How to Check for Missing or Corrupted Files

by Kaylee Finn

According to Microsoft, a corrupt file is any file that will not work properly. Most often, you will discover a file is corrupt when you, or a program you are running, try to use the file and get an error. To find missing or corrupt files before they cause a problem you will need to check your disk. You should check your disk regularly and especially after any system crashes, errors or sudden power losses. There are two utilities built in to Windows for this purpose: the disc error checker and system file checker.

Disk Error Checker

Close all open files and programs.

Go to "My Computer." Either double-click on the the My Computer icon on your desktop or open the start menu and click on My Computer.

Right click on the drive you want to scan and then click properties. The hard drive with your windows installation will be called "C:".

Click on the "tools" tab. Click the "check now" button under Error Checking. This will open the disk error checker. This utility will scan your entire disc for corrupt files, errors and bad sectors and attempt to fix them.

Check both boxes and then click "start." The error checking will begin. This process can take a long time, depending on the size and speed of your hard drive. If you receive an error message that check disc cannot run because the volume is in use, click yes to schedule it to run. Restart your computer and it will run at startup.

System File Checker

Log in to your computer as the administrator or as an account that has administrator privileges.

Open a command prompt. The command prompt can be found in the start menu under all programs, accessories, command prompt.

Type "sfc /scannow" without the space and hit enter. Insert your Windows installation disc if requested to do so.

Tip

  • check These utilities can be used, as described, in both Windows XP and Windows Vista.

About the Author

Kaylee Finn began writing professionally for various websites in 2009, primarily contributing articles covering topics in business personal finance. She brings expertise in the areas of taxes, student loans and debt management to her writing. She received her Bachelor of Science in system dynamics from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera hard disc image by Witold Krasowski from Fotolia.com