Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have a broken windows XP install and I need to run sfc on it, you can't run it via recovery console. Is it possible to run SFC on a XP drive from win7? I keep trying the offwindir switch but I must be doing it wrong, it won't run.

share|improve this question
is SFC scan the only solution at this time, do you have a Windows XP disc you can run and do a repair install, or boot into safe mode to run sfc /scannow? – j_bombay Jan 4 '13 at 16:50
safemode doesn't work, i get some kind of comctl32 error and explorer never loads, nor does ctrl alt del do anything. I do thave a xp cd, but how do you do a repair install? isn't that just installing to a secondary windows folder? – acme64 Jan 4 '13 at 16:59

You can not run System File Checker for Windows 7 on Windows XP because the system files are different. That may be why it isn't working for you.

If Safe Mode Command Prompt will load, you can try it from there. Or use an alternate Windows XP boot media then run sfc /scannow /offbootdir=d:\ /offwindir=d:\windows from the command prompt. Here are more detailed instructions. You will most likely need the Windows XP CD in the CD drive when you run this.

Note: Depending on how your computer is setup, the Command Prompt, when used from outside of Windows, doesn't always assign drive letters in the same way that you see them from inside Windows. In other words, Windows might be at C:\Windows when you're using it, but D:\Windows from the Command Prompt in System Recovery Options.

share|improve this answer
Will sfc command work in Windows XP recovery mode? I just tried it and it said command not found – Sudar Feb 8 '14 at 7:31
You will need to give command line options for it to work. Read the detailed instructions in my answer. It explains how to run SFC from a command prompt when the system is booted from Windows media. – CharlieRB Feb 10 '14 at 12:11

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.