Run an Offline SFC Scan

A System File Checker is an extremely useful tool that will scan all protected Windows system files and replace corrupted files with a cached copy that is located in a compressed folder at %WinDir%\System32\dllcache.  This is useful for fixing a large variety of problems, especially when dealing with Windows boot issues.

An SFC scan is generally ran directly from the drive that Windows is on (usually C:).  In these cases, the command is very simple:

sfc /scannow


But what if I need to initiate an SFC from a drive other the one Windows is on?

There is such a thing as an offline SFC scan.  This function allows an SFC scan to point to a Windows drive that is different than the drive which the command is being ran from.  This means an SFC can be started from a WinPE or WinRE environment which usually runs off the ram drive X:.

There are a few additional parameters needed for an offline SFC scan:

sfc /scannow /offbootdir=C:\ offwindir=C:\Windows

The /offbootdir should be whichever drive Windows is on, and the /offwindir should point to the Windows directory on that same drive.


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