By | April 29, 2015
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We recently published a tip about Windows CHKDSK  and we soon saw by the responses that many had these two Windows features mixed up. Maybe it’s our fault for not explaining things. We’re going to explain things now…


CHKDSK stands for Check Disk. When you run the CHKDSK /F command your scanning for and fixing hard drive errors. If you run CHKDSK without a parameter after it (in other words no /F or /R, etc.) Check Disk will check your drive for errors but won’t fix them. Check Disk does not fix Windows errors or replace missing or corrupted Windows system files. This is not to say that running CHKDSK /F won’t fix Windows problems – it can and sometimes makes  a huge difference, especially if your hard drive is riddled with bad sectors or a multitude of file system errors.  Hard drive errors can cause serious Windows issues, and we routinely use Check Disk when we diagnose computer problems.

Here’s something you might not know. On Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 Windows check disk and disk defrag run automatically in the background as part of Windows self-maintenance feature.


SFC stands for System File Checker. Most always you run System File Checker with the parameter /SCANNOW – in other words, SFC /SCANNOW . Running system file checker with this parameter scans for and attempts to fix Windows integrity violations – in other words missing, corrupted or changed Windows operating system files.

SFC is not a miracle cure but can sometimes help when certain Windows functions are not working correctly When you run SFC /SCANNOW on Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8x and Windows 10 you do not need to have a copy of the Windows installation disk in you DVD/CD. With Windows XP, you need to have a Windows XP SP3 installation disk in the CD/DVD when you run SFC /SCANNOW. How is XP different from the newer versions of Windows? Newer versions of Windows  have pristine backup copies of important Windows system files.

So if you are having problems with missing Windows features or are getting error messages, you will want to run System File Checker, it may not fix the problem but it’s  a good second choice –always try System Restore first. Running SFC /SCANNOW may help and it may not – but it’s easier than re installing Windows or using the recovery partition. And if you’re using Windows 8x or Windows 10, it’s easier and quicker than using System Refresh or System Reset.

If you’re running Windows XP, Vista, or Windows 7, it’s good idea to run CHKDSK once it month. It won’t hurt anything and it may help a great deal if your hard drive has a lot of errors.  Just be sure to run CHKDSK without any parameters first – that will tell you if you have any hard drive issues. If you find that you do, you can run CHKDSK /F  to fix the errors found on your hard drive.

Read our tip on using CHKDSK by visiting this page.

So now you know that SFC and CHKDSK are two completely different Windows features. Right?

2 thoughts on “CHKDSK Vs. SFC

  1. Lorraine

    I agree, a great explanation of these two Windows features! Even I understand it now.☺


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