System file definition
System files are critical documents required by an operating system (OS) or device driver to function properly. In Microsoft Windows and MS-DOS, system files are usually marked with “system” attribute to prevent accidental tampering and deletion. Corrupted or missing system files can cause associated applications and operating systems to crash.
Repairing system files
- Run the system file checker (SFC): The system file checker utility scans devices running Windows OS for any damaged system files and replaces them with working copies from the DLL cache. You can run the system file checker by entering “sfc /scannow” (without the quotation marks) in the command prompt.
- Restore the operating system: Unless configured otherwise, operating systems will periodically back up critical files and settings. The system restore utility lets users roll back their OS to an earlier point in time, including restoring any damaged system files. While using system restore does not delete user documents, it does remove all apps and updates installed past the restore point.
- Reset the device (“Reset your PC” on Windows): Resetting a device restores its factory default settings. If your device was shipped with an operating system, a factory reset will also perform a clean installation of all system files. Unless otherwise specified by the manufacturer, a factory reset will wipe any data you had stored on the device.