[Repair Guide] How to Fix Corrupted Files in Windows 10

[Repair Guide] How to Fix Corrupted Files in Windows 10

/ James Masterson

Corrupt files, also known as damaged files, are digital documents that have become unusable due to damage or corruption. Corrupt files can be caused by various factors such as physical damage, software crashes, viruses and malware, power outages, hardware failure, or even mechanical errors during file transfers.

Corrupted files may not open correctly or at all and usually display an error message when attempting to do so. In some cases, corrupt files may contain corrupt data, images, audio/video streams, or archives. It is important to note that corrupt files cannot always be recovered and are often unrecoverable due to the extent of the corruption.

As a result, it is essential to back up your data to prevent regularly corrupting files. Be vigilant when downloading and opening files from unknown sources, as they may contain corrupt data or viruses that can further damage your system. Investing in reliable antivirus software and keeping it up to date is essential in protecting your data from corrupt files.

Run the System File Checker Tool

System File Checker (SFC) is a Windows utility that can scan the system files for any corruption or damage and replace them with the original, healthy versions. When a Windows system file becomes corrupted, it can cause various issues, such as application errors, system crashes, or even a complete system failure. Running SFC can help fix these issues by replacing corrupted files with the correct versions, ensuring the system runs smoothly and efficiently.

1. Open the Start menu, and type cmd.

2. Select Command Prompt and run as an administrator.

3. In the Command prompt window, type the following command and press Enter:

sfc /scannow

sfc scan

4. After running a full system scan, If you see this message Windows Resource Protection did not find any integrity violations, it means there is nothing wrong with the Windows system files

Use the Deployment Image Servicing and Management Tool

DISM works by accessing a Windows image that contains a copy of the Windows operating system and all its components. This image can be either the default installation image or a custom image created by the user. When DISM detects any issues with the Windows image, it replaces and repairs corrupted files with the healthy versions from the image or the Windows Update servers.

1. Open the Start menu, and type cmd.

2. Select Command Prompt and run as an administrator.

3. In the Command prompt window, type the following commands and press Enter after each line:

Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /CheckHealth

Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth

Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth

dism restorehealth

4. After the cleanup is finished, restart your computer.

Run the CHKDSK Command

CHKDSK is a built-in utility in Microsoft Windows that checks the file system and the hard disk for errors and repairs them if possible. Running CHKDSK can help fix various file system errors, including issues with corrupted or missing files, bad sectors on the hard drive, and other disk-related problems.

1. Open the Start menu, and type cmd.

2. Select Command Prompt and run as an administrator.

3. Type chkdsk C: /r and press Enter in the Command prompt window.

chkdsk r

4. If the Chkdsk cannot run, type Y to schedule the Disk Check on the next reboot.

Check the SFC Log Files

1. Open the Start menu, and type cmd.

2. Select Command Prompt and run as an administrator.

3. Type the following command and press Enter to create a sfclogs.txt file:

findstr /c:”[SR]” %windir%\logs\cbs\cbs.log >sfcdetails.txt

sfc log command

4. Open the sfcdetails.txt to see the result of the SFC scan.

Run SFC in Safe Mode

1. Press the Windows key and click the Power icon.

2. Press and hold the Shift key, then click Restart.

3. Click on Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup Settings.

startup settings

4. In the next screen, click Restart.

select restart in startup settings

5. After the reboot, press the F4 key to select Enter Safe Mode.

startup settings enable safemode

6. Your PC will start in Safe mode, then rerun SFC.

Perform an SFC Scan Before Windows 10 Starts

1. Turn on and off your PC 3 times, and it will automatically enter the Startup Repair screen.

2. Click on Advanced Options.

automatic repair advanced options

3. Click on Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > Command Prompt.

command prompt in advanced options

4. After your PC restarts, enter your username and password.

5. Type the following command to find the letter of your drive and press Enter:

wmic logicaldisk get deviceid, volumename, description

wmic logicaldisk get deviceid volumename description

The Volume Name should be noted carefully. Usually, the Windows Volume Name is assigned the letter D. If you launch Command Prompt before starting Windows, this is normal, and there is no cause for concern.

6. Next, type the following command and be sure to use the letters you got from the previous step:

sfc /scannow /offbootdir=C:\ /offwindir=D:\Windows

sfc scannow offbootdir

7. After the Scanning process, exit the Command prompt and start Windows normally.

Replace the Files Manually

1. Press Win + X and select Windows PowerShell (Admin).

windows powershell

2. Type the following command and press Enter:

takeown /f C:\corrupted-file-location-and-file-name

takeown in powershell

3. Next, type the following command to gain administrator privileges over the file and press Enter fully:

icacls C:\corrupted-file-location-and-file-name /Grant Administrators:F

icacls powershell

Ensure that you substitute the corrupted-file-location-and-file-name text with the accurate location of the affected file, including the file name and extension. Specifying the file name and extension, not just the directory location, is essential. By executing the takeown command, you’ll obtain ownership of the corrupted file.

4. You must replace the corrupted file with a healthy one. Type the following command and press enter:

copy C:\location-of-healthy-file C:\corrupted-file-location-and-file-name

copy healthy location in powershell

5. Enter Yes to overwrite the file and repeat the steps to other corrupted files.

6. Run the following command to verify if the corrupted file is fixed:

SFC /verifyonly

Windows System Restore

System Restore creates a restore point containing information about the system configuration and settings at a specific time. When the user selects a restore point, Windows restores the system to that point by undoing any changes made to the system since the restore point was created. This can help to recover corrupted files.

1. Press Win + R, type sysdm.cpl, and press Enter.

2. Go to the System Protection tab and click System Restore.

system restore option

2. Select a different restore point option and click the Next button.

choose different restore point

3. Choose a previous restore point and click the Next button.

select system restore point

4. Follow on-screen instructions to complete the process.

Reset Corrupted Windows 10

Resetting Windows 10 works by reinstalling Windows while keeping the user’s files and settings intact. During the reset process, Windows will delete all installed apps and settings and replace them with a fresh installation of Windows. This process can help to fix corrupted system files and restore the system to a working state.

1. Press the Windows key and click the Power icon.

2. Press and hold the Shift key, then click Restart.

3. Click Troubleshoot > Reset this PC.

reset pc resetting options

4. Select an option and follow the on-screen instructions.

reset pc choose options

How to Fix Corrupted Files in Windows 11 Using Startup Repair?

One tool that can help in such situations is the Startup Repair tool. This tool is designed to scan and repair the system files necessary for Windows to start up properly. By running the Startup Repair tool, users may be able to fix issues that prevent the system from starting up normally and resolve any related problems with corrupted system files.

1. Press Win + I to open the Settings app, and click on System > Recovery.

2. Under Advanced Startup, click on Restart Now.

advanced startup restart now

3. Click on Troubleshoot > Advance options > Startup Repair.

select startup repair

4. Select your Account and enter your password.

5. Click Continue to start the Startup Repair.

What is a Windows System File?

A Windows System File is a file that is essential for the proper functioning of the Windows operating system. These files are typically located in the system directory of a Windows installation, and they contain important data and instructions used by the operating system and its associated programs.

The operating system typically protects Windows System Files, and users are not recommended to modify or delete them as doing so can cause system instability and may result in a non-functioning operating system.

What Does It Mean if a Windows System File Is Corrupted?

If a Windows system file is corrupted, the file has been damaged or altered so that it can no longer perform its intended function. This can result in various issues, depending on which file is affected and how severely it is damaged.

Causes of Corrupted System Files

There are several reasons why a Windows system file may become corrupted. Here are some common causes of corrupted system files:

  1. Malware or Virus Infections: Malware and viruses can infect and damage system files, causing them to become corrupted. Malware can be introduced to the system through downloads, email attachments, or other sources.
  2. Hardware Problems: Hardware issues, such as a failing hard drive, can cause system files to become corrupted. If the system cannot read or write data to the disk correctly, it can cause errors and corruption.
  3. Power Failures or Other System Crashes: Power failures or sudden system crashes can cause files to become corrupted if they are not properly closed or saved before the crash occurs.
  4. Incorrect Shutdown: If the system is not shut down properly, it can cause files to become corrupted. For example, if the power is suddenly turned off while the system still writes data to the disk, it can cause file corruption.
  5. Software Errors: Errors in software or driver installations can cause system files to become corrupted. For example, if a driver installation fails or a program crashes during installation, it can cause system file corruption.

It’s important to note that some system files may become corrupted over time due to normal wear and tear or file fragmentation. Therefore, it’s important to regularly perform system maintenance tasks such as disk cleanup, defragmentation, and system file checks to keep the system running smoothly and prevent file corruption.

How to Prevent Corrupted Windows System Files

To prevent corrupted Windows system files, it’s important to follow best practices such as installing antivirus and antimalware software, keeping Windows up-to-date, being cautious when downloading or opening files, shutting down the system properly, avoiding interrupting software installations, using reliable hardware, and performing regular system maintenance. These practices help maintain the integrity and functionality of the system and prevent vulnerabilities and problems that can lead to file corruption.

Resolving Corrupted Files in Windows 10: A Step-by-Step Repair Guide

This comprehensive repair guide has covered effective methods to fix corrupted files in Windows 10. Following the step-by-step instructions, you can successfully recover and restore your system’s integrity. Whether you encounter file corruption due to software issues, malware infections, or hardware failures, our guide equips you with the knowledge to tackle these problems head-on. Don’t let corrupted files disrupt your Windows 10 experience – take control and restore your system’s stability with confidence using our repair techniques.

Frequently Asked Questions About Fixing Corrupted System Files

How Do I Use a File System File Checker?

Using a file system checker is an essential step in maintaining computer security. File system checkers scan the hard drive for errors and can repair any found. First, open the software and select “Scan” from the main menu to use a file system checker. Then choose what type of scan you want to perform.

Why Am I Receiving Corrupted System Files?

Various issues, including hardware and software errors or viruses, can cause corrupted system files. It is important to identify the source of the corrupted file so you can take steps to resolve the issue. Hardware errors are typically related to physical damage to storage devices, such as a hard drive or USB drive.

How Are Corrupted System Files Fixed?

Corrupted system files can be fixed in several ways, depending on the severity of the issue. Generally speaking, starting with basic troubleshooting steps such as restarting your computer and running antivirus software or disk repair utilities is always a good idea.

Do Updates Cause Corrupt System Files?

System files are the foundation of how a computer functions. Updating these critical files can help keep your system running smoothly, but it’s important to understand that updates can also cause corruption in some cases. In general, updating system files is not something to be feared and should always be done when available.

How Long Does It Take To Repair Corrupted Files?

The amount of time it takes to repair corrupted files depends on the severity of the corruption and the type of file being fixed. In general, repairing minor issues can take as little as a few minutes, while more severe damage may require hours or even days to repair.

James Masterson
Meet the author

James is a software engineer and an information architect with a keen eye for detail. Among his key interests are enhancing the usability of our Windows 10 content, troubleshooting errors, and tech news.