A Windows installation stored a large number of important files on your hard drive which are necessary for the system to work properly. For the most part, users don’t need to look at these files but if any of them become corrupted, the system functionality and stability will be affected.
Corrupt system files can lead to all sorts of problems such as system crashes, error messages, and blue screens. Some system files shouldn’t be touched unless you’re tech savvy and really know what you’re doing.
How to fix corrupted Windows system files
Luckily, you can fix corrupted Windows system files even if you don’t have technical experience. Windows packs a tool known as the System File Checker that automatically scans system files and attempts to fix the corrupted items.
To run the System File Checker (SFC), open a Command Prompt with administrative rights. To do this, type cmd in the Start Menu, right-click on the first result and select “Run as Administrator”. Then, type the following command and hit Enter:
Keep in mind it will take a while for SFC to finish the scan process.
If the corrupted files have severely damaged the system and you can’t run the command using the method above here are some alternate solutions.
You can try to open the Command Prompt from the Advanced Startup Options menu. To access it, navigate to Settings -> Update & security -> Recovery and select “Restart Now”. This will boot the system into Recovery Mode.
On the following screen, select Troubleshoot -> Advanced Options. In the Advanced Options menu, click on Command Prompt to run it. Then, you can type the above-mentioned command to run SFC.
If you can’t even boot into Recovery mode, remove the hard drive from your computer and connect it to another Windows PC. Use the first method to open an Admin Command Prompt and use the command below to scan just the external drive:
sfc /scannow /OFFBOOTDIR=d:\ /OFFWINDIR=d:\windows
Before running the command, open This PC and check the letter assigned to the external drive. Replace the “d” in the command with the external’s drive letter.
Now all you need to do is wait for the System File Checker to finish scanning and once the process is complete it will let you know if any corrupt files were detected and repaired.