Repair Windows 10 with System File CheckerSource: Windows Central

On Windows 10, when you start having issues starting your Windows laptop, random errors occur, or features don't work correctly, there is a good chance that some system files might be corrupted or missing for unknown reasons. Typically, you may experience problems with system files after installing a cumulative update, driver, or making installation changes manually.

Whatever the reason it might be, if you come across any related issues, Windows 10 includes the System File Checker (SFC), a command-line tool designed to scan the integrity and restore missing or corrupted system files with working replacements.

In this Windows 10 guide, we will walk you through the steps to use the System File Checker tool to repair damaged system files automatically or manually.

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How to repair Windows 10 with System File Checker

Warning: This is a friendly reminder that editing system files is risky, and it can cause irreversible damage to your installation if you don't do it correctly. It is recommended to make a temporary full backup of your PC before proceeding.

To repair an installation of Windows 10 using the System File Checker tool, 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 system files and press Enter:

    sfc /scannow

    SFC ScanNow commandSource: Windows Central

  4. Confirm the command results:

    • Windows Resource Protection did not find any integrity violations – indicates that the system does not have any corrupted or missing files.
    • Windows Resource Protection could not perform the requested operation – indicates a problem during the scan, and an offline scan is required.
    • Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files and successfully repaired them. Details are included in the CBS.Log %WinDir%\Logs\CBS\CBS.log – indicates that the tool detected problems and was able to fix them.
    • Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files but was unable to fix some of them. Details are included in the CBS.Log %WinDir%\Logs\CBS\CBS.log – indicates you may need to repair the corrupted files manually.

Once you complete the steps, the SFC command-line tool will scan, detect, and fix Windows 10 system file problems.

When the tool detects an issue, it is recommended to run the command around three times to ensure that all the problems have been corrected properly.

If you find problems running the tool, use this guide to use the Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) tool to repair the local Windows 10 image files to allow SFC to complete successfully.

System File Checker logs

To view the details stored in the CBS.Log file from an SFC scan, 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:

    findstr /c:"[SR]" %windir%\Logs\CBS\CBS.log > C:\sfclogs.txt"

    SFC log fileSource: Windows Central

  4. Open File Explorer (Windows key + E).
  5. Click on This PC from the left pane.
  6. Under the "Devices and drives" section, open the Local Disk (the "C" drive).
  7. Double-click the sfclogs.txt file to open it with the default text editor app.

    SFC log fileSource: Windows Central

After you complete the steps, the log file will reveal all the scanned system files and information for the unrepairable files.

This option is only available when performing a scan within Windows 10, not when performing an offline scan with Command Prompt.

How to repair Windows 10 with System File Checker offline

To repair Windows 10 using SFC with the offline option, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Update & Security.
  3. Click on Recovery.
  4. Under the "Advanced startup" section, click the Restart now button.

    Windows 10 advanced startup settingsSource: Windows Central

  5. Click on Troubleshoot.

    Advanced Startup Troubleshoot optionSource: Windows Central

  6. Click on Advanced options.

    Advanced startup Advanced optionsSource: Windows Central

  7. Click on Command Prompt. (After selecting the option, the device will reboot.)

    Advanced startup Command Prompt optionSource: Windows Central

  8. Select your account in the Advanced startup options.
  9. Confirm the account password.
  10. Click the Continue button.
  11. Type the following command to start the diskpart tool and press Enter:

    diskpart

  12. Type the following command to determine the location of the Windows and System Reserved partitions and press Enter:

    list volume

  13. Confirm the current drive letter assignment for the System Reserved partition (the one close to 500MB) and Windows 10 partition, usually the volume with the largest size.

    DiskPart list volume commandSource: Windows Central

  14. Type the following command to exit diskpart and press Enter:

    exit

  15. Type the following command to run the System File Checker offline and press Enter:

    sfc /scannow /offbootdir=F:\ /offwindir=C:\Windows

    Windows 10 SFC Scannow command offlineSource: Windows Central

    In the command, we are using the /offboodir option to specify the drive letter of the System Reserved partition, which in this case is F. Also, the /offwindir option specifies the location of the Windows 10 files, which in this case is C:\Windows.

  16. Click the X button to close Command Prompt.
  17. Click on Continue.

Once you complete the steps, the command tool will fix any problems with system files on Windows 10, and the device will restart normally.

How to repair Windows 10 manually without System File Checker

If the System File Checker cannot fix the damaged files, you may need to repair them manually.

Determine corrupted system files

To find out which files need replacing on Windows 10, 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:

    findstr /c:"[SR]" %windir%\Logs\CBS\CBS.log > C:\sfclogs.txt"

    SFC log fileSource: Windows Central

  4. Open File Explorer (Windows key + E).
  5. Click on This PC from the left pane.
  6. Under the "Devices and drives" section, open the Local Disk (the "C" drive).
  7. Double-click the sfclogs.txt file to open it with the default text editor app.

    SFC log fileSource: Windows Central

After you complete the steps, the log file will reveal all the scanned system files and information for files that could not be repaired.

While in the file, you can use the find option (Ctrl + F) in the text editor and look for the term: "Cannot repair member file" to identify the corrupted files that need replacing.

Repair system files manually

You may be able to get good working files to replace in your installation from another device running the exact edition and version of Windows 10. If you do not know the location of the damaged file, you may need to perform an online search with the information available in the SFC log file.

To repair damaged system files on Windows 10 manually, 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 take ownership of the corrupted files and press Enter:

    takeown /f C:\PATH\TO\FILE

    In the command, replace C:\PATH\TO\FILE with the actual path to the file that you are trying to fix.

    This example takes ownership of the "acproxy.dll" file:

    takeown /f C:\Windows\System32\acproxy.dll

  4. Type the following command to grant full administrator access to the corrupted file and press Enter:

    icacls C:\PATH\TO\FILE /Grant Administrators:F

    In the command, replace C:\PATH\TO\FILE with the actual path to the file that you are trying to fix.

    This example grants access to the "acproxy.dll" file:

    icacls C:\Windows\System32\acproxy.dll /Grant Administrators:F

    Windows 10 take ownership of system filesSource: Windows Central

  5. Type the following command to replace the corrupted files with a good-known version and press Enter:

    copy C:\PATH\TO\SOURCE\GOOD\FILE C:\PATH\TO\DESTINATION\BROKEN\FILE

    In the command, replace C:\PATH\TO\SOURCE\GOOD\FILE with the path of the new file and C:\PATH\TO\DESTINATION\BROKEN\FILE with the path of the corrupted file.

    Windows 10 replace corrupted file manuallySource: Windows Central

    Quick tip: If you get a message saying you cannot replace the file because another process is using it, then either find and terminate the process or perform this task offline. (See above steps).

    This example replaces the "acproxy.dll" file in the System32 folder:

    copy C:\Files\acproxy.dll C:\Windows\System32\acproxy.dll

  6. Type the following command to verify the integrity of the Windows 10 system files and press Enter:

    sfc /verifyonly

    Windows 10 SFC verifyonly commandSource: Windows Central

  7. (Optional) Type the following command to verify the integrity of the replacement file and press Enter:

    sfc /verifyfile=C:\PATH\TO\REPLACED\FILE

    In the command, replace C:\PATH\TO\REPLACED\FILE with the path of the file you replaced.

    This example verifies the integrity of the "acproxy.dll" file inside the System32 folder:

    sfc /verifyfile=C:\Windows\System32\acproxy.dll

Once you complete the steps, if the new files pass the integrity check, you have then resolved the problems with Windows 10.

If you cannot repair the installation using the System File Checker, you may want to consider starting fresh with a clean installation of Windows 10.

More Windows 10 resources

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