Saturday, October 20, 2007

Rescue Windows System Files - SFC Utility

One of the thing that I dislike Windows as compared to Linux is the stability issues. Windows loves to crash especially if you do not restart your PC for a long period of time. It happens to me many times already. Most of the cases, what I do is to re-install my windows. I have been doing this once a year in average.

What the heck yesterday, it happened to me again. 2 of my main applications (i.e. MS office, Citrix Client) cannot run at all after I restarted my PC. It has some kind of "dynamic dll link error". I try the system restore point, it didn't help at all. Ok, never mind, I re-installed one by one to fix the problems.

However, I'm happy too fast. I got the following RUNDLL error message when I run the system properties from control panel:

"An exception occurred while trying to run "C:\WINDOWS\system32\shell32.dll, Control_RunDLL "C:\WINDOWS\system32\sysdm.cpl", System"

It seems like the sysdm.cpl is corrupted and I have no choice to reinstall the OS. I hate windows! I almost give up until I find a utility called "SFC" - System File Checker I guess. It is the utility that comes together with Windows. It able to rescue all the protected system files. What you need to do is to run the following command in your command prompt:

  • sfc /scannow
You need to put your original Windows OS CD into the drive and the SFC will do the rest. After running the SFC utility, the problem above doesn't occur anymore. Oh, thanks I learn one new thing today that I no need to reinstall the whole OS for system files corruption (which I used to do) to save my little baby. It saves me a lot of time too (i.e. time to install the OS and all the applications). Hope this is something helpful to you, perhaps not now but in future.

Few tips and trick:
  1. Restart your PC at least once a week
  2. Run "chkdsk" at least once a week
  3. If windows system files corrupted, try use system restore point.
  4. If it doesn't work, try the SFC utility.
This is assuming your PC is not attacked by virus or hackers. This is assuming your PC is attacked by himself (Windows OS) - self destructive mode. I'm just kidding. Good luck!


Anonymous said...

So when SFC detects a corrupted file, does it ask you whether you want Windows to fix it automatically from the CD or does it perform under the hood? I have SOFT RAID enabled in my XP box by hacking into some system DLLs and would be worried if SFC considers them corrupted and replaces them with the original version from the CD.

ChampDog said...

Good point, frankly the SFC doesn't ask me at all. It fixes the system files automatically without prompting me anything. The command sfc /scannow seems just to verify but it is not true. In fact the command will fix the corrupted file.

If we have SOFT RAID or system backup, we should always use them first before we try SFC. I'm using SFC as the last resource. If anything goes wrong with SFC, I think we still use the "sfc /revert" command to revert back the original state.

Jevin said...

Hmmm windows can be so much of a bad OS at times. Vista is slightly better imho. I didnt get any major issues (except compatibility, but thats bound to happen) since I installed it.

ChampDog said...

I hope so. I'm using Vista in my personal PC as well. Maybe Vista is still too new to judge now?

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