Windows XP System File Checker

By Deane Barker on April 12, 2004

scannow sfc: Here’s a handy Windows XP feature I had never heard of until today.

From a command prompt, type “sfc /scannow” and Windows will look through all its system files for ones that don’t match up with the others (if, for instance, a third party app replaced them with older versions). If it finds any, it will replace them off the install CD.

The main reason for using this utility is when you suspect there may be a problem with a Windows XP system file.

Perhaps you get a dialog box appear informing you of a problem with a .dll file, or your program will just not load! It is therefore worth checking to see if there are any corrupt system files using scannow sfc.

Additionally, this is a fantastic article on the utility. Well-written, well-researched, and full of debugging information should you have a problem. We need more tech support articles written like this one.

“sfc” stands for “System File Checker.”



  1. did not work properly with xp home edition it kept asking to insert the xp professional service pack 1 cd

  2. ran the scan, kept asking me to put in the windows cd, but it was in, never gave a report on whet file is corrupt.

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