How to repair corrupted files in Windows 10

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Windows & Software Expert
Milan has been enthusiastic about PCs ever since his childhood days, and this led him to take interest in all PC-related technologies. Before joining WindowsReport, he worked as a front-end web developer. Read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • Corrupted files in Windows 10 may bring the system to a halt so it's imperative to repair Windows 10.
  • An important method is to use some important tools for fixing corrupted files.
  • It's also a good idea to try and run the tools in Safe Mode and even before Windows starts.
  • You can attempt a Windows 10 repair by replacing the files manually by following our steps below.
How to fix corrupted files in Windows 10
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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 your system, and today we’re going to show you how to repair Windows 10.

How do I fix corrupted files in Windows 10?

  1. Use the SFC tool
  2. Use DISM tool
  3. Run SFC scan from Safe Mode
  4. Perform SFC scan before Windows 10 starts
  5. Replace the files manually
  6. Use System Restore
  7. Reset your Windows 10

1. Use the SFC tool

1.1 Run System File Checker

  1. Type cmd in the Search box and click on Run as Administrator to open an elevated Command Prompt window.
  2. When Command Prompt opens, enter sfc /scannow and press Enter.
  3. Don’t close Command Prompt or interrupt the repair process. It 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.

1.2 Check the SFC log

  1. Open Command Prompt as administrator as shown in the previous steps.
  2. Enter the following command and press Enter (By doing this, you’ll create a sfclogs.txt file on your Desktop): findstr /c:"[SR]" %windir%LogsCBSCBS.log >"%userprofile%Desktopsfclogs.txt"
  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.

The SFC is a command line tool, and it will scan your PC and repair any corrupted system files. If you want to learn more about how to use it, read this comprehensive guide about the System File Checker.

2. Use the DISM tool

  1. Open Command Prompt as administrator as indicated at the first step.
  2. Enter the following command and press Enter: DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
  3. 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.

If you can’t run SFC tool or if SFC can’t fix the problem, you can try using the 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.

Are you looking for a more friendly option? Try the DISM GUI

3. Run SFC scan from Safe Mode

  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, then select Startup Settings and 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 an SFC scan.

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 the Safe Mode you’ll eliminate any possible interference from third-party apps.

4. Perform the SFC scan before Windows 10 starts

  1. Restart your PC by following the first three steps from the previous solution.
  2. When the list of options appears, select Troubleshoot.
  3. Choose Advanced options and select Command Prompt.
  4. When your PC restarts, you might be asked to enter your username and password, so be sure to do that.
  5. Find the letter of your Windows 10 drive. To do that, enter the following command and press Enter: wmic logicaldisk get deviceid, volumename, description
  6. Pay attention to Volume Name. In most cases Windows Volume Name will be assigned to the letter D. This is perfectly normal if you start Command Prompt before starting Windows, so no need to worry about it.
  7. Also check System Reserved drive. In most cases, it should be C.
  8. Enter the following command and press Enter (Be sure to use the letters that you got from the previous steps): sfc /scannow /offbootdir=C: /offwindir=D:Windows
  9. Wait while your system files are scanned.
  10. After the scan is completed, close Command Prompt and start Windows 10 normally.

Sometimes you need to scan and repair protected system files, but you can’t do that from Windows 10.

Run a System Scan to discover potential errors

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Click Start Scan to find Windows issues.

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Run a PC Scan with Restoro Repair Tool to find errors causing security problems and slowdowns. After the scan is complete, the repair process will replace damaged files with fresh Windows files and components.

To scan protected system files you’ll have to run SFC scan before Windows 10 starts like shown above in this solution.

5. Replace the files manually

  1. Open Command Prompt as administrator as shown in the first solution.
  2. Enter the following command and press Enter: takeown /f C:corrupted-file-location-and-file-name 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 the takeown command you’ll have ownership over the corrupted file).
  3. Enter the following command to gain full administrator privileges over the file and press Enter: icacls C:corrupted-file-location-and-file-name /Grant Administrators:F 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.
  5. Enter the following command and press Enter: copy C:location-of-healthy-file C:corrupted-file-location-and-file-name
  6. Enter Yes if you’re asked if you want to overwrite the file.
  7. Repeat these steps for all corrupted files.

After all corrupted files are replaced, run the following command to verify if the problem with corrupted files is fixed: SFC /verifyonly

Note: This is one of the more advanced solutions, and if it seems a bit complicated, be sure to read it carefully a couple of times. We also advise you to be extra cautious while performing the steps.

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:

6. Use System Restore

  1. Press Windows Key + S, enter create a restore point, and select the option from the results.
  2. Click on the System Restore button.
  3. Check Show more restore points. Select the available restore point and click Next.
  4. Follow the instructions to perform the restoration.

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

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.

We recommend using a professional program that restores system values to its default version automatically, without affecting personal files or data.

Restoring your system to a previous state can fix a number of system issues. A simpler way to safely restore your system is using a specialized tool that can do all the work for you.

Restoro will automatically scan your PC for problematic files and will replace all critical Windows system files that are malfunctioning with previous versions that are working perfectly.

Here’s how you can perform this action:

  1. Download and install Restoro.
  2. Launch the application.
  3. Wait for it to find any system stability issues.
  4. Press Start Repair.
  5. Restart your PC for all the changes to take effect.

The built-in system restoration tool will revert your Windows to a previous version, therefore you can lose some precious data that was saved after the restoration point was made. You can always return your system to its pre-repair condition.

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Disclaimer: This program needs to be upgraded from the free version in order to perform some specific actions.

You find the System Restore process difficult? Learn all about it from our step-by-step guide

7. Reset your Windows 10

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

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.

If the reset process didn’t fix the problem, repeat it again, but choose the second option, Remove everything.

Then select the Only the drive where Windows is installed option and finally select the Just remove my files option.

If that doesn’t fix the problem, perform a clean install of Windows 10. You don’t need to ask how, we got your back with our comprehensive guide.

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 persist, you’ll have to reset your PC or perform a clean install.

You should also try a third-party tool. We’ve got an excellent list with the best tools that will bring quicker methods of how to fix corrupted files in Windows 10.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • There are plenty of reasons for that, including software or hardware issues. Here’s an excellent guide on how to fix corrupted files in Windows 10.

  • The best way is by using System File Checker. We’ve got an expert guide on how to perform an SFC scan.

  • Yes, but make sure you go for the Keep your files option if you don’t want to lose your personal files. Here’s our guide on how to reset your PC using the new Cloud download.

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