Viruses and malware will infect an operating system, causing file corruptions. Corrupt files may be the result of the malware, of a virus changing the name or some other attribute of the file. Depending on the file that is corrupted, your operating system may display an error or you may have more serious problems, like the system not functioning properly.

Microsoft does provide a way to scan the Windows folder for corrupt files, however. The System File Checker utility is included in all versions of Windows 7 and Vista. To run the System File Checker, you must be able to boot up the machine so that you see the desktop. If you cannot boot the machine, you likely need to run System Restore from Safe Mode or from the Restoration Disk.

How to Run System File Checker

1.) Start the computer normally. You should see the Windows Desktop once the computer has booted up.

2.) Click the Windows “Start” button to view the Search box.

3.) Type the word “command” (without quotes) into the Search box and press the “Enter” key. A search results page will open. Locate the word “Command” at the top of the search results page.

4.) Right-click on the word “Command” and then click the “Run as Administrator” option from the context menu. The Command Line box will open and you will be able to run the command you enter with Administrator privileges.

5.) Type the command sfc /scannow” (without quotes) at the command line and press the “Enter” key. The System File Checker utility will start. The file checker will run and fix any corrupt Windows Files. You will be able to view the results of the scan by opening the “CBS.log” file.

Open and View the System File Checker Log File:

1.) Click the Windows “Start” button to open the Search box and type “command.”

2.) Right-click on the “Command” option in the search results and select “Run as Administrator” from the context menu. The command box opens with Administrator rights.

3.) Type the following string (without quotes) at the command prompt and then press the “Enter” key.

“findstr /c:”[SR]” %windir%\logs\cbs\cbs.log >sfcdetails.txt”

4.) A file named “Sfcdetails.txt” will open. View the file to see the corrupted files that have been repaired.

Run CheckDisk to ensure that the Windows directory is defragmented and the files are all repaired:

1.) Click the Windows “Start” button and then click the “Computer” option. The Computer interface will open. Locate the hard drive in the Computer window.

2.) Right-click on the hard drive icon and then click “Properties.” The Properties window for the hard drive opens.

3.) Click on the tab labeled “Tools.”

4.) Click the button labeled “Check Now” in the Error Checking section. A User Access prompt will appear.

5.) Click the “Continue” button. The CheckDisk box opens.

6.) Check the checkboxes in front of the “Automatically Fix File System Errors” and the “Scan for and Attempt Recovery of Bad Sectors” options. A dialog box will open stating that the operation may be be performed while the disk is in use.

7.) Click the “Schedule Disk Check” option. This option will allow you to schedule CheckDisk to run the next time you start the computer.

8.) Reboot the computer and allow CheckDisk to run. This process may take 20 minutes or longer. Once the check is finished, corrupt Windows files, as well as bad sectors on the hard drive, are repaired.

Remember to install an anti-malware product if you do not already have one running on the computer. Allow the anti-malware program to run every day and keep the malware definitions up to date to ensure that malware does not continue to corrupt files in your Windows folder.

You Can Also Try Using Software

Several products are available that will help keep your system clean of malware and viruses. One such product is STOPzilla with Anti-Virus. STOPzilla provides an extensive dictionary of viruses, malware and spyware all within one product. The software includes all the features of a spyware detection application, an anti-malware package and an anti-virus application. You may also try STOPzilla before you buy the product by requesting a trial period.

STOPzilla with AntiVirus helps ensure future protection against corrupted but remember to run the anti-malware program daily and keep the malware definition files up to date.