SFC not very helpful. is it?


Sammy888

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Today I booted up my computer and I received a message that my firewall was turned off. I immediately scanned for viruses and none were found. I tried to enable Windows firewall but I received an error message (which I don't recall now). I also noticed Windows Defender was partially disabled. It would turn on and quickly turn off but it and disappear from the taskbar (security health tray).

After running SFC/scannow with no issues found I also ran DISM. Again, no issues reported. I tried to install Tiny firewall but I received an error message.

I then used System Restore to restore from a previous restore point. So far, so good. Everything is restored.

I really wonder how helpful is SFC these days?
 

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x BlueRobot

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I really wonder how helpful is SFC these days?
That's because most people don't understand what SFC actually does and when it should be used. It isn't a magic tool which is designed to fix everything. SFC scans for corruption within the WinSxS folder and then repairs any hardlinks which may be corrupted. That's all.
 

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DigitalGoat

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@Sammy888 You have another thread started asking for which apps to whitelist for Defender, so can we assume you are tinkering?
If so you can't expect SFC to be able to walk back your 'meddling' as a get out of jail free card, or to even necessarily detect issues with alterations made by you.
If the firewall and Defender are having issues, and you haven't got a case of the malwares or a recent Windows update gone rogue, then in all likelihood it is down to something you have done.
I hope that as well as using system restore you are taking regular system images with an app like Macrium, especially prior to making changes to the way the default system works.
 

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@Sammy888

Once you have decent backups, and have made the backup software's bootable media... you can play with ANYTHING..
If anything breaks, you're just a restore away from...... "happy days are here again". :-)


000000 Get backup software.png

Doc Brown - backup2.png
 

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Sammy888

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@Sammy888 You have another thread started asking for which apps to whitelist for Defender, so can we assume you are tinkering?
If so you can't expect SFC to be able to walk back your 'meddling' as a get out of jail free card, or to even necessarily detect issues with alterations made by you.
If the firewall and Defender are having issues, and you haven't got a case of the malwares or a recent Windows update gone rogue, then in all likelihood it is down to something you have done.
I hope that as well as using system restore you are taking regular system images with an app like Macrium, especially prior to making changes to the way the default system works.
@DigitalGoat, I would assume the same, but no. That other thread you're referring to was mostly for information purposes only with a link to there. I haven't done any tinkering.

Speaking of tinkering, I have done some minor "tinkering" in the past with W11 (following mostly Brink's tutorials). But doing so has left my
Windows installation unstable.

What preceded this incident was my external monitor (connected to laptop) began to occasionally flicker at random intervals.
I noticed this occurs after about 4-6 months of Windows 10 (or 11) use. This is very consistent. Possibly related or not, there was a Lenovo system update which updated in the background a few days ago.

Meanwhile, using the same monitor on Windows 7 gave me no issues. Perhaps my Lenovo's laptop has some native issues via BIOS or Lenovo drivers (yes I regularly check their website).

I restore my PC to the time before Lenovo updated. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Otherwise I'll need to restore my W11 image from backup via Acronis.
 

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Sammy888

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@Sammy888

Once you have decent backups, and have made the backup software's bootable media... you can play with ANYTHING..
If anything breaks, you're just a restore away from...... "happy days are here again". :-)


View attachment 38492

View attachment 38493
Yes, I do. But....even with a fresh backup. There are many applications that need to be installed (again). I learned the hard way just to create an image backup with bare bones applications and whenever possible, absent of any OEM bloatware.
 

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Sammy888

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That's because most people don't understand what SFC actually does and when it should be used. It isn't a magic tool which is designed to fix everything. SFC scans for corruption within the WinSxS folder and then repairs any hardlinks which may be corrupted. That's all.
Can you explain further what features or functionality are stored within the WinSxS folder?

I know one time when I ran SFC it detected some bluetooth driver issues and repaired them. Another time it "repaired" my Windows Defender when I had it disabled via gpedit.msc. That was with a previous Windows 10 and 11 installation, not with the current image/installation.
 

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Ghot

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Yes, I do. But....even with a fresh backup. There are many applications that need to be installed (again). I learned the hard way just to create an image backup with bare bones applications and whenever possible, absent of any OEM bloatware.


That's a good method, but don't stop there. The trick is to make a LOT of backups.
Keep your original backup, but make stepping stone backups as you progress through setting W11 as you like.

For example...

1. Make original backup as you mentioned.
2. Then... after a few WU and maybe a few program updates or installs, make a new fresh backup. Keep both backups.
3. Then... after say, a few driver updates, some more WU, etc., make another backup.
4. ONLY delete older backups, when you are SURE everything is perfect and running... clean and tight.
5. Soon, you will become proficient at using backups like stepping stones.

The "secret" to this whole system, is keep the used space on your Windows drive to a minimum.
This makes for fast backups and restores. On my computer... I try to keep my C:\ drive at 40GB or less.
This makes for two and a half minute, backups or restores.

These are the W10 and W11 backups I have saved... currently...

Image1.png


As soon as I make a few major changes... I make a new backup. After I acquire some September backups... I'll start deleting the July
backups.

Last of all... make sure you run all your cleaners and scanners... before you make each new backup.
The only thing I save outside my backups are my bookmarks, media, and copies of installed programs, drivers, etc.

I have my drives setup like this...

000000 Disk Management.png



Once you have things set up similar to this... there isn't much other than a house fire, that can mess you up.
And... you can even protect againbst that, by having a copy of everything, off site. Say... at a friend's house or a safe deposit box.
If you have multiple computers... use external drives for backups or other storage.



I like to think of backups like... the good guy vs. the bad guy in an old west cartoon.

Bad guy: Ah ha! You're out of bullets.
Good guy: Yes, but I have another loaded gun.
Bad guy: Now that gun is out of bullets too!
Good guy: True, but I have a machine gun in my back pocket.
Bad guy: There! Now your machine gun is empty!
Good guy: Yes, but look behind you. There's my 37 friends all with 3-4 guns each. :D


See my sig...





/edit

There's a movie about a guy that never runs out of backup...

 
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Sammy888

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That's a good method, but don't stop there. The trick is to make a LOT of backups.
Keep your original backup, but make stepping stone backups as you progress through setting W11 as you like.

For example...

1. Make original backup as you mentioned.
2. Then... after a few WU and maybe a few program updates or installs, make a new fresh backup. Keep both backups.
3. Then... after say, a few driver updates, some more WU, etc., make another backup.
4. ONLY delete older backups, when you are SURE everything is perfect and running... clean and tight.
5. Soon, you will become proficient at using backups like stepping stones.

The "secret" to this whole system, is keep the used space on your Windows drive to a minimum.
This makes for fast backups and restores. On my computer... I try to keep my C:\ drive at 40GB or less.
Th

Very good advice. Thank you! I bookmarked and saved your post. FWIW. I have my C drive at under 50GB. I do need more storage options though.

With my current Windows 11 and previous Windows 10 installations, things were never clean and tight for long (they were Home not Pro versions). I never had issues with Windows 7 Pro.

With W7 I would do a full image restore from a good working image once a year or two (just to get rid of the built-up junk). But when that image didn't work well last year (still unknown why to this day) I did a fresh clean installation. My build was from early 2010 (same as Brink's). Even then, things didn't play nice with my two newer hybrid HDDs and latest Windows 7 updates in early 2021.
 
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Sammy888

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So you ask people in this forum to help you. But if they fail to you might ask how helpful the people on this board are these days?
Why are you here trolling me? Go away! #blocked.
 

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x BlueRobot

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Can you explain further what features or functionality are stored within the WinSxS folder?
Almost everything within your %systemroot%\System32 folder is hardlinked with the WinSxS folder. This is includes drivers which are delivered from Windows Update which is why it repaired a corrupt driver package. There is absolutely no need to ever touch the WinSxS folder and if you want to reduce its size then this must be done through DISM and nothing else.
 

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DigitalGoat

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The WinSxS folder will be compacted, cleaned out as part of Windows regular maintenance schedule and should never really need to be manipulated by most users.
 

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x BlueRobot

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Yes, there is a 30-day scavenger task which is automatically run, but some users like to reduce their WinSxS folder more regularly for "maintenance" so I thought I mention that the only safe way to do this is with DISM and not any third-party cleanup tools which claim to be able to do it.
 

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TechnoMage2021

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When I read this...."But....even with a fresh backup, There are many applications that need to be installed (again)."
I heard a wee small voice telling me, "he's obviously using the wrong backup program, or he's not using his program of choice properly"

I'm sort of a Backup Fanatic! I've been using "Ghost" since it came out in 1997. It had several updates till version 11.5 which was the last DOS version that worked with an NTFS drive. I use the "Partition to Image" option, where every bit of data in the C: drive is backed up into one file.
Nothing is left out, even the boot sector and MBR is backed up.
So when a Restore is done, the result is a computer that runs exactly like the moment the backup was done.
The Restore can even be done to a brand new HD, when replacing an older or failing HD.

:cool:
 

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TechnoMage2021

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To answer the question, "I really wonder how helpful is SFC these days?"
I can only report that it's never been very helpful to me! I don't know who it was made for, but it sure as heck wasn't me!
If I've ever had problems, things like System Restore or a Ghost Restore have been more helpful in fixing my problems.

One old tech once told me, "Don't futz with it, get a bigger hammer!":LOL:
 

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man00

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I haven't used SFC in a long long time...Seems like the last time I did the results were all the updates from Microsoft were seen as
not Windows files... Did SFC compare current files to the original ones from first install? I may not have ran it right...WIndows 98 was the OS
 
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System File Checker (ie) SFC.exe, in Windows 98 is similar but not the same as SFC /scannow in later versions of Windows.
 

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TechnoMage2021

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An old German once said, "we get too soon oldt und too late schmart". And unfortunately, some folks just never get smart, late or otherwise.

But as a computer tech, I've run countless service calls based on the customer's complaint, "I got MS updates yesterday and now I can't use my computer!". Resolving some of those complaints, like where there is NO backup, has been a nightmare. Almost as bad, but not quite, is where the only backup is a year or more old. Some fixes demanded a complete RE-Install of the OS, programs, etc. Then I would do my own backup!

So with those memories fresh in my mind, the first thing I do when installing an OS for myself, is to Shut Off MS Updates. Then if there is a problem, I don't have to worry about whether an update caused it and I can look elsewhere.

Just as soon as I get a new OS installed, and tweaked, I do a complete backup of the C: partition and store that backup on an external HD.
All my backups are done with Ghost 11.5, a DOS based backup program that I run from a DOS boot disk, so Windows cannot interfere with the process. I first acquired Ghost in 1997, (25 years ago) and it's never failed me yet.

Cheers Mates!
TM :cool:
 

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System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1/Pro/64,,, Win-11/Pro/64
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Acer AX1200
    CPU
    AMD 2 Core/Athlon/64
    Motherboard
    Acer/AMD
    Memory
    Crucial, 4GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Onboard
    Sound Card
    Onboard
    Monitor(s) Displays
    24" Acer
    Hard Drives
    Crucial SSD 500GB
    Case
    SFF Slimline
    Cooling
    OEM
    Keyboard
    eMachine, 101 key External
    Mouse
    Logitech USB Wireless
    Browser
    Firefox
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
    Other Info
    Given to me as DEAD, and irreparable.
    I refurbished it, with a new SSD and max ram, and it's running Win-8.1 today.

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