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Windows 7: sfc /scannow and chkdsk...what's the diff?

12 Mar 2014   #1

sfc /scannow and chkdsk...what's the diff?

I routinely do these scans, one after another, once a week... and at anytime I sense something is amiss, no matter how slightly.

I confess I do not know the difference between these scans. I am guessing both scan for errors and correct them?

With chkdsk I do not know exactly what attempt to recover bad sectors means(if they are bad and lost, why try to recover?).

Should I keep doing both scans one after another each time? Or is one of them enough at a time?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Mar 2014   #2

64-bit Windows 10 Pro

Hello Pappi,

SFC and chkdsk are not related and are used for different purpose explained below.

SFC /SCANNOW Command - System File Checker

SFC /SCANNOW is used to scan to see if you have any missing, corrupted, or modified Windows system files. If any are found, then SFC will attempt to repair them by replacing them with a clean copy from the component store if the component store is not corrupted as well. Usually you would only need to run a SFC scan if you suspect an issue caused by as issue with your system files in Windows.

Disk Check

Check Disk or chkdsk is used to see if a hard drive has any file system errors and bad sectors on it, and attempt to repair or isolate them if found. Usually it's a good idea to run chkdsk at least once a month, or as needed.

Hope this helps,
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Mar 2014   #3

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit

I'm no expert.

But I think sfc /scannow is looking for missing or corrupt Windows files. Checkdisk, on the other hand, is checking for file system (NTFS probably) errors and looking for bad sectors on your hard drive--it has nothing to do with Windows.

So they have entirely different purposes.

I run sfc /scannow every few months if I think about it. Ran it a couple of hours ago for the first time in at least 6 months. Nothing found.

I don't run checkdisk unless I'm having problems of some type or already suspect something is wrong.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

05 Jun 2014   #4


With Vista, when I ran sfc /scannow, damaged files were always found...and often repaired.

With W7, since I started with it 6 months ago, sfc /scannow has not found anything to repair, WRP(Windows Resource Protection) not finding integrity violation. I just cannot believe I have not damaged anything in six months of computing and that's why I am wondering about the reliability of sfc /scannow and WRP.

Is there another tool, perhaps from a third party purveyor that does the same scan as sfc /scannow?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Jun 2014   #5

W10 Pro desktop, W10 laptop, W10 laptop, W10 Pro tablet (all 64-bit)

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by pappi View Post
With W7, since I started with it 6 months ago, sfc /scannow has not found anything to repair, WRP(Windows Resource Protection) not finding integrity violation. I just cannot believe I have not damaged anything in six months of computing and that's why I am wondering about the reliability of sfc /scannow and WRP.
It's interesting to me that you would find it unbelievable that nothing in your system files has been damaged in 6 months. I have systems that have never encountered system file errors after years of use.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Jun 2014   #6


It seems I am a very damaging user. I have not changed since my XP and Vista years. And that's why sfc /scannow always finding damaged files to repair(Vista) on routine monthly scan is more compatible with my computing than WRP not finding integrity violations with sfc scan(W7)in six months of daily usage.

Since I have not changed my computing routine, why all of the sudden with W7, I have not encountered damaged files in six months while I always encountered damaged files with Vista each time I ran sfc scan (once a month) whether or not I sensed anything had gone amiss?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Jun 2014   #7

64-bit Windows 10 Pro


Only when your system files get corrupted or modified will a SFC scan report and try to repair them. If SFC says all is fine, then all is fine with your system files.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Jun 2014   #8


OK. Case closed!
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 sfc /scannow and chkdsk...what's the diff?

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