This post shows how to run a SFC scan from recovery environment for Windows Vista and later.

If you’re booting from the recovery partition, this is what you need:

  1. Use ‘F8’ to boot into the recovery environment
  2. Click on ‘Command Prompt’ in the list of options
  3. Type dir and check the output for a folder named Windows
  4. If there is no folder named Windows, change drives by typing a letter at the command prompt such as ‘D:’
  5. Continue steps 3 and 4 until you find the drive with a folder named Windows in it
  6. Type sfc /scannow /OFFBOOTDIR=letter:\ _/OFFWINDIR=_letter:\Windows where letter is the name of the drive containing the Windows folder

The significance of this is that you have an unbootable PC and can’t get to the command line in a normal fashion. If you’re booting from an install DVD or a flash drive, the process is similar but the steps are a tad different:

  1. Press any key to boot from CD/DVD
  2. After it loads, choose the Repair your computer option.
    1. Pay attention to drive letters here.
  3. Open the command prompt and enter the same command – sfc /scannow /OFFBOOTDIR=letter:\ /OFFWINDIR=letter:\Windows
    1. Enter the appropriate drive letters. No need to cd or guess.

Note: if you have a build from an OEM like Toshiba, you may run into issues when the prompt asks you to insert your OS disc as the OS is installed on the recovery partition. Booting into the recovery partition usually solves this but it would be good to have a manufacturers specific disc lying around. I used to have a collection of OEM install discs.

Other Commands

  • At the command prompt, type FixMBR to fix the master boot record.
  • At the command prompt, type FixBoot, to fix bootloader problems.

Note: another option is to use MS DART through the Desktop Optimization pack if you have the enterprise agreement with them.

That’s it. That’s how you run a SFC scan from recovery environment. Not too bad. Did you run into any problems?

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