SFC runs, finds errors, but does not create CBS.log file


  1.    12 May 2010 #1
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    SFC runs, finds errors, but does not create CBS.log file


    Hi,

    Long story short: we have a Dell Inspiron E1505 laptop with Windows Vista that is infrequently used. Around March, we turned it on to work wirelessly in the house. It booted fine, but after a few minutes it apparently downloaded an update and started to apply it. Kept giving us an "Installing update 3 of 3" screen and rebooting itself after a while. Tried doing a system restore, which failed (and now the restore point has disappeared).

    Vista will now attempt to boot, get a decent way through the process, then die with a BSOD that flashes too quickly to read before rebooting.

    I booted to the recovery options and tried the automated startup repair process. It runs, but can't fix anything. Viewing its report, it appears that all of its automated tests come back normal.

    I then dropped to the command prompt and tried running SFC with the following command:

    sfc /scannow /offbootdir=c:\ /offwindir=c:\windows

    SFC runs and finishes, reporting that it has found some errors but could not fix them, and that details have been written to the CBS.log file.

    It lies. The command prompt system actually boots from a copy of Windows on drive X. Going to x:\windows\logs\cbs I found an old cbs.log from last year. I viewed it to make sure no new info had been appended. To be safe, I renamed it cbs.log.old and ran SFC again. No new CBS.log file was created.

    I also checked c:\windows\logs\cbs just in case. Same story. Renamed the old log, still no new CBS.log gets created.

    For grins, I did cd %windir% to see where Windows thought it was supposed to be creating the CBS.log file. It came up x:\windows as expected. I tried creating a "log" directory in c:\ and setting the windir variable to c:\log, still no CBS.log created.

    Just in case there was some permission error preventing sfc from writing to either the C: or X: drives, I plugged in a USB flash drive, created a "logs" directory on its root, and set the windir variable to that (e:\logs). Ran sfc again, still no joy.

    I tried running it /verifyonly just in case. Still no CBS.log file gets created. Anywhere.

    I've Googled this extensively and haven't found anyone discussing a CBS.log file that simply never gets created. Lots of articles on how to reveal a hidden CBS.log file, or how to get the proper permission to access it, but nothing dealing with the failure of SFC to create the file in the first place.

    If anyone has any suggestions on why SFC is not creating a log file, or how I can either specify a log file via command line option or even just send the output to the screen, I would really appreciate it. I would really prefer to not have to restore the partition from the Dell recovery image and then re-install everything from scratch.

    Thanks for your help!
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2.    12 May 2010 #2
    Join Date : Nov 2008
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    Re: SFC runs, finds errors, but does not create CBS.log file


    From Our Archives:

    System Files - SFC Command
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3.    12 May 2010 #3
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      Thread Starter

    Re: SFC runs, finds errors, but does not create CBS.log file


    Thanks for the link. I found that tutorial earlier with a Google search, but I do not see how it applies as it assumes that SFC actually creates a CBS.log file on the system.

    I'm not being denied access to the file...it is simply not there, even though SFC finishes and terminates normally.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4.    12 May 2010 #4
    Join Date : Feb 2010
    Mississauga, ON
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    canada

     

    Re: SFC runs, finds errors, but does not create CBS.log file


    The only reference I can find is a bit obscure (see Best Practices for Servicing), but it says:

    Logging does not work when installing from read-only media, such as a Windows PE CD.

    The inference is that it doesn't work in the Repair environment either.

    Ed
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5.    20 Nov 2011 #5
    Join Date : May 2008
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    Re: SFC runs, finds errors, but does not create CBS.log file


    For future Googlers, I ran into this same problem and was able to solve it: you can redirect the log by using an environment variable. I'm my case, I did

    set WINDOWS_TRACING_LOGFILE=C:\TEMP\CBS.log

    Before running sfc. Also the recovery console doesn't have findstr, but you can easily use find instead to extract relevant entries from the log, like so:

    find "[SR]" C:\TEMP\CBS.log > C:\TEMP\sfcdetails.txt

    There, now you have a log! I hope the hours I spent on this help someone else.
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  6.    09 Aug 2013 #6
    Join Date : Aug 2013
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    Re: SFC runs, finds errors, but does not create CBS.log file


    It sure as hell helped me! I couldn't find information on why I didn't have a cbs.log file anywhere using goolge. It was as if no one else out there was having the same problem. Thanks!
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7.    09 Aug 2013 #7
    Join Date : Aug 2013
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    32-Bit Windows XP Media Center SP3
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    Re: SFC runs, finds errors, but does not create CBS.log file


    Damn it! I spoke too soon. sfc still isn't creating a cbs.log file despite your instructions. Is it possible the logging feature is turned off for sfc on my computer? If so, how do I turn it on?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8.    07 Mar 2014 #8
    Join Date : Mar 2014
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    Windows Vista Ultimate 32bit
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    Re: SFC runs, finds errors, but does not create CBS.log file


    I would like to bump this topic and ask if anyone has ever been able to get CBS logging back online in the recovery environment. This really breaks the whole point of SFC since you kind of need to be able to use it when windows cannot boot!
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  9.    07 Mar 2014 #9
    Join Date : Jan 2010
    New Zealand
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    newzealand

     

    Re: SFC runs, finds errors, but does not create CBS.log file


    I have always used this in an elevated command prompt

    findstr /c:"[SR]" %windir%\logs\cbs\cbs.log
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10.    07 Mar 2014 #10
    Join Date : Mar 2014
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    Re: SFC runs, finds errors, but does not create CBS.log file


    Quote Originally Posted by ilikefree View Post
    I have always used this in an elevated command prompt

    findstr /c:"[SR]" %windir%\logs\cbs\cbs.log
    The only issue being that that will not work if cbs.log does not exist in the first place

    I ran the above set command, but instead of using my C: drive, I just set the log to X:\CBS.Log, and it actually created the file. Go figure!
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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SFC runs, finds errors, but does not create CBS.log file

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