On Windows 10, the Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) is a tool designed for administrators to prepare, modify, and repair system images, including the Windows Recovery Environment, Windows Setup, and Windows PE. However, you can also use the tool with Command Prompt to fix common problems with the hidden recovery image on your device.

Usually, when your computer is experiencing performance issues, doesn't start correctly, or you're troubleshooting unexpected errors, you can use the System File Checker tool to scan, detect, and replace corrupted or missing system files using the locally available recovery image.

However, if the replacement files inside the Windows 10 image are damaged in any way, the SFC command won't work. In this particular situation, you can use DISM to scan and repair the "install.wim" image, which you can then use with SFC to repair your installation.

In this Windows 10 guide, we'll walk you through the steps to use the DISM and SFC tools with Command Prompt to bring your device back to a healthy system state.

Warning: Although these are non-destructive commands, you'll be making system changes. This means that it's recommended to create a temporary full backup before proceeding.

How to run DISM to repair an image of Windows 10

Using the Deployment Image Servicing and Management command tool you have three main options to repair an image of Windows 10, including CheckHealth, ScanHealth, and RestoreHealth, and you want to run them in that hierarchy. Also, depending on the severity of the issue, there are additional settings that you can use with the RestoreHealth option to repair an image using different sources.

Checking issues with DISM using CheckHealth option

You can use the CheckHealth option with DISM to quickly determine if there are any corruptions inside the local image. However, the option won't perform any repairs.

To check for issues within the image with DISM, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.
  3. Type the following command to perform a quick health check and press Enter:

    DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /CheckHealth

Once you complete the steps, the command will run and verify if there is any data corruption that needs fixing.

Checking issues with DISM using ScanHealth option

Alternatively, you can run DISM with the ScanHealth option to perform a more advanced scan to check if the Windows 10 image has any problems.

To perform an advanced scan with DISM, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.
  3. Type the following command to perform an advanced DISM scan and press Enter:

    DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth

After you complete the steps, the advanced scan will take several minutes to determine if the local image needs repairing.

Repairing issues with DISM using RestoreHealth option

If there are issues, then you can use DISM with the RestoreHealth option, which will run an advanced scan and repair any problems automatically.

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.
  3. Type the following command and press Enter:

    DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth

    Quick note: While the command is running is normal to see the process stuck at 20 or 40 percent, after a few minutes, the process will complete successfully.

Once you complete the steps, the Deployment Image Servicing and Management tool will connect to the Windows Update servers to download and replace any damaged files in the local image for Windows 10 as necessary.

Repairing issues with DISM using WIM image

When using DISM is very much unlikely to run into issues, but if Windows Update is causing problems, you'll need to use an alternative source to repair the files using another image with the Source option.

Before you can specify a different source, you'll need an install.wim or install.esd file from another computer, bootable installation media, or ISO file. Also, it's essential that the source of the good known files matches the same version, edition, and language of Windows 10 that you're using.

Download Windows 10 ISO file

The recommended method for accessing a good image is using the Media Creation Tool to download an ISO image of Windows 10.

To download the ISO file of Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open this Microsoft support website.
  2. Click the Download tool now button.
  3. Double-click the MediaCreationTool1xxxx.exe file to launch the app.
  4. Click the Accept button to agree to the terms.
  5. Select the Create installation media (USB flash drive, DVD, or ISO file) for another PC option.

  6. Click the Next button.
  7. Click the Next button again.

  8. Select the ISO file option.

  9. Click the Next button.
  10. Select the destination for the ISO file.
  11. Click the Save button.

  12. Click the file location link to open File Explorer.

  13. Click the Finish button.
  14. Double-click the Windows.iso file to mount the image.
  15. In File Explorer, note the drive letter for the mounted image.

After you complete the steps, you can use DISM with the Source option to repair the local image of Windows 10.

Fix Windows 10 recovery image

To run DISM specifying a source (install.wim) image, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.
  3. Type the following command and press Enter:

    DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth /Source:E:\sources\install.wim

    In the command, make sure to replace "E," for the letter that corresponds to your ISO mount point.

  4. (Optional) Type the following command to limit the use of Windows Update and press Enter:

    DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth /Source:F\sources\install.wim /LimitAccess

  5. (Optional) Type the following variant of the previous command to accomplish the same task and press Enter:

    DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth /Source:wim:F:\sources\install.wim:1 /LimitAccess

Once you complete the steps, the command will scan and repair any issues using the install.wim image that you specified.

Repairing issues with DISM using ESD image

Alternatively, if you have an encrypted install.esd image from a recent upgrade, you can use it to repair the damaged files.

To run DISM specifying a source (install.esd) image, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.
  3. Type the following command and press Enter:

    DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth /Source:C:\$Windows.~BT\Sources\Install.esd

    In the command, make sure to change "C:\$Windows.~BT\Sources," for the path that corresponds to the location of the install.esd file (if applicable).

  4. (Optional) Type the following command to limit the use of Windows Update and press Enter:

    DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth /Source:C:\$Windows.~BT\Sources\Install.esd /LimitAccess

  5. (Optional) Type the following variant of the previous command to accomplish the same task and press Enter:

    DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth /Source:esd:C:\$Windows.~BT\Sources\Install.esd:1 /LimitAccess

  6. (Optional) Type the following command to use an install.esd file located in another drive and press Enter:

    DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth /Source:D:\Sources\Install.esd

    In the command, make sure to change "D:\Sources," for the path that corresponds to the location of the install.esd file.

After you complete the steps, the Deployment Image Servicing and Management command tool will run and repair the damaged files using the files included in the install.esd image. Once the process completes, the log files will be saved on %windir%/Logs/CBS/CBS.log and %windir%\Logs\DISM\dism.log capturing any issues found and those that were fixed.

How to run SFC to repair installation problems on Windows 10

The instructions outlined above will repair any issues inside the local image that's part of the current installation. But they don't fix any problems with the actual Windows 10 installation. However, now that you have a working image, you can use the System File Checker to repair common issues preventing Windows 10 from running correctly.

To use the SFC command tool to repair the Windows 10 installation, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.
  3. Type the following command and press Enter:

    SFC /scannow

    Quick tip: If errors are found, you may want to run the command about three times to make sure that everything is fixed correctly.

Once you complete the steps, the System File Checker will scan your device and repair any system files using the good files from the local image to restore the health of Windows 10.

Although the above command should be enough to fix an installation, there are a lot of SFC commands that you can use to repair Windows 10.

We're focusing this guide on Windows 10, but you can also use DISM to service images on Windows 8.1 and Windows 7, but the options available will vary depending on the version of the OS.

More Windows 10 resources

For more helpful articles, coverage, and answers to common questions about Windows 10, visit the following resources:

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