Fix: Corrupted system files on Windows 10

Many computer problems are caused by corrupted system files. If your Windows 10 installation is corrupted, you’ll encounter instability issues and all sorts of other problems. Fortunately, there are few ways to fix corrupted system files on Windows 10, and today we’re going to show you how to do it.

How to fix corrupted system files on Windows 10?

Fix – Corrupted system files Windows 10

Solution 1 – Use SFC tool

If you doubt that your system files are corrupted, you can fix them by using SFC tool. This is a command line tool, and it will scan your PC and repair any corrupted system files. To start SFC tool, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Press Windows Key + X to open Win + X menu and choose Command Prompt (Admin).
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  2. When Command Prompt opens, enter sfc /scannow and press Enter.
  3. Repair process will now start. Don’t close Command Prompt or interrupt the repair process. The repair process can take a while, so wait patiently while it completes.

After the repair process is finished, you’ll see Windows Resource Protection did not find any integrity violations message if your system files aren’t corrupted. However, SFC tool can’t always fix corrupted files, so keep that in mind.

If you want to view SFC log, you can do that as well. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Open Command Prompt as administrator.
  2. Enter findstr /c:”[SR]” %windir%\Logs\CBS\CBS.log >”%userprofile%\Desktop\sfclogs.txt” command and press Enter. By doing this, you’ll create a sfclogs.txt file on your Desktop.
  3. Open the sfclogs.txt and check the results of SFC scan.

Keep in mind that this log file contains only information related to SFC scan that is performed in Windows.

Solution 2 – Use DISM tool

If you can’t run SFC tool or if SFC can’t fix the problem, you can try using DISM tool instead. DISM stands for Deployment Image & Servicing Management tool, and it’s used to fix any corruption problems that can prevent SFC tool from running. Just like SFC, DISM is a command line tool that is used to repair system files. To run it, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Open Command Prompt as administrator.
  2. Enter DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth and press Enter.
  3. Repair process will now start. The repair process can take 10 minutes or more, so be patient and don’t interrupt it.
  4. After DISM tool repairs your files, restart your PC.

When your PC restarts, you need to check if the problem is resolved. If the issue still persists, run SFC scan again.

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Solution 3 – Run SFC scan from Safe Mode

Sometimes SFC scan can’t repair your files from Windows, but if that happens, you can try running SFC tool from Safe Mode. Safe Mode is a special mode that uses only default drivers and applications. By using Safe Mode you’ll eliminate any possible interference from third-party apps. To start Safe Mode on Windows 10, do the following:

  1. Open the Start Menu.
  2. Click the Power button.
  3. Hold the Shift key and choose the Restart option.
  4. You’ll see three options available. Select Troubleshoot.
  5. Navigate to Advanced options > Startup Settings. Click the Restart button.
  6. When your PC restarts, you’ll see a list of options. Select any version of Safe Mode by pressing the appropriate F key.

When Safe Mode starts, repeat the steps from Solution 1 to perform SFC scan.

Solution 4 – Perform SFC scan before Windows 10 starts

Sometimes you need to scan and repair protected system files, but you can’t do that from Windows 10. To scan protected system files you’ll have to run SFC scan before Windows 10 starts. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Restart your PC by following the first three steps from the previous solution.
  2. When list of options appears, select Troubleshoot.
  3. Choose Advanced options > Command Prompt.
  4. When your PC restarts, you might be asked to enter your username and password, so be sure to do that.
  5. Now you need to find the letter of your Windows 10 drive. To do that, enter wmic logicaldisk get deviceid, volumename, description command and press Enter to run it.
  6. Pay attention to Volume Name. In most cases Windows Volume Name will be assigned to D letter. This is perfectly normal if you start Command Prompt before starting Windows, so no need to worry about it. In addition to checking the Windows drive, you should also check System Reserved drive. In most cases, it should be C.
  7. Now enter sfc /scannow /offbootdir=C:\ /offwindir=D:\Windows command and press Enter. Be sure to use the letters that you got from the previous step. In most cases, you should use C and D like we did in our example, but if for some reason you get different letters you should use them instead.
  8. The scanning process will now start. Wait while your system files are scanned.
  9. After the scan is completed, close Command Prompt and start Windows 10 normally.

Solution 5 – Replace the files manually

Sometimes in order to fix the problem with corrupted system files you need to replace them manually. This is an advanced process, and if you decide to perform it, we advise you to be extra cautious. First, you need to open your SFC log and check which corrupted files can’t be repaired. We already explained how to view SFC log file in Solution 1, so be sure to check it out for instructions.

After you find the corrupted file, you need to transfer a healthy version of that file from another PC to your PC. Keep in mind that both PCs have to use the same version of Windows 10. To replace the corrupted file manually, you need to do the following:

  1. Open Command Prompt as administrator.
  2. Enter takeown /f C:\corrupted-file-location-and-file-name and press Enter. Remember to replace C:\corrupted-file-location-and-file-name with the actual location of the corrupted file. You need to include both the file name and extension and not just the location of the directory. By running takeown command you’ll have ownership over the corrupted file.
  3. Now enter icacls C:\corrupted-file-location-and-file-name /Grant Administrators:F command to gain full administrator privileges over the file. Once again, replace C:\corrupted-file-location-and-file-name with the actual location of the file.
  4. Now you need to replace the problematic file with the healthy file that you copied from a different PC. Enter copy C:\location-of-healthy-file C:\corrupted-file-location-and-file-name and press Enter.
  5. Enter Yes if you’re asked if you want to overwrite the file.
  6. Repeat these steps for all corrupted files.

After all corrupted files are replaced, run SFC /verifyonly command to verify if the problem with corrupted files is fixed. This is one of more advanced solutions, and if it seems a bit complicated, be sure to read it carefully couple of times.

Solution 6 – Use System Restore

System Restore is a useful feature that will restore your system to an earlier state. If you are unable to fix corrupted files, you might want to consider performing System Restore. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Press Windows Key + S and enter system restore. Choose Create a restore point option.
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  2. Now click System Restore button.
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  3. Check Show more restore points. Select the available restore point and click Next.
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  4. Follow the instructions to perform the restore.

After your PC is restored, system files should be restored to the previous healthy version.

Solution 7 – Reset your Windows 10

If everything else fails, you might have to reset your Windows 10. This process will remove your installed apps and files, so be sure to back up important files. To perform this process you might need a Windows 10 installation media, so be sure to create one using a bootable USB flash drive. To reset Windows 10, do the following:

  1. Restart your PC like we showed you in Solution 3.
  2. Choose Troubleshoot > Reset this PC.
  3. Now you have two options available, Keep my files and Remove everything. The former will reinstall Windows 10, but it will keep your personal files and settings. The latter will remove both personal files and settings. Keep in mind that third-party applications and downloaded files will be removed by performing the reset. If asked whether you want to clean the drive, choose the Just remove my files option.
  4. Choose your user name and enter its password. If you’re asked to insert Windows 10 installation media, be sure to do so.
  5. Select your version of Windows and click the Reset button to start.
  6. Follow the instructions on the screen to complete the process.

If the reset process didn’t fix the problem, repeat it again, but choose Remove everything > Only the drive where Windows is installed > Just remove my files. If that doesn’t fix the problem, perform a clean install of Windows 10.

Fixing corrupted system files is sometimes difficult, and if you can’t repair the files with SFC tool, you’ll need to use DISM tool instead. If issues still persists, you’ll have to reset your PC or perform a clean install.

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