How to Repair a Corrupted Windows 10 Installation

How to Repair a Corrupted Windows 10 Installation: The worst-case scenario for your Windows installation is system corruption. We demonstrate how to restore Windows 10 to normal operation following BSODs, driver failures, or other unexplained issues.

Corruption of the operating system is one of the most serious issues that Windows 10 users face. Corruption takes many forms, from unpredictable blue or black screens of death (BSOD) to driver faults.

If you’ve exhausted all other options, you might wish to try three utilities that come pre-installed with Windows.

SFC, DISM, and Troubleshooters are all native tools.

Windows 10 includes the greatest free utilities by default: System File Checker (SFC), Deployment Imaging Service and Management (DISM), and Windows Troubleshooters. All three programs provide easy-to-follow instructions for resolving several of the most frequent Windows 10 corruption concerns.

Repair a Corrupted Windows 10 Installation

If you’ve ever had a recurrent computer problem that wasn’t caused by a driver error, file system corruption is a potential cause.

1. Check for System Files

System File Checker is the best tool for fixing corrupted Windows installations (SFC). SFC, like many of Microsoft’s most sophisticated repair tools, is a command-line utility. After execution, the software checks for indicators of damage to Windows. SFC automatically restores damaged files when it detects them.

To maximize the effectiveness of the System File Checker, you should start your computer in Safe Mode. Additionally, you may wish to start the troubleshooting procedure by restarting your computer in Safe Mode. This step is optional.

To use SFC, you must first open an elevated command prompt by typing command prompt into the Windows 10 search bar and selecting Run as administrator. This is how it appears:

Once a command prompt has been established, type sfc /scannow and hit Enter.

This is how it should look:

The duration of the process is determined by the resources available on your machine. You can continue to use your computer while SFC is running. Simply leave the Command Prompt window open.

Once the process is complete, one of the following messages will appear:

  • No integrity violations were discovered by Windows Resource Protection.
  • SFC was unable to determine whether any files on your computer were corrupted.
  • The requested operation could not be completed by Windows Resource Protection. This message may appear
  • if you did not execute the SFC scan in Safe Mode.
  • Windows Resource Protection identified and successfully fixed corrupt files. Your issue should be resolved at this point.

Windows Resource Protection discovered several faulty files but was unable to repair them. In this scenario, you can either attempt to repair the corrupt files manually or go to the next step.

SFC.EXE resolves the majority of difficulties. When SFC fails, however, a second tool known as Deployment Imaging Service and Management (DISM) must be employed. DISM may occasionally require the original installation medium, which could be a USB flash drive or an optical disc.

2. Imaging Services and Management for Deployments

If SFC is unable to fix Windows, DISM is the next tool to try. DISM, like SFC.EXE, has a plethora of command-line options. It is mostly concerned with Windows system images (.WIM files). DISM is capable of scanning, repairing, and cleaning up corrupted WIM files.

After the system has been repaired, users can run the SFC.EXE command (if it failed on the first try). SFC rarely fails — but when it does, DISM provides the simplest means of repair.

DISM includes a number of diagnostic capabilities that can be used to evaluate whether or not there is corruption and whether the damage is repairable. To check for and rectify issues in your installation, open an elevated command prompt (as described above) and type the following:

After DISM completes, a report identifying any Windows system file faults should be generated. DISM notifies the user whether the repair was successful or not. If the utility encounters an error, it generates an error log.

If Windows is corrupted, DISM will display an unrecoverable error (code 0x800f081f). The problem could be caused by a corrupted installation disk, bit rot, or some other unidentified reason.

In contrast to some of the more typical problems encountered by Windows users, corruption can occasionally occur discreetly, especially on older installations. Fortunately, additional tools integrated into Windows provide more alternatives.

3. Troubleshooters for Windows

Along with SFC and DISM, Windows contains a troubleshooter for some of the most error-prone systems in the operating system. Troubleshooters are frequently the last line of defense against faulty software.

For anyone experiencing issues with networking, audio/sound, Internet, drivers, or—really—anything, the Windows Troubleshooters should be the first port of call.

To begin, open Control Panel and select Large icons or Small icons from the View by menu. Following that, click Troubleshooting. Following the opening of the Troubleshooting window, you may wish to select View all from the left pane.

The View all option displays all of Windows 10’s troubleshooters, which cover the bulk of the operating system’s subsystems, including sound, printer, and network (all very troublesome subsystems).

If you’re only having audio issues, you can select one of the audio troubleshooting alternatives from this menu.

Each of the troubleshooters must be launched by clicking on it. For instance, you are now experiencing Windows corruption troubles. However, as none of these address corruption issues, consider utilizing System Maintenance. Windows will perform certain basic maintenance operations, such as clock synchronization.

Troubleshooter for System Maintenance.
Once Windows has completed the troubleshooting process, attempt to perform the SFC command. If it does not resolve the issue, proceed to the next solution.

Nuclear Alternative: In-Situ Upgrade
If everything else fails, the best course of action is to re-download Windows and upgrade the operating system in-place, rather than performing a restoration or a reset/refresh.

There are various advantages to conducting an in-place upgrade over performing a Windows 10 refresh or reset. An in-place upgrade to your operating system rewrites the system files, which almost always eliminates operating system corruption.

However, there are two drawbacks: To begin, customers maintain their data but lose their updates, which may need a lengthy download and installation process. Second, an in-place upgrade will not function if you have malware difficulties. Nonetheless, an in-place upgrade resolves the majority of corruption issues.

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A downloadable copy of Windows 10, similar to the one now installed on your computer. You can obtain a duplicate copy of Windows 10 by using the Create Windows 10 installation media utility (below).
Sufficient empty space on your hard drive to accommodate the installation of another copy of Windows 10.

After you’ve met the prerequisites listed above, launch the Create Windows 10 installation media utility. After that, users agree to the licensing terms. Select Upgrade this PC now when requested, and then click Next.


The upgrade process is lengthy due to the tool’s requirement to download an entire copy of Windows 10. Expect to wait at least several hours. The user exerts almost no effort during the operation. Windows should entirely replace the existing installation with a new copy of Windows, leaving the user’s files, settings, and apps intact. The machine should restart after the upgrade process completes.

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Regrettably, even rewriting the operating system may not resolve the issue.

Giving Up: Windows Reinstallation
If the problem persists, reinstalling Windows 10 with a newly downloaded copy of Windows may be your only option. Fortunately, Microsoft simplified the process of reinstalling Windows 10 compared to previous versions of the operating system. Indeed, all you need to do is download and image the Create Windows 10 installation media utility onto a USB flash drive.

After you’ve completed the Windows 10 reinstallation process on your PC, do an SFC scan. If the troubles remain after a clean install, it is quite likely that the hardware has failed.

Which Windows Repair Tool Is the Best?

Almost everyone should run a system file corruption scan on their machine. If you have issues, a quick scan may reveal them without any effort. If problems persist and SFC and DISM are unable to cure them, the most straightforward option provides the most beneficial tool for resolving Windows issues: the in-place update.

So far we have been able to explain in details on How to Repair a Corrupted Windows 10 Installation

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