For those who use windows the dreaded blue screen has likely reared its ugly head at some point. Usually with multiple important tabs open, and that really important piece of work nearly finished. The typical reaction is both horror and anger, as you wonder why you didn’t save that work a long time ago, while also begging to the computer gods that the blue screen didn’t occur because of a corrupt file.
If it was because of a corrupt file, we feel your pain. But here’s how you can fix it.
It is for this exact issue that Windows introduced their System File Checker in their latest update for Windows 10. This scans your system files and alerts you to where there is corruption and other significant changes. Windows will then replace any files that have been modified or corrupted with the original and correct versions of the files. However, if the System File Checker fails to replace the corrupt file there is another option available to you.
This is the DISM command, which stands for Deployment Image and Servicing Management. This tool allows you to fix the component corruption which is preventing the System Files Checker from working correctly.
When should I be using these options?
You should use the System File Checker or DISM when;
- The windows blue screen appears
- Applications on your computer are crashing
- Specific windows applications are not working as they should
To fix these issues just follow the simple instructions below:
Which option should be used first?
You should be using the System File Checker first as it will likely solve the most common problems, but if this doesn’t work it at least eliminates the possibility that the system files have been corrupted, and allows you to move forward with other methods.
If this doesn’t work the DISM option should always be your next step to try as it deals with the less common issues. It should be remembered that problems linked with the System File checker can also be associated with the DISM. If the problem can’t be fixed with the System File Checker, it is likely it can be solved using the DISM, which in turn will allow the File Checker to begin working correctly once more.
How do I run the System File Checker?
To begin the process you will need to be in the Administrator Command Prompt window. To access this, right-click on the Windows/Start button in the bottom left corner of your screen. Then click Command Prompt (Admin)
Next, type sfc/scannow’ and press Enter to run the application. You will need to leave this for around 5-10 minutes in order for it to run correctly and bring any issues to your attention. If no issues are discovered, then you will see a message saying ‘Windows Resource Protection did not find any integrity violations’
However, should you see a message stating ‘Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files but was unable to fix some of them’ it means that issues have been found, but your PC or laptop will need to be rebooted in safe mode. In order to do this hold down the shift key while clicking the restart option, which will enable the advanced boot options menu. Once the computer has restarted, repeat the same steps to begin the System File Checker, and hopefully the first message with ‘no integrity violations’ should appear
If this doesn’t work, you will need to use the DISM Command by opening the Command Prompt (Administrator) window as seen above. This time instead of typing in sfc/scannow’ type in ‘DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth’
Again, this should take between 5-10 minutes. The progress bar may initially seem very slow, but it’s important not to cancel the command. You will then see a message outlining if a change has been made to your system. If the DISM has made a change, restart your computer and run the System File Checker command once again. If all goes well it should now be able to replace the corrupted files.
If the steps above have been taken and it hasn’t helped, the system restore tool will restore your system files to an earlier state, when the files were not corrupted
In order to do this click on the Start/Windows button in the bottom left of the screen. Then type in System Restore in the search bar and click ‘create a restore point’. In the system properties that appear, click on the System Restore button. Enable the turn on the system protection’ and move the Max Usage slider to around 5-10%. This is how you can determine just how much of your hard drive to use in restoring, then hit apply
Another option is to reset your system or reinstall Windows. By doing this you will remove apps and settings but keep personal files if you so wish.
To do this you click on Settings – Update & Security – Recovery – Get Started. You will then have to decide whether you want to ‘Keep My Files’ or ‘Remove Everything’
If you choose to remove everything this will take a longer time. If you then choose to ‘Remove files and clean the drive’ it will make the recovery of those removed files much harder. This is, however, a good option if you are selling or giving away your computer.
Next, click Next – Reset – Continue, which should remove any corruption by resetting Windows back to its basic state.
If you encounter a specific error message, you should have a look at Microsoft’s page on Windows 10 errors.
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