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System File Checker needs an original installation media of some sort to do its job. Fortunately, there are alternatives to having the original CD.
I've lost my Windows XP Pro disc and I tried SFC/Scannow. I followed your directions to a "T". The first time I used it the program started ok and then a dialog box came up and started to run the program and then just stopped and didn't complete the run. I thought it might be a fluke and tried 3 times to no avail. It just kept calling for my original XP CD. Please advice. My OS is Microsoft XP Pro, SP3 and I run a Shuttle Cube computer. I have five of them that were built with the same bulk registry keys. By the way, here's what came up when I completed the process. C:Windows/servicepackfiles. Thanks for your time in advance!
In this excerpt from Answercast #25, I look at how System File Checker works and how to get the installation media it needs if you've lost the original.
SFC is the System File Checker. Its job is to check the files on your system to see if they've been damaged or altered in some way.
What it needs to do, when it finds that a file has been damaged or altered, is replace it with the original file.
That's where the installation CD comes in. You need an installation CD of some sort for System File Checker to be able to recover the original files that it's attempting to replace. If you don't have one, then System File Checker cannot do its job. At best, it's only going to report those files or those areas in your system that have (for whatever reason) been damaged or compromised: but it can't fix anything.
The System File Checker needs some form of original, unaltered media in order to recover the files.
My recommendation would be to go and find an original XP CD of some sort. The good news is that there's a little bit of flexibility here. You'll need it to be the same XP level as you happen to have installed on your machine: SP3 in your case. You might even need to create a slipstream CD. But, the point is that it doesn't necessarily have to be the one that you had. It could be one that you come up with later:
As long as you can come up with one, then you should be able to get SFC to repair the files that it thinks need to be repaired.
Unfortunately, I just don't know of a way to do that reliably without having some form of an original installation media.
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