How to use DISM command tool to repair Windows 10 image

If Windows 10 is having problems, it could result from missing or corrupted files. This guide will show you the steps to repair the installation using the Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) and System File Checker (SFC) command tools.

How to use DISM command tool to repair Windows 10 image
How to use DISM command tool to repair Windows 10 image

On Windows 10, the Deployment Image Servicing and Management is a command-line tool designed for administrators to prepare, modify, and repair system images, including Windows Recovery Environment, Windows Setup, and Windows PE (WinPE). However, anyone can also use the tool with the local recovery image to resolve common system problems.

Usually, when you need to troubleshoot a specific error, determine why the device stops booting correctly, or resolve performance issues, you can use the System File Checker command-tool to scan and replace missing or corrupted system files using the recovery image. The caveat using this approach is that if one or more Windows 10, 11 files in the image are damaged, the SFC command won't work. If you are in this scenario, you can use the "install.wim" image with DISM to repair the image and then use the SFC tool to fix the setup without having to reinstall Windows from scratch.

We will walk you through the steps to use the DISM and SFC tools with Command Prompt to bring a computer back to a healthy working state without the need for reinstallation.

  • How to run DISM to repair image of Windows 10
  • How to run SFC to repair problems of Windows 10

Warning: The commands outlined in this guide are non-destructive, but since you will be making system changes, is still recommended to create a temporary full backup before proceeding.

How to use DISM to repair image of Windows 10

The DISM command tool for Windows 10 comes with three options to repair an image, including "CheckHealth," "ScanHealth," and "RestoreHealth," which you want to run in order. Depending on the severity of the issue, you can also use the "RestoreHealth" option to fix the locally available image using different source files.

DISM command with CheckHealth option

The CheckHealth option with the Deployment Image Servicing and Management command tool allows you quickly determine if there are any corruptions inside the local Windows 10 image. However, the option does not perform any repairs.

To check the Windows 10 image for issues with DISM, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.
  3. Type the following command to perform a quick check and press Enter:

    DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /CheckHealth

    Once you complete the steps, DISM will run and verify any data corruption that may require fixing.

    DISM command with ScanHealth option

    The ScanHealth option performs a more advanced scan to determine if the OS image has any problems.

    To check problems with the ScanHealth option, use these steps:

    1. Open Start.
    2. Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.
    3. Type the following command to perform an advanced DISM scan and press Enter:

      DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth

    After you complete the steps, the advanced scan may take several minutes to check and determine whether the Windows 10 image needs repairing.

    DISM command with RestoreHealth option

    If there are problems with the system image, you can use DISM with the RestoreHealth option to scan and repair common issues automatically.

    To repair Windows 10 image problems with the DISM command tool, use these steps:

    1. Open Start.
    2. Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.
    3. Type the following command to repair the Windows 10 image and press Enter:

      DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth

      1. Quick note: If the command appears stuck at any point, this is normal behavior. After a few minutes, the process will complete successfully.

      Once you complete the steps, the Deployment Image Servicing and Management tool will connect to Windows Update online to download and replace damaged files (if applicable).

      Fix problems with DISM using install.wim image

      The DISM command typically completes without issues, but if there are problems replacing the damaged files or you are not connected to the internet, you will need to provide another image using the Source option to complete the task. Usually, you can use an "install.wim" or "install.esd" file from another computer, bootable install media, or Windows 10 ISO file. However, you have to make sure that the files match the version, edition, and language of the version of Windows 10 you are trying to fix.

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