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Windows 7: SFC /SCANNOW : Run in Command Prompt at Boot

SFC /SCANNOW : Run in Command Prompt at Boot

How to Run the System File Checker in a Command Prompt at Boot
Published by Bare Foot Kid
23 Jan 2011
Published by

How to Check / Repair the Windows System Files from a Command Prompt at Boot

This shows how to start the PC and open a command prompt at boot so the Windows system files can be checked and repaired if possible, if the PC will not start to Windows normally or in safe mode.

Note   Note

For those that are dual/multi booting or if the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE) does not 'see' the Windows Operating System needing repair, see Method Two below.


Let's get started!

In the BIOS set the boot order to boot first from the CD/DVD Drive, insert the Windows full version installation DVD or a created repair CD and restart the PC.



Method One

For Windows 7 and Vista full version installation media, after the "Press any key ... " black screen do steps #1 & #2 then skip down to step #5 below to continue.

For a Windows system repair disk start at step #3 below.

1) At the Select Language screen click next.
click any image to enlarge
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2) At the next screen click Repair your Computer.
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3) For a Windows created repair CD, after the "Press any key ... " black screen there will be a Loading Files screen.
SFC /SCANNOW : Run in Command Prompt at Boot-loadind.jpg
4) Then click Next for this System Recovery Options dialog box.
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5) At this System Recovery Options dialog box, make sure there is a dot at "Use Recovery Tools" and be sure to make note of the Location drive letter as it probably will not be C: and the correct drive letter must be entered in the following steps; then click Next.
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6) At this System Recovery Options dialog box click Command Prompt.
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7) In the command window that opens type this command below and hit the <enter> key, be sure to use your drive letter, where mine is F: for this demonstration yours probably will not be the same.

Code:
 
sfc /scannow /offbootdir=f:\ /offwindir=f:\windows
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8) You will get a blinking curser while it checks and attempts to repair any issues it may find, it could take quite a bit of time to complete.
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9) To close the command window after the scan type exit and hit the <enter> key.
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Though my demonstration / test found no errors to repair, yours may and if it does it may take you running this command a couple separate times to completely repair any issues it finds so don't give up after just one attempt.

For further important information on this process, see Option Two of this tutorial at the link below.

SFC /SCANNOW Command - System File Checker

10) To restart the PC when the command window closes, remove the Windows / repair disk from the ODD and click Restart in the System Recovery Options dialog box that's still open.
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Method Two

It has been suggested by Brink to include this method for those dual/multi booting and for those that have issues with WinRE 'seeing' the Windows Operating System partition needing repair.

In the BIOS set the boot order to boot first from the CD/DVD Drive, insert the Windows full version installation DVD or a created repair CD and restart the PC so diskpart can be started, if need be, view this tutorial for those methods.

How to Boot to DISKPART at PC Startup

1) In the diskpart command window type list volume and hit the <enter> key.

2) After it lists the volumes type exit a single time and <enter>.
ckick to enlarge
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3) Now type the command below using your specific volume drive letters <enter>.

If you are dual/multi booting or have a System Reserved partition as I do and the system boot files are stored on a separate partition than the Operating System partition needing repair, in any case, the volume drive letter where the system boot files are stored goes in the first part.

offbootdir=c:

In the second part you would use the volume drive letter for the Windows OS partition you want to attempt the repair on.

offwindir=f:

Code:
 
sfc /scannow /offbootdir=c:\ /offwindir=f:\windows
4) You will get a blinking curser while it checks and attempts to repair any issues it may find, it could take quite a bit of time to complete.
Name:  DISKPARTscan.jpg
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5) Though my demonstration / test found no errors to repair, yours may and if it does it may take you running this command a couple separate times to completely repair any issues it finds so don't give up after just one attempt.

For further important information on this process, see Option Two of this tutorial at the link below.

SFC /SCANNOW Command - System File Checker
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6) To close the command window after the scan type exit and hit the <enter> key.
Then remove the Windows disk from the ODD and restart the PC to start Windows.


Enjoy





23 Jan 2011   #1
jfar

Vista Ult64, Win7600
 
 

Very well done, informative and easy to follow instructions, as usual BFK,


My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Jan 2011   #2
Bare Foot Kid
Microsoft MVP

W 7 64-bit Ultimate
 
 

Thank you Jim!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Jan 2011   #3
derekimo

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Pro 64 SP1
 
 

Well done Ted, another excellent tutorial!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


23 Jan 2011   #4
Bare Foot Kid
Microsoft MVP

W 7 64-bit Ultimate
 
 

Thank you Derek, I still have some additions to add, Brink has made an excellent suggestion; I'll post in the thread at chillout when I finish working them out.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Jan 2011   #5
niemiro

Vista Home Premium x86 SP2
 
 

Hello!

Excellent work! You might also want to reference this: You cannot use the System File Checker tool to verify or to repair Windows Vista if Windows Vista is in a mounted image file or in a bootable WIM file

Possibly? Your decision. This one is really for the Techs. If they understand it, it might matter to them. If they don't understand it, then less likely. A small reference would be enough. I also think that this error can be generated if you run chkdsk too soon before SFC. Often a few restarts are required. Can someone confirm all of this? I think it is right, but I am right on the very edge of my comfort zone.

Richard
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Jan 2011   #6
Bare Foot Kid
Microsoft MVP

W 7 64-bit Ultimate
 
 

Hello Richard.



Thank you very much.

It's still a work in-progress so I will look into your information.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Jan 2011   #7
marsmimar

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 Pro 64-bit
 
 

Very nice, Ted. If a technically challenged person like me can follow your instructions then anyone can!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Jan 2011   #8
Bare Foot Kid
Microsoft MVP

W 7 64-bit Ultimate
 
 

Hello Lee, thank you; I have to make them easy to follow so I can understand them too.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Jan 2011   #9
StalkeR

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 x64
 
 

Great Tutorial BFK! Also Happy Birthday!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 SFC /SCANNOW : Run in Command Prompt at Boot




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