Corrupted or missing file

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System files may be deleted or corrupted due to errors in a software installation procedure or due to problems in the hard drive of the computer system. With corrupted or missing system files, the software may not start at all. System file checker is a utility available on the Windows XP operating system that analyzes the system files to determine if they have been corrupted. Corrupted or Missing system files can be repaired using the Windows installation CD. Choose the option to repair when prompted. No data will be lost during the repair process as only the original system files are copied.

Sometimes while installing software, or due to a problem on the hard disk, a part of the system file can be damaged. The system, or the software in question, may refuse to start.

System file checker

  • Windows XP contains a utility to tackle this type of problem:
  • Click on Start > Run
  • Enter the following command and click OK:
    • sfc /scannow 
  • Windows will now scan the system's files
  • If a corrupted file is found, you will need the installation CD so that it can be replaced with the original

Repair with the Windows installation CD

  • Insert the Windows installation CD and reboot your system
    • Learn more on booting from a CD [/faq/648-modifying-boot-sequence here
  • Installation files will be copied automatically and you will be prompted either to install a fresh copy of Windows or repair the existing one
  • The menu will then offer a Quick or Manual installation
    • Try Quick at first and if that fails, try Manual
  • Reboot your system and select the Install option
  • The program will ask you if you wish to repair your installation - click on Yes
    • Note: your system's data won't be erased - only the system files will be replaced by the original ones.
  • When you have done this, change the boot sequence back to how it used to be and reboot the machine.

See also:

Repairing Windows XP using CD installation
Jean-François Pillou

Jean-François Pillou - Founder of CCM
Better known as Jeff, Jean-François Pillou is the founder of He is also CEO of CCM Benchmark and digital director at the Figaro Group.

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