Windows 10 DISM and SFC repair Source: Windows Central

On Windows 10, Deployment Image Servicing and Management is a built-in tool for network administrators to prepare, modify, and repair system images, including Windows Recovery Environment, Windows Setup, and Windows PE (WinPE). However, you can also use the tool to fix common problems with your computer's hidden recovery image.

Typically, when a device doesn't start correctly, shows performance issues, or you need to troubleshoot a specific error, you can use the System File Checker to scan and replace missing or corrupted system files using a recovery image hidden in the installation.

The only caveat is that if the one or more files in the Windows 10 image are damaged, the SFC tool won't work. If you're in this scenario, you can repair the "install.wim" image with DISM and then use the SFC to repair the setup without having to reisntall the OS from scratch.

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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 working state.

Important: Although these are non-destructive commands, you'll be making system changes. It's recommended to create a temporary full backup before proceeding.

How to run DISM to repair the image of Windows 10

The Deployment Image Servicing and Management command tool has three options to repair a Windows 10 image, including "CheckHealth," "ScanHealth," and "RestoreHealth," which you want to run in that order. Also, depending on the severity of the problem, you can use special settings with the "RestoreHealth" option to fix the locally available image using different source files.

Check problems with DISM using CheckHealth option

The CheckHealth option in DISM lets you quickly determine if there are any corruptions inside the local image, but the option won't perform any repairs.

To check the Windows 10 image for issues 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 check and press Enter:

    DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /CheckHealth

    DISM CheckHealthSource: Windows Central

Once you complete the steps, the tool will run and verify any data corruption that requires fixing.

Check problems with DISM using ScanHealth option

The ScanHealth option performs a more advanced scan to determine if the 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

    DISM Scanhealth Source: Windows Central

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

Repair problems with DISM using RestoreHealth option

If there are issues with the system image of Windows 10, use DISM with the RestoreHealth option to run an advanced scan and repair problems automatically.

To repair Windows 10 image problems 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 repair the Windows 10 image and press Enter:

    DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth

    DISM RestoreHealthSource: Windows Central

    Quick note: If the command seems stuck at 20 or 40 percent, it's normal behavior. After a few minutes, the process will complete successfully.

Once you complete the steps, the Deployment Image Servicing and Management tool will connect to Windows Update to download and replace damaged files as necessary.

Fix problems with DISM using WIM image

Although DISM is usually reliable, if there are problems getting the replacement files or you are not connected to the internet, an alternative source to repair the files using another image with the Source option will be required. In this case, you'll need an install.wim or install.esd file from another device, installation media, or ISO file. Also, the source of the known good files must match the same version, edition, and language of Windows 10 running on the computer.

Download Windows 10 ISO file

If you need to specify a different source, it's recommended to use 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 MediaCreationToolxxxx.exe file to launch the setup.
  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.

    Media Creation Tool create ISO optionSource: Windows Central

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

    Select installation language for Windows 10Source: Windows Central

  8. Select the ISO file option.

    Media Creation Tool ISO file optionSource: Windows Central

  9. Click the Next button.
  10. Select the destination for the Windows 10 ISO file.
  11. Click the Save button.
  12. Click the link to open the file location with File Explorer.

    Windows 10 ISO pathSource: Windows Central

  13. Click the Finish button.
  14. Double-click the Windows.iso file to mount the image.
  15. Under the This PC section, in the left pane, confirm the drive letter for the mounted image.

    Windows 10 ISO Mount Point LetterSource: Windows Central

After you complete the steps, you can proceed with the tool using the "Source" option to repair the local image of Windows 10.

Fix Windows 10 recovery image

To run DISM with a different 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 to repair the Windows 10 image and press Enter:

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

    DISM Restorehealth install.wimSource: Windows Central

    In the command, make sure to replace "F" for the drive letter that corresponds to the ISO mount point in File Explorer.

  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

    In the command, make sure to change F:\Sources, for the path to the "install.wim" file.

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

Fix problems with DISM using ESD image

Alternatively, if you have an encrypted "install.esd" image, you can use it to repair the damaged files of the local image.

To run DISM with an "install.esd" image file as the source, 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 repair the image with an "install.esd" file and press Enter:

    DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth /Source:C:\ESD\Windows\sources\install.esd

    DISM Restorehealth install.esdSource: Windows Central

    In the command, make sure to change C:\ESD\Windows\sources, for the path that corresponds to the install's location.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:\ESD\Windows\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:\ESD\Windows\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:F:\Sources\install.esd

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

After you complete the steps, DISM will repair the damaged files using the files included in the "install.esd" image, and the log files will be saved on %windir%/Logs/CBS/CBS.log and %windir%\Logs\DISM\dism.log, which you can then view to understand the files that were repaired.

How to run SFC to repair problems on Windows 10

The above instructions layout the process to fix issues with the system image, but they won't repair problems with the actual Windows 10 installation. However, after the image has been restored to a healthy state, you can use the System File Checker (SFC) to fix the current setup.

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 to repair the installation and press Enter:

    SFC /scannow

    Windows 10 installation repair with SFCSource: Windows Central

    Quick tip: If errors are found, you may want to run the command a few times (around three times) to make sure that everything was repaired correctly.

Once you complete the steps, the System File Checker will scan and repair the system files using the known good files from the local image to fix issues with Windows 10.

You can learn more ways to use the SFC tool to fix problems on Windows 10 in this guide.

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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