View Full Version : System File Checker results and actions?

03-03-2003, 08:50 AM
Hello. I have occasionally run System File Checker (under System Information) in Windows 98 SE. There are always many files reported as needing "repair." When I scan for "altered files",is it a bad idea to just let the system do its work and update verification information? There's no way I can remember what's new/old. How do I know if I should "update, restore or ignore?"

03-03-2003, 10:38 AM
Thanks, was just about to ask a similar question because was remembering another thread not too long ago. If a file is being reported as needing repair, or "corrupted"..you will need to replace that file. Either by copying/pasting from elsewhere (like I did once by copying files off husband's puter, and putting into System on mine), or by using the Restore option in SFC. But I suspect that if you had an actual corrupted file, you would be getting error messages somewhere when trying to run a program. As for knowing where files came from, or when..that's why it's good to run SFC after installing something new, and maybe even writing down somewhere when you install something. Then when you see "this file has changed", you can look at original file date, and the new file date, and the new file will be dated whenever you installed the new program. There is always one that SFC reports..and it's just running SFC because when you look at new file date, it's "when" you're running SFC.

What I want to ask ties in here. My understanding is that you just have the option of ignoring the change (SFC reports it every time you run SFC), or updating the file..which just means that SFC doesn't report it anymore. mjc said in that other thread that sometimes the "old" file is better, sometimes the "new" file is better. So, how does one know? I am about to install a Works program that is older than 98SE, and remember that it changed some of the newer 98 files to older files..date wise..last time I installed it. So, the only real thing that one could do is "restore" the newer file?? And, if ones does that, does the program just installed work right?

03-03-2003, 11:21 AM
Here’s my opinion for what it’s worth.

If you think that your PC is ok then go ahead and specify that the latest file versions are ok [Update].
Unless you have expert knowledge there’s not much else you can do.

If you then make file changes [like installing an update], re-run system file checker and update again.
If you do this conscientiously after every file change then System File Checker will be of use when something nasty happens to your files.

Knowing that you have not actively changed any files recently, if one or more files have altered since you last updated, then perhaps this would indicate the cause of your problem.

That’s the use I put it to.
Mine is up to date and if I scan right now it should report no file changes.

Oops, I was wrong!
I had failed to run “sfc.exe” since I updated “MSN Messenger” 2 days back.
It’s up to date now though.
So assuming a file was to be deleted or corrupted right now, or before any deliberate changes are made, that would show up and I’d know which files were at fault.

Beware of “Restore”.
I’ve had files reported as corrupted when I was pretty sure this was not so.
Only “Ignore” if you’re too scared to “Update”.
I used to do that at first until I got up the courage to risk the “Update” and now I don’t worry about it and have had no reason to regret it.

I had a situation in the past where “Simple Backup” replaced Windows files with newer copies needed to make “Simple Backup” work.
Then [months later] I ran “Windows Setup” to confirm that the Windows files were ok and it replaced the newer copies with the original older copies and “Simple Backup” would not work correctly anymore.
I needed the newer copies back again.
I uninstalled and reinstalled “Simple Backup”.
The old copies were replaced by the new ones and simple backup worked again.
The problem is, of course, that in practice I never know enough about files needed.

03-03-2003, 12:17 PM
sonni : Okay, I am back with egg all over my face! I was wrong about dates..sometimes, in the case of printer files and things like that, the date does read date of installation. But I upgraded my browser the other day, and just now ran a SFC and "new" files date is in 2002 rather than old files date of 1999. Secondly, I was wrong about error messages in the case of corrupted files because I have yet to see any error messages and SFC is reporting 8..eight..files as possibly corrupted and needing to be restored. And, I violated what I said above...I did install newer browser, then go directly to Microsoft to check for updates..so don't know if "may be corrupted" files were caused by installation of browser or by updates from Microsoft.

So, I thank you again for the question..obviously I too need some instructing... :eek:

03-04-2003, 11:47 AM
Sorry, Sylvander..wasn't ignoring you, was just in a hurry on the second post. The only time that I had SFC report missing or corrupted files was after installing a Corel program, and I knew there was something very wrong because I couldn't get PaintShopPro to "open" at all, and was getting other error messages. But, that was several years ago, and I could have sworn that SFC said "this file is missing or corrupted"..not "this file may be corrupted". Does that mean that SFC in 98 has different messages from 98SE? Or that SFC is clueless?? Did a Find..Date search for all files that changed on the day I installed IE, and don't see the "may be corrupted" files. (And by the way, the Find Date search does display the time of installation.) Then I did a Find on some of those files, and 98SE can't find them. Does that mean they're missing? Oh, and one last thing..on the "may be corrupted" files, there is no "original file date" and "new file date"..just the line with file name and may be corrupted.

So, bottom line..maybe write down the "may be corrupted" file names and go ahead and update (because no error messages)..and hope for best?

03-04-2003, 12:27 PM
You were right, Sylvander ..I tried several Google searches and found this MSKB article (http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=264865) by putting one of "may be corrupted" file names in the Google search box. Since several of the files had "crypt" at the start, I was thinking maybe I needed to install that encryption pack that I installed years ago so went looking for info on that first, but I found a place that said the encryption was included in Service Pack 2.

sonni : I apologize for blundering all over your question. If SFC is reporting something as "may be corrupted"..you could try doing what I just did and run a Google on the file name.

03-04-2003, 12:43 PM
I used “Copernic Agent Basic” [for free from here http://tinyurl.com/6u77 ]
to do a search and found this http://tinyurl.com/6u70 on the topic of “System File Checker”.

How the System File Checker Baseline Is Determined

Error Message: System File Checker identified that the Following File may be corrupted.

03-04-2003, 02:52 PM
Hold on here guys. I'm not at my PC right now (I'm at my Mac(:), but I don't remember SFC saying anything about corrupted files. All the checks that came back had more to do with just the choice to either update, restore or ignore. Should I assume that the files it presented before me we corrupted? I might be off here since I am more of a Mac user. In the Mac world, corrupted files usually need replacing. By the way, I did update all when I re-ran SFC. there doesn't seem to be any problems (so far).

david eaton
03-04-2003, 03:11 PM
Sonni, if you chose "update" all that happens is tha SFC's internal database is updated to reflect the file versions that exist NOW on your machine. Choosing "Ignore", the next time you run SFC, the same file will be reported again, and the "restore" option replaces the file with the version recorded in the SFC database. (probably the original file from the installation CD)

A message from SFC does not necessarily mean that a file is "corrupt". It only means that the file on the HD does not match the version recorded by SFC before. It MAY be corrupted, but usually it only means that the file has been updated.


03-05-2003, 12:44 PM
Was glancing through Sylvander's links above, and the recommendation on "back up files before restoring" setting in SFC is intriguing. So does that mean that you could "restore" the "may be corrupted" files if needed..or "unrestore" the ones you "restored"??

And, what happened last time I installed my old Works program is that it replaced "newer dates" with "older dates." So doesn't seem much like an "update"..lol.