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I had a strange problem shortly after installing a brand new copy of Windows 10 on my laptop because the previous hard drive crashed badly (hardware problem) It turns out the head was stuck on the platter. It was a 500GB hybrid drive from Seagate. I happened to have another one just like it with an older install of Windows 7 which I intended to wipe out anyways.

I reformatted the hard drive that had Windows 7 and installed Windows 10 from scratch.

I then installed my minimum set of software (a dozen applications and another dozen utilities) and all was good.

Then I tried to install Visual C++ (Community edition) and the install would not complete with a useless but ominous error message. At about that time the Start button stopped working. It would blink briefly when clicked but no start menu. I googled it of course and found that it is not unusual apparently and the recommended fix was to run the Microsoft System File Checker (sfc /scannow). Also the file explorer was not working right. When deleting files, they would no go away unless I refreshed the explorer window. It was quite aggravating to use the computer that way.

I ran the sfc utility but the tool aborted saying it could not do the requested operation.

More googling, found it could be due to filesystem corruption (duh!), ran chkdsk but it did not find anything. Rebooted in safe mode, tried CHKDSK and sfc again with the same “cannot do the requested operation” message again.

Long story short, the fix was as follows:

Boot the computer from the Windows 10 install DVD and choose “Repair Windows”. The menu that pops up offers you the option of running a command mode. Check that and run CHKDSK /f then sfc /scannow on the main Windows partition.

It did find a number of problems which were preventing sfc from running. Running CHKDSK from the install DVD is very fast because the hard drive is completely available (no locked files).

After that, I ran sfc /scannow twice. It reported a problem the first time but not the second time.

I rebooted the computer normally and everything works fine now.

I observed that even though I had reformatted the hard drive as a single partition, when I installed Windows 10 it created 2 partitions and installed Windows on the second one. It is quite possible that when I ran CHKDSK the first time (not through the install DVD), it ran CHKDSK over the small partition, not the main Windows partition.

However, running CHKDSK or sfc when booted from the DVD was considerably faster than booting into safe mode and running from the hard drive, so the next time a problem crops up with system files, I will reach for the DVD immediately and not waste my time.

random/how_to_fix_system_file_errors_under_windows_10.txt · Last modified: 2018/01/29 12:47 by ko4bb
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