How to Check for Corrupted Files in Windows 11: A Step-by-Step Guide

Having trouble with your Windows 11 computer? Dealing with sluggish performance or weird error messages? You might be looking at corrupted files. Thankfully, there’s a built-in tool called System File Checker (SFC) that can help you identify and fix these issues. By following a few straightforward steps, you can check for corrupted files and potentially resolve your problems.

How to Check for Corrupted Files Windows 11

In this guide, we’ll walk you through checking for corrupted files on Windows 11 using the System File Checker tool. This will help identify and repair any damaged or missing system files that could be causing issues.

Step 1: Open Command Prompt as Administrator

Right-click the Start button and select “Windows Terminal (Admin)” or “Command Prompt (Admin)”.

Opening the Command Prompt with administrative privileges is crucial because you need full system access to run the SFC tool effectively. If you don’t run it as an administrator, the tool won’t have permission to make necessary changes to system files.

Step 2: Run the SFC Command

Type sfc /scannow into the Command Prompt and hit Enter.

This initiates the scanning process. The System File Checker will start checking all your system files for corruption and automatically repair them if needed. This process might take some time, so be patient.

Step 3: Wait for the Scan to Complete

Allow the scan to run its course without interrupting it.

The SFC tool will scan the integrity of all protected system files and replace incorrect versions with correct Microsoft versions. This process is crucial and might take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour, depending on your system’s speed and the number of files it needs to check.

Step 4: Review the Scan Results

After the scan finishes, the Command Prompt will display the results.

The results will tell you if any corrupted files were found and whether they were successfully repaired. It may say that Windows Resource Protection did not find any integrity violations, found corrupt files and repaired them, or found corrupt files but was unable to fix some of them.

Step 5: Restart Your Computer

Reboot your system to apply any changes made by the SFC tool.

Restarting your computer ensures that any repairs made by the System File Checker take effect. This step is essential for verifying that your system is running smoothly post-scan.

After completing these steps, any corrupted files should have been repaired, potentially resolving the issues you were experiencing. If the tool couldn’t fix some files, you might need to use additional methods or seek professional help.

Tips for How to Check for Corrupted Files Windows 11

  • Regularly run SFC: Make it a habit to run the System File Checker every few months to catch issues early.
  • Use DISM if SFC fails: If the SFC tool can’t fix some files, the Deployment Imaging Service and Management Tool (DISM) can often resolve deeper issues.
  • Keep backups: Always maintain a recent backup of your system files to avoid data loss during repairs.
  • Update Windows: Ensure your Windows 11 is up to date, as updates often fix bugs and vulnerabilities.
  • Avoid interrupting scans: Let the SFC tool complete its process without interruptions to avoid incomplete repairs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the System File Checker?

The System File Checker is a built-in Windows utility that scans for and repairs corrupted system files.

Can I use SFC on older versions of Windows?

Yes, the System File Checker is available on Windows 7, 8, 10, and 11.

What should I do if SFC can’t fix the files?

Use the DISM tool or seek professional help if the System File Checker can’t repair some files.

How long does an SFC scan take?

The scan duration varies but generally ranges from a few minutes to an hour, depending on your system.

Is it safe to use the System File Checker?

Yes, using the SFC tool is safe and recommended for fixing corrupted system files.


  1. Open Command Prompt as Administrator.
  2. Run the SFC Command.
  3. Wait for the Scan to Complete.
  4. Review the Scan Results.
  5. Restart Your Computer.


Checking for corrupted files on Windows 11 is a straightforward process that can vastly improve your system’s performance and resolve pesky issues. By following these steps and tips, you can ensure your computer runs smoothly and efficiently. If you encounter persistent problems, don’t hesitate to use additional tools like DISM or seek professional assistance. Regular maintenance using tools like the System File Checker will keep your Windows 11 environment healthy and robust. For more detailed guides and further reading on maintaining your Windows system, be sure to check out Microsoft’s official support documents or tech forums online.