System File Checker is a great utility that is typically not utilized by the average Windows XP User. What it does is scan system files that are protected by Windows File Protection (by default Windows File Protection is enabled), and it checks to make sure that the protected files have not been altered. If it finds that a protected file has been altered, it will replace the file with the proper file.
If you are troubleshooting a windows problem or error, running the System File Checker, should be first check. The nice thing about the System File Checker is that it is a tool that isn’t as intrusive as doing a repair install or using the recovery console. Also, by design, it is utility that doesn’t hurt to run, in fact it is a utility that should be run even when there are no problems. System File Checker is meant to ensure that files that are critical to Windows to operate properly are not deleted, overwritten or altered in any way. . . typically 3rd party software or malicious virus attacks are the culprits.
Taking this a step further, I have incorporated running this utility regularly as a maintenance tool, even when I am not experiencing any problems.
You might be saying to yourself, ‘well, I haven’t experienced any viruses lately and I don’t think that any of the software on my computer has caused system files to be replaced and overall I my computer is running in tip top shape, . . . so I’m sure that my system files are fine and have not been replaced, renamed or altered. ’
Well, think again…I have been using the System File Checker for a very long time, and to this day, I have NEVER had the utility not find anything. The way you can tell if the System File Checker finds a file on your system that has been replaced, deleted, or altered, is to run the utility without inserting your Windows XP Installation CD. If all of your files are good, …then you will not receive a prompt asking you to insert your Windows XP Installation CD…Here is how to run System File Checker…
Click Start, then Run, then type sfc /scannow then click OK
If you see a window pop up asking you to insert your Windows XP Installation CD, then the System File Checker utility has found a file on your system that has been replaced, deleted or altered.
Reasons To Run System File Checker:
In conclusion, if you are troubleshooting, first try running the System File Checker. If you are not troubleshooting, I also urge you to run the System File Checker on a regular basis to keep Windows happy and running smoothly. After all, if Windows isn’t happy, where does that leave you?
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About the Author
Since 1990, I have been building and repairing computers. I am currently living in the Twin Cities Metro Area in Minnesota. In 1999, I earned my Bachelors Degree (in Mathematics and Computer Science). While school did give me a lot of knowledge, I really would accredit most of my expertise/knowledge to my Hands-on work (ie. life experience). I’m often told that I have a unique and effective way of explaining complicated computer related topics in ways that others can understand.