How to fix corrupted system files in Windows 10 • [FULL GUIDE]

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. 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

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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.

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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.

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 to fix corrupted files in Windows 10.

FAQ: Read more about fixing Windows 10 corrupted files

  • How do system files get corrupted?

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.

  • How do I fix corrupted files?

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

  • Will resetting PC fix corrupted files?

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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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in December 2016 and was revamped and updated in January 2021 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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