System Files - SFC Command

ByLine
How to Repair and Verify the Integrity of Vista System Files with System File Checker
Synopsis
System File Checker (SFC) checks that all Vista files are where they should be and that they are uncorrupted. This will show you how to verify and repair the integrity of Vista system files with the System File Checker (SFC) command codes.
How to Repair and Verify the Integrity of Vista System Files with System File Checker

information   Information
System File Checker (SFC) checks that all Vista system files are where they should be as they were by default and not corrupted, changed, or damaged. This will show you how to verify and repair the integrity of Vista system files with the System File Checker (SFC) command codes.
Tip   Tip
If SFC Cannot Finish or Repair a File:
NOTE:
This is for when after you run the SFC scan below, it cannot finish or repair a file. There is no guarantee that SFC can repair the system files if they are corrupted or damaged to much. If SFC still cannot repair them after this, then you might try running Check Disk (chkdsk), System Restore, a Repair Installation, or a clean reinstall of Vista.

1. How to Read the CBS.LOG
NOTE:
When SFC runs, it logs it's actions to the C:\WINDOWS\LOGS\CBS\CBS.LOG. You can find the specific SFC entries by searching for the [SR] tags in the log.
A) For how to see only the SFC scan details in the CBS.LOG:​
  • Open a elevated command prompt.
  • Copy and paste the command below into the elevated command prompt and press Enter.
    Code:
    findstr /c:"[SR]" %windir%\logs\cbs\cbs.log >%userprofile%\Desktop\sfcdetails.txt
  • Close the elevated command prompt.
  • Click on the sfcdetails.txt file that was just placed on your desktop to see the SFC scan details (ones with the [SR] tags) in the CBS.LOG.
  • You can safely delete the sfcdetails.txt file afterwards if you like.
2. Replace the Files that SFC Cannot Fix
NOTE:
If SFC cannot fix a file, it will be listed in the CBS.LOG above. Read the CBS.LOG to find out what file it is so you can replace it with a good copy.
A) For how, see:​
warning   Warning
Be aware that if you have modified your system files as in theming explorer/system files, running sfc/scannow will revert the system files such as explorer.exe back to it's default state. Make the appropriate backups of your system files that you have modified for theming if you wish to save them before running sfc/scannow.




Here's How:
NOTE:
If sfc cannot start or finish, then try running it Safe Mode.
2. In the elevated command prompt, type the command that you want to do in bold below in steps A to E to run System File Check.​
A) sfc /scannow - Scans the integrity of all protected system files and repairs the system files if needed. (See screenshot below)​
NOTE: Restores Vista's original setup of system files. (EX: Fonts, wallpapers, System32 files, etc.)
scannow.jpg

B) sfc /verifyonly - Scans and only verifies the integrity of all proteced system files only. (See screenshot below)​
NOTE: If it finds anything like in the screenshot below boxed in red at the bottom, you should run step A to see if it can fix it. See how to read the CBS log above for details on the SFC scan results.​
verifyonly.jpg

C) sfc /scanfile=(full path of file) - Scans the integrity of the chosen system file and repairs it if needed.​
EX: sfc /scanfile=C:\Windows\System32\kernel32.dll​
D) sfc /verifyfile=(full path of file) - Scans and only verifies the integrity of the chosen system file.​
EX: sfc /verifyfile=C:\Windows\System32\kernel32.dll​
E) sfc /? - For a list of all sfc command codes with description. (see screenshot below)​
SFC_Help.jpg


3. Press Enter.​
NOTE: It may take a while to finish.​
4. Close the elevated command prompt when it finishes.​
5. If you got a message to restart the computer in the command prompt, then restart the computer to finish the repair.​

Note   Note
If SFC could not fix something, then run the command again to see if it may be able to the next time. Sometimes it may take running the sfc /scannow command 3 times restarting the PC after each time to completely fix everything that it's able to.

If not, then download and run the 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) System Update Readiness Tool for your same installed 32-bit or 64-bit Vista, restart the PC afterwards, and try the sfc /scannow command again.

If still not, then you can attempt to run a System Restore using a restore point dated before the bad file occured to fix it. You may need to repeat doing a System Restore until you find a older restore point that may work.

If still not, then you can use the steps in the yellow TIP box at the top of the tutorial to manually replace the files that SFC could not fix.




That's it,
Shawn


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Last edited by a moderator:
Shawn Brink

Comments

yes i am still in step one and the sfc /scannow command doesn't want to complete the verification so i cannot perform the step 2. It stops at 67%.
 
I've tried to get this to run, but explorer.exe isn't working. That's what my problem is. I really need help.. I can't even run that as an administrator. I can run the command prompt. I use the task manager to open the few programs that work, such as Firefox. I open explorer.exe, but it only stay open for 5 seconds, and I can't right click anything without it freezing.

Please help :[
 
Please help !
I run sfc /scannow and after finish 100% I have these report :"Windows Resource protection found corrupted files and successfully repaired them." In the log file I see it happened with the secpol.msc file. After another cheking with same command sfc /scannow again the same report for repairing same file(secpol.msc) . What is hapening ?
 
Than you Brink for your advice, but still I have the same problem . I run chkdsk /f everything its ok (all checkings), but after again checking with sfc /scannow the report is that some file are being repaired , I see the sfcdatails.txt file and i see the same reparing for the secpol.msc file. I dont know why it is happened. Any other ideas ? Thanks again .
 
Ran SFC and it did find corrupt files it could not repair. Entered string indicated by KB928228 and hit enter. Nothing seems to happen the cursor just moves down one line and blinks.

Any suggestions, please help!
 
Hi Joem, and welcome to Vista Forums.

After you did the KB928228, you will need to type sfcdetails.txt in the same elevated command prompt and press Enter to be able to read the SFC log file.

However, usually when SFC cannot fix the problem, the only option is either a clean reinstall or a repair (upgrade) install to fix it the bad files.

Hope this helps,
Shawn
 
Thanks, that worked. The only file that was corrupted was autochk.exe, I will try to download, copy and replace according to chkdsk tutorial and see if that works.

However, error messages regarding NTFS have not shown up in last two restarts.

Appreciate the prompt response.
 
Your welcome Joem.

After you repair the autochk.exe file for chkdsk. You might go ahead and run the chkdsk /f command to see if it can fix the NTFS errors.
 
I will let you know how it turns out. I'm taking a rest the replace autochk.exe process seemed complicated and time consuming and I needed some time away from the machine.
 
Since your a rather computer savy you may get the way it says to do it via the first page but I didnt get how to do it from that when I tried.


1. How to Read the CBS.LOG -
NOTE:
When SFC runs, it logs it's actions to the C:\WINDOWS\LOGS\CBS\CBS.LOG. You can find the specific SFC entries by searching for the [SR] tags in the log.
A) For how, see: How to analyze the log file entries that the Microsoft Windows Resource Checker (SFC.exe) program generates in Windows Vista, then afterwards type sfcdetails.txt in the same elevated command prompt from the link and press Enter to be able to read the log file.


 
Hi MaryPoppins,

I have updated the in the tutorial to help make it easier to do. Did you still need any help with it?

Shawn
 
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