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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

How to Run the System File Checker (Sfc.exe) Offline in Windows 7 and Vista

The System File Checker (sfc.exe) is an useful tool that lets you scan the integrity of Windows system files, and repair corrupt or missing system files. Numerous cases have been resolved thus far by running Sfc.exe with the "scannow" parameter. However, there are situations where in a corrupt or missing system file prevents Windows from booting normally, and running Sfc.exe from Windows isn’t possible. In such cases, Sfc.exe can be run offline using two additional parameters, via the Windows Recovery Environment (Windows RE) in Windows 7 and Windows Vista.

Booting into Windows RE

Configure the boot order in the BIOS such that the first boot device is your CD/DVD drive.
Insert the Windows 7/Vista Setup DVD and restart the computer.
Alternately, you may use the Windows 7/Vista System Repair Disc if you have one.
When prompted, press a key to boot from the DVD. In the "Install Windows" screen, click Repair your computer

Select your Windows installation, and click Next


Editor’s Note: Make a note of the drive-letter of your Windows 7 installation, as seen from Windows RE
This is the drive-letter you want to reference when running Sfc.exe offline.
Click Command Prompt



To scan the integrity (and repair) a specific file, use this command:

sfc /scanfile=d:\windows\system32\zipfldr.dll /offbootdir=d:\ /offwindir=d:\windows
 
The above command scans the file zipfldr.dll and replaces it if required.

To scan the integrity of all system files and repair them, run this command:
sfc /scannow /offbootdir=d:\  /offwindir=d:\windows
 

This process takes some time (<5 min) to complete, and there weren’t any integrity violations.

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