SFC Does Not Stand For Sandy's Fried Chicken

Windows XP Home, Media, Professional Editions

Despite sounding like KFC, SFC actually stands for "System File Checker" the little known and little used Windows XP utility that can come in mighty handy when you're experiencing problems with your Windows XP computer. And you don't have to be a Saul Gravitz to use it, whoever he is.

Sometimes, Windows just starts acting strangely. You know, acting "funny" although it's rarely funny when Windows starts taking forever to shutdown or start up - on when you start getting a lot of error dialogs popping up for seemingly no reason.

Before you panic and go off the deep end and start formatting, re-installing Windows, or doing system restore, try this first:

Click Start, Run and type in SFC /scannow

Make sure you type it exactly as shown above (with the space between SFC and the / ). Also, before you do this make sure you have your Windows XP CD handy, you're going to need it at some point. And, yes, those of you without a Windows XP CD, can most likely (but not always) use your "Recovery" or "Restore" disk that came with your computer.

SFC will scan all your system files and make sure they're correct. It will check for missing, corrupted, and/or incorrect system files and replace them with the original, correct file. Sometimes SFC will help and sometimes it won't. But it's worth a try.

One last thing: SFC takes quite a while to do its job - so grab a cup of coffee or a magazine - it could take a half-an-hour or longer to complete. And while it's doing its thing, you just have to sit there and watch - after you insert the Windows CD it's on auto-pilot until it finishes.

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