Prompt window open until the command completes. It may take anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes for the full system scan to be completed.
Once the command is completed you will see one of the following results
- Windows Resource Protection did not find any integrity violations (which is a good result)
- Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files and repaired them (better than good!)
- Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files but was unable to fix some (or all) of them (not a good result)
In case you get the third message, you need to take the help of DISM to resolve this problem.
Repair Windows System Files Using DISM Tool
In case you see a message “Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files but was unable to fix some of them”, you should run the DISM command to repair damaged component files that might be preventing the SFC to repair damaged files.
1. Right Click on Windows 10 Start button
2. Click on the Command Prompt(admin) option
3. Once you are in command prompt window, type DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth and press the Enter Key (See image below)
Note: There needs to be a space after DISM, Online and Cleanup-Image.
4. DISM will check the Windows component store for corruption and automatically fix any problems that it finds.
5. Allow the command to finish running and do not close the Command Prompt window. The process may take anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes.
Note: The progress bar may not show up for a while and you may find the progress stuck at 20 percent for a long time. This is quite normal for this tool, have patience and let the program run uninterrupted.
After the DISM command has finished running, restart your computer and run the SFC command once again to replace remaining corrupted files (if any) with the correct ones.